Say hello to: Maarten, our back-end developer at icapps
During this blog series, we highlight one of our colleagues who talks about his or her job at icapps. Find out what their challenges are in their job, how they can grow at icapps, and get to know them a bit too.
What are the most challenging activities in your job as a back-end developer?
The most challenging thing about my job is finding the right balance. For example how to create a generic back-end and how to efficiently transfer data to the front-end. If I go a little deeper into this, it means that a back-end, according to the rules of the art, is fairly agnostic; meaning that any front-end should be able to integrate with it.
But in custom software, where you are limited by time and money, it is often much better to adjust your back-end to your front-end.
When is a project truly successful for you?
If the customer is satisfied with the product, I will be as well. If the customer isn't satisfied, you have to ask yourself, "What went wrong?”. Because, at the end of the day, we do it all for our customers, to make them happy, to make their product shine. On the other hand, it's critical that everything is accomplished as efficiently as possible. If that’s the case, I consider a project truly successful.
What are the biggest difficulties in back-end development and how do you solve them?
There are lots of difficulties, but I will sum up the two most challenging ones. To begin with… when a project starts; you need to find the right database for this specific project. There has to be a focus on what we need to do, what the most critical things are, how efficiently this all has to be done, and what infrastructure the customer has indicated. These are the questions you should be asking yourself before making a decision based on the database.
Secondly, I believe that it is complicated to determine when the back-end is properly optimized. You develop something that works perfectly, but it's possible that, when going through the code, you see some things that could be written even better. Then you need to consider whether it is necessary to optimize the project or not.
Are there many innovations in your profession? If so, how do you stay up to date?
There are a lot of innovations, especially in my profession, Node.js. You never work completely bare-boned with a language, but you always use a framework. New frameworks are constantly being developed, also existing frameworks are being updated on a regular basis. These enhancements will save you a lot of time and boost your efficiency.
How do we always keep up to date with those changes? Well, everyone has their own method. There are a number of websites that provide articles on updates. I like to do a lot of research on Reddit, it is a very useful platform with a lot of information about many different topics.
How would you still like to grow as a back-end developer?
At the moment, I would like to catch up on a technical level. I worked as a team lead for some time at icapps, and when I started in this role, I was fairly mature in my communication and in my programming skills. I can even say that I became more mature in communication but my technical skills were stagnant for a while. So, for me, my top priority right now is to improve my technical skills again as quickly as possible.
Why did I change from a team lead to a back-end developer? I became team lead because I wanted to have interaction in my profession and because I wanted to develop my people management skills. But when I actually did the job, I noticed that I missed programming - my old love - too much.
And now a random question; what is your creative outlet in your free time?
Music is my go-to way to relax. Since secondary school, I have constantly been busy with music; playing piano, playing guitar, playing in bands, and performing. Music allows me to fully express myself and use my imagination. Now that I became a dad, I, unfortunately, can’t play music after my child’s bedtime ;) (laughs)
Other than that, I have a podcast "Wabliefteru?" (shameless promo) with some of my best friends. A fun way to get together and share interesting stories. A must listen for everyone.