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Pentalog Career: Front-End Developer by Choice, Code Master by Mission

Andrei Baltuta
Andrei Baltuta
Senior Front-End Developer

I’ve been coding ever since I can remember, driven by the passion for the IT field. My goal is to make a positive impact in the society and to share my Front-End developer knowledge. When my work improves people’s lives, it’s even more rewarding. This keeps me going and motivates me to grow the JavaScript community in Pentalog.

front-end developer - pentalog cluj

A Code Master uses magic powers to get things done together with his team: jokes, good vibes, and laughter. Join our PentaTeam in Cluj!

Although I played with various coding projects since I was in the 5th grade, for a long time I thought I didn’t have what it takes to be part of the IT world. In college, I didn’t like Math classes because I was put through the ordeal of absorbing superfluous theory. Because of this, many times I thought I just couldn’t pursue a career in IT .

I was never a good fit for regular education, as I’m a more practical person. I like to find and understand patterns and enjoy thinking outside the box. I tried college, but the practical aspects were more appealing to me. Over time, I realized that school does give you a lot of useful tools, but my interests laid elsewhere.

So, my life journey led me to different fields before finally settling for a Front-End development career: I studied Communications, Public Relations, Public Administration, and Computer Sciences. With a bit of luck, I ended up being able to do what I loved. I started work as a freelancer, with jobs ranging from fixing people’s blogs or creating online stores, to developing small websites and small scale applications.

Becoming a Code Master

It all changed for me two years ago when my friend, Előd, convinced me to attend an interview for a Pentalog position. I got the job and since then I couldn’t be happier.

From creating an online shop from scratch, back in the 2010s, to taking the API of a popular game to create several interesting and filterable statistics for me and my friends, and finally reaching to the complex projects of today, I found that my journey towards becoming a professional Front-End developer doesn’t relate anymore to just writing clean code, but also embracing the team spirit attitude.

Supported by my colleagues and managers, I started offering technical assistance, improving developer experience, and sharing knowledge through regular meetings.

 

  • Join me and my colleague, Tobiás Előd Zoltán, to a PentaBar event in Brasov, where we will talk about what we know best – JavaScript – one of the most powerful programming languages currently.

Lone Rider versus Team Player

Like many of you, a big part of my professional life I worked as a freelancer. I gained experience in PHP and, of course, the general Front-End environment – HTML, CSS, and JS.

I wasn’t interested in a desk job because I considered myself a lone wolf. I enjoyed the freedom that freelancing offered me, but the work was a bit inconsistent at times, both in quality and quantity. On the other hand, being part of the pack brings unexpected perks.

I am a senior developer with years of experience in various technologies, ranging from JavaScript to PHP. Currently, I spend time working with TypeScript, RxJS, and Angular. I am also proficient in using D3.js and GraphQL.

“People in Pentalog are nice”, said my friend, Előd. “Yeah, really?”, I thought. Well, it’s been two years since I started working here and I’m still surprised by how close-knit we are. My colleagues quickly became great friends.

In the meantime, I learned how to work in a team, and that helped me to provide more reliable code and to solve issues.

What Really Matters as a Front-End Developer

In spite of my background at the time, the position I was offered was that of a Front-End developer, so I swapped my focus, a decision which was very fortuitous!

My regular day starts with a few code reviews, not too many meetings, and the ones I have aren’t generally draining. Then, I just pick up tasks and work on them. The Practices Manager in Cluj office had a large influence on the way I view meetings and gave me a lot of tips on how to handle and moderate them. The part I love the most is when my colleagues require my help or just need to bounce some ideas around.

front-end developer - javascript conference

Two shaggy geeks (myself and Tobiás Előd Zoltán) talking about the JS environment at the International JavaScript Conference, in London.

I am currently working on developing an application that handles coaching sessions. We use Agile methodologies with a few team-specific tweaks. The tech stack is a PHP Back-End with Angular as the Front-End framework of choice. The local management stresses on collaboration which makes most teams a breeze to work with.

From the Local IT Community…

Tech is changing, a lot of developers have fallen prey to developer churn and burnout. It’s hard to keep up with a field like web development where people tend to chase trends far too much. This puts more of a strain on us, as developers, to try to steer our conversations towards a more reliable and more stable tech.

A way to relieve the pressure is by creating communities. At our office in Cluj, we hold meetings every two weeks called “JavaScripters Anonymous”. We tackle topics ranging from the basics of functional programming, to new APIs, to performance improvements, and code “smells”. Colleagues join us to present interesting stuff or just discuss various aspects of our code and methodologies.

…to the Whole JavaScript World

JS Sucks: 20+ Years of Work in Progress is the presentation Előd and I hosted in London, this year, during the International JavaScript Conference. We received great feedback, so we were invited to Techsylvania, one of the biggest IT events in Eastern Europe. We appreciated these experiences which would not have been possible without Pentalog’s support.

 

How to Master Front-End Development – Tips from an Experienced Code Advisor:

  • Master the basics of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. This way, you’ll not be surprised by weird behavior.

  • JavaScript has a lot of idiosyncrasies. Embrace them. They are useful and with each passing year the language evolves.

  • Methodologies, patterns, and other higher-level concepts are learned far more easily once the foundation is solid.

  • A more “out-of-the-box” package can save you a lot of time. Don’t fall prey to Not-Invented-Here Syndrome.

  • Consider things like progressive enhancement, compatibility, and accessibility more.

  • With a slew of new APIs being added every year, you should take a minute and have fun with Intersection Observer or Ambient Light Events.

  • Ensure that your tools help you. Ensure that your workflow aids and doesn’t hinder your team’s work.

  • I think that Web Components will be game-changing by making things more framework-agnostic. I’ve been dreaming of these ever since I read my first.

  • I don’t really like to chase trends, I choose my tools by their function rather than form.

  • Hype isn’t a good metric by which to pick your frameworks, but rather their usefulness and their applicability in a given team/project.

Want to experience a career in Front-End Developing? Please consult Pentalog’s vacant jobs from Brasov, Bucharest, Cluj and Iasi!

 

Read more career stories:

Java Technical Lead – Mixing Hard Work, Soft Skills & Agile Practices

Pentalog .NET Developers Lay the Foundation for the Future of HR


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