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Hello, I'm Wojciech 👋

Subscribe to read my programming experiences, ideas, mistakes and tips I wish I'd known myself earlier. Learn how to enable high-performing teams, make an impact, grow as a software engineer and level up your career.

There's no fair salary

We'd like to believe that we live in a rational, structured world where we get a fair pay for good work. While on the surface it seems reasonable, in the bigger picture it's not the case at all. There's no such thing as "fair salary", because there's no objective "value" of our work. Even if we do the same work - write code for an app - our salary will mostly depend on the seemingly irrelevant logistics. Are we hired in-house, or a contractor? In-house in the country where the company has the...

Startup experience

While there’s a lot of things I don’t like about “startup culture” - long hours, pressure, hustle, brogrammer parties, there’s one thing that’s really valuable if you choose to participate - the experience. There’s no other place where you can learn so fast so many aspects that are crucial to becoming a solid developer: shaping the product making trade-offs and feeling their consequences owning you whole stack planning and prioritising your work the difference between “good” and “good enough”...

Why stay on a sinking ship?

You might want to ask yourself - who’d want to stay on a sinking ship like Twitter? Well, obviously a whole bunch of people and they had good reasons for it: Mission. They could believe in Elon’s new vision for the platform. Startup experience in a “household name” company. Usually you need to pick whether you get the “thrown into deep water” startup experience, or you collect years of working for a well-known company on your CV. Currently, with all the chaos that’s happening, in Twitter you...

But, seriously, what did they do?

We mentioned last time the 80% layoffs at Twitter and the main question still remains: what did all those people actually do? A lot of meta-work. That's the work that you need to do in order to get "real" work done. (Of course, it wasn't literally 80% of the people doing meta-work 100% of the time, but probably more like 100% of people spending 80% of their time on meta-work.) For example, if you're on a team that handles tweet replies and you want to make a change that hides the replies from...

What did 80% of the programmers do at Twitter?

When Elon Musk took over Twitter he reportedly fired 80% of the staff over a few months, including more than half of the programmers. Many people claimed that the platform will inevitably go down in weeks, if not days. It’s just impossible to judge whose role is essential with such huge layoffs. While, of course, there was a lot of quirks in the “transition period”, with time we see that Elon Musk was right. Not in the “did the right thing” sense, but right that the platform can keep...

Mocking in E2E is fine

The term end-to-end tests is misleading, because the same way the horizon changes when you change you point of view, the “ends” also change when you have a different perspective. I once wrote: Let’s take a look at an imaginary ecommerce app. For a developer from a checkout team E2E test would probably mean: user picks some items, proceeds to checkout, fills in all their details, pays, order is created. But for an actual user, the “end-to-end” means: they were able to find a product that they...

Know your boss

When you're starting a new job, new project, or joining a new team - always make sure you know who your boss is. You need a single source of truth for any doubts. If you have more than one boss, don't trust any of them. Even if they mean well, they won't ever have the full picture. Double-check everything. Have a good one, Wojciech PS. I have lovingly crafted this email using only the best artisanal keystrokes. If you find come across any typos, feel free to fix them yourself and enjoy this...

Senior developers don't drop things

There’s a phrase a friend of mine shared a few months ago that has been coming back to me over and over: “Senior developers don’t drop things”. There’s a few ways you can understand that, all of them useful: * If you say you’ll do something - do it, delegate it, or write down the details to do it later. * Recognise what’s important and make sure it’s done. * Own your tasks. Even if you need assistance from other people to get the necessary information, even when you delegated it, even when...

Who's an A-player?

In a recent post I mentioned teams of A-players being able to work faster, more agile, and more independent. Of course, those are desired qualities for the team that you’re working on - who wouldn’t want that for themselves? So, a question arises - what does it mean to be an A-player? Obvious answer: it depends. Everybody has their own set of skills that they’re looking for and you can’t be an A-player to everyone. Useful answer: think of what kind of team you’d like to be on and strive to be...

Onwards to Programmer Anarchy

After reading my last post, you might have thought “I’m working on a team of A-players that are free to do their best work, what do I pick instead of Scrum?”. My first answer would be - do Scrum anyway. That seems contradictory, but I’m a big believer in “slow is fast” (“If you need to go fast, go slow. Because slow is smooth and smooth is fast”). It’s very easy to trip and fall on your face when you start running out of a sudden, while it’s much safer to pick up the speed gradually. So, if...

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