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Oliver's Newsletter - Issue No. 3 - There are a lot of opportunities out there

Oliver's Newsletter - Issue No. 3 - There are a lot of opportunities out there
By Oliver Jumpertz • Issue #3 • View online
It has been a pretty relaxed week for me. I took things a little easier on Twitter and focussed a little more on my family. Other than that I’m the tech lead for a new project with a large private bank in Germany and sat in a lot of day-long meetings. But I didn’t rest too much because I wanted to bring the next issue of my newsletter to you and fill it with some new type of content that I already thought about last week. Back then, I didn’t want to experiment too much, but the overall reception of the last issue was pretty good, so I think it’s time to add some new newsletter-first content this time that you will hopefully find valuable. As usual, I’d love to hear your feedback on it.
I hope you all had an awesome week and are still as safe as we all can currently be. Don’t forget to take some time off this weekend and do something for yourself. Perhaps you will also find some time to read his newsletter. And now, enjoy!

My current thoughts on...
This is where I share my thoughts on multiple topics that came to my mind since the last issue. Perhaps they were brought to my attention through someone in the community, perhaps I was explicitly asked for them, or perhaps I simply want to talk about them.
Want my opinion on something? Drop me a message and I might add my thoughts on it in one of the next issues!
Content Creation
Content creation has changed my life and my career significantly. I started with it in late March 2020 and haven’t regretted a single second I put into it. My job has always involved finding out about new technologies, learning how they work, and evaluating them but content creation took this to the next level. In order to create something, you have to dive so much deeper, think more, and develop a sense of explaining things in a way that your audience understands. I think I learned more in the past 11 months than I have in the years prior to this. Through all this knowledge, I was able to negotiate a raise of 30% at work, had countless opportunities to work on the side, and built a network of wonderful people I can rely on.
I can only recommend getting started with it. You don’t have to go all-in, but every tip or piece of knowledge you share helps you improve, get a new valuable connection, and be recognized.
Business Skills For Developers
Being a developer is a very technology-heavy thing. You are paid to work with and create technology in the first place. But you work for businesses. You either are employed by them or, as a freelancer/consultant, work with/for them to create value that makes them money. We can argue that as a freelancer or self-employed consultant, you do of course need some business skills as you own your own company. But even for employed software developers (unless you work in academia perhaps), business skills can be crucial. I’m not talking about accounting or supply chain & operations here. I want to put a focus on marketing, sales, and finance explicitly. Marketing can help a lot in getting noticed and putting yourself out there, creating your own brand. Marketing yourself well might result in you getting your dream job. Sales skills definitely help to sell yourself and to negotiate the salary you really deserve (or even more). Having a basic understanding of corporate finance might also help a lot in this process. If you understand how budgets work and how corporations work with them, you can come up with arguments selling yourself as an investment rather than a cost-factor easier. As being a developer usually comes with an above-average salary, having some knowledge about finance might also help a lot in making the right investments for yourself and profiting from them in the long run.
For as long as we live in a capitalist world, you should view essential business skills as a must-have, rather than something optional.
I can’t nearly even express how valuable I find TypeScript. Types make large projects so much more comfortable to work with and they prevent a lot of runtime errors. This, combined with the creators doing a lot to keep it up to date and to always include many of the proposals TC39 (the JavaScript / ECMAScript committee) comes up with makes it a very valuable choice. I use TypeScript in every JavaScript project, nowadays, and the barrier to entry is very low. This is why I can only recommend getting started with it if you don’t already use it. The benefits are simply outstanding. It’s also a skill more and more companies require when hiring JavaScript developers and this justifies taking a look at it.
Degrees are still worth it but they are not as important as they once were. A university will give you some fundamentals you can build your full skillset on, later, but even more important, you get a network of alumni you can interact with, even when you finally have your degree. More and more companies remove degrees from their requirement lists and at least some of them moved it to the list of “preferred qualifications” in their job ads. The internet has brought education to everyone and even top-tier universities share some of their courses online. You can learn job-relevant skills even faster online because a university curriculum usually includes a lot of stuff you won’t need later on. Additionally, some of the topics you learn are sometimes already outdated. That’s an issue with accreditation. It’s a process that takes a long time, and by the time it’s done, some of the learning material may already be out of date. Tech simply moves fast.
A university degree can, however, still be a door-opener. Depending on where you live it might also be a hard requirement to get a job initially. But depending on what you plan to do later in your career, you have the choice to not go this route and do it on your own. And this is a huge improvement over how it was before.
Networking is the most important thing in our globally connected world. A large network with an inner circle of people you get along with very well can make a huge difference. It can lead to job offers, contracts, and many more opportunities. You can have the best degree, work history, and portfolio in the world, and still be overtaken by someone with good personal connections. It’s simply how we, as humans, work. We value a personal connection very high. We want to know that we can trust someone. If we have the choice between someone we don’t know and someone we know, although they might not be as qualified as the other candidate, we usually go for the one from our personal network. This is why we ask our friends first before we go out and spend money on someone unknown, who offers this service as their business. It’s not usually about the money, but more about trust.
This is why networking is important. Even a small network consisting of selected individuals can bring you forward faster than any certificate or degree in this world.
Through my own job, my network, and my other activities, I’m exposed to the industry a lot. I have the chance to talk to other insiders, enterprise/bank IT leaders, and many many more. I also consult as a side hustle and build one or the other website from time to time. I don’t do this full-time, yet, but it may give me some credibility.
This section is here to showcase scenarios, skills, and business ideas that I view as opportunities for someone who wants to make a change and go the entrepreneur route or simply upskill themselves.
Upskill Yourself - Data Engieering
Data Science and Machine Learning are on the rise but they depend on data. The issue with data is that a lot of companies collect huge amounts of it but then store it in silos without making it really usable. This is where data engineers come in. They collect data (extract), transform it, and then load it into another data store (usually pretty centralized ones, also called “data lake”) where data scientists or ML engineers can fetch it from and use it to build their models. Data engineers are also responsible to design the schema of how the data is stored and create streaming pipelines to transfer it to where it is actually needed.
The demand for data engineers has far outgrown the one for data scientists and ML engineers, and there is a huge shortage (as for all software engineering roles). What makes the situation worse is that there are estimations that two to three data engineers are needed for each and every data scientist or ML engineer employed. Companies slowly but steadily adapted to this shortage and have increased salaries over and over again to attract new talent. The Robert Half 2020 Salary Guide, for example, lists data engineers with a base salary recommendation of $120.000 - $222.000 while the Dice Salary Report 2020 lists them with an average salary of $113.249.
Data Engineers usually work with Python, Java, or Scala, with Python being the most prominent language choice. Companies with a modern data engineering stack will usually require knowledge of Airflow, Spark, RDBMS, and NoSQL. Really modern tech stacks will replace Spark for Kafka or Snowflake. All positions will usually require some knowledge of containers, databases & data warehouse optimization, data modeling, and the actual business domain.
If you are looking for a role change, the data engineer might be a great choice with a lot of potential for the future. Here are some sources for further reading: Quanthub, CIO.
Self-employment - The Serverless JAMstack Consultant
Taking a look at the framework trends on BuiltWith reveals that the majority of public websites are still built with PHP. From my personal experience, I can add that in the enterprise sector, a large portion of projects is still built with older technologies that don’t even use SPAs but settle on server-side template rendering. A smaller portion leverages SPAs that are served by a Java application server (e.g.) with a “backend for frontend” attached. In the agency space (according to some of my connections) PHP is dominant, followed by more modern approaches leveraging Python (Django) or Node and SPAs. Current state-of-the-art approaches include deploying everything within containers and running them on huge Kubernetes clusters. Frontends are still delivered by application servers or are more modernly served by an httpd or nginx that’s also running within a container. The frontends fetch data from multiple services running within the cluster but developer experience-wise not much has changed.
Although not applicable to each and every problem (currently), the JAMstack brings a huge opportunity to both businesses and developers. It aims to offer scalability, safety, a better developer experience, and cost-saving. If we take a closer look at it, it is absolutely able to deliver on all of it. The most important thing the JAMstack enforces is a strict separation of backend and frontend by leveraging the API economy and focussing on the end-user experience in the project at hand. You can read more about it in an article I recently wrote.
After this lengthy introduction, let me get to the point. I think that there is a huge opportunity in consulting companies on the JAMstack. Leveraging modern static site generators and serverless functions as a service (FaaS) can bring a lot of value to frontend teams and help them to transform into teams that can safely work on their own, with a reduced need for skills (no more traditional backend skills needed), faster results, and a better user experience (website load speeds and enhanced SEO). If you sell yourself as a consultant and architect who can help companies transform their architecture into a cost-saving system while reaping the benefits the JAMstack offers and those of the cloud, you can charge really high amounts of money, simply based on the immense value you provide.
Last but not least, here are a few skills I think you need in order to be successful in pursuing this career:
Knowledge of AWS Lambda/Amplify
If you want to work together with larger companies, you won’t get around AWS. They currently simply offer the best serverless and JAMstack experience of all the large cloud providers. Firebase is cool, but you’ll find more companies already on AWS than there are on Google Cloud.
Knowledge of Netlify / Vercel
This one is optional, but if you plan to also work together with small to medium-sized companies, Netlify or Vercel offer a better experience for smaller teams and smaller budgets. They are based on AWS but provide an easier-to-use interface and a better developer experience than pure AWS services.
Some DevOps skills
You’ll want to be able to offer the full-stack experience, from project set up to the deployment of the finished product. Serverless offers already make this process pretty easy, but you want to be able to advise the teams you work with on how they can ensure that their projects are always built, tested, and delivered correctly.
A good portion of JavaScript knowledge
JavaScript is the de-facto language of the web. Most frontend developers/engineers are comfortable using JavaScript and work with it daily. It is only natural to use the same language as them. Next to that, the Node runtime is still one of the best-performing runtimes for Lambda functions.
Good HTML and CSS foo (but this is actually optional)
Frontend work involves HTML and CSS. If you plan on working together with the teams you consult, you should consider serving the full frontend stack. Being able to build good-looking prototypes and maybe even working on the project yourself is another good selling point for your overall service.
Skills in Next.js/Gatsby/Nuxt and/or Hugo
This one largely depends on your own preferences, but I’d personally go with either Next, Gatsby, or Nuxt and Hugo. If you happen to land a very large project, JavaScript generators won’t be able to deliver the performance that Hugo can deliver. Sometimes 5 minutes of build-time are too much when there is an alternative that still does it in a few seconds. The larger the project the more I’d lean towards Hugo for the job. Smaller projects, on the other hand, can of course easily be solved by using a JavaScript generator. You might have to add React/Vue/Svelte or whatever single page framework your JavaScript generator requires to your skillset.
A good portion of system design capability
You want to sell an architectural pattern that helps to transform the way an organization builds software. You should be able to design an architecture that fits the project at hand. It won’t be as complex as a full system architecture for something deployed to Kubernetes but a few Lambda functions, external APIs & databases, existing microservices, API Gateways, and such will still be a part of the system you create. You will need to be able to design all that.
One core concept of the JAMstack is to put everything under version control that you possibly can. Git is an essential part of this concept, and thus it makes a lot of sense to know at least the very basics of it.
This Week On Twitter
I focus on worthwhile tweets and threads in this section. It includes some of my own but also some from the awesome community I am glad to be a part of.
If you want to see a tweet/thread or multiple (also your own) included in one of the next issues, send me a link and tell me what’s so great about it!
Instagram Login Page With TailwindCSS
Nacho Iacovino recently started a series where he recreates components he finds on the web with Tailwind. This entry is an excellent showcase of how great to use Tailwind is, and a good looking one, for sure.
Why C# Is A Great Language To Learn
Daniel made a good point this week. It might not be the hottest language on Twitter, but C# definitely is a very great tool to get the job done. Indeed, at the time of writing this, lists 32k jobs including the keyword ‘C#’ for the U.S. market, so that’s not a small job market at all. There might be more jobs for Java or JavaScript, but C# still doesn’t have to hide. Recent developments like Blazor also showcase how much potential the language has under the hood and how much innovation Microsoft and the community are capable of.
Some Of The Most Essential Git Operations You Will Need
This thread is a collection of git operations that most developers will need every day. It is a non-exhaustive list and doesn’t include everything, but it’s enough to give you a general idea and overview.
The Imposter Syndrome
Let’s face it, the imposter syndrome is real. Unrealistic expectations, so many success stories, and a lot of rejection are only some of the catalysts for the imposter syndrome. Do we really deserve where we are at now? Will we ever be able to advance further? If we look at others who are already where we are, we seem to be so much worse than them…
Well, let me tell you something: The world is like you sometimes imagine most software. Beautiful on the frontend but ugly in the backend. We often only get to see all the awesome, beautiful, and successful parts of a person but not the actual reality. There is a lot more to those success stories. There is failure, mistakes, cluelessness. Nobody is perfect. But talking about the imposter syndrome and sharing your thoughts and struggles can help a lot, and this thread provides such a platform which is why I included it here.
Articles Worthwhile Reading
In this section, I focus on articles I came across that I found worthwhile reading and also some of my own. They don’t have to be published in this particular week.
If you want to see an article or multiple (also your own) included in one of the next issues, send me a link and tell me what’s so great about it!
An Introduction To Svelte
Svelte is a pretty awesome framework. No virtual DOM and a compiler that processes your code before you actually deploy your app. Basically a breath of fresh air and a valid alternative to React, Vue, and Angular. This article I wrote introduces you to Svelte on a relatively high level and is meant to spark some interest in you.
An Introduction To Svelte
Getting Hired By Google, Microsoft, and Stripe
Some people would love to work for one of the big tech companies, one day but let’s face it, it’s hard work to get into it. This article actually provides three pretty simple-to-implement tips that can help you a lot to actually get the job you want so much. I tend to agree with what the author shares, especially regarding recruiters. They have a high interest in placing you when they chose you initially, so you shouldn’t burn bridges simply because you had a bad experience with some of them in the past.
One tip that got me hired by Google, Microsoft, and Stripe
The JavaScript Event Loop
JavaScript is asynchronous by nature. A lot of this is thanks to the event loop. But understanding how it works can sometimes be a little difficult and even intimidating, especially for beginners. This article illustrates how the event loop works pretty well and is a really fine piece to update your own knowledge or initially understand how it works.
Javascript Event Loop for dummies 🤡 - DEV Community
Under The Hood Of AWS Lambda
Although I already work with AWS for quite some time and started my journey on EC2, back in the days, I never thought about how AWS actually handled all those Lambda functions. I took some time, looked under the hood, and was pleasantly surprised to see that they came up with an interesting solution to their problems, all while leveraging their existing skills and knowledge.
How AWS Lambda Works Under The Hood
Learning Resources
This section contains resources I came across this week, recommended to someone, or simply find worth being shared.
If you’d like to see something specifically listed here (also your own), drop me a message, and I will take a look at it. I will maybe include it in one of the next issues then.
Software Testing Tutorial(s)
Testing software and being able to do so properly is still a relative superpower in the industry. At some point in time between the seventies and now, some developers and businesses seem to have unlearned that well-tested software is the best bang for the buck. Slowly, this seems to turn again. But even if it didn’t, you can always do yourself the favor to test your software as best as possible. It’s time you save afterward. Less hunting for bugs, less debugging, more time for the fun stuff. This awesome compilation by guru99 gives you everything you would possibly ever need to become a good tester next to the awesome developer you already are.
Becoming An Effective Leader
A friend of mine recently finished taking this course offered by the University Of Queensland and had a lot of good things to say about it. He currently works as a senior-level developer in the industry and reasoned that especially as a senior, guiding other developers, leadership skills are crucial. I agree with his argument.
So, whether you are still in an operational role or have recently, are about to, or plan to progress into a leadership role, this course might be worth your time to improve on a non-technical level, as well.
Becoming an Effective Leader | edX
My Current Twitter Statistics
Some of you are perhaps interested in how I do on Twitter, so in the spirit of transparency, I’ll share my Twitter statistics with you here.
Stats for the last 28 days
Stats for the last 28 days
Feb 2021 Summary
Feb 2021 Summary
Jan 2021 Summary
Jan 2021 Summary
Until Then
I hope you liked this issue and what I included this time. I’m especially looking forward to hearing your feedback about the new “Opportunities” section. Is it something you find worthwhile or is it something you wouldn’t want to read again? I hope that some of you found some value in it and I’d love to hear from you if it sparks something within you that makes you think about a change.
As usual, feel free to give your most honest feedback. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this and how I can make this newsletter really worth reading for each and every one of you!
Until then, enjoy your weekend, spend time with your loved ones, have fun with your hobbies, and most importantly stay safe!
So long and yours,
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Oliver Jumpertz

Bringing the best tech content directly to your inbox. May include software engineering, JavaScript and Web Development in general, Rust, Cloud, Serverless, and some unexpected pieces.

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