AMA: I'm Tomasz Łakomy. Senior Frontend Engineer. Ask me Anything!

13 April 2020, 4:00 pmAsk Question

Hey everyone!

I'm Tomasz Łakomy - a senior frontend engineer at OLX Group, Egghead instructor and a tech conference speaker! My areas of interest are JavaScript, React, AWS, cypress, testing, making others more productive, teaching programming and producing content.

Let's talk about:

  • JavaScript
  • React
  • Testing
  • AWS
  • Cypress
  • Speaking at tech conferences

and more!

I will start answering your questions live on Monday, 13th April, 04:00 PM GMT.

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Amit Chambial's photo

I am an aspiring Frontend Engineer. I have made many side projects... I want to know how to prepare for it? I want to apply as a Frontend Engineer. I have a one-year experience, do I need to prepare for coding round also? Can you post some resources for preparation? What are the things that are asked during interview rounds?

Thanks for the AMA Tomasz Łakomy 😊

Tomasz Łakomy's photo

Senior Frontend Engineer at OLX Group

Hey Amit!

That's a good question and one that many developers are interested in - "how do I land my first job as a developer?"

Unfortunately this is not easy - there's lots of aspiring developers so the competition is rather fierce.

While I haven't applied for a first job for a while, I can definitely say that side projects help a lot. When I'm interviewing someone for a junior frontend engineer position it's much easier for me if I have some projects to take a look at. Not everything will come up during the interview so it's great to have something prepared to showcase your skills!

When it comes to coding rounds during the interview I'd say - it depends. Every company is different but I'd personally definitely include a coding round in a junior frontend engineer interview. The thing I tend to ask are small exercises that don't take too long to implement but allow me to have opportunities for discussion about JavaScript with the person I'm interviewing.

In general I can say that the vast majority of frontend interviews focus on assessing the knowledge of JavaScript itself so focus on that while preparing for an interview.

When it comes to preparing for coding round, check out code.devtools.tech by a friend of mine - Yomesh Gupta.

Good luck!

Bolaji Ayodeji's photo

Hi Tomasz, thanks for this AMA.

How did you get into public speaking and how has it affected your career?
What advice would you give to aspiring programmers who look forward to speaking at meetups and/ or conferences?

Tomasz Łakomy's photo

Senior Frontend Engineer at OLX Group

Hey Bolaji! No problem, thanks for having me!

Like I said in the previous reply - I actually have a whole post about this very topic! dev.to/tlakomy/what-i-wished-someone-told-m..

Let me quote the relevant part:

"Do not give up. It's highly unlikely that you will get accepted by the first conference you submit your talk to. Or the fifth.

Start with local community events. They're easier to get to than major conferences and you'll get your first experiences as a public speaker in a more comfortable setting. Those kinds of events are often recorded, which is a valuable addition to your CFP. In addition, give a talk at a knowledge sharing event at work. Next up - speaking at a conference.

At this stage, you most likely want to apply to as many events as you can (but don't send a CSS Grid talk proposal to a .NET conference). Be prepared to receive lots of "unfortunately your talk was not selected for X" emails. Or no feedback at all.

Keep on rocking."

Bolaji Ayodeji's photo

Dev Evangelist & Outreach at Hashnode

Thanks for this amazing insight Tomasz Łakomy

slim's photo

Hi, thanks for doing this AMA and answering our questions. I have some questions:

  1. When you work in big react project using state management libraries like redux or any other one, how you write tests for components? Do you write tests for every component and try to coverge 80 or 90% of the application or you choose the the components that are more complicated and contains a complex logic to test?

  2. What advices can you give to developers in order to write well tests for a big react project in order to deliver a good product?

  3. Do you think that AWS becomes an important thing nowadays and engineers have to know about it and learn it?

  4. What are the tips that you can give for anyone who wants to speak at tech conferences for first time. Are there any things to prepare to be chosen (design a great portfolio, contribution on open source projects, developing consistant applications, etc)? Do you have to choose a new subject that does not exist before to be chosen? Or you have to be a software engineer in a big company or well known on social media (like youtube, twitch, etc ...) to belong the speakers?

Thanks for your time and for your comprehension.

Tomasz Łakomy's photo

Senior Frontend Engineer at OLX Group

Hey slim, thanks - those are great questions! Let me go through them one by one:

1 - If I had to choose - it's better to write tests for those larger, more complicated components (for instance - containers rendering decent chunk of the application logic). It's more difficult but it'll also give you more confidence that your app works as intended and there are no obvious bugs.

Chasing 100% coverage IMHO is not necessary - not only it'll be a huge effort but also may not provide you with the confidence you'd like if your tests are validating the implementation instead of behaviour.

Not every component needs tests - small components with little-to-no-logic (like wrappers that only render their children wrapper in a div or something) don't really need tests.

In general - focus on testing things that give you the most value.

2 - I actually have a post about this! dev.to/tlakomy/what-i-ve-learned-about-test.. In general - focus on testing the behaviour of your app and not its implementation. You should be able to refactor your code without breaking the tests and make sure that the most important flows of your application are well tested.

3 - AWS (and cloud in general) are going to become more and more important for developers but I don't believe that engineers have to learn AWS. My advice is to always keep your eyes open for new technologies but don't learn things just because they're trending - but once you'll have a use case for AWS, then by all means go for it! You can start here: egghead.io/playlists/learn-aws-lambda-from-..

4 - Ha, I also have a whole post about this! dev.to/tlakomy/what-i-wished-someone-told-m..

But I'd like to emphasise one thing that you touched upon.

You ABSOLUTELY DON'T NEED to be a well known developer or work for a large, fancy tech company in order to start speaking at conferences. When I decided that I'd like to speak at conferences outside of my country (Poland), I had like 100 followers on Twitter, nobody knew who I was but I kept grinding.

In 2017 I submitted more CFPs than I can remember but I got a chance to speak at React Day Verona 2017 in Italy and afterwards I got a tremendous opportunity of speaking at many more international conferences which is a fantastic experience, I highly recommend that.

Will Air's photo

Hi Tomasz and thank you for your time and your expertise!

I'll jump right into it: my objective is to become a full stack developer and get a remote job as soon as possible.

1) I started the 2020 web developer bootcamp on Udemy but switched to,

2) The Responsive web design certification of FreeCodeCamp with HTML and CSS.

3) I am now learning JS on FCC but find that the exercises are not that good and that JS is much more complex than HTML and CSS but I will persevere.

4) I'm still learning but I would like to clear the way forward and make sure I am not doing all this for nothing: I'd like to get in touch with experienced people in order to help on 'real-world' projects and build up my portfolio.

In that sense, it would be amazing to have your opinion on the following:

a) The most efficient way to learn JS.

b) How to be part of a community and make friends.

c) How to start working on real projects that I'll include in my portfolio.

Eager to read you,

Best,

W.

Melvin's photo

hey Tomasz. How do you think the current pandemic is going to impact the tech world?

Tomasz Łakomy's photo

Senior Frontend Engineer at OLX Group

Hey Melvin!

While I'm absolutely not qualified to talk about the pandemic (just putting it out there) I think we'll see a large number of companies realising that they're able to work remotely.

Some tech companies may realise that they're not able to work remotely and will unfortunately fail.

Tech world is used to change and adaptation - this is important now more than ever. I think we're about to see how many companies are actually "agile".

James Sanders's photo

Hey Tomasz, thanks for doing this AMA.

What are your thoughts on all the virtual developer conferences happening all over the world? Have you attended any of them? If yes, how do you think they can be improved?

Tomasz Łakomy's photo

Senior Frontend Engineer at OLX Group

Hey James! Excellent question.

While I did attend a large number of conferences (and gave a talk on some of them myself!) I always had a problem with the fact that some (if not most) of them were freaking expensive.

Not gonna lie, living in Poland that was a part of my motivation to become a tech speaker - a free ticket and opportunity to travel.

I feel like virtual conferences are changing that, I'm glad that there will be more events that are accessible to a much larger audience. (Apart from money, there might be other reasons for not travelling to a conference - for instance needing to take care of family members)

I haven't attended a virtual conference yet myself but I gave a remote talk - it's IMHO a completely different experience. Even though the chat was full I kinda felt alone (because I was, there was no one else in the room).

As usual there are pros and cons and I think that those kind of events will get more popular, I cannot imagine anyone running a 2k+ people conference anytime soon.

Allen Williams's photo

Glad to read these all informative discussion. I learned from here. Thanks all.

Tomasz Łakomy's photo

Hey everyone!

Thanks for having me, just finished answering all the questions! :)

Some final remarks:

If you'd like to get in touch, feel free to reach out on Twitter: twitter.com/tlakomy

If you'd like to learn something from me - most of my egghead.io lessons are free, check them out here: egghead.io/instructors/tomasz-lakomy?af=6p5..

If you prefer reading - check out my dev.to posts here: dev.to/tlakomy

Cheers!

AKSHAY RAICHUR's photo

Hey! Thanks for AMA. I wanted to know your thoughts on what to use for state management and which is better, React hooks vs Redux vs Mobx for an e-commerce application.

Bolaji Ayodeji's photo

Why do you think every front-end engineer should learn AWS. What inspired you to learn it?

Tomasz Łakomy's photo

Senior Frontend Engineer at OLX Group

I'd say that every frontend engineer should keep their eyes open for new tech but I wouldn't say that everyone needs to learn AWS.

There was a very similar question above so let me just reuse the answer (DRY, hah!):

AWS (and cloud in general) are going to become more and more important for developers but I don't believe that engineers have to learn AWS. My advice is to always keep your eyes open for new technologies but don't learn things just because they're trending - but once you'll have a use case for AWS, then by all means go for it! You can start here: egghead.io/playlists/learn-aws-lambda-from-..

Jasbindar Singh's photo

Hi, I am a beginner in JavaScript and I want to step up now, where do you think would be the best resources and links to learn JavaScript from? And what should be my next goals / a roadmap to becoming a frontend developer? Note: Most of the places I search for topics just explain the basic stuff and do not dive deeper into explaining how things really work, and I get confused sometimes when things don't work the way they are supposed to.

And thanks for the AMA Tomasz Łakomy!

Tomasz Łakomy's photo

Senior Frontend Engineer at OLX Group

Hey Jasbindar!

I'm (obviously) biased but egghead.io (where I've published over 100 lessons already) is an absolutely excellent site with huge number of JavaScript (but not only!) lessons/courses.

I've written a bit with my history with egghead here, let me quote the relevant part:

"My story with egghead.io started back in late 2015. I got an offer from this shiny new company that was interested in hiring me, so that was neat.

The problem was that a shiny new company had a shiny new stack (at the time) - ES6, React, Flux, webpack. It was fair to assume that I'd have to know those things in order to pass the interview.

You see, the problem was that my stack at work was Backbone/jQuery/Grunt and I haven't even heard of React back then (when I did, I thought that JSX was the worst idea since pinapple on a pizza).

Getting an egghead subscription allowed me to level up as a developer in a month (that was tough, I don't even want to remember how many hours I've spent each day watching lessons and courses)."

This article also contains LOTS of resources to choose from: medium.com/@crofty.land/highly-recommended-..

When it comes to goals - I'd say it's absolutely up to you! Building a project from scratch is an excellent way to learn and grow by the way, because that allows you to try out the programming theory in practice.

lee123's photo

totally amazing.. reactjs the rocks..

lee123's photo

like to learn more about reactjs script amzing..

fengxh's photo

Hi Tomasz: I'm a middle level front-end engineer, and my projects are mostly about websites and back-end management systems. I have worked for 5 years after graduated from high school, and now I get a little confused about how to reach a higher level, how to prep myself to build more featured works. And what's your path to senior engineer. Thanks a lot.

Billion Grams's photo

Please am trying to lock a content writeup in my website, and only make it accessable to those who have paid to read it on my website.. like inorder to read this lick to pay and read in my same website, how can I do that..and also am a developer but that is giving me problem

Nilesh Sanyal's photo

Hi Tomasz, I am a Node JS developer. Currently, I am learning Angular to become a full stack developer. I thought to work on side-projects to showcase my skills. For that I want to host my projects on vps. What security concerns are must for deploying apps on vps. Also, what are the coding best practices for both backend and frontend.

Momchil Koychev's photo

Hi Tomasz, thanks for the AMA.

Which SDLC methods do you think are currently trending? And which one do you think is the most effective to ramp up your team's productivity?

Gustavo Manchuca's photo

Hello, I just started this, a month ago I started with html5, I am following my learning at freecodecamp.org, what should I learn after html, css and js? I am very interested in the front end.

abdulaziz musa's photo

Hi Tomas! I just wanted to bring my programming career into the real world. I'm tired of writing and learning codes. I want to start doing something more characteristics. What advice would you give me.

Subho Karmakar's photo

How do I implement a User Authentication API Token and private routing for my react Web Application?

I'm using Redux for state management and React Router Dom for Routing.

Please help!!

Adam Nothanks's photo

Witam, mam parę pytań: czy są plany likwidacji XMLHttpRequest? Jeśli tak to co zastąpi. Czy aplikacja webowa może zastąpić stronę intermetową Na czym najlepiej i najbezpieczniej stawiać stronę chodzi o coś poza WordPress? Jaką drogę kariery polecałbyś obecnemu uczniowi 1 klasy technikum o specjalności informatyk? Dziękuję

Hello, I have a few Q. is there are plans to deprecated or remove XMLHttpRequest? If so what replace it? Webapp can replace web page? What if we do not want WordPress what do we use instead to be safe and easy develop? What career path would you recommend to a current 1st grade technical technical student? T in adv,

Tomasz Łakomy's photo

Senior Frontend Engineer at OLX Group

Hey Adam!

If you don't mind, for inclusion reasons I'll answer your questions in English:

  • There are no plans to deprecate XMLHttpRequest as this would straight up break the web
  • To be honest the difference between a web app and a webpage is rather blurry these days. Usually a webpage is something more static (like a blog, where you mostly read the content of the side) and a web app is an app built inside of the browser (Github is an excellent example)
  • Take a look at Netlify, although there's nothing wrong with building stuff on Wordpress, although Wordpress is not "cool" these days, it's absolutely, definitely a valid solution for building sites
  • If you're still studying I'd like to say that IMO English is the most important language in all of programming. What I mean by that is the vast majority of programming tutorials/courses/articles etc. are in English and since you're a student in Poland I'd 100% recommend you focus on that.

Don't disregard other classes of course :)

When it comes to career path for you - honestly, the world is changing so fast that I don't want to suggest you anything. The tech you may end up working on in 2028 may not exist yet 😅

Jill Castro's photo

What according to you are the 10 books every developer must read?

Tomasz Łakomy's photo

Senior Frontend Engineer at OLX Group

Great question!

To be fair - I don't have such a list 😅

From my experience every dev has a slightly different way of learning - I learn the best by watching videos (and experimenting/teaching afterwards), some prefer going through tutorials, reading articles and of course - reading books.

Personally I tend to read non-technical non-fiction books, growing as a person helps me grow as an engineer as well. Some of my favorites I've read in the last year or two:

  • "Sapiens"
  • "Extreme Ownership"
  • "How to Win Friends and Influence People" - this is a terrible title but I cannot recommend this book enough
  • "Radical Candor"
  • "Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain"

When it comes to JavaScript recommendations, I've reached out to folks on Twitter and they responded with some excellent books:

twitter.com/tlakomy/status/1249664985787240..

James Sanders's photo

How was your journey to becoming "Senior Frontend Engineer"? How did you start? Do you always wanted to pursue your career in software development?

Tomasz Łakomy's photo

Senior Frontend Engineer at OLX Group

Hey James!

I hope that you don't mind but I answered a very similar question in one of my dev.to articles:

dev.to/tlakomy/quick-question-how-did-you-l..

I also talked about it in more details in my DevPath podcast episode: share.transistor.fm/s/7a5960d3

Want to read more?

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