Employee Q&A with Marek

"Right from the start, we aimed to provide our users with full flexibility and the ability to work from anywhere in the world. Then, a couple of years later, 'everything happened,' and this idea became a reality for everyone. "

Tell us a little about your career journey – what was life before Resident?

I’ve got a master’s degree in journalism and public relations. Before joining Resident, I worked as a journalist at one of the mainstream Polish newspapers, ‘Gazeta Wyborcza.’ I’ve always had a passion for writing, so it was an ideal place for me to fulfil it. During my time in the media, there were a couple of interviews I conducted that will stay with me for my entire life. To recall just one of them, I had the privilege of talking to Maestro Krzysztof Penderecki, who was a Polish composer and a true legend in the world of modern classical music. He was the author of a Symphony No. 7: Seven Gates of Jerusalem, written to celebrate 3000 years of the City of Jerusalem. You can also hear some of his pieces in films like ‘The Exorcist’, ‘The Shining’ (Stanley Kubrick’s version) or ‘Twin Peaks’ to name a few. It was a very valuable conversation about music, culture, and the origin of inspiration.

Ok, I’m getting a bit carried away by the memories… Moving forward, I was offered a job at a marketing agency, which I decided to take. This allowed me to approach my writing in a slightly less formal and more creative manner. To be honest, this was where my interest in coding began. You see, my desk was situated right next to the development team. As the months went by, I had the opportunity to witness the amazing work those guys were doing, and it felt like something really significant to me. So, I went back to university and completed a post-graduate diploma in IT.

And then Resident came along, tell us a bit about your time with the company?

Looking at it from a time perspective, those six years were undoubtedly the most interesting period in my entire career. Firstly, I had the opportunity to witness and contribute to the fantastic piece of software that Resident is, so I got the space to immerse myself in coding. At the same time, I could utilise some of my less obvious skills, such as sound production for podcasts, DTP for printed and digital brochures, and video editing and production for some of the marketing material we’ve created in the past. Additionally, I had the pleasure of meeting some equally unconventional people here, who became my friends.

So, now we know a bit more about you - tell us, what exactly does a Front End Developer do?

To put it simply, front-end developers are responsible for bringing to life the ideas and designs that serve as the building blocks of a website or application (like Resident). I’m referring to everything that our users see on their screens, which involves creating a user interface encompassing elements like forms, buttons, tables, and more, all presented on the screen and equipped in the certain operation logic. The visual content is designed by our UI/UX team, and our job is to transform those designs into functional code.

During your career what have been your most valuable lessons you’ve learned along the way?

In the era of automation and AI, I’ve come to understand the importance of not entirely excluding the human factor out of the equation. I believe it’s a wise practice to have real eyes overseeing some tasks that have been designed and scheduled to occur without manual intervention. It’s akin to having an insurance policy, providing us with the peace of mind that everything progresses smoothly and punctually. Machine errors can happen, just like human errors.

You must have seen many changes in your time at Resident – which stands out the most to you and why?

While I believe that Bank Feeds were a significant game changer, my personal favourite has to be Ticketing. Beyond its wonderful functionality, it holds importance for me because it signifies the new approach to Resident’s infrastructure. By this, I mean it embodies one key concept: ‘modularity.’ It serves as an optional functionality of the system that empowers our users to customise Resident to align with their specific needs. This aspect of modularity is something I am particularly excited about for the months ahead.

What excites you the most about Resident’s future?

We have something absolutely fantastic taking form in our secret, deep-down-below-the-ground-level Resident forge 🙂 I can’t divulge too much at the moment, but it’s going to be something truly monumental and simply outstanding! I guess I can share a few keywords: speed, user-friendliness, and ultra-modern design. Alright, I better stop here before I let the cat out of the bag!

The ways in which people learn, purchase, research and interact have hugely changed since the pandemic. Do you think the demands of web User Experience (UX) have had to shift because of this too?

Perhaps it didn’t undergo a fundamental change, but people have certainly become more aware and are utilising web interfaces (such as online shops, search engines, and browser-based software) much more extensively than ever before. This increased traffic primarily strains available resources, but it also serves as a trigger to reevaluate the UX aspect. The fundamental principles of UX, like providing the correct information with as few clicks as possible, remain constant. However, we now have newer tools at our disposal that will greatly enhance this user journey. This is why I’m genuinely excited for the months ahead. It’s going to be an incredible time for Resident users!

Speaking of Resident, I believe our software was somewhat ahead of its time when it was created. You see, when it was first developed, it was already designed with a priority on remote access. Keep in mind that this was in the middle of the last decade, and remote working wasn’t as common back then! Right from the start, we aimed to provide our users with full flexibility and the ability to work from anywhere in the world. Then, a couple of years later, ‘everything happened,’ and this idea became a reality for everyone. We were prepared for this, and from that point forward, we’ve only grown stronger!

It’s a common misconception that a Front End Developer solely focuses on website testing, bug fixes and writing high-quality code - what is one thing that would shock people to learn, that is regularly part of your working life?

I’m not sure if this comes as shocking news, but many developers also have graphic design skills to some extent (that also includes Photoshop, Illustrator or similar software like Affinity suite). This skillset proves useful when discussing and designing user interfaces, as well as establishing the overall look and feel of the app. It also streamlines the process if we notice something that could benefit from adjustments while in the coding phase. This not only speeds things up but also reduces the number of video meetings we need to have 🙂

So, penultimate question now - what is it like to work at Resident? Give us the scoop…

Ha! It’s a fantastic adventure and an incredibly satisfying experience! We have the opportunity to accomplish some truly amazing things, both in terms of software development and outside of work. Get ready to spontaneously embark on a 100-mile cycling sportive or summit Snowdon in the dark! Oh, and of course, don’t forget to bring your laptop along! If not for coding, then at least for finding some decent memes (we LOVE memes) 🙂

For anyone who might be considering a future in Front End Development, what advice would you give?

Maybe I’ll start with a word of encouragement: go for it and start today, but begin from the very basics. This might seem obvious, but I believe it’s incredibly important. Don’t give up too quickly. Remember how the learning process feels – much of the time, it’s hard work, but that’s how it’s supposed to be. If you feel a bit overwhelmed, remind yourself that it’s a sign you’re on the right track, because this is how learning NEW things feels! If you haven’t started yet, then, as I mentioned earlier, begin with the fundamentals (HTML, CSS), and then focus on thoroughly understanding JavaScript. This will open the doors to more advanced areas of involvement, like front-end frameworks and an infinite number of possibilities, really. Don’t do it backwards – don’t attempt to learn something more complex first (like TypeScript or Angular) without first truly grasping JavaScript!