Oliver's Newsletter

By Oliver Jumpertz

Oliver's Newsletter - Issue No. 4 - Blockchain on the rise





Oliver's Newsletter - Issue No. 4 - Blockchain on the rise
By Oliver Jumpertz • Issue #4 • View online
This week was a pretty interesting one. Bitcoin hit $50k for the first time, institutional investors are publicly thinking about joining in big, there was a congress hearing about the GME debacle, and I had way too many meetings. I still somehow managed to write the latest issue of this newsletter and tried to fill it with valuable content once again. I had a lot of fun writing this one, especially as I currently try to put a little emphasis on Blockchain technology. Pretty interesting technology with interesting use cases and I can’t wait to find out what people come up with for it in the future. However, blockchain is not everything, so you’ll also find other topics in this issue, such that everyone might find something of value to them.
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!
Life-Long Learning
Our world is faster than ever. Everything around us seems fluid and constantly evolves. This is not far from the actual reality. Someone invents or creates something new every day. Perhaps it’s the next big thing or just something that vanishes soon after. If we want to keep up with all those developments, however, we are forced to learn and learn and learn. Through learning we gain opportunities, we keep our brain busy, and we expose ourselves to the world. I am however a big fan of not going too fast. No one needs to learn one framework a week or even a whole topic. Better take it easy, aim at reading one book a month, or at learning one library every two months. You don’t want to end up doing anything else anymore, you want to evolve yourself and stay motivated. You will most likely want to do this forever and not burn out after a fraction of the time.
I personally think that bootcamps have their place. You don’t need an academic background to work in the industry. You need to know the fundamentals and be able to apply those on the job. This is something that can also be learned in a bootcamp. Most of them seem to be pretty focused on making their attendees ready for a job. From my experience, helping people who attended a bootcamp out with their tasks, those seem to be aimed at being something you’d also work on at a real job. But I noticed that those I helped lacked some of the really necessary fundamentals. Funnily, with a lot of university students, I noticed that they had a lot of knowledge of fundamentals but no idea how to practically apply them. So, would I suggest someone attend a bootcamp? Well, choose between fundamentals or practical experience with a lot more to learn. You’ll have to substitute the lack of some advanced knowledge nevertheless. However, don’t expect to be really ready. Depending on the length of the program, you might be pleasantly surprised that you will still have a lot to learn. And by a lot, I mean a lot.
Okay, nearly everyone seems to have a newsletter nowadays. Some share only a few resources, others provide full articles. In my opinion, all of those have a lot of value, and none of them is ever useless. When I started this newsletter, I thought that I’d share some resources and that’s it then. But then I had the idea to share my thoughts, and then I added a newsletter-exclusive section. Well, I personally have a lot more to do since I write this newsletter, BUT I also learn a lot more. Preparing and writing each section takes a lot of brainpower and gives me even more ideas of thoughts and content to share. I’d say that I improve myself by putting in the work, and I assume that’s the same for many of the other newsletter creators out there.
Growing On Twitter
I believe that there is no special formula for growing on Twitter. It’s relatively simple: Share something of value. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a thread that explains a concept on a higher level or in detail or something you build. People will start to notice you at some point, and from then on, you will grow. Sometimes you hit a nerve with the community and your growth will explode, sometimes you don’t. The most important thing is to stay consistent. Don’t demotivate yourself by always looking at your follower numbers and statistics. Better use that time to think about the content you could provide to the audience you have, instead. Some topics do better than others but don’t let that stop you from taking a certain route, you might hit a niche with a large hidden demand.
We should do way more prototyping. Quick and dirty throwaway code that we never deploy to production but that helps us to find out whether an idea really works. Whenever I want to find out whether I can solve a problem in some way, I usually create a new project, write some code, provide some basic test coverage, and let it run. I’d never ever deploy this code to production, and yes, I do basically manually test my idea to find out whether it works. This is necessary to find out if something really works as expected and especially feels like it is intended to. Only then I can make a choice and throw the dirty code away, start all over again, and apply engineering principles and thorough testing to make it right. This quick and dirty prototyping costs me way less time to verify an idea than it would to make it right and then throw it away again.
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 - The Cloud Engineer
More and more companies try to get their software into the cloud or at least use some of the cloud technologies in their own data centers. This increases the demand for people who are actually able to handle all that for development teams. As much as everyone would like, cloud technologies are different and usually not as easy as their creators would like them (or sell them) to be. Developers and engineers could also take care of that but they already have a job to do, so giving them even more to do wouldn’t be the wisest thing to do. This brings in dedicated cloud engineers. They are engineers, not administrators, and use software engineering to solve infrastructure and development problems. You can, of course, provision EC2 instances on AWS by hand, or you can automate it with terraform, put it under version control, and ease up the process for development teams. According to Robert Half 72 percent of surveyed managers said that they already used the cloud and at the beginning of 2020, the national median salary for cloud engineers in the U.S. was around $100,000 to $140,000. Although specific to the U.S. market, this gives a pretty good indication as to how salaries might develop in the rest of the world.
If you are interested in upskilling yourself, it might be wise to learn Python or Go and choose one of the large cloud providers like Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure, or Google Cloud. Cloud provider certificates might help you to showcase that you understand the platform of your choice. It might also make sense to get comfortable with Docker and Kubernetes. Many larger organizations are already on or are still in the process of migrating to a microservice architecture. They are in dire need of employees to help them in this process.
Self-employment - The Blockchain Consultant
We are only at the beginning of finding out what blockchain technology is actually all about. It’s like the early days of the internet right now. Everybody hears about this new technology, many people invest in cryptocurrencies based on it, but not enough people can currently envision what actually is possible. That’s also a problem corporations currently have. Like with ML and AI, they try to find out whether this technology can provide something to them that might have a slight chance of giving them the edge over their competitors.
A few larger banks already experiment with blockchains or have some very early products on the market, but they are still in dire need of people who can help them to leverage this technology. The same holds true for other industries. This creates many opportunities for individuals to upskill themselves and provide guidance & consulting on such a hot topic. They could, of course, just pay McKinsey and whatever they are all called a lot of money to come up with an idea, but what about really skilled individuals who can provide a unique perspective on the matter?
This is where this opportunity comes in. It’s a very broad one, to be honest, as the field is way larger than one might initially think. The possible fields range from general strategic consulting, over smart contract implementation on specific blockchains, to providing guidance on implementing a whole blockchain on its own. Especially the development of smart contracts on public blockchains has the potential to bring a pretty good income. Companies use an already existing infrastructure, develop their product on it, and can then release it into the wild.
I think that the following skills would be necessary to pursue such a career:
General Knowledge Of Blockchain Technology
You’ll need to understand what a blockchain is and what it isn’t, and you’ll have to be able to explain it to stakeholders in such a way that they, as well, are able to understand what they can expect and whatnot. We are only talking about high-level knowledge here. You don’t need to know everything in and out, yet.
Knowledge Of Atleast One Specific Blockchain
Depending on what you want to offer, it might make a lot of sense to know one blockchain very well. If you are to go into smart contract development, Ethereum or Elrond might be a good choice. They both offer smart contracts and a corresponding language those can be implemented with.
Knowledge Of A Smart Contract Language
If you focus on a specific blockchain and on smart contract development, you’ll need to know the corresponding programming language. Ethereum has Solidity and Vyper, Elrond offers a good Rust integration.
Deeper Blockchain Knowledge
If you want to provide guidance on implementing a blockchain on its own, you should be well aware of how one works. This is, however, a pretty large topic, as it covers a multitude of areas you need to be good in. A blockchain basically combines a lot of already existing technologies, like peer-to-peer networking, cryptography, community consensus, and more. I’d consider this skillset pretty advanced and nothing you learn within a year. But it is something you can learn on the side to include in your service portfolio at some point later.
Communication Skills
Selling an idea that is currently pretty abstract, like the internet was some years ago, needs some pretty good communication skills. You might have been contracted already, but you’ll most likely still have to sell the overall idea to upper management. This is where the ability to communicate ideas well and also explain abstract concepts and their possible business implications plays a crucial role.
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!
An Introduction To Blockchain Technology
Blockchain technology is on the rise. Bitcoin broke through the $50k mark and continues its upward trend. This justifies taking a look at the underlying technology, especially as there is more to a blockchain than only the remodeling of currencies. I had a lot of fun writing this thread and laying out the basics, and maybe you’ll have as much fun reading it.
Oliver Jumpertz on Twitter: "What actually is a Blockchain? Bitcoin is breaking record after record, but there must be more to the technology than just crypto, or not? Well, we can take a look at the underlying technology first to understand what it actually provides to us. 🧵⬇️"
To Concat Or To Spread?
I love tweets like the one below. They provide a huge opportunity for the tech community to share their thoughts with the community. When I notice a tweet like this, I always take the chance to jump in and offer my opinion on the matter. It’s one of the best ways to share knowledge with the community, engage, and help some people out.
The problem faced here is a pretty interesting one. Array.prototype.concat and spreading behave the same in most situations, but not in all. Strings and generators, for example, are treated differently by spreading, and this might lead to confusing results.
Native HTML Color Picker
From time to time, I myself forget to take a look at native HTML elements. I’m so used to writing JavaScript that I think to myself “Hmm, yea, I can implement that” or “There is surely a library on npm for this”. But JavaScript always comes at a cost. That code must be downloaded, parsed, etc. All that adds loading time and this is unnecessary when we can achieve the same thing with native HTML and some CSS. The color picker is one such element. There is a native input type for it, so we should try to use it when applicable.
Oliver Jumpertz on Twitter: "🤎 HTML tip 🤎 HTML has a native color picker. Simply use an input with type="color" and you get a native HTML element to choose RGB, HSL, and hex colors with!… https://t.co/6lTiqAY0FM"
Starting A SaaS Company Is Cheaper Than You Might Think
Many lists on Twitter are designed for engagement (IMHO) but sometimes there are real gems like this one. Chris does a good job at pointing out that there are many resources and tools out there that don’t cost a fortune and get the job well done. Those are the ones that might really help you kickstart your own business.
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!
Data Science And Machine Learning In JavaScript
If we’re absolutely honest, it’s mostly not Python that is the engine of machine learning. The language adds a lot of comfort and usability, for sure, but it itself stands on the shoulders of giants. All the algorithms and frameworks you use are usually implemented in C, C++, Fortran, and nowadays even Rust. This makes it perfectly fine to use a language you’re comfortable with to interface with those low-level languages. So, why not JavaScript? This article gives you a few libraries that make it dead simple to do all this with JavaScript while still profiting from the ecosystem already existing.
Data Science And Machine Learning In JavaScript
Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs) - An Introduction
GANs are a class of algorithms for unsupervised (machine) learning. This article is a really beginner-friendly introduction to those algorithms. It basically provides a high-level overview that aims at helping you to understand what exactly those algorithms do, without going into math or any deeper. It’s the perfect level for someone who is simply interested in what GANs are.
A beginner-friendly introduction to Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs) in machine learning.
Simple Linear Regression In JavaScript
Data Science is a pretty fancy term, but a lot of it is relatively straight-forward math. A linear regression is nothing that takes ages to calculate. The formula can be learned, and if we take into account that implementing it mostly only takes basic math and some array processing, JavaScript becomes a suitable candidate to implement this algorithm in. This article I wrote walks you through the theory, the math, and a possible implementation in JavaScript.
Simple Linear Regression - Theory, Math, And Implementation In JavaScript
5 Amazing Benefits of Sharing Knowledge as a Developer
This article is basically a nice list with deeper explanations on why sharing knowledge as a developer is a pretty great thing to do. Some of the points listed might seem obvious for some of you but some may not. Sometimes reading about something from someone else is the last bit that finally makes it ‘click’ in your head. Perhaps this article does it for you.
5 Amazing Benefits of Sharing Knowledge as a Developer
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.
Harvard’s CS50
This course is a classic. It is one of the best resources to get into computer science, in my opinion, and it is well worth the time you have to invest into it. Even if you are well beyond the fundamentals already, you should think about going a few steps back and taking this course nevertheless. You won’t regret it.
CS50's Introduction to Computer Science | edX
Harvard’s CS50 Web Programming
Where CS50 scratched the surface, this course goes deeper into web development. You’ll learn Django with Python, JavaScript, HTML, CSS, Git, and much more. In case you liked CS50, you’ll also like this course.
CS50's Web Programming with Python and JavaScript | 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.
28 day summary
28 day summary
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. Like the last 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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