Advice: programming, side projects, perseverance

Advice: programming, side projects, perseverance

During his Instagram takeover, software engineer Marcin Zajkowski introduced us to his career in programming, and some of his amazing side projects. Find out all about Marcin’s journey into the tech world and read some of his top tips for those interested in software development and programming!

Can you please introduce yourself to our CodePeople community?

Hi everyone! My name is Marcin Zajkowski and I’m going to be sharing some parts of my day, my career and expertise, and some side projects that are related to my developer life. 

I’ve been working remotely for 10 years now and I’m a Chief Technology Officer (CTO) at a company called Cogworks. I also run a second business, finding and trying out new technologies in the field of architecture and integrated systems. Together with my great partner I also run a programming school for children, called Wow. 

 

What’s your technical background and how did you start programming?

So I’m a C# developer originally, but I do frontend and some JavaScript as well from time to time. I’m often working with Umbraco CMS which is Open Source. 

I fell in love with programming after running my own company for two years during and after my studies. I’m still probably one of the worst programmers I know, but I know how to find and solve solutions, which is the most important thing in our business. I’ve learnt many programming languages throughout my career, starting from C++, C, Pascal, HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Then, I found C# and I fell in love with C#.  The only language I would potentially switch to is Python or Ruby, because I love how they look and how easy it is to build applications with them. 

Marcin's programming book

Recently, I’ve been exploring a lot of ‘no code’ solutions. I’m trying to use specific puzzles, services, and systems to deliver business, rather than coding everything from scratch. It’s very important to understand that we don’t have to do everything ourselves. At the beginning, when someone is learning to code, we feel like gods: like we can build everything. Yet in reality,  there’s a lot of things that have already been built and are at your disposal. So, we can use them and build something bigger for the wider community.

 

Do you have any advice for beginner coders or those interested in programming?

  • Go to meet-ups. This is very important in my opinion. Speak with people, exchange knowledge, meet like-minded friends.
  • Explore code bases on open-source repositories, and learn how open source systems are built. I think doing this gave me the biggest leg-up in my programming career.
  • Share your knowledge. There is always someone one step behind you, or someone who is struggling with the same issues that you had. We should always be willing to help others. 
  • Take things step by step. Aim to become just 1% better everyday. The world moves too quickly nowadays, and we should put everything in perspective, and take each day as it comes.
  • Find shortcuts.  I learned recently that hiring someone to teach us something or completing an online course is better than trying to teach yourself all the time. It’s sometimes easier to master the basics or certain aspects with a bit of help. 
  • Don’t only think about technical skills, about languages, algorithms, data structures.. Soft skills are just as important, maybe even more important nowadays. 

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