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Oliver's Newsletter - Issue No. 8 - Testing And Serverless Are Both Crucial Skills

Oliver's Newsletter - Issue No. 8 - Testing And Serverless Are Both Crucial Skills
By Oliver Jumpertz • Issue #8 • View online
Here we are again. Issue 8 of my newsletter, fresh off the press and right into your inboxes. I still don’t have as much time as I’d really love to have but that time will come again. Until then, I’ll continue to put together for you what’s possible. You may notice that my Twitter statistics section is gone. If you are still interested, I can send you a screenshot anytime but I came to the conclusion that it doesn’t add too much value to this newsletter. The rest, however, remains as usual.
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!
Traditional Careers
I somehow get the feeling these days that traditional careers are no longer for many people. It may just be my personal bubble that puts me in that state of mind or there is really a shift. What I see, however, is that a rising amount of people become vocal about them not wanting to follow the traditional scheme anymore. No longer do they want to follow the path of working their asses off, climbing the corporate ladder and having less and less time for their own life. I feel the same way. I don’t want to work more and more, earn more and more money, while paying not only with my work but also with an increasing amount of my personal time. I simply don’t see myself working 16 hours for someone else anymore. I can’t even imagine working 8 hours a day for someone else until I can finally rest in pension.
What I also see is that many companies slowly start to meet the new demands of their workforce. Working less does not always mean less output. There are even some cases that prove that working less can work to more output. If people don’t need to work on Friday, they still manage to get their work done in the remaining four days. And those companies also slowly start to realize that promoting someone does not necessarily mean that this person needs to work more or differently now.
I personally like this development and would love to see a further transition of the industry toward more family-friendly models.
Follower Counts
They don’t matter as much as you might think. There was a time I was so focused on getting to 10k followers. And then? Well, then there is 20k, then 30k, then…you see where this is going. But do you know something really important? When you only have 10 followers, there might already be one of them who has more weight than 100k followers for other accounts. This might be the one who can offer you your dream job or asks you to partner up on an idea. And of those 10 followers you have, you could make 5 very deep connections that will last longer than you could ever have anticipated.
What I try to say is: Don’t focus too much on those numbers. If you want to provide content, do it without expectations and because you have fun doing it. If you only go for the numbers, you’ll burn out eventually. Just engage, have fun, provide content, this will make you authentic and let your numbers rise in the long term.
NFTs
Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) are currently one the largest business opportunities, period. Whether you think they are a scam or not doesn’t even matter. There is a market with a lot of things currently being sold as NFTs and it’s growing. It’s all about collectibles and people tend to be crazy when it comes to those. I’ve already seen Mark Cuban sell some of his tweets on Valuables for a few hundred to thousand dollars each. Is this crazy? Yes. Is there money to be made? Yes. The concept itself is still a little rough but this should stop no one from jumping in and try to make some bucks on their own. It is well worth taking a look at NFTs and playing around with some ideas. You might also be able to make some money with those. But as with all blockchain things, be advised that there is also risk associated with them.
If you still need some help to grasp what NFTs actually are, this thread might help you.
Zoom Meetings
If an organization calls itself agile and at the same time schedules hour-long Zoom meetings with a dozen people, something is wrong. I experience this firsthand, right now, as I sit in meetings from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., with 15 and more people. And it simply doesn’t work. After two hours, my concentration degrades massively. I try to write a protocol, and try to gather as much information as I can but the longer the meeting goes, the worse the results become. Interestingly, no one really understands that this way of working is bad. It shows that too much is to be done at the same time. It would be so much more effective to work in the background, meet for 15 minutes, and use an asynchronous system like Slack or jira/Trello in the meantime. Only proceeding with whatever is to be done when the current batch of tasks is finished would also free up the mind and enable people to view requirements and issues from a fresh perspective. That current mode of work is simply nothing for me, and I can’t wait to finally be finished with all this non-sense next week. I can then focus on what I’m best at again: Doing my work.
What’s your opinion on this? Do you prefer Zoom meetings or do you love to work more agile?
How To Find Projects To Build
This is one of those questions that I keep getting asked, and I usually give the same answer. I highly believe that this is the best way to get inspiration because it is how I do it: Build a solution for everything that goes on your nerves!
If you can’t find inspiration and don’t know what app you should build, you already have your first project: Build an app where people can share their ideas for projects. It doesn’t even matter if anyone will ever put some content on this platform. It’s an opportunity for you to build a fully-fledged app with frontend, backend, and whatever else you can imagine.
One more important thing about this strategy is that it doesn’t matter whether there is already a working solution for this somewhere on the internet. You need something to learn, so any project can already serve as a platform to apply your skills and acquire new knowledge.
After that, simply ask yourself what you are missing. Tracking your grocery shopping list on paper? Build an app for it. Need a way to split a bill between you and your friends? Build an app for it!
Each of those projects can already keep you busy for a few months if you do it right. At that time, you’ll most likely have enough experience that you’ll be able to find new ideas on your own.
Opportunities
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 - Improve your testing skills
Many tutorials and courses are just awesome. They enable you to go from zero knowledge in a language or framework to an implemented and working app. But most of them lack one thing: They don’t focus much on testing. The same holds true for bootcamps and universities. If you got a degree, did you also have a separate course on automated quality assurance like I did? I heard and saw the same at bootcamps. Testing is usually viewed as something separate. In reality, however, it is or should be deeply integrated into the software development process. Many candidates I interview show a similar picture to me. They view testing as a necessary evil and not as one of our main tasks.
The job of a software engineer/developer is to create a working solution (or a part of it) for a particular problem. Ensuring that the result works is partially a job of the creator of that code. Writing code is too abstract and too complex as that anyone could always foresee whether the solution they created within their mind and then put into code really works as expected, in every scenario. The other thing is that tests are a safety net. If you change a particular piece of code and five tests break, you know that you either did something wrong or did something right as this was indeed intended to happen. Without tests you wouldn’t even have those indicators.
Being able to properly test code can make the difference between an average developer and a high performer. The more used you get to integrating and accepting tests as a part of your daily job, the more you’ll notice how much more productive you become. The more productive you become, the more you’ll be able to accomplish. And at the end of this chain, there might be a highly desirable raise for you, or even a promotion.
So, what should you do? Try to find resources about testing in the ecosystem you currently work in. Is it JavaScript in the frontend? Go and look for some courses and resources that teach you how to properly test your React (e.g.) applications. If it’s Python, do the same. Make this your current priority until you are really comfortable writing tests and until you no longer view them as a necessary evil.
If you want to advance even further, take a look at Test-Driven Development. It’s not a necessity but it’s one way to incorporate testing into your work. It has some great advantages and also some drawbacks but I, e.g., am hugely in favor of TDD, as it benefits me a lot.
Upskill Yourself - Learn Serverless
Enterprises are currently doing a lot to move to Kubernetes workloads in the cloud. Serverless, however, might be the next step in this evolution. I personally think that you can put nearly every workload you can put on Kubernetes on a serverless platform. Many startups realized this and focus more on serverless approaches instead of dealing with the operational complexity Kubernetes brings to the table. I think that enterprises will soon start to experiment more with this and do a lot to move some of their systems over, as the benefits often outweigh the costs.
This is a perfect opportunity to set yourself apart and to be ready when the demand rises and we start to see more job ads listing serverless skills explicitly. It also benefits yourself. If you ever happen to have the idea for an SaaS product, you might have a far easier time starting it on a serverless platform than to manage a whole system yourself.
Let’s take AWS for example. They have an all-in-one product with Amplify that aggregates a lot of AWS’s other services into one, relatively easy-to-use service. Under the hood, you have Lambda, Gateway, AppSync, DynamoDB, and many more. If you are able to manage Amplify, you already know the basics about the underlying services. The great thing about AWS’s serverless offers is that you don’t need to necessarily learn new languages. JavaScript and Python still have some of the best cold start times and execution behaviors on Lambda. In case of JavaScript, you can build your frontend and backend (both hugely scalable) in the same language. That saves time, context switching, and cognitive complexity. Since AWS added container capabilities to Lambda, you can even use the Docker skills you had to work so hard for, and simply provide your Lambda functions as containers instead of simple file/zip uploads.
It doesn’t even take that much to get started. A notebook, a credit card, and some time. That’s everything you need to start playing around with AWS, for example. You can even start by deploying your favorite Next.js app to AWS and start advancing it from there on. This should give you the head start you need to prepare yourself for when your own employer or a potential future one decides to hop on the serverless train.
What's Up 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!
HTML Datalist
I’m always amazed at what native functionality HTML already comes with nowadays. Although I’m a huge fan of JavaScript, I love it even more when I don’t have to implement things myself. The datalist is such a functionality that can save you a lot of time. Instead of writing your own function that makes suggestions, simply put those in the markup and you’re good to go!
Oliver Jumpertz on Twitter: "🤎 HTML tip 🤎 You can reference a "datalist" from an input element. An HTML-native way to show users suggestions on what to enter into an input.…"
5 Cool Things You Can Do With CSS
Pratham is one of my favorite CSS wizards. The work he puts into learning all ins and outs of CSS is amazing and so are his tips. This thread gives you some very valuable tips that will enhance your CSS toolbox by a lot.
Use Your Browser’s Dev Tools To Analyze Your App’s Performance
Sometimes, we tend to overlook the tools we have at hand. Browser developer tools are certainly such an overlooked tool. Did you know that you can manually test the performance of your apps with them? If not, this tip might be for you.
5 Helpful Snippets For Working On Kaggle Challenges
Kaggle is an interesting place. It’s one of the best platforms to get ML/AI projects to work on. The challenges are not even the important part of it. It’s that you get a problem, data, and an environment to refine your skills. The snippets Pratham provides here, are very valuable as they can save you some time which you can use for more important things.
Pratham Prasoon on Twitter: "This is a thread about 5 code snippets that I wish I knew when I just got started with Kaggle challenges. 🧵 👇🏻"
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!
Ace Your System Design Interview
I personally love system design interviews. Mostly because I’m an architect and I’m usually on the side of the interviewer. I do know, however, that this round of interviews is usually pretty difficult for candidates. System design is something you need a lot of exposure to to properly learn it. Bringing some structure into your approach can help you a lot during such an interview, even if you don’t have that much experience. Following those steps will at least ensure that your interviewer has the best chance to help you where possible.
7 Steps To Follow During Your System Design Interview To Help You Ace That Round
Ultimate Cheat Sheet Collection
Cheat sheets have one huge advantage over tutorials and books: If they’re made well, they compile a lot of useful knowledge into an easy-to-understand graphic. This is usually quicker to reference than using the search in your browser or ebook reader. The 200+ cheat sheets you get here will definitely be more than enough to fulfill most of your needs.
The ultimate Cheat sheets compilation (200+) - 🔥🎁 / Roadmap to dev 🚀
How To Publish The Ideal Blog Post
Do you know how to write a good blog post? I don’t. Until now, I took a look at other well-performing posts and tried to copy their structure, simply by guessing that this must be something that works. Yes, I could have educated myself more on how to write good blog posts but well, I found this article, and now I educated myself. If you are still looking for that one way to structure your future posts, this one might definitely be valuable to you.
How To Publish The Ideal Blog Post
Never Answer What Your Current Salary Is In An Interview
I can’t even hear that question anymore. Whenever I talk to recruiters, or when I’m in an interview myself, this question usually arises. Giving an answer instantly takes away 90% of your power and basically pushes you off the high-ground. In this article, I wrote down why you should never answer this questions, how to circumvent it, and how to still get through this unpleasant moment of your interview.
Never Answer What Your Current Salary Is In An Interview - Here Is Why
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.
Learn Rust From Scratch
In case you didn’t know already, I love Rust. And what’s better than to educate people on a language you love? Giving them even more resources so they can also learn it from other resources. What I like about this course is that it is interactive. You can work along and don’t need to pause a video, write some code, maybe rewind a view times, and so on. Definitely give this one a try if you’re interested in Rust.
Learn Rust from Scratch - Free Interactive Course
AWS Serverless Fundamentals
Serverless will gain traction. The adoption rate will rise and even enterprises will try to reap its benefits at some point. This is why learning a little more about it doesn’t hurt, does it? This course on Coursera will teach you more than enough knowledge to become really dangerous with Serverless AWS.
AWS Fundamentals: Building Serverless Applications | Coursera
Until Then
Well, that’s it for another issue of my newsletter. I hope you liked what I put together for you. I do, however, currently think of also removing the “link categories” all-together, and adding in written content instead. What do you think? Would this be even better?
Two questions: Would you be interested in a special issue all about blockchain/crypto/NFTs? Would you love to read more about the business side of software development?
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,
Oliver
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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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