All people need a change, but not all of them can make this change inside their company.

We need constant change because the change is inevitable. We need constant change because it is part of the growth process.

Unfortunately, not in every company, there is a chance to be flexible and to change position, project, or technology. Amsterdam Standard is a company that gives this opportunity. We have a variety of projects to work on, technologies to choose, and there is enough room for development and growth.

In our last article, “Our developers, who mastered PHP”, we showed that the current PHP developers had practiced other technologies before or alike. It is a common practice in our company, that’s why we decided to dedicate this topic to a separate article.

How technology change happens for our software developers

For Wladek

Wladek works in AS for more than 5 years. He was hired as a PHP developer (mostly working with Symfony) and worked with this technology for around 2 years.

Previously he was working in a corporate company as a C++ developer. But he always has an intent to work with web development.

For the last 3 years, Wladek has moved to JavaScript technology. The main reason for this move was the lack of new features and flexibility and the low speed of improvements in PHP. Wladek started to look for other technologies that can help him fully accomplish his ideas and potential. His choice has fallen on JavaScript, as he liked the syntax of this language the most. He predicted that this language could help him solve different cases. And, attention, spoiler! He was right, as he based his predictions on the proper research.

He began to work with JavaScript on the front-end; firstly, with an Angular framework and later with React. His first project with this technology was in a team with 2 other developers - Pawel and Jacek for the ExMachina project. Working in a team with more experienced specialists made him feel more comfortable with this technology.

Later he has committed to JavaScript on a backend as well. And he kept gradually improving his skills in it.

In the last half-year, he started to work on the Be-Addy project as an individual full-stack JavaScript developer. He is building the product from scratch. For this project, he is using the new NestJS framework.

Even though the management wasn’t directly concerned about his decision to change from PHP to JavaScript, Wladek was sure in himself, and they allowed him to make this change. In the end, it worked out the best way for both parties.

About future plans, Wladek says: “I still feel young enough to learn something new and develop myself further.”

For Dawid 

Dawid works in Amsterdam Standard for 4,5 years. He was a PHP developer for more than 10 years in total. During this time he developed e-commerce systems, SaaS and ERP applications. He mainly used the Symfony framework for that. In Amsterdam Standard, he was busy with PHP technology for 3,5 years building and maintained the ERP system for the Leapp company.  Further, he has also transferred this system to the Shopify platform using their GraphQL API.

After this project, the management of Amsterdam Standard proposed him to take the Golang developer position for the Felyx project. Dawid has accepted this challenge even without having experience with this language in a commercial environment. After 1 week of learning, which was given to him, he was prepared enough to join the project. Dawid notes that learning Go was rather easy and exciting. He worked on this project for 4 months. During this time, he experienced how powerful this language is in concurrent applications thanks to goroutines and channels. 

Now Dawid is working for the Be-Addy project as a NodeJS developer. For this project, they use the NestJS framework which helps them keep code well structured. He is happy to have this opportunity, as the team is building the application from scratch. Also, he is glad to work with a team of colleagues who are more familiar with this technology. It speeds up the learning curve for Dawid and minimizes the chance of making mistakes. Together with the NodeJS, the Be-Addy team of Amsterdam Standard uses React and Typescript, which helps them to avoid mistakes and ensure safe development. Dawid likes to use functional programming and modern JavaScript syntax. All this makes code more concise and simplifies functions scope. 

His thoughts about changes and learning: “I think it’s important for every developer to try something new from time to time. Especially in a rapidly changing IT world. It’s good to explore new things to have a big picture and later select the right tool to solve problems”. 

For Slawek

Slawek joined Amsterdam Standard in June 2012. He became our 4th developer in the company (now we are more than 100). His first project was building an email marketing platform. He mostly worked with PHP and JavaScript technologies on this assignment. After 2 years of working with these technologies, he also included front-end development to his skill set (Angular). 

At the beginning of 2015, Slawek started to work on the GoPhoto project. This project is very diverse and requires multiple technologies to cover the essential functionality of the product. The GoPhoto team uses PHP, NodeJS, Angular, React, C++, C#, Golang, Android, iOS, and other technologies. In the beginning, Slawek was more involved on the backend side of development, building the core of the application. At some point, he also started working on the front-end part of development using React, Angular, and Electron.

Slawek is also a team leader for this project, so he is liable for the successful execution of the whole product. That’s why his knowledge and responsibilities actually include all the technologies used by the team. 

During 2015 and 2018 on the side of the GoPhoto project, he was also working on a few short-term projects. One of the projects was associated with blockchain technology. For the other project - Superdealux travel, Slawek was working with Ruby technology, which he was familiar with from his study project. 

Since 2018, besides Gophoto, he works on the SecureFIT project, where he conducts penetration tests on various applications and infrastructures. Penetration testing was a new experience for Slawek in his 10 years of experience in software development. After a few months of manual penetration testing, the client came to the decision to build the software that scans websites automatically in order to find security issues and produce reports. Slawek was responsible for the design and implementation of such a solution, where he decided to use Golang and serverless technology.

Slawek about Amsterdam Standard: “I like to work here. I have the flexibility to work from home, as I live outside of the city, and my daily commute wouldn’t be so easy. Our bosses are really cool guys. Teams for the projects are rather small, so we can choose the technologies to work with or projects. And it’s nice to see how fast the company is growing. I have no reason to change the company.”

For Jacek

Jacek has celebrated 2 years in Amsterdam Standard on the 2nd of March. The initial project he was hired for is Autheos - a video intelligence platform. He was the individual developer for this project. Jacek mostly worked on the front-end development with React technology, and besides that, he performed some backend tasks with NodeJS and Clojure. 

He was busy full time with this project till February 2019. Now, he is still working on it part-time. His current task is to maintain this project using Amazon Web Services and partially Google Cloud. 

His main project now is the EesySoft - EdTech Adoption Platform, where he is working exclusively on the front-end part. He is creating a new version of their dashboard. The front-end technologies used for this project are React and Typescript. 

Before joining this project, Jacek had one project where he was mostly busy on the backend of the development; it was the Felyx project. There he was working with Golang technology, which he didn’t have so much experience with before. In three weeks’ that was given to become familiar with the technology, Jacek has created a demo version of the application with the concentration of the client’s requirements. The time wasn’t wasted as later created features were moved to the system, and Jacek has gained the necessary skills. 

During the time in Amsterdam Standard, Jacek has also worked on a couple of short-term projects with Angular 2+ technology and on maintaining our website. 

What’s worth mentioning, before joining our company and before starting to work with front-end technology, Jacek was working with PHP and more specifically with Drupal CMS and with the Yii framework. He has also created a desktop app in C# with WPF.

On our question about why he is changing the technologies quite often, Jacek replied: “ I never say No to new opportunities, and it doesn't matter if it's a language, platform, new business case, or something else. I’m always eager to learn, even if it’s the technology not similar to the one I’m working now with”. 

His thoughts about changes and learning: We shouldn’t be afraid of learning new technologies, those are just tools that we can learn. In our industry, we always need to be up-to-date. 

What do our specialists think about their current technologies

Wladek: So far, I’m satisfied working with JavaScript. It opens a lot of new opportunities that PHP technology didn’t allow. I enjoy the flexibility of the language and that the changes are implemented and are ready to use very fast. JavaScript moves at a rapid pace, and so does the TypeScript, pushing new features into the language. JavaScript allows me to write in the functional style, which is lately on the rise.

Also, I’m actively using the latest new feature, Optional changing. This one saves him a lot of code typing.

Dawid: Right now I think that I will evolve in my current technology. But I don’t ask the riddle, as the newer, more interesting technologies might appear. 

Dawid is happy to have an opportunity to work with the technology he heard a lot about for the last few years. As the application is built from scratch the team had full freedom for the tech choice. He adds: ”Thanks to Amsterdam Standard we pretty often have such privilege.” 

Slawek: Actually Slawek hasn’t chosen one or two technologies to work with, he embraces them all. Currently, on a weekly basis, he works with NodeJS and Golang.

He says: “I always learn something new and I choose technologies that serve the need for the current project. For example, at the GoPhoto project, we had a Green screen processing issue. To solve it we have chosen the most efficient and structured language - C++.” 

Jacek: “Now I am working with React, and I’m not thinking of changing it. Probably as long as I don’t have a new proposition, to which I wouldn’t say No again. But I’m not thinking about it right now”. 

How was the situation with technology change in previous companies 

Wladek: In the company I worked before, technology change would be much harder as most of the time you are working on understanding the architecture and business logic of the system and have less time to concentrate on the code itself. On the project with more than 200 developers, you work only on the subsystem and should keep in mind how the whole system works. So you concentrate your attention on how the network works and not on the language itself. 

Web programming projects I’m working on now are smaller. That allows me to spend more time on programming, feel and “play” with language instead of reading tons of the documentation. Personally, I find it much more interesting and fun.

Dawid: I had the opportunity to maintain and extend existing systems with legacy code. We were trying to involve new technologies there as well, but the process wasn’t that fast. When you have the opportunity to build a system from scratch you can start to use interesting technologies without fear about dependencies and how this affects existing code. 

Slawek: Before joining Amsterdam Standard I was a freelance developer working mostly with the same technologies that I started to work here. 

Jacek: In my last company where I worked for 3 years, firstly we were quite free with the technology choice; I was working with AngularJS. Later the company made a decision to turn the company to React house. So we didn’t have this flexibility anymore. But I did not mind. It was new to me, so I eagerly became a fool again, to learn something from scratch.

Summary

As we can see, it’s important for our specialists for one or other reasons to learn new technologies and have the opportunity to apply this knowledge in their daily work. Change is necessary for everyone. We provide our employees with the flexibility to choose their projects, technologies, and time and place of working. We, in Amsterdam Standard, make sure to keep our employees happy. 

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