Interview with Ion, PHP Developer and Team Leader at Planeo, exclusive online flooring store
Q: Tell me a bit more about your journey to becoming a developer.
After graduation, I started applying for job vacancies in different IT companies. Following several interviews and technical tests, I faced the cruel reality: the jobs I was offered did not bring me moral satisfaction, everyone thought I was not ripe yet. This is when I understood an important life lesson: no one will believe in you, until you do! It motivated me to start studying programming from scratch and dive deeper into this immense world. Only then was I hired by a company I liked.
Nowadays, being a developer helps me create things that are useful to other people and that brings me pleasure. How cool is seeing the code you wrote deployed in a live system and used by actual people, especially when it improves their lives in some way?
Q: Why PHP ?
Interesting question. PHP is not my favorite programming language, it’s just the language I use most often. I cannot give preference to one specific language, as in my opinion, most of them have their pluses and minuses. I don’t understand developers who are ready to fight in order to defend their favorite programming language. I am the type of person who tries any technology that arouses my interest.
Q: What is a day in the life of a developer like?
A typical day for me starts with our team’s morning stand-up meeting, where we discuss what we’re working on and whether anything is holding up our progress. I then check the tasks on Jira and either start a new ticket or continue with one I’ve been working on. What I like in programming is that even typical days can be full of surprises: I enjoy the continuous mental challenge of finding solutions and the coming deadlines – that’s what challenges and keeps me motivated. I hate boredom which many people prefer- calm days where they can work without haste and no issues to solve. If you are one of them, dude, programming is not for you.
Q: What was your best success throughout the process of development?
I am a perfectionist and I like getting things done on time or finishing projects by the deadline. I have reached this target many times from the beginning of my career, while working in the CMS department. I managed to complete projects from scratch in 6-8 hours.
The most interesting and challenging success I recently had, was to develop a configurator for some products. Hmm, sounds simple, if not diving into details: the configuration tasks are performed from the Magento Admin Panel, strange structure of the database, and the goal is to develop the configurator separately from Magento, using just the Magento database and Nuxt.js, Vue.js, Laravel frameworks. Little confusing, yes? But we discovered a lot of interesting requirements during the process of development. Though we estimated this to be finished in a few days, we completed it in a few weeks (worst estimation in my life). Well, the best part is that we did it, learned new things and are proud of our accomplishments.
Q: What is the most enjoyable part of your job working with Planeo?
Planeo is an online shop, having a large and interesting project to develop. The most enjoyable part is that we work in collaboration with our German colleagues and have the opportunity to share knowledge and experience. In this way, we keep our skills current. Also working for such a large project, gives us the possibility to try new technologies, but of course keeping the quality of the code.
Q: How do you maintain your skills to be relevant? How do you grow and get better as a developer?
In order to keep my skills current, I try to build more interesting things and do not avoid hard tasks. I am reading tutorials, books, learning from other developers, learning new programming languages – this is all so important in order to be up to date with everything related to software development.
Q: Your top 3 sites/newsletters/information sources that every developer should read?
I cannot name three favorite sources, because I try to learn and get inspired from much more than that, mostly depending on what I am interested in, at that specific time.
The most important source for a developer should be the official documentation of a programming language or technology and of course, the most useful, liked and used: https://www.google.com/ .
Q: Do you have any secret tips for developers who want to lead?
In order to lead a team, you must first be a TEAM PLAYER, who is able to listen and accept the best solution for the problem, even if you were not the one to come up with it. As a team leader, one must always show a positive attitude, not only for your own personal success, but also for the benefit of the rest. Also, a team has to feel valued and appreciated for what they are doing. This is why I always recognize a job well done and always thank my team for their hard work. This increases their desire to achieve more.
It’s just a matter of willingness, effort and practice – and the reward will be seeing your team motivated and giving the best of themselves because they truly believe in you and the company they work for.
Q: Finally, what advice do you have for people who want to pursue a career in programming?
My advice is very simple: JUST DO IT! You read my interview, now close it and JUST DO IT! Open the sources I have recommended to you and start learning! Don’t lose your time thinking: ehh, programming is too hard for me… I don’t know where to start from… I don’t have a mentor… I don’t know what I like. Stop making excuses and JUST DO IT!