6 min
Charlie Gerard's Career Advice: Be intentional about how you spend your time and effort
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When it comes to career, Charlie has one trick: to focus. But that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try different things — currently a senior front-end developer at Netlify, she is also a sought-after speaker, mentor, and a machine learning trailblazer of the JavaScript universe. "Experiment with things, but build expertise in a specific area," she advises.

What led you to software engineering?My background is in digital marketing, so I started my career as a project manager in advertising agencies. After a couple of years of doing that, I realized that I wasn't learning and growing as much as I wanted to. I was interested in learning more about building websites, so I quit my job and signed up for an intensive coding boot camp called General Assembly. I absolutely loved it and started my career in tech from there.
 What is the most impactful thing you ever did to boost your career?I think it might be public speaking. Going on stage to share knowledge about things I learned while building my side projects gave me the opportunity to meet a lot of people in the industry, learn a ton from watching other people's talks and, for lack of better words, build a personal brand.
 What would be your three tips for engineers to level up their career?Practice your communication skills. I can't stress enough how important it is to be able to explain things in a way anyone can understand, but also communicate in a way that's inclusive and creates an environment where team members feel safe and welcome to contribute ideas, ask questions, and give feedback. In addition, build some expertise in a specific area. I'm a huge fan of learning and experimenting with lots of technologies but as you grow in your career, there comes a time where you need to pick an area to focus on to build more profound knowledge. This could be in a specific language like JavaScript or Python or in a practice like accessibility or web performance. It doesn't mean you shouldn't keep in touch with anything else that's going on in the industry, but it means that you focus on an area you want to have more expertise in. If you could be the "go-to" person for something, what would you want it to be? 
 And lastly, be intentional about how you spend your time and effort. Saying yes to everything isn't always helpful if it doesn't serve your goals. No matter the job, there are always projects and tasks that will help you reach your goals and some that won't. If you can, try to focus on the tasks that will grow the skills you want to grow or help you get the next job you'd like to have.
 What are you working on right now?Recently I've taken a pretty big break from side projects, but the next one I'd like to work on is a prototype of a tool that would allow hands-free coding using gaze detection. 
 Do you have some rituals that keep you focused and goal-oriented?Usually, when I come up with a side project idea I'm really excited about, that excitement is enough to keep me motivated. That's why I tend to avoid spending time on things I'm not genuinely interested in. Otherwise, breaking down projects into smaller chunks allows me to fit them better in my schedule. I make sure to take enough breaks, so I maintain a certain level of energy and motivation to finish what I have in mind.
 You wrote a book called Practical Machine Learning in JavaScript. What got you so excited about the connection between JavaScript and ML?The release of TensorFlow.js opened up the world of ML to frontend devs, and this is what really got me excited. I had machine learning on my list of things I wanted to learn for a few years, but I didn't start looking into it before because I knew I'd have to learn another language as well, like Python, for example. As soon as I realized it was now available in JS, that removed a big barrier and made it a lot more approachable. Considering that you can use JavaScript to build lots of different applications, including augmented reality, virtual reality, and IoT, and combine them with machine learning as well as some fun web APIs felt super exciting to me.


Where do you see the fields going together in the future, near or far? I'd love to see more AI-powered web applications in the future, especially as machine learning models get smaller and more performant. However, it seems like the adoption of ML in JS is still rather low. Considering the amount of content we post online, there could be great opportunities to build tools that assist you in writing blog posts or that can automatically edit podcasts and videos. There are lots of tasks we do that feel cumbersome that could be made a bit easier with the help of machine learning.
 You are a frequent conference speaker. You have your own blog and even a newsletter. What made you start with content creation?I realized that I love learning new things because I love teaching. I think that if I kept what I know to myself, it would be pretty boring. If I'm excited about something, I want to share the knowledge I gained, and I'd like other people to feel the same excitement I feel. That's definitely what motivated me to start creating content.
 How has content affected your career?I don't track any metrics on my blog or likes and follows on Twitter, so I don't know what created different opportunities. Creating content to share something you built improves the chances of people stumbling upon it and learning more about you and what you like to do, but this is not something that's guaranteed. I think over time, I accumulated enough projects, blog posts, and conference talks that some conferences now invite me, so I don't always apply anymore. I sometimes get invited on podcasts and asked if I want to create video content and things like that. Having a backlog of content helps people better understand who you are and quickly decide if you're the right person for an opportunity.What pieces of your work are you most proud of?It is probably that I've managed to develop a mindset where I set myself hard challenges on my side project, and I'm not scared to fail and push the boundaries of what I think is possible. I don't prefer a particular project, it's more around the creative thinking I've developed over the years that I believe has become a big strength of mine.***Follow Charlie on Twitter
10 min
Emma Bostian: I landed my dream job by sharing my blogs on Twitter
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Software engineer, lecturer, podcast host, author — is there something Emma Bostian hasn't done? She moved from America to Sweden, started working at Spotify, and took up a few challenges along the way. And now she has some career tips to share.

What led you to software engineering? 
I was raised in the ecosphere of tech because my dad is a software engineer at IBM, and my mom was a designer there, too. My dad always encouraged me to join STEM and take a look at computer science — however, I was convinced I wanted to be a medical doctor. In my first year of college, I declared a biology major and quickly realized I was not too fond of it. In my second semester, I switched to an actuarial science major where I took Introduction to Computer Science, and the rest is history. In my second year of college, I declared a computer science major and began my journey from there.
What is the most impactful thing you ever did to boost your career?
Writing blog posts and documenting my learning journey on Twitter has far been the best career boost. I wrote purely for myself to reference the things I learned over time, and I even utilized my design skills in Figma to create custom graphics depicting difficult concepts like CSS specificity. By sharing my blogs on Twitter and engaging with the people reading them, I was able to grow an audience extremely quickly. I began receiving conference speaking opportunities, podcast requests, and course invitations to teach with LinkedIn Learning and Frontend Masters.
Ultimately, I landed my job at Spotify through Twitter, too, when a friend and follower of mine asked if I would be interested in interviewing. Now I live in Stockholm working my dream job. It still blows my mind how tweeting about my blog led me to some of the most amazing career opportunities.
What would be your three tips for engineers to level up their career? 
First, be patient. I often see posts on Twitter or LinkedIn about developers who were promoted to a senior position after a year. And while this is wonderful, I think we forget that each company has a different standard for what constitutes a senior developer, and everyone's journey will be different.
Second, don't be afraid to ask questions. If you try your best to solve a problem or answer a question you have, but you can't figure it out after a reasonable amount of time, ask a team member or mentor for help.
And lastly, invest in the right resources for learning. When I started my journey, I didn't know which platforms worked for me to learn. Now, I have a few trusted platforms such as Frontend Masters, Free Code Camp, or Level Up Tutorials that I go to when I need to learn a new skill.
You're currently working as a software engineer at Spotify. What does a typical day of yours look like there?
I begin my day answering emails. Then we have a team breakfast and a standup remotely as we're all still remote at Spotify. After that, we might have a web tech sync with the other squads in our business unit. The day usually includes some form of pair or mob programming, depending on the work stream. 
My team always has Fika, a traditional Swedish coffee break, scheduled every afternoon. Every couple of Fridays, we have team games planned to release some stress. 
Also, I tend to have a lot of free time to focus, which is nice but makes for a boring answer to this question!
Do you have some rituals or tools that keep you focused and goal-oriented?
I'll admit that I've been struggling with staying motivated in the time of remote work. I've been remote with Spotify since onboarding a year ago, but my team is wonderful, and they help me when I'm down.
Apart from that, I use Todoist to keep track of my tasks, and, naturally, I listen to Spotify while working. But other than that, not really. Maybe I should adopt some new tools to keep me on track!
My current favorite Spotify playlist is Brand New Chill: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/37i9dQZF1DX6uQnoHESB3u?si=380263b3c853442e
I also love Chillout Daily: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/7ozIozDp260fjNOZy1yzRG?si=66d6c839ec9b458a
You wrote a book called De-coding the Technical Interview. What was the impulse to do it?
I wanted to give the community a manual of the essentials of computer science knowledge to ace the technical interviews. The book covers data structures like stacks, queues, or linked lists, tackles algorithms, and deals with systems design. You'll also learn about the interview process from start to finish, get tips on how to submit an amazing take-home project, or understand how to problem solve. You'll also gain knowledge on the frontend coding skills needed to excel at a frontend interview.

If you could stress one piece of advice on surviving a technical interview, which would it be?
Do not lie your way through an interview. If you don't know the answer to something, just admit it. There's no shame in admitting you don't know the answer to something. There is shame in faking it and pretending like you do know the answer.
What's the single best practice everyone who writes code should follow?
Remember that while you are technically writing code for computers, you're also writing it for humans. Your code should be readable and have as little complexity as possible without sacrificing accessibility or performance.
In addition to the book, you co-host the Ladybug Podcast. What inspired you to enter this field, and what are the podcast's main topics?
We talk about everything tech and career on the podcast, from Java and GraphQL to how to start a business and cross-cultural communication. The podcast is a way for me and my co-hosts to share our experiences in tech, having taken different paths. And I'm really glad for doing it — it has allowed me to meet so many incredible people, learn many new things, and support my dream of teaching.
What pieces of your work are you most proud of?
My technical interview book was a huge feat for me as well as my courses with LinkedIn Learning on building a tech resume. I enjoy creating things that help other people advance their careers, so I'm also proud of my courses with Frontend Masters on design systems and CSS.
***
Follow Emma on Twitter
14 min
Kent C. Dodds: Consume, build, and teach — and level up your career
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Even though his bio offers quite a hefty reading, he only applied for one job in his career. The rest came along as he was building his name as a renowned speaker, teacher, and a prolific figure of the open-source community. How did Kent do it? “Commit to creating high-quality content,” he says.


What led you to programming?
I had a friend when I was a teenager who was really into it, and he tried to teach me. But I just couldn't get it — it didn't make any sense to me. So I never really thought I'd get into programming, but I liked computers a lot, and I ended up going to school for electrical engineering. 
Well, that didn't work because I'm not good at math. But right when I started the program, I got a job at a company uploading videos to YouTube and that sort of thing. The work was tedious, so I decided to write a computer program to automate lots of the work I was doing with the knowledge I had about programming. And that was the first spark of things for me to use programming to solve real-world problems. 
What is the most impactful thing you ever did to boost your career? 
Committing to creating high-quality content. That might sound obvious because I'm a full-time educator now, but I would not have gotten my job at PayPal if I hadn't been so active with my blog. In fact, lots of my jobs came out of me being involved in the community around meetups, conferences, or open-source projects. 
How do you choose topics for the content you create, be it for your blog or podcast?
I don't think too much about the content other people are creating. And I don't often consume it. My ideas come from the things that I'm working on, things that I'm learning myself, or — when I was working with a team of developers — the things that I had to remind people of in code reviews regularly. Anytime that I would have a code review comment that was pretty long to describe my position, that was an excellent opportunity for a blog post. Also, if people ask me about a topic regularly, I'll make a blog post rather than answer that question multiple times.


What would be your three tips for engineers to level up their career? 
The number one thing I tell people is to be a nice person. I know that sounds fluffy or silly, but it cannot be overstated. You will get so much further in your career and just in life in general if you're a nice person. That doesn't mean that you take people being jerks lying down, but how you interact with others is out of kindness. You could be the best engineer in the entire world, but if you're not a nice person, you will not reach your full potential or accomplish your goals, whatever they may be.
Second, it's just as important to decide what you are not going to learn as it is to decide what you are going to learn. You could jump into countless things — and there are successful people who are polyglot programmers, but I can't speak to that a whole lot. All I can tell you is that in my experience, focusing on specific things that I want to be truly good at has worked out great for my career. That doesn't mean that I closed myself off to other things. With my website rewrite, I have been doing a lot of dev ops-related work and a lot of back-end stuff that I've typically not been involved in. You want to keep your head up on what's going on outside of what you're doing so that you know what direction to go in when you come across problems you need to solve. However, finding a focus on what you want to be good at has helped me a lot. That way, you feel a little less stressed.
And the third one? 
Learn how to learn effectively. It's a three-step process: you consume, build, and teach. The consumption of newsletters and Twitter and whatever inspires you, but you don't want to spend too much time doing that — implementing it into actually building something matters. This happens naturally if you work at a company, but maybe you're not making the things you want to learn, so you may want to start a side project. The building phase is where you get experience, but you also want to solidify that experience. How? You start teaching. You don't necessarily have to teach it to people, it could be stuffed animals. The goal of the teaching is to retain in your mind what you've learned through the building process.
What are you working on right now? 
The big thing I'm working on right now is a rewrite of my website. It'll be much more than just a developer portfolio — I'll have user accounts, and there'll be fun things that you can do with it. And because it's more than just a website, I'm using Remix, a new cool framework in the React ecosystem. I'm also working on updating my material on TestingJavaScript.com and a TypeScript course as well. 
So, whatever I'm working on, it ends up resulting in lots of opportunities for content.


Do you have some rituals that keep you focused and goal-oriented? 
I have a notepad where I keep all of my notes of what I'm going to do for the day so that when I'm checking things off, I'm not distracted notifications. I've tried apps for that, and that does not work well for me. 
I also am a firm believer in inbox zero. I have my work inbox and my personal inbox, and I keep them both at zero. And I kind of use that as a to-do list. 
And if I'm not feeling excited about working for some reason, I will often hop on my Onewheel, which is an electric skateboard that only has one giant wheel in the middle. It's just a total blast, and I'll hop on that with my backpack and a charger, and I'll go to a Starbucks or a park just to declutter my mind.
What things in the React universe are you excited about right now?
React version 18 is coming out soon. The experimental version is out there, and it's fun to play with. I'm just really thrilled that it's no longer a concurrent mode but concurrent features that you can opt into. Cool things like that will enable React server components in the future. 
But the biggest thing I'm excited about is Remix. That's huge. It eliminates a lot of problems that are solved well other tools, but when I'm using Remix, I don't have those problems, so I don't need those clusters.
You already said that teaching is an integral part of the learning process, and you stand your word since you're also a full-time educator. What inspired you to enter this field?
I have been a teacher for as long as I can remember. I grew up in a church where you talk in front of your peers from a very young age, and my mom was an elementary school teacher, so teaching has just always been a part of me. 
I really just enjoy sharing what I'm learning with others. As far as teaching technical topics, I gave my first workshop when I was still a student at Brigham Young University. With my fellow, we taught how to use AngularJS, and I got Firebase to sponsor pizza so they would show up, and that was pretty fun.
Then I started teaching on the side at egghead.io right after I'd graduated. That was when I first got a paycheck for teaching. And I realized that teaching could be quite lucrative and support my family and me as a full-time endeavor. So I did it — I quit my job. I'm a very risk-averse person, so I'd done teaching as a side hustle for four years just to verify that I could make this work.
When TestingJavaScript was released, and I got that paycheck, I realized that I didn't need my PayPal salary anymore. I could just focus my daytime on teaching and give my evenings back to my family, which was a nice trait.


Apart from that, how has teaching impacted your career? 
Earlier I mentioned that pretty much all of my jobs came because I was perceived as an expert. After the first job, where I was an intern and then converted into full-time, I never applied to another. I worked for four different companies, and they wouldn't have recruited me if they didn't know who I was and what I was doing. My content is how they knew who I was — I just made it easy for them to find me. Teaching made that impact. It made my career. 
We talked about React and Remix. Are there any other open-source projects that you'd recommend keeping an eye on or contributing to?
I have some myself. React Testing Library is probably the biggest one that people are familiar with. And if React isn't your jam, then other framework versions of the testing library. 
React Query is also really popular. If you're using Remix, you don't need it, but if you're not, I strongly advise using React Query cause it's a stellar, fantastic library, and Tanner Linsley, the creator, is a stellar and fantastic person. 
What pieces of your work are you most proud of? 
Probably the biggest thing I've ever done is EpicReact.Dev. It has helped tens of thousands of people get really good at React, improve their careers and make the world a better place with the skills that they develop. My whole mission is to make the world a better place through quality software, and I feel like I've done that best with Epic React. 
There are things that I've built at other companies that are still in use, and I'm proud of those cause they've stood the test of time, at least these last few years. But of everything, I think Epic React has made the biggest impact.
***
Follow Kent on Twitter and listen to his favorite Spotify playlist
4 min
Lee Robinson's career advice: My golden rule to success is being helpful
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Developer, writer, creator, says the headline of Lee’s site, a front-end developer with 10k YouTube subscribers and 5k newsletter followers. Today an internationally recognized speaker and author of extensive courses on React and Next.js, he says he owes his success to sharing what he was learning online. "The best time to start with content creation was yesterday!" he exclaims. 

What led you to software engineering?I've always enjoyed creative work, especially building things from scratch. I have roots in design and photography, which ultimately led to a perfect match for front-end development. And how did I go from a designer to a developer? I wrote an extensive post about my journey on my blog. What is the most impactful thing you ever did to boost your career?Hands down, writing online. Sharing what I was learning online led to new connections and opportunities I couldn't have imagined. It's helped me generate passive income, land new jobs, and make some great friends. The best time to start was yesterday! And if you need a tip or two on how to kickstart your content creation, I wrote a short article that will help you make heads and tails of the whole process.What would be your three tips for engineers to level up their career?First, leave the code in a better place than you found it. Second, work on improving your written and verbal communication. And third, write documentation. You'll be the developer everyone loves. 

What are you working on right now?I'm entirely focused on leading developer relations at Vercel and Next.js but have been entertaining making another programming course as a side project. I'm also considering rebuilding my personal site — for the 10th time!Do you have some rituals that keep you focused and goal-oriented?I try to stay active, get plenty of sleep, and focus on long-term goals. It's easy to get caught up in the day-to-day, so I frequently try to think about what I want to achieve in the long run. If I'm not making progress towards a better future, then it's time to change something. As for staying focused, it's incredibly important I'm working on something I truly believe in. Otherwise, I would likely get bored very quickly. I'm bullish on Next.js, Vercel, and our mission of building a better web.Apart from your job, you also maintain a very successful content platform. Why did you start, and how did you grow it to 80k blog post views, 10k YouTube subscribers, and 5k newsletter followers?My golden rule is being helpful online. At the end of the day, if I'm consistently helping people in a positive way, all the metrics will go up and to the right over time. I started writing online about seven years ago and haven't looked back since.


You also launched two learning projects: React 2025 and Mastering Next.js. Can you tell us more about them and why you decided to provide them for free?I didn't set out to create programming courses but ultimately ended up creating the resources I wished I had earlier in my career. Most of my content creation was solving problems that "past Lee" faced. For Next.js specifically, when I started creating content, it was still relatively new and hadn't reached critical adoption. I believe that helped with the growth of my courses and audience. After some time, I ended up making both free for everyone. Money wasn't the main incentive for me, but rather helping other people — and past Lee.Are you working on a new personal project at the moment?Not now. But I'm leading a team of content creators at Vercel, so there's a lot in the works here now! My team is made up of some wonderful people, and this has been an exciting transition in my career.What open-source projects would you recommend keeping an eye on or contributing to?I've been very interested in Rust lately, with Next.js investing more into using Rust (through SWC) to optimize compiling and bundling. Check out SWC and expect more educational material on Rust in the future from our team.
 What pieces of your work are you most proud of?I'm most proud of the students who have taken my courses and ultimately landed jobs or created their own products. It's very fulfilling for me and the reason I love being a content creator.***Follow Lee on Twitter
0 min
Career tips by Tomasz Łakomy: I strive to challenge myself as often as I can
Article
Speakers are not made — they are born out of circumstances. And Tomasz is a perfect example of a self-starter who rose to the occasion. “I started at local meetups and climbed my way up to bigger and bigger events,” he says, nodding at the fact that he's now also a seasoned instructor revolutionizing modern commerce. How did he get there?

What led you to software engineering?It's been quite a journey. Ever since I was a kid, I was interested in technology, but I was definitely not one of those five-year-old prodigies that installed Arch Linux on their fridge. I wrote my first program on a Commodore 64 copying an entire page of arcane characters from a book to a computer and hitting Enter. And then I watched the screen flash in different colors.I built — okay, copied and pasted random code till it worked, which I kind of do till this day — my first website when I was around 12, but I never thought that web development would turn out to be my career. In fact, I explicitly did not decide to pursue a Computer Science degree for various reasons. I felt I wasn't good enough and thought that programming was not for me.Instead, I decided to pursue a master's degree in Electronics and Telecommunications, which, to my surprise, was most likely harder than the CS curriculum. Along the way, I got an opportunity to learn C++, which wasn't exactly a cakewalk, but it led me to my first internship, which led to another one where I was a part of an eight-week-long paid bootcamp. There I learned web development from scratch, an opportunity I'm forever grateful for. And I've been programming for a living ever since.What is the most impactful thing you ever did to boost your career? It was back in 2017 when I decided to give public speaking a shot. Like all tech speakers, I started at local meetups and slowly but surely climbed my way up to bigger and bigger events.Contrary to a popular notion, speaking at tech conferences is not exactly something you do for money. The connections, networking, and genuine friendships that happened because of all those events are priceless, though. The doors you get to open, the places you get to see, the people you get to meet — if you're able to, I cannot recommend speaking at tech events enough.

Tomasz's workstation 

What would be your three tips for engineers to level up their career? I wrote everything I wished I knew earlier in this blog post. In short: talk to humans rather than machines, have a deep understanding of what you are building and why, and don't be afraid to say, "I don't know." Also, learn in public, as some of my colleagues mentioned in their interviews.What are you working on right now? I'm currently a front-end engineer at Stedi, where we're building a fully serverless platform for companies to integrate and exchange business transactions with each other. Stedi is a fully remote startup with employees from all around the globe, and I'm a part of a ridiculously talented team of engineers who happen to be from the same city I'm from!The business domain we're in hasn't seen much innovation in decades, and it's such an exciting space to contribute to. We're working on challenging and complex problems. After all, revolutionizing modern commerce can't be easy. Do you have some rituals that keep you focused and goal-oriented? I'm not sure if this is a ritual, but I strive to challenge myself as often as I can and pursue new personal and professional growth areas. My favorite answer to the famous "Where do you see yourself in five years?" question is, "I don't know." I feel like if you do know where you'll end up in five years, you may not be thinking broadly enough about your potential and possibilities. In this line of work, it's crucial to be focused on growth and becoming a lifelong learner.You're an egghead.io instructor, where you've contributed with two courses and more than 170 lessons. What do you find rewarding about the experience?Joining egghead was life-changing for me. Apart from the financial incentive, having the ability to record a lesson or a course in my bedroom and teach something useful to hundreds, if not thousands of developers, is remarkable. I'm forever grateful to Joel and the entire egghead crew for having me. If you're interested, you can read a bit more about my journey with them in the post.What would you say are essential qualities and skills for teaching — and learning?Keep your eyes open as there's always more to learn. Try to learn something new every week, if not every day. When teaching, optimize for boredom. It's better to explain something again to an expert rather than to a beginner who may feel excluded.Also, when one teaches, two learn, so use teaching as a tool of solidifying your own knowledge.And don't forget to be kind. Whenever you teach someone a concept that may seem totally obvious to you because you mastered it years ago, make sure to remember that you were a beginner not so long ago too.What open-source projects would you recommend keeping an eye on or contributing to?I'm a huge fan of everything Tanner Linsley is working on, especially React Query. In my humble opinion, it's the best library since jQuery, so make sure to check it out. It's just excellent.What pieces of your work are you most proud of? Whenever someone reaches out to me saying that a video, article, podcast, or talk I created helped them, it always means the world to me. It's an incredible feeling to have something you wrote a couple of months ago reach out to someone else from across the globe and help them grow as a developer.***Follow Tomasz on Twitter
0 min
Shawn Swyx Wang's career tips: Knowing how to market yourself is not scammy
Article
As it is with many developers, his path to coding was not straightforward. And looking at Shawn's bio, it's apparent he applied that experience to his whole career: he's the head of developer experience at Temporal.io, author of a bestselling book on progressing career in IT, and a sought-after mentor and speaker. His number one advice? “Marketing is not beneath you.”

What led you to software engineering?My first career was in finance, and I did a lot of trading of currency derivatives and stock portfolios. We had to do a lot of number crunching in Excel, Python, and then Haskell. I was the guy putting together all that data. I didn't call myself an engineer, but I was writing software. I saw that there are many good ideas in software engineering that I should learn and that once I do that, my life will be significantly better. So I left finance and went through a boot camp to learn all the software engineering practices. My first job was at two Sigma as a front-end engineer. Then I joined Netlify as a developer engineer and then AWS. What is the most impactful thing you ever did to boost your career?This will sound very similar to Ken's thing, and it's called learning in public. I did it when I was at Sigma because I wasn't learning much at work. I was in New York City, there were many meetups, and I decided to give myself my own mentors speaking there, writing blog posts, sharing them, and just finding more ways to grow apart from inside of my company. And I realized that it was way more effective than just waiting for the right boss or co-worker to teach me.Also, the dev community has been so welcoming and supportive. You learn, share what you've learned, and people will correct you if you're wrong. And once you're wrong, you will never forget what you have been learning. So if you have a pretty thick skin and a low ego, you can learn a lot. In fact, with my most recent job, I wrote a blog post about what I thought was missing in the serverless ecosystem based on what I had seen at AWS and Netlify. Someone commented on my blog, a VC read the comments and hired that guy to head the products at Temporal. And then that guy turned around and hired me based on that blog post. For me, learning in public has opened up jobs and speaking opportunities on multiple continents. And I've made a lot of friends who are genuinely interested in technology.What would be your three tips for engineers to level up their career? Understand that some marketing is unavoidable and that knowing how to market yourself authentically is not scammy. It's not beneath you. It's what you need to do to get people to know you, your skills, and the quality of your work. A lot of developers have a build-it-and-they-will-come mentality, and it does not serve them very well. Invest some time into developing your marketing and understanding how to market yourself. I have a blog called How to market yourself without being a celebrity. When people look at marketing, they see the celebrity path, the influencer path. But many people don't want to be an influencer, so they'll say: "No marketing for me!" Let's disconnect those two things. Also, there's a difference between marketing yourself internally within your company — which you should always do — and marketing yourself externally with other developers.My second tip is to clone open-source apps. Clone something that already exists so that you stop making all these little product decisions. Maybe your implementation will be better, which is great; that's how the industry improves. And if it's worse, you start to understand the underlying trade-offs of your project. And a third one?Many people have the cold start problem when it comes to networking and content creation. Yes, you will not get much response when you start. So the way to guarantee response is what I call a "pick up what they put down" approach. If you want feedback, start giving feedback, mainly whenever people put out something new.When somebody you respect publishes a new demo, a new library, a new blog post, or a new workshop, summarize it, respond to it, react to it. Not with a YouTube reaction video, but actually respond to the meat of the content. Ask questions: Do you agree? Do you disagree? What else can you do with this implementation? Pick up on the things. Find bugs in the demos and the libraries, and you're guaranteed to get a response from that.I think that's an excellent starting point because these people are already influential. Almost definition, they have more ideas, and they know what they do. You work with them, become a collaborator. Eventually, you start to disagree with them, and you feel forced off into your own path. That's, I think, a great way to get started.

You are now working on developer experience at Temporal.io. What does it entail?Temporal is an open-source microservices orchestration system, which you could compare to Apache Airflow or AWS Step Functions. But we're better. There's a core server that is open source, and then there's all this stuff around it that needs to reach developers: documentation, developer relations, web UI, and SDKs. And I'm the head of developer experience helping each team in those areas. They are not essential to the server itself but important to how developers experience the product. I have overarching excitement in my career about helping technologies cross the chasm. I'm not sure who came up with the term, but the idea is that when you switch over from early adopters to a broad audience, there is a big gap in the middle where you have to fill in a lot of gaps with developer experience. That's what I focus on. Do you have some rituals or tools that keep you focused and goal-oriented?I try to do time blocking. For example, interview calls are on Fridays, which gives me focus on work from Mondays to Thursdays. Within the day, you have different time blocks as well. And if you can block off time for yourself too, I think you can get a lot more done.Apart from your daily job, you are a writer and speaker, and you recently published The Coding Career Handbook. What inspired you to write it?Mostly the feedback from my essay on learning in public. It was the most impactful piece of writing I've ever done; it reached over a million people. I can write about technical stuff, and I think it would be easier to sell, but React will be over someday. The thing that will not be over is career stuff, the evergreen things. When I decided to write the book, I had some time between my Netlify job and my Amazon job. So I wrote a poll, and the one with the more enthusiastic response was the career stuff. For whatever reason, this is the most valuable topic to my readers. Also, I think there's a gap in the market for leveling juniors and seniors. You can find many materials on how to learn to code and crack the coding interview. And then there's a big gap. But many people are coming into tech as juniors, and there's a lot of companies wanting to hire seniors — and nobody focuses on developing juniors into seniors.So I'm trying to contribute my thoughts as well as the thoughts of others. I collected 1,500 references to other people's ideas on becoming a senior engineer in the book. And I think if I keep at this — this is version one — I will build it up into the ultimate resource on how to become a senior engineer.

And if you were to highlight one idea from your book, which one would it be?I'd say the most underappreciated part of my book is the strategy section — the importance of picking the right thing to work on rather than just being a clean coder or choosing the right tech stack. Understanding how money is made from your software is key to selecting the right company and positioning yourself correctly within the company. You are also very active in the community: you've contributed to several other books, have a 34k+ following on Twitter, helped to run the React subreddit... How has it impacted your career?It helps you to know everybody. It allows you to understand what's going on. I'm typically the source of news to my team, and they appreciate that. Also, if you're friends with everybody, you don't have to know everything — it's all coming from that community. What open-source projects would you recommend keeping an eye on or contributing to?I left the React community because I was getting more and more interested in Svelte. I do think it is an underrated framework for front-end developers. It's not for everybody, but I think it solves a good set of problems, including state management, styling, and animation. At React, we still don't have good answers for these things after all these years.What pieces of your work are you most proud of?Mostly the community behind the coding career handbook. I set up a semi-private Discord channel for people who opt into the community, and seeing people get jobs, double their pay when they go from junior to senior — that's really exciting. It's a great place for discussion where you can be totally honest. Realizing that that's something that I can do for ten years and not get bored of it, that's something I'm proud of.
7 min
Catalin Pit: Each time I learn something new, I write an article about it
Article
He turned a successful blog into a thriving YouTube channel, a newsletter with thousands of subscribers, and a great online presence. “I owe a significant part of my career to content creation and social media,” says Catalin Pit in his interview with GitNation.

What led you to software engineering?
I started accident, actually. I was studying accountancy, preparing myself to become an accountant. However, before finishing school, I moved to the UK, and things changed. I went to a college where I had to choose between a handful of subjects — and IT was the most familiar and attractive of all of them. After three years in college, I was so excited about programming that I went on to study computer science at a university. So yes, I got into software engineering mistake, but I'm more than happy with how things turned out.
What is the most impactful thing you ever did to boost your career?
Starting a blog and taking social media presence seriously. For real, I wouldn't have my current job at Hashnode if I hadn't stepped up my game in that department.
What would be your three tips for engineers to level up their career? 
First, don't be afraid to ask questions. Second, go out and broaden your network — meet people and build genuine connections. And finally, create content. By doing so, you'll help not just yourself but others as well to advance in the given field or profession.
And if I may add one engineering advice, I'd say don't try to write fancy-schmancy code. If you can, use the KISS principle: "Keep it simple, stupid." Obviously, do so without sacrificing readability and performance.

Do you have some rituals that keep you focused and goal-oriented? 
Actually, I just sit down and work! I don't even listen to music. I tried listening to lo-fi songs when working, but they still distracted me...
I've been working from home over the last year and a half, and the place where I go to relax and recharge is the gym. I try to go there once I finish my work, and when I return, I tend to work two or three hours on my stuff, be it my blog or my YouTube channel.
But, sometimes I skip that. Life's not all about work, and I try to keep a healthy work-life balance. It's easy to get overworked when you work remotely, and you constantly face issues such as poor time management and no face-to-face interactions. To avoid feeling down, I stop checking all work-related stuff when I'm done for the day, and I change my workplace — sometimes I go to a café just to be surrendered people. In addition, I work without checking my phone, notifications, and inbox for a specific timeframe to avoid distractions. And to manage my time, I use the Pomodoro technique.
As you mention, you have a blog, a YouTube channel, and even a newsletter. What made you start with content creation? 
I began after getting my university degree. First, I launched the blog, and I did to reinforce what I'd learned. To teach is to learn twice, as they say. By explaining things and going over them, you get to understand the subject at hand better. I was studying data structures and algorithms to apply for jobs, and each time I'd learn something new or solve a problem, I'd blog about it. I kept doing it, and it became a habit. Now, I don't think I will ever stop writing programming articles.

Do you cover different topics via different media?
I prefer to create a piece of content and distribute it through all the channels. For instance, a blog article can serve as a script for my YouTube video. It makes the whole process more straightforward, and your audience can choose the content format they prefer.
How has content creation impacted your career?
It's been crucial to my professional development. As I said earlier, I got my current job thanks to producing content for the community, and I constantly get various job offers, side gigs, and other proposals because of my blog entries or YouTube videos. 
What pieces of work are you most proud of?
I don't want to get carried away, but the truth is that content creation changed my life for the better. So I'll say I'm really proud of my blog. It gave me many opportunities I did not expect, and it helped other people skill up. That's just great.
***
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