What brought you to Formidable?
Formidable London Birthday Cupcakes! (with the pre-F branding)
What are you most excited about now that you are here at Formidable?
The things I love the most about Formidable have largely stayed the same over the years:
- My amazing colleagues. Being surrounded by clever, inspiring people is one of the best things about this job.
- Building real products for real users. Adding real value to companies. For me the most satisfying feeling as software engineer is seeing something I built being used and enjoyed by people.
Enjoying the snow at a Formidable post-Formidagathering trip near Seattle
What are you currently doing to "level up" your skills?
Currently I'm very interested in SwiftUI. Swift is a general-purpose programming language developed by Apple (first released 2014), and SwiftUI (launched end of 2019) is a user interface toolkit for Swift for building iOS apps.
My main reason for wanting to look into SwiftUI was because I had some ideas for Apple Watch apps, and you can't build those in React Native! Also because after three-plus years of building apps in React Native, I'm always interested in how to best leverage native code for enhancements. We often end up dipping into native code for React Native, and it's only to our advantage to know how to do it well.
So I started with the language basics and learnt about Swift the language first. I found this fantastic course on Pluralsight. It's perfect for experienced engineers, as it skips "intro to programming" altogether and explains the Swift in relation to other programming languages such as C#, Java, and Python.
I loved the course so much, I completed it in a single weekend. I also made a summary board:
Now I'm learning more about SwiftUI itself. There is a fantastic free on SwiftUI from Stanford University. They do an iOS course every year, make it public to everyone, and last year was the first time the course was in SwiftUI!
I'm only half-way through, but it's fantastic. I can honestly recommend it to anyone interested in learning about SwiftUI. Again, it assumes existing programming knowledge with at least one Object Oriented language so its ideal for experienced developers. Swift is multi-paradigm and written primarily in a functional way, but I think the Stanford University CS curriculum teaches Java, which is why they refer back to OOP a lot.
I'm building my own app idea in parallel with this course, so hopefully I will have something to share before long!
What's your favorite part about working at Formidable? Maybe something people on the outside wouldn't know?
One of my favorite parts of working at Formidable has been the ample opportunities for travel. I've been to Seattle and Denver to see the other Formidable offices, LA to visit a client, and to many countries — France, Germany, Scotland, Bulgaria, Poland to name a few — for various tech conferences. I would always take an extra day or two to explore the local area when I get the chance, so I'm very much looking forward to when travel becomes possible again!
Formidable and Friends loving life post-conference in Berlin
Who or what inspires you and why?
While I was in university, I worked two part-time jobs to support myself with luxuries such as food and rent. One of these jobs was at a hotel bar. The most boring shift we had there was Sunday morning — one person from 10am-6pm (often following a 6pm-2am shift on the preceding Saturday). Most times I didn't have a single customer during the whole eight hours, so I spent the time cleaning the bar and trying not to fall asleep. It was so, so boring. I would often just take some until roll and start counting down the hours until I could go home: 8h...7h48m....7h47m... You get the point.
I remember my last Sunday shift: I was due to move to another city to start my first tech job, and I promised myself that this was the last time I'm going to be wishing my life away.
That sentiment has always stuck with me. I feel so very fortunate that I found a dream career. I love working in tech, I love building things that people get to use, I love solving problems, and I love that I get to continuously learn new things.
So if you find yourself wishing your life away, it's time for a change.
Touristing in Denver while visiting our amazing Denver office with Phil