What am I doing now?

This is what is currently occupying my days.

I created this page in addition to others as part of this page movement. If I were to meet up with someone I had not seen in quite a while and talk shop, this is what we would cover. I will keep this up to date as much as I can.

At home

Aside from doing my day job at home (given the restrictions in place due to Covid19), I have been honing my skills in front end development by building this website.

I have always maintained a good home office set up in any place I have lived, because I want to be able to work and learn in a distraction-free environment.

When I am not coding, I like taking and editing photos. I have my own personal photography website at https://cinematt.photography which showcases some of my work.

When I am not in front of my computer, I enjoy cycling, hiking and running. In 2017, I completed a 1,200km round-trip cycle tour which took me through Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Poland.

My setup

  • MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2019)
  • 2.4ghz Intel Core i9
  • 32gb Ram
  • 1TB SSD
  • 27-inch LG HDR 4K display

What I am learning now

It's always advisable to keep learning and brushing up on your social and technical skills. With that, here is what I have been looking at as of late:

  • Exploring TypeScript more and applying this to the whole React / Redux set up.
  • Learning about the inner workings of Javascript and how it really works under the hood. Douglas Crockford gives some excellent lectures which are available on YouTube.
  • Wrapping my mind around things such as lexical scope, tail call optimisation and function closures. These are things you never really had to know about in the past, but given the evolution of Javascript and how it is being applied, knowing these concepts is essential.
  • I have just rebuilt my personal photography website using NextJS which is a nice framework for building static sites. This project is still ongoing, and I have a good tech roadmap to work on for it.
  • I have created a demo in ReactJS to demonstrate performance gains from using memoisation.
  • I also created the same demo using Web Components. This project has no external runtime dependencies apart from the Web API and can be seen at https://github.com/matfin/editable-list.

On the horizon

Because I don't want to pigeonhole myself with one set of tools and tech stacks, here is what I want to explore more of in the near future:

  • React Native from scratch, so I can gain a full understanding of how Javascript based components and tools tie into the native application development framework for iOS and Android.
  • Another single page application framework called Vue.js which has gained good traction and is widely used.
  • Amazon Web Services including AWS Lambda which is said to be very powerful.
  • Kubernetes which is a container orchestration system, which means it ties together smaller services that work together to achieve a goal. This is taking a different and more manageable approach to monolithic applications which are harder to scale.

In work

In my career, I would ascribe to being an individual contributor / principal engineer as opposed to someone in a managerial role (think CTO or engineering manager).

Since the beginning of 2021, I have been working as a senior React Native developer for a company called TravelPort who are based in Dublin, Ireland. Aside from implementing new features for a mobile travel application, I am in the process of upgrading to the latest version of React Native and all the other tools that come with it, including refactoring tests and components.

Before this, I was working on a web application as a senior front end engineer, where my day to day job involved migrating an old legacy code base to ReactJS. This included the gradual adoption of styled-components, improving test coverage and rewriting components in ReactJS.

I have experience working as a freelance contractor as well as a full-time employee, and I have worked remotely (from shared offices or at home) as well as being on-site full time.

Some recommended reading

Here are some blogs I like to read and would highly recommend for engineers at any level.

  • Everyone should look at the Web Developer Roadmap 2024 which goes into great detail about what you should be learning.
  • 2ality.com by Axel Rauschmayer is an excellent resource for Javascript and TypeScript developers.
  • Overreacted is the personal blog of Dan Abrambov.
  • Sara Soueidan is a prominent developer, designer and voice for UX and accessibility.
  • CSS Tricks which is a very useful resource for CSS related knowledge.
  • Kent Dodds curated by the person who created the React Testing Library.
  • Monica Dinculescu works for Google and helped create the PolymerJS web framework.
  • Sarah Drasner is a prominent front end engineer and speaker.

As well as this, here are some books I have read that made a big impact on me.

  • JavaScript: The Good Parts - Douglas Crockford
  • Get Sh*t Done - Niall Harbison
  • Ishmael - Daniel Quinn
  • A Language Older Than Words - Derrick Jensen
  • The Great War for Civilisation - Robert Fisk

Privacy and Credits

I am a strong advocate for user privacy and as a visitor to this site, I respect your right to your own privacy and anonymity. This is why I will never install any tracking or analytical tools. Thanks for visiting.

Credit must be given to all those who create and contribute to the Open-source movement and provide their work free of charge. None of this would be possible without their efforts.