Hi, Nathan thanks for talking with us today! First, could we ask you what is your job and when did you join Fleetback?
Hey! I’m a Front-End Programmer and I’ve worked at Fleetback for about a year and a half now.
Can you explain to us the difference between a Front-End Programmer and a Back-End Programmer?
Sure. A Front-End Programmer will code on the interface, the part that the user can interact with, whereas a Back-End Programmer will code the data which the user doesn’t necessarily see, and only interacts with indirectly. If you take the example of a car, the front-end would the bodywork and the back-end the mechanic.
That’s a helpful comparison! What kinds of tools do you use in your job?
As everyone at Fleetback, I use GitLab and an IDE, which stands for Integrated Development Environment and is where we write the code and where all our files are arranged and classified. I also like coding on a terminal dedicated to entering the lines.
As for my favorite tool, I would say it’s a QWERTY MacBook. Unfortunately, I’m currently working on an AZERTY Windows laptop. So… oops, I guess?
On the other hand, I appreciate a good old whiteboard to organize my ideas in graphics and doodles. I like to be able to erase and rewrite as much as I want, it’s a very useful tool for efficient thinking.
You seem very organized!
Actually, I might be one of the only ones in the team who doesn’t use a notebook to organize. I use Jira, our ticket tool, to define my schedule of the day. I focus on one ticket at a time to make sure not to forget anything.
And while I would say that I’m organized, I think it comes down to knowing myself: I know what kind of information I’m likely to remember or forget and I act on it accordingly. Like, if someone asks me something at 5pm on a Friday, I will definitely set a reminder to make sure I’ll work on it the next Monday!
Is there anything stressful in your job which may be the reason you’re so organized?
Generally speaking, deadlines can be stressful in this job, because usually you don’t set them yourself.
Another stressful thing is tricky bugs, like a bug that directly affects the final user, but which you cannot find the source of. You can search for hours before solving the problem! Also, there’s an element of frustration when you work for days on a bug that you thought you would have fixed in 10 minutes.
Sounds to me like you like to be in control!
Maybe that’s it!
And what are your favorite things about your work?
I like the brain-teasing aspect of it: to think about the best and most durable solution that we can find. If you choose the easiest solution, sure your final product might work, but it may not be durably manageable and that’s not ideal.
I also like to research new ways of coding in my free time, I think it’s an important part of the job for some programmers who are more oriented towards analysis and architecture. It’s something I learned to enjoy with experience.
While you’re talking about experience – do you have any tips for less experimented people in this job?
Yes! You should always try and keep thinking about the best options. Also, do not hesitate to ask for help, because it’s counterproductive to lose a day or half a day of work when someone more experimented than you could have helped you in five minutes.
Another thing that some juniors tend to do is rewriting the whole code every time. While it can be very formative to do everything when you’re by yourself, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Very often you can use someone else’s good basis to work more efficiently.
And the last tip I would give is not to neglect the theory. For example, we use some prewritten parts of codes called design patterns, which are specific techniques meant to be applied in certain types of bugs. Even if they might not seem to be the most obvious solution, it’s very often the optimal and fastest one. You would lose time and efficiency if you don’t know these.
And last but not least, what do you think of the Fleetback atmosphere?
I like that everyone here is full of good will. Even when we argue or debate, it’s in good faith. That’s something precious!
I think you put it nicely! Like, debates here might get heated but we never assume bad faith in another person’s argument.
Right. We are able to solve issues as a team, and listen to each other. We respect each other and each other’s opinions. I think that working in an open space helps, we can constantly communicate and even step in in others’ conversations if we have useful information. We also share a lot of stuff on our Slack channels, whether it’s important or funny news.
I used to dislike open space offices.
Me too! But it works pretty well here.
Is there anything you would change here or in your work?
Sure, like everywhere, we can always improve, for example on communicating on things that may seem like details to you, but will be crucial for a colleague in a few weeks. But overall, I’d say we have a great team and a positive mindset. That’s important to me. As for my job, I actually want to do a bit of Back-End programming, so I’ll be helping out colleagues on some items soon.