Did you know that about 40% of what we do every day we do automatically? Almost half of our life is taken up by habits that we’ve formed over our lifetime. People are simple creatures, and if something works, why not stick with it?

What is problematic is that sometimes we just think that it works, but in reality, if you took a little time to look into your habits, you would see that they do not necessarily work in your favor.

During the last decade, habits have become a topic of interest in the scientific world. From Charles Duhigg’s “The Power of Habit” to James Clear’s “Atomic Habits,” we have been presented with several tools to improve them. But what makes habits worth the struggle?

Let me show you a few studies about the importance of habits and methods to make them work on your behalf.

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The Scalac Factor

Every company has its own culture. So do we. We really love to work together as a team. Scalac started as a remote-friendly company without managers, and we continue with those values in mind. Remote work is only growing inside the company, and even though the flat structure isn’t that flat anymore you can still call our CEO by name, and we’ve got more roles rather than complicated structures. Startup atmosphere – as they call it – but we prefer to call it the Scalac’s atmosphere because we believe that the fact that we work hard, have fun, and do the right thing is something unique and great about our company. 

Growing company

Why things changed at all? Because now we have exactly 124 people in our team while only 3 years ago there were only 70. So obviously, we had to reorganize how things are done. 

We have a core team, whose members are responsible for different business areas. Of course, at the top of our team, we have a CEO, but we also have technical leaders for different teams: Development –  Backend (mostly Scala), Frontend, QA, UX/UI designers, Business Development, Project Management, Human Resources, Finance, and Marketing. 

As I’ve mentioned before, we are far away from a corporate structure, which we want to avoid as long as possible. This is crucial, but the most valuable thing about  Scalac is the people –  working as one big team of functional, passionate people to keep our quality bar very high. 

5 things to join Scalac

Are you wondering how it is to be a Scalacer or thought about applying to Scalac? Here’s a quick guide to prepare you for joining our crew and to briefly show you what the core values we cultivate are.

1. Be sure that your code is functional

If so – that’s the first strong sign that we want you in our team! 

Be ready to learn

If your code is not functional… yet – this section could be for you. Our candidates are often strong and experienced Java, PHP, Python, etc. developers, willing to switch to Scala. Their code in the technical task is well-structured, has all the goodies of OOP. However, the code isn’t very functional or reactive. In this scenario, we could call it “Java/PHP/Python in Scala”. Too many variables, as well as a lack of the proper usage of techniques available in Scala, such as Tail Recursion.

Don’t get us wrong. This doesn’t mean that we will reject great guys like this at the beginning. We encourage them to work hard and change the way they code by providing solid feedback and learning sources. 

How to learn?

We are always happy to send them Scala Tips, which were prepared by our developers, and a list of good sources to study to help start properly with Scala. We also try to share our developers’ thoughts and opinions about a candidate’s code, so if you want to consult them during the recruitment process about anything – don’t hesitate to let us know – we will be happy to help. 

A good and proven method that works best for learning functional code is to read the famous red book “Functional Programming in Scala” or complete the Martin Odersky Course. They have several exercises that force you and your brain to switch to a functional way. It might be a bit painful at first, but when you manage to break through the wall of pain, you will be enlightened and delighted. And in our experience, you probably won’t want to go back and return to nonfunctional code. But let’s see – we await your opinion! d

2. Be sure that you are close to our values

Scalac at its core is a flat organization. We love to cooperate. We have three strong values at the center of our culture:

  • Work hard
  • Have fun
  • Do the right thing

Work hard

We work hard on our projects and put our whole hearts into making them real and work properly. 

Have fun

But after all this hard work, we like to spend some time together during our online informal meetings, talking about random stuff. Or during our integration trips when we can be together, doing new activities like off-roading, paintball, kitesurfing, and do even more talking, dancing, and signing up to the morning hours ;) 

Do the right thing

Doing the right thing is just as important as the previous two. We want to believe that everything we do – we do with good intentions and for a good purpose. Often we get involved in charity campaigns to help those in need. We choose good and responsible sources for our gifts or swag if you prefer. For our employees, the most important areas for ‘doing the right thing’ are the environment, children, and animals – so we try to help them whenever we can. 

If you’re one of us – we trust you

It may sound like a cliche but when you think about it, you realize that the answer to most of your questions is you. You know what is “the right thing”. So just do it. If it doesn’t work – you can make mistakes, we all make them. That’s the way we learn. The main reason is that we strongly believe in another of our values: “People at Scalac are very smart and responsible”. When you are smart and responsible, you are able to make decisions about your own tasks, take ownership, and face up to the consequences. You do it because you know it’s needed. This goes back to our core value “Do the right thing”.

Everything around coding has to be done by someone and in most cases, you are the one who decides what to focus on.  

3. Be ready to be an integral part of Scalac

The Handbook

We use the Scalac Handbook to show new employees how we work, who is who, how all the processes work. We want to be transparent and open to discussion at all times. In our Handbook, we have an unwritten chapter, where everyone can add something his or herself to improve our way of working. 

Scalac Times and Meetings

In our internal communications, we try to be as transparent as possible. We have our Scalac Times newspaper, which comes out cyclically every month and contains the most important information about what has been happening in our projects, teams, events, etc during the last month. In this newspaper, every team has its own space and can give any information it wants. We have also set up cyclical meetings between the whole team and our CEO, at which we can ask about anything connected to our company.  

Knowledge-sharing

A really important part of the way we function is knowledge sharing. We love to share our knowledge everywhere, all around the world in fact. We want to be an integral part of the Scala community and develop it together at different conferences, in our branches, or via taking part in open source contributions. Scalac organizes its own events such as Functional Tricity meetups, Scala Wave conferences, Scalac Summer Camps, and Pizza meetings, where we can also share our expert knowledge with each other. 

4. Be open to working remotely

Scalac is a remote-friendly company. This means that apart from the values we have already outlined, remote work is another core aspect of our company. How do we work remotely? 

How to work remotely

Our employees have already written great articles on this subject, you can find them here: 

In these texts, our Scalacers list several challenges of remote working and share tips on how to handle them from different perspectives. Please read them and think for a moment if it’s really for you. Maybe you would prefer to mix remote working with working from the office in Gdańsk or in coworking spaces. This type of work is challenging and requires a lot of self-organization and perseverance. But if it suits you – it can be a great, valuable experience! 

Despite the remote character of our work, as we mentioned before, we love to spend time together. We pay a lot of attention to our relationships and nurturing them. After work, we can talk on our #cafe or #wine channels or meet during company retreats. 

Watch this video to have a little sneak peek on how it looks like.

These days, after the coronavirus lockdown, the world and ways of working are changing and market research shows that remote work has become more popular than even just one year ago. And we’re quite lucky to have 6 years of experience in this matter. 

According to the ‘Remote Managers 2020 Report’, 87% of remote managers believe that remote work really is the future. 

5. Be ready to choose your own direction

It’s important to know where you are heading. Of course, your plans may change a year from now but we like to work with people who know what they want to invest their time in. We know that it’s hard to be good in every field. 

There are cases when somebody is a full-stack developer but being good at both ends of the software requires a tremendous amount of hard work. We really appreciate it and support it as much as we can. 

Scala hAkkers 

We are experts in the field of Scala functional programming and we want to work with the best Scala hAkkers in the world. 

It’s important to know where you want to be in the future and we as a company can help you develop your career path in various directions: 

  • Consultant – focused on cooperation between technology and business, explaining technical issues to the clients, proposing solutions, and ways to implement projects.
  • Team player or mentor supporter – focused on teamwork, always willing to help, share your knowledge, caring for the development of both yourself and the team.
  • Typical hacker – focused on the hard, complicated programming tasks to bring projects to an end with good quality. 
  • Any other path which you have a vision for, or maybe you have an idea you want to develop, something you’re able to show us and convince us it’s a great idea.   If so, yes! Let’s do it together! 

We like to work with people who are well aware of their choices and are fully committed to achieving their goals. We help them to do this by sponsoring their trips to the best conferences around the world, providing books, holding both internal and external training.

Join Scalac

On our Careers page you might like to take a look at us, our teams, how we work, what is important to us, which positions are open, and a lot more information which we hope will convince you to join us. 

As I mentioned before we do not have only Scala team, but it is our core – especially in the context of functional programming, so it was only to highlight where we’re coming from. We’re constantly changing and building new teams. 

So, are you ready to join Scalac? Do you agree with our core values? Is there anything you would do differently? If so, we’re happy and open to talk to you about it! 

Originally written in 01.2016 by Maciej Greń, updated in 09.2020 by Katarzyna Królikowska

As long as I’ve been working at Scalac, remote work has been a part of our everyday routine. But everything changed a few months ago, due to the COVID-19. We always focused a lot of our attention on integration and included people who work remotely in most of our activities.  But even though we had the experience and tools to work from home, we had to change some things around just like every other company. This mostly refers to the people who could work remotely but preferred working in the office. As wells as the people who took care of the company integration meetings and events. This included – among others – me. 

We wanted to continue all of our previous activities. Still, we had to be smart about transitioning them from offline to online.

These are some examples of those activities. 

Functional Tricity

this was the local meetup that we organized for developers in Tricity (Gdańsk, Sopot, Gdynia) in Poland. We couldn’t do it in the usual form, so we decided to take it a step further.  Now we’ve got the Functional World Meetup – a fully remote event for people all around the whole world, not only from the Tricity, using live stream on Twitch. BTW, we are going to continue both of the meetups (Tricity when a pandemic will be gone), so stay tuned!

Workshops 

Have changed to … fully remote workshops using zoom.us and brought our A-game with tools like Mural and our creativity in making sure everyone is listening and the workshops are engaging. 

Small talk 

Chatting in the kitchen for those who worked at the office has moved to remote café meetings, where every single Scalacer can talk on a special Slack channel called #cafe. 

The company retreat

Before the lockdown, we usually meet twice a year in one place – all the 124 people from Poland, Italy, Bolivia, and more! By a lake or the seaside – doing some sports, workshops, playing board games, etc. This time we took the challenge of doing it remotely – and it turned out to be more than possible. For example, instead of paintball, we played Counter-Strike; instead of the usual board games, we used http://boardgamearena.com/, and we changed our evening meetings over tea or beer into a long night conversation on zoom.us

If you are curious how we did all of this, take a look below on our 12 Lesson Learned:

1. The day does make a difference.

So obvious, but worth realizing why it is so important, especially for online events. No one wants to sit for yet more long hours looking at a computer screen after a whole week of doing so. Remember that employees also have families and hobbies. They want to spend more time with them during their days off to keep up a work-life balance, and you should let them have it.

2. Less is more.

Remember about keeping the right balance when it comes to the frequency of your events/integrations. It is much better to have events less often but with better quality so you can be sure that more people will be engaged, then organize them more often but with the same activities repeatedly.

3. Remember about time zones.

Keep in mind that people who join an online event may be in different countries. So it’s essential to find the best time for everyone, especially when it comes to internal online events where everyone is equally important. Of course, scheduling a good time for a meeting that suits everyone isn’t easy. But it’s not impossible either. But if for some reason, some can’t be there at the given time –  you can always engage in other ways. They can prepare something for their colleagues before the event. You can also record activities such as presentations to share them later. 

4. Same rules for everyone

Avoid the situation when some attendees are remote, and some of them are not, with both groups at the same online conference. It might work if it is a daily meeting or during a presentation with only one person talking. A situation when half of the participants are online, and the other half is not is harder for online attendees. It’s harder to be noticed and raise your opinion when you’re just a talking head on the TV screen. So play fair and keep it all remote.

Note: Some exceptions worth mentioning are, for example, our “Pizza days” where we share our knowledge internally. It works because some people watch it online, some at the office on a couch, but the people presenting their work are also sometimes online, sometimes in the HQ, and everyone can order themselves a pizza – no matter if they’re at the office or not. Pizza for all! – the real sign of equality. 

5. Better make it short and exciting rather than long and boring

Having to focus on a computer screen after a whole day or week of work is challenging. If you have discussed your plan with the potential attendees, you can organize the activities so that they won’t take up a whole day. Better make it short and interesting rather than long and tedious. And if people will be willing to keep up the topic or games – always give them the freedom to do so. When it comes to long online conferences, remember not to forget about short breaks and a longer one for lunch.

6. Talk with the CEO to find some free time for integration meetings during working hours.

This one, of course, is only when it comes to your internal events. This is crucial if you want to encourage employees to take part in your remote activities, mostly because of what we have mentioned before – that not a lot of people can stand sitting in front of their computer for so long. It will show everyone that the decision-makers know how important integration is. Of course, this depends on company policy but will make attendance much more likely. 

7. The early bird gets the worm and most participants.

Inform everyone about the event well in advance. Let people have time to think,  so they can coordinate those plans with their private lives and make joining the event as easy as possible.  Information should include everything that a person would need to answer the question, “Do I want to join this event or not?” but remember not to overwhelm them with too much information. During internal meetings, use your everyday communicators such as Slack or email. When it comes to external events, choose the most influential channels that you have – perhaps Twitter, maybe email – you make this decision. In our experience – short info from time to time is better than a longer message all at once

8. Give your team the steering wheel

If you like playing Counter-Strike, it does not mean everyone does. We always invite our employees to discuss what kind of activities are interesting for them, but we also do individual research simultaneously. Sometimes it’s better to give people ready ideas to vote on, and sometimes you can take the ideas straight from the people. No matter which one you choose, it’s always good to check the final agenda with the whole team – especially if you want to engage people more – they always appreciate things they were a part of from the very beginning much more. You can leave one or two things a surprise if you’re feeling freaky. 

9. All information in one place 

There should be one place with all the necessary info, including the agenda, descriptions, topics, activities, etc. Everything should be available and visible to everyone. We often use Google Docs or a dedicated Slack Channel – easy and very accessible. This is very important because some people simply don’t know the tools and how to use them properly – that’s why explaining everything step by step before the event is necessary.

10. Show them the goods

Try to encourage people instead of just telling them to come or informing them about the meeting. How can you do that? The main point is to present the purpose and benefits of the event – how amazing it would be and what can be learned from the activities. It’s good to talk about your previous experience (if you have any) and show that they will be satisfied if they take part.

11. Technical preparation

Whatever type of online meetings you want to arrange, it is crucial to first think about technical issues. There is nothing more disruptive and irritating than a bad internet connection with crushing video and sound. That is why you should put all the technical aspects you can think of on your checklist. If you do not have any experience in that – here you have a list of 22 things to check before your next virtual meeting

12. Use tools that are simple, accessible, and fun 

  • Slack – this tool is viral in IT businesses, although it may not be that conspicuous in other fields. It is a very intuitive chat tool, prepared specially for companies, for smaller or bigger groups. It is dedicated to communicating in groups and for individual conversations. You can manage your channels, connect with external tools like calendar, prepare video calls, and do many more things. The video calls are handy – you can use Google Hangouts Meet, Zoom.us, and dedicated Slack video conferencing tools to set up a call with your workmates on channels dedicated to your events. 
  • Google Hangout Meet – a typical tool for organizing your online meetings. You can invite your friends to participate in an online discussion by sending them a link directly or sending them an invitation to Google Calendar. There is also the possibility of sharing your screen, writing online chat with others during the call. Interestingly, you can also switch on the subtitles(now available only in English). This can help you understand others better and make meetings more comfortable for hard-hearing people. 
  • Zoom.us – Similar to the previous, but more advanced and with the better video quality.  There are several functions that can make your event, workshop, or meeting simply more manageable and more creative. There are basics like sharing a screen, recording the meeting, chatting, and managing people on the call. And also, higher things such as sharing people to different rooms (instrumental during workshops), writing on a whiteboard, or setting your unique background by using the built-in green screen.
  • Twitch – a straightforward platform to do you live stream presentations. Compared to Google Hangouts and Zoom.us, there’s no possibility of having video contact with the audience; the only contact is via written chat. Of course, you can also record your presentation, download, or save on your  Twitch channel.  All you need to do is register on the platform, download one on the available tool, and install it on your computer. Then just have fun!
  • Kahoot is a funny and colorful program that you can use to organize online challenges for your event attendees. Create questions with a maximum of 4 answers, send the link to the long term or fast challenge, and reward the winners!
  • Mural and Miro – online boards to make your workshop, brainstorm, design thinking, or planning session. Just more creative and easier to visualize. You can draw shapes, use sticky notes, or use ready templates for your work. Others can do the same, on the same board at the same time! After finishing the work, you can save your board as an image or PDF file!
  • Gather Town – this tool looks like a mix of an online game and a video call. Everyone has their avatar, which moves in a virtual space such as a bar, park, or anything you’d like. You can walk around and join groups of other avatars by merely standing next to them. Just like in a real life. You can listen to each other or participate in the conversation. If the conversation doesn’t interest you, you can just walk away, join another group of people. Or just drink your virtual coffee.

To sum things up

These have been only a few tips about what things should be remembered when organizing online events. We have had excellent conditions to try out the different methods since most of our employees work remotely since we started the company. 

I hope you find what we’ve learned useful and will keep following us on our blog and social media to see how we continuously improve our events game. 

What are your ideas for online events? Have you had any experience with organizing them? Share your thoughts with us! We would love to follow you on your journey as well!

Hola, Nǐ hǎo, Bonjour! Looking for the best tools to learn a new language? You definitely have heard of apps like Duolingo, Memrise, etc. But I’d like to share with you some useful tools and websites that aren’t so well-known and might be helpful when improving your language skills or learning a new language. 

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The ultimate guide to do great on your next technical interview (Questions, Answers & more)

Common stereotypes show that in the IT industry, effective communication skills are not strong points in the profile of a typical programmer. They need only to have solid technical skills to help them accomplish specific tasks and to create particular products. But it turns out that nothing could be more wrong.

In the long run, when it comes to matching a new person to a team and making the right employment decisions, soft skills (communication skills, teamwork, creativity, etc.) are often more important than technical skills. 

According to specialists from a Linkedin team in the report “Global Talent Trends 2019”, bad hiring decisions and parting ways with employees are in 89% of cases caused by a lack of soft skills or deficiencies in both areas. Only 11% of partings were caused solely by problems with technical expertise.

In the opinion of Deloitte’s  “Soft skills for business success”, in 2030 as many as 2/3s of job offers on the market will require candidates to have specific soft skills.

Why we care about it at Scalac

At Scalac, our employees have the perfect combination of soft skills along with robust technical expertise, because as a company, we try to be as professional as possible when consulting with our clients. We always make sure we advise our clients, explain why any given solution is the best in our opinion and the pros, cons, opportunities, and threats of our proposals.

As a Scala development company, and experts in our field, we have to be able to express our opinions and knowledge professionally so our clients can be 100% sure that their cooperation with us was the right choice.

In this article, we would like to share this practical knowledge with you to help you nail any upcoming interview. 

After reading this article, you will know: 

  • How to prepare for a technical interview
  • How to show and share your knowledge
  • What a technical conversation looks like and why it is needed 
  • Where you can find answers to technical interview questions (reliable sources)
  • All communication tips & tricks 

Tech job interview – is it indispensable?  

Essential knowledge

The primary aim of a technical interview is to check the most essential knowledge of the candidate. The interview usually takes about an hour. Scalac is a remote-friendly company, so in our case, we most often meet online. We try to look more widely at the candidate’s competences and ask about things that they were not able to show during the implementation of their technical task. Sometimes, the candidate has made a mistake, used an inefficient way of using a given technology, or simply recombined it with a complicated solution. The technical interview is the right time for the candidate to clarify any important issues – by answering questions or initiating their own clarification of the case in question. Interestingly, our experience shows that sometimes a candidate hasn’t done the technical recruitment task completely independently. During the interview, we can easily verify this and avoid any misunderstandings on both sides.

Point of view

Based on our experience, we like to regard this stage of the process as a joint meeting of experts and practitioners in our field. After all, we are all programming enthusiasts in the conversation, regardless of the side, we are on – interviewer or interviewee. The interview is also the time to ask about the perspectives of the other technical people in the company, know their points of view and experiences. Why are they working here? How are they working? What projects are they involved in? What technologies do they use? What tools do they use? It’s best to ask about these kinds of issues at the source, and the interview is an ideal opportunity.

Soft skills

Of course, this is also an excellent opportunity to check the candidate’s soft skills, such as communication, proactive approach, problem-solving, searching for solutions, flexibility, and much more. Our recruiters often say that they are looking for people who can solve problems and the challenges they face. This is the most important to them. The data provided by Linkedin also confirms this – the most desirable soft feature on the labor market is creativity, which, contrary to popular belief, is not only reserved for the creative professions. Recently, this has evolved into a feature that allows you to solve problems in an original, unconventional, and at the same time effective way. Having this kind of competence turns out to be crucial in the face of very dynamic tasks and a rapidly changing reality.

Based on the Linkedin data, the most appreciated – and therefore desirable – soft features on the labor market are creativity, persuasion, collaboration, adaptability, and time management.

In the era of technical development and automation, the demand for social skills will continue to increase until 2030, because it is a feature whose machines, even with using the artificial intelligence, are not able to take over and replace so quickly (McKinsey Institute, “Skills shift automation and the future of the workforce”)

How to prepare for a technical interview

Technical competence is practiced every day and improved continuously because programmers use their practical knowledge when doing projects and programming new functionalities as part of their professional duties. However, sharing knowledge with someone else, – especially not in any specific practical case but also theoretically – can be more complicated and require more communication and persuasive skills than it may seem.

What questions are asked in a technical interview? Scala technical interview questions – (Scala Programming Language interview)

As Scalac is a Scala development company the leading technology we use is, not surprisingly, Scala, which is why most of our technical recruitment is for Scala Developers. Below, we’ve also collected some valuable content on typical Scala technical questions.

There are plenty of sources on the web where you can find sample questions, so not wanting to discover America again, we have decided to combine our own questions with the best ones on the web, revised by our developers. Now you have all the best questions (with answers) in one place! Scala development company tested.

Download it HERE

How can I pass a technical interview? 6 Tips from our developers

Some time ago, our developers prepared a few rules to send to candidates before a technical interview to prepare them for what it will contain. So it  will not be  too stressful, below are some tips that you should consider if you want to be well prepared for the main points of an interview

  • Before the technical interview, make sure you have your solution from the previous stage to hand, so you can open it if needed. Or just make sure you remember your solution. Sometimes technical recruiters will want to ask you about something you did in your task. 
  • Some concepts might be easier to explain with code than with words, so make sure that any app for presenting your code works fine on your device. It could be a simple “online text file” so you can share what you have in mind. This practical way of explaining is sometimes easier and shows your practical knowledge and experience off better.
  • Sometimes, it could happen that a technical recruiter will ask you to do some “live-coding” during the meeting. This can be helpful to convey meaning. The idea is not to write compiling the code. 
  • Even if you have a lot of experience and knowledge when describing a topic, it is better to come up with an answer that covers the main points as briefly as possible. If you explain something for a long time and it turns out that this is not the best question for you, you will have less time for another question which could be better and more comfortable for you.  
  • It’s always good to spend some time refreshing your knowledge because sometimes it’s hard to recall how something works if you used it a year or more ago.
  • From a practical point of view, before the call, remember to check whether your Internet connection, microphone, speakers, and camera are working correctly so you can talk without any disruption and delay during the meeting. To feel comfortable, you can always ask your recruiter about any “dress code” for the interview – not to be overdressed or too informal.

6 pieces of advice on communication from a professional interviewer 

From a typical communication point of view, it is worth remembering the following issues so you feel by the end of the interview that both sides have the right information necessary to make further decisions regarding the recruitment process.

  • If the interview is online – everybody knows that sometimes the connection quality can be lacking, freeze, or something – so do not hesitate to ask for clarifications or to rephrase anything – it’s perfectly fine!
  • If anything wasn’t clear  – feel free to ask for clarification, explanation, or to repeat it – this is completely natural, -we should always strive for the best understanding from both sides.
  • Remember that the technical person is there to also answer your own questions about the company you are applying to.  Don’t be afraid to ask – if everything goes well you will be working together in the same team anyway. 
  • Remember one basic rule – “I don’t know” is sometimes a good answer.  It shows your maturity and openness – so do not hesitate to say it if necessary It is better to admit you don’t know than to try to figure out a response when you actually don’t have any idea about something.   
  • Make sure you know how much time you will need for the technical interview and make some time in case it needs to be prolonged. You can always ask the recruiter about the probable duration. 
  • It’s perfectly fine to ask your recruiter what the interview will be about and what it will consist of. Remember, you can tell the recruiter about your previous experience to let him be aware of your strengths. You can also mention which topics you feel the most comfortable talking about and which specific topics you feel you are expert enough to show off your best side.

How to answer tech questions to show them you know what you’re talking about 

It sometimes happens that technical teams in IT companies may have direct contact with clients, as well as with their technical and business units at the stage of determining a project’s requirements. Scalac is a Scala development company and since 2013 when the company was founded – staying in touch with the client side is an integral part of our work. That is why sharing knowledge is essential, and we make sure to this when talking to the candidates.

Using The Feynman Technique to boost your communications skills

When it comes to preparing for the communication aspect of an interview, and showing off your knowledge, a good example to follow is the theory of Richard Feynman, an American Nobel laureate in physics. This technique

“involves using a simple analogy or metaphor to explain any issue. Although its main purpose is to identify questions that you can’t answer, thanks to which you find gaps in your knowledge, and you can get to know what you are learning.”

Feynman suggests that a perfect method to prepare and, assimilate your knowledge, and to realize any possible deficiencies, is to clarify an issue in simple words to reach the recipient, imagining it is a 5-year-old child. This simple way of communication is excellent in interviews especially on complex, technical topics, in which, at the same time, we have to demonstrate our understanding.

By explaining the issues,  both in-depth and in simple language, we can show off our practical knowledge and the fact that we know what we are talking about. At the same time, do not try to hide certain areas of ignorance behind a veil of complicated, theoretical expressions and words. That’s why it is worth relying on examples and, if possible, share completed case studies from previous personal experience.

Isn’t simple language too simple for a tech talk? 

Technical knowledge should of course be at an advanced level in the case of a typical professional interview, especially for regular and senior positions. But even in these cases,  sticking to simple, direct sharing of your knowledge is important. Not least precisely because it happens sometimes that business clients are not technical people. Explaining to them project assumptions, technical offers, main challenges, risks, and normal activities in a programming project may require more of a practical, pictorial, and transparent approach to prove our expertise and knowledge of a given issue. 

What you’ve learned – you know.

Remember that every experience you have had can be a lesson which you can always draw conclusions from and make good practices for the future. That’s why it’s worth bearing, in mind that there are no stupid questions.

As a well-known Polish proverb says “who asks will not go astray” – you can confidently ask questions during the recruitment process. Ask for any clarification if you do not understand something, or simply ask for a reminder of any issue already raised to ensure everything is transparent and understandable. Go ahead and feel free to ask about any typically technical aspects you can talk about with a technical recruiter, such as “what technologies are most often used in your projects?”, “What is the scope of the work in the project?”.

During the discovery interview with the HR team, any questions regarding work culture and company operations are also welcome. A recruiter who is interested in real dialogue with a candidate will be happy to answer any issues.

What can you learn from feedback? 

It is also vital to make sure you understand well any technical feedback provided – regardless of whether it may cause a further stage or delay the end of the process. You can always get valuable information and suggestions in feedback, which you could use to improve your skills and be able to present yourself better in the next stages of the recruitment process. We should always get the best out of feedback and regard it as an opportunity for development in areas that may require further work, and which will allow us to spread our wings in the future.

To sum up

After taking into account the above points, getting acquainted with the research we have quoted, and observing the labor market, we can confidently say that a technical interview is necessary in the recruitment process. That is true from ’ the point of view of both sides of the recruitment process

From the employer’s perspective…

considering the predicted increase in the importance of soft skills in the labor market, it is right that companies should develop their recruitment processes in this direction to make the right recruitment decisions.

From the candidate’s point of view…

the technical interview allows you to present yourself at your best, to explain your thinking and defend your arguments. It is also an opportunity to obtain additional, valuable, and technical information from other developers, already working in the company you are applying to.

It is worth noting that currently, soft skills are gaining value. We, therefore, hope that some of the above tips showing how to prepare well for a technical interview will prove useful will give you an advantage in the labor market and will help reduce the stress that often accompanies the recruitment processes.


Thank you for reading the article!

I hope that after reading this article there will be no doubt that technical interviews make sense and you will need to prepare for them not only in terms of typical programming knowledge, but also in terms of communication skills.

I can do nothing more than to keep my fingers crossed for the success of each of your future recruitment interviews and hope that we will meet at some stage of the recruitment process at Scalac ;)

What are your experiences regarding technical interviews in the companies you have applied for? Do you think they were useful and valuable? Do you now understand how necessary soft skills are in your job?

See also:

Scale fast with Scalac – Scala development company ready to solve all your challenges.

The XXI century has brought us a lot of wonderful inventions. New technical solutions that allow us to travel, to get knowledge about the world and be in touch with our friends and family – even if they live in a different country and different time zone. Building high, impressive buildings, driving fast cars, changing clothes every season, buying a new smartphone every year – it all seems very natural to our generation. Unlike in the past, we can go to the local supermarket whenever we want, just to buy a pack of perfect looking nuts or jelly beans in a portion-sized plastic bag. 

Ecology in the times of coronavirus 

All of these examples, and more, are a part of our everyday routines. It’s something we have just got used to and cannot live without.This has become even more obvious now, during these strange times when the quarantine forced on us by COVID-19 can make us anxious and lost. And the only things that can seem to make us happier are prepackaged foods, new clothes or 1,930,490 useless items from Wish. 

We’re a consumer society, there’s no doubt. But what is the real cost of our unquenching thirst for things?  

Earth Day 

On the day I’m posting this article – the 22nd of April – it’s the Earth Day. This special occasion has motivated me to share a little bit on how we can reduce the price that we pay for all the goods I’ve mentioned. Working separately, we can’t do much, but if we make a good  example as an individual, we can inspire a  whole population.

Eco Bottle Earth Day Scalac
Reusable thermal Scalac bottles on vacay #DoTheRightThing and #HaveFun

So let me tell you now why I think it’s so important to take action, and also give you a few examples of how we at Scalac are trying to be more responsible. And if you end up stealing some of these ideas, it’ll make us more than happy! 

Why is sustainability so important? A few numbers

The idea of sustainable growth

There is a concept, that each generation should have the possibility to satisfy their needs, but without limiting access to meeting the needs of future generations. Put briefly, we can take what we need from the world’s natural resources, while still keeping in mind that life on earth won’t stop after we die. There will be future  generations after us, our children and grandchildren. They should have the right to use those resources as well. And we at Scalac believe that this “theory” is actually something that should be put into practice. 

(Un)sustainable world 

Sustainable development is when there is a balance between peoples, the environment, and industry. Unfortunately, nature is losing now. The state of the Earth is at its worst since anyone can remember.

We have known about the “plastic problem” in the oceans since all the way back to 1970. But now, 50 years later, we still don’t know what to do about it. The only thing we can say for sure is that pollution is getting worse. 

Fire, earth, air, water, and plastic?

Plastic 

In the last 50 years, plastic waste has increased from 2 Mt in 1950 to 380 Mt. The total amount of plastic manufactured from 1950 through 2015 is 7,800 Mt. Half of this, 3,900 Mt, has been produced, during only the past 13 years. It is estimated that during these 50 years the numbers have grown twenty fold, and during the next 15 years they will increase even twice more. Surprisingly, 49% of this waste comes from disposable packaging – the part of the product you don’t even use (actually – it isn’t even part of it)  and the part you probably throw away after 5 minutes. 

49% of this waste comes from disposable packaging.

Water

Equally important is water. Water is essential to life. However, to take the situation in Poland as an example – scientists estimate that the drought in Poland in 2020 will be the strongest in 50 years. This is a really clear example of changes in our climate. In addition, in 2020, the global need for fresh water will exceed its supply by as much as 40%. 

In 2020, the global need for fresh water will exceed its supply by as much as 40%. 

Air

What about air? In just 2018 alone, global warming increased by 3.3%. On top of that, 7 mln people die every year because of bad air quality! It has become so bad, that the poor condition of the air is in fourth place on the list of most serious threats to human life.

Taking care of one ton of garbage costs Irish citizens roughly 1,116 euros.

Costs

In Ireland, the national government doesn’t cover the costs of cleaning and refuse collection from household  bins. Every year, the amount of trash left in public spaces, forests, etc. is as much as 100k tons. Local budgets (i.e. local taxpayers) have to cover the costs of dealing with this problem. Between 2016 and 2018,  the amount of waste in Dublin amounted to 17,147 tons, and taxpayers had to pay about 20 mln euro to deal with the trash. Therefore, getting rid of one ton of trash alone has cost Irish citizens roughly 1,116 euro.

In comparison, every private brand that uses reusable packages and recycling processes, in the same country, pays just 89 euro for one ton. Just think about all the good things we could do with this amount of money saved! 

Sustainable T-shirts eco cotton Earth Day Scalac

How we do it at Scalac

Think about materials

Swag, personalized gifts, gadgets. These are part of building a company’s identity – they can really make people feel like they belong to the same team – wearing the same war paint, in a way. But in 2019, we decided to tackle this particular issue  in the most responsible way we could. Keeping in mind that in the end – a team is all about the people, not things. 

Some nice examples; our hoodies are now made from high-quality materials. As a happy side result, they now last  a long, long time, with no need to replace them after just a few washes. We’ve also changed our T-shirt suppliers and now we’re sure that our T-shirts are made from eco-friendly cotton. 

Useful stuff only

On special occasions, like Christmas, we face the  great challenge of choosing  the right gifts for our employees and our clients. Of course, the main challenge is to #DoTheRightThing and stay as environmentally responsible as possible. 

We now always get our team together and discuss what type of gifts we should consider buying. The point is to choose gifts that are useful and won’t just be thrown away immediately.Obviously, it’s impossible to get it right every single time. Because each of our 122 employees – not to mention clients – is different. But we do our best, and I dare to say we’re getting better and better at it.

Here are a few practical examples of gifts we have purchased in the past:

  • metal thermal bottles, 
  • glass lunch boxes,
  • notebooks made from recycled paper,
  • metal, reusable straws,
  • Christmas cards that can be planted (they were printed with special non-toxic paint on a paper that contained seeds) 

I’m also glad to say that we are working on  a completely new way of giving gifts to  our people. This is based on collecting points on a special platform, which everyone can then use to buy the best gift for themselves, at a specific time most convenient to them. Sometimes, giving people a choice might simply be the best option.

Local suppliers

Supporting local manufacturers is an integral part of supporting the environment. It is also the perfect way to fight with our carbon footprint; – one of the main causes of global warming. How? By collecting goods ourselves, without having to ship things all the way from China or other distant countries, and also by skipping unnecessary packaging.

Remember,it’s always a good idea  to use a local  sewing service, gadget manufacturer,etc.if you have the chance! Not only eco-friendly but also people-friendly – as those kinds of businesses are often smaller, so you’ll also be  helping your neighbor. 

Some examples of our local companies:

  • The Dalba Brewery, which hires people with disabilities, who produce an amazing beer we drink during our Pizza Days (knowledge sharing events) or while just hanging out together after hours,
  • For the Scala Wave conference (which Scalac organizes), we chose a local sewing service  Panato (instead of “eastern” producers) who sewed beautiful bags for our attendees. Panato is also not only local but, like  Dalba, hires people with disabilities,
  • Our T-shirts owe their branding to the local workshop from Gdańsk,
  • Also we sewed our Scalac shopping bags in local manufactures like Pakuj Worki and Pakuj do Swojego.

Less waste

There are a lot of everyday adjustments that do not cost much – or cost nothing at all – but can have a big impact on the environment as well. Below are some of the practices that help us produce less waste on a daily basis. 

  • We buy water in glass bottles, recycle it later or give it back to the distributor (we use bottled water mostly for the purposes of business meetings), in the office, we also use filtered tap water,
  • During our company retreats, we order catering that brings food in ceramic dishes and uses metal cutlery,
  • We use reusable plates and cutlery in the office every day,
  • We fill our postal parcels with some natural or waste materials like scrap paper, 
  • We choose “less waste” and recycle gadgets – eg. we designed a special cable segregator made from our old rollups, 
  • For events (like Scala Wave), we make badges from recycled paper (actually we’ll probably resign from them completely and replace them with electronic ones). We have also resigned from canned sodas as well as unnecessary gadgets, 
  • If we want to organize an event with a dedicated gift package, we make sure attendees register. Then we will know exactly how many packages we need. If we plan to give away things like T-shirts, we ask about the size too, to avoid overordering, 
  • We also organized workshops on “How to not waste food” during one of our team retreats and we’re planning to share this kind of knowledge even more in the future!
Less Waste workshops at Scalac
“How to not waste food” workshops at Scalac – Scala Development company

Of course, these are only examples. You can find your own way to become more “eco”. Just find one little thing you can change and start today. 

Learn from your mistakes

He who makes no mistakes makes nothing. 

In the end, even if you want to really  #DoTheRightThing, sometimes you will fail. It might be because of the law, transport, or cost. However, whatever happens, the best thing you can do is to just learn from your mistakes – and go on to try something different. 

We have had a few failures on our path too. But one is definitely worth mentioning.

We once ordered new notebooks.  Wonderful graphics,  practical design and of course made from recycled paper. Everything seemed so perfect. So what was the problem?.  EVERY single notebook came wrapped in a  plastic case, which was supposed to protect the notebooks during transport. Obviously, this was completely unnecessary. The notebooks were perfectly safe traveling in a box without these additional plastic covers.

What have we learned? That you have to talk through every single detail of the gadget – and packaging – with the producer and explain why you care. 

Nobody’s perfect

We’re not an ideal, eco-friendly company. But you know what? We will probably  never be perfect. There is still so much to do in this area. But we do our best to stand by our values, both inside and outside the company, and find new ways to implement new solutions all the time. We’re a Scala development company with three main mottos; #Workhard #HaveFun and #DoTheRightThing. That third is about social responsibility. We approach this in many different ways. Not only by supporting ecology, but also by supporting local suppliers and companies that hire people with disabilities, organizing fundraisers for charity and taking part in multiple events. But those are  topics for a completely different article. 

To sum up. Being ecologically responsible  is not about certificates and formal proofs. It is about consciousness, everyday actions, and habits. We are all building the world around us with the small everyday decisions we take – and it’s up to us what our world is going to look like tomorrow. 

Happy Earth Day! 

#DoTheRightThing and share our message. 

Sources

Scale fast with Scalac – Scala development company ready to solve all your challenges.

Here at Scalac, we know how to take your business to the next level. We specialize in IT staff augmentation, custom software development, data engineering, blockchain, and analytical dashboards to help give your company the best technology to keep growing. We work with clients of all sizes but focus mainly on helping mid-sized companies all around the globe accelerate time to market and expand. 

How we keep customers satisfaction as high as 4.9/5

Our team of over 120 tech and business experts works every single day on making sure we’re the best partners in growing our client’s businesses.

We are one of the Top Scala development companies, a Gold Lightbend Partner and we offer a wide range of services to build end-to-end solutions. 


Our team includes Scala Team, Frontend Team, Data Engineering Team, DevOps Team, UX/UI, and QA to guarantee that our clients get the right services for their projects.

Take a look at some of the recommendations we got

Adtech & Data

One of our projects consisted of providing a recommendation for an advertising technology company using Scala. We made sure to really understand the company and blend into their own team and working habits. It was also important to make sure we delivered the product in an efficient and timely manner. 

Scalac Top IT Company San Francisco Clutch

The product was developed in a timely manner. There were no delays. Everyone involved was quick to pick up the challenge we were solving and the milestones we were trying to reach. Overall, their contribution was greatly appreciated by the entire company and its customers.

Product Manager at an advertising tech company

Another review, left by one of our New York partners, gives an excellent overview of our Scala development company expertise regarding remote work and tech stack:

Scalac team was highly collaborative during the entire lifecycle of the project. Even though all the engineers worked in a distributed, remote environment, there were no issues with regular communication. The team was also highly knowledgeable in the technology stack that they used.

Paweł Cejrowski, Senior Software Engineer, Tapad

Cloud computing & Data engineering

As we mentioned before, our company covers both functional programming – as we’re a Scala development company at our core – and data engineering areas.  A project we finished up at the end of last year was conducting pipeline development for a data insights company. We utilized mostly Scala with Python to design beta engineering pipelines. By adapting to the client’s needs, we ensured that once the partnership ended, they would be able to successfully move forward.

The collaboration was a success. They’re highly competent engineers. They’re oriented to provide the best possible development and highest quality results. We’ve now moved the work internally, and everything was handed over to us perfectly documented.

Chief Data Scientist at a data insights company

Given the impact that proper software development can have on a product, it is important to find a partner that will deliver. Our clients have found that our team consistently produces remarkable outcomes. Our reviews are clear evidence of this. We are thankful for the positive feedback we have received from this particular client we’ve been working with for almost 3 years: 

One of the most impressive aspects of working with Scalac, Inc. is the fact that they are incredibly flexible. They also listen to requirements. And I don’t just mean technical project requirements, but also from management and organization perspective. Even when I have tasked engineers with tasks outside of their comfort zones, they have risen to the challenge. When I have asked them to work with unfamiliar technology they have passed the bar with flying colors.

Pawel Gieniec, CEO & Founder, CloudAdmin

About Clutch

Clutch is an independent B2B company that features reviews from our past clients. The Clutch team assesses a company’s market presence, project history, and quality of services, which is informed by verified client reviews. Clutch is a great platform to find the right IT company for you because you can: 

TOP Software Developers in San Francisco according to The Manifest

Scalac has also been featured on Clutch’s sister site, The Manifest. The Manifest includes top businesses in shortlists of the best-performing companies in every industry imaginable. Our profile on The Manifest includes valuable information on our work with a past client and some of our former clients.

Scalac Top IT Company San Francisco Clutch

To wrap up

We’re grateful to our clients for providing their valuable feedback to Clutch. As a result, the team at Scalac continues to be recognized for the efficiency and high-quality services we provide.

Our team is always looking for new partners and would love to hear about any great project ideas you have. Take a look at our site to learn more about what we’re all about. Reach out to us today to help turn your wildest ideas into reality!

Want to know more about our projects?

See also:

Scale fast with Scalac – Scala development company ready to solve all your challenges.

Mr. Right 

I want to tell you about working remotely. But before we break down the concept of remote work into smaller chunks, I’ll first lay out why I’m the right person to do this.

I’ve been working remotely for Scalac – a Scala development company – for two and a half years. This has given me enough time to experience all the pros and cons of working from home. This includes figuring out how to behave when a problem is escalating on the other side of the screen, how to manage formal and informal communication and keep my work-life balance healthy. After this time, I can tell you with certainty that it’s possible to connect with and efficiently motivate remote coworkers enough to keep a project up and running. However, for some, breaking free from strict corporate rules and meme-communication might be a challenge.

In my case, remote work was the natural result of my personal development process. I started to experiment with my work environment long before I was fetching project repos on my home network. For me, remote work has been an opportunity to discover the perfect workplace in the sense described below.

What working remotely really means

So, what exactly is remote work? Your first guess is probably  you’d take laptop and stuff from the office and, instead of traveling through a city to your “9–5 building”, move through your living space to the area you’ve assigned to be your “home office.” I know that’s how working remotely might seem from the outside, but this point of view is totally wrong. It’s not just about changing your place of work. It also involves changing your mindset on both your personal and professional life. Communicating screen to screen is different; self-organization in the era of distractions is different; even your working hours and work-life balance might look different at home. As I mentioned before, I’d like to break it all down for you, step by step, and show you how working from home changes your perspective when it comes to:

  • work ergonomics
  • work-life balance
  • self-organization
  • communication

I would also like to emphasize that this guide is based on my own personal experience and discussions with coworkers. Working from home is a journey on which I have discovered what suits me best. What follows shouldn’t be treated as a set of rules, but rather as advice.

Romove Tech Debt with Scalac

Work ergonomics

This might not be the most obvious aspect of working from home. You might remember the “perfect” work position, described in terms of angles for your legs, arms, neck, chair, and monitor to ensure the “correct” posture in front of the computer. I certainly don’t, but I do remember the pain in my neck and lower back caused by uncomfortable chairs and small desks ( which remain too small even after six months processing corporate paperwork for a replacement desk).

At home, you can place your monitor on the wall, have it standing, or use a holding arm to find a position that is comfortable for your neck. You can buy any chair you find comfortable (in my case, a relatively cheap chair from the furniture store was much more convenient than an expensive gaming chair). At the office, your employer takes care of the equipment, but at home, it’s up to you – this can be one of the biggest cons of building your own home office. On the other hand, it can also be one of the biggest pros, because you aren’t limited by health and safety regulations. You can buy the furniture and hardware that suits you best and personalize it as you wish. You don’t have to use 2×17″ monitors; you can use a 34″ one instead. You don’t have to stay sitting all day.

You can split up your workday by:

  • sitting
  • standing
  • standing on a balance board
  • half-lying on a sunbed
  • lying down
  • sitting on a gym ball
  • or any other way you can think up
Ergonomics for Remote Workers
Change your positions during the day

Pose!

Bear in mind that standing might be healthier than sitting, but it’s also more exhausting—meaning that you can lose focus after some time. The same with a balance board—it requires some practice, but once you get used to standing on the board, you can work and work out at the same time (after a few hours, it feels like taking a long walk). Lying down can be refreshing, and it might boost your creativity (for example, I often work 2–3 hours a day in the park lying on a lazy bag or hammock in the summertime).

One of the enormous benefits of working at home is the friendly, informal, and peaceful environment. Researchers at Cornell University point out that Even low-level office noise can increase health risks and lower task motivation for workers. The home environment also makes it more convenient to maintain healthy behavior between work sessions; for example, by exercising during breaks. Which leads us to the next subject.

Work-life balance

By this I mean:

  1. Keeping a healthy balance between time spent at work and time spent on other activities.
  2. Actively avoiding work burnout.
  3. Relaxing your mind after work and releasing work-related stress.
  4. Maintaining a healthy relationship with your body.

While many people are too shy to do even quick workouts at the office, home is a much nicer environment where you can do some sit-ups, deadlifts, pull-ups or stretch. Our bodies play an important role in our lives and keeping them healthy will positively influence your frame of mind as well as improve productivity and focus throughout the workday.

Working remotely saves you approximately 250 hours a year on commuting

Commuting

Another advantage of remote work is avoiding all the disadvantages that relate to commuting. In the USA, the  Average Commute to Work time is around 1h (in Poland, where I live, it’s around 1.3h). That’s a lot of time that you can spend in better ways. It’s literally like leaving work an hour (or more) earlier. It’s an extra hour that you can use for your favorite activities or for spending time with your family. That’s 5 hours a week, about 21 hours a month and 250 hours a year! Not to mention your whole life.

The point is, you can manage your time better because if you don’t have to leave your home; you have more time as well as the space to be yourself.

I usually do 5-minute workouts during every break and meditate for 10 minutes every 4 hours. It helps me to stay fresh and focused during the whole day. It also boosts my ability to focus on problems rather than worry about expectations. Breaks are beneficial ( New Study Shows Correlation Between Employee Engagement And The Long-Lost Lunch Break) and it’s vital that you use them mindfully! 

Working 9 to 5? 

Working at home might be better, but it can also be a nightmare when it comes to your work-life scheduling. Does that sound confusing and scary? Let me explain! At home, you don’t have to stick to traditional 9–5 work hours. You can book calls with coworkers and clients at more convenient times and fit-in your responsibilities at the times that suit you best.

Furthermore, it means you can be more flexible when working with people in different timezones. However, it also means that if you’re not assertive, you can end up working at times that don’t suit you.

Consider trying out some different workday schedules:

  • Fitting most of your work into the first half of the day.
  • Fitting most of your work into the second half of the day (usually with some calls in the morning).
  • Breaking up your work throughout the day.

You should choose the schedule that fits your biorhythm and situation best. However, if you have a tendency to work too hard, it’s very likely that you’re going to try to use all three schedules at once—i.e. work the whole day. Because no one is watching you, there can be a considerable temptation to finish your work by doing overtime… Don’t. Tasks often take more than one day, and it’s easy to underestimate how long any given task will take. You should communicate that you need more time to finish the task to your manager or team leader. Doing overtime is a straightforward recipe for a quick burn-out and draining of your natural enthusiasm for work.

Advanced scheduling

While it’s quite easy to schedule your working hours for either the first or second half of the day, I’ll explain how to approach scheduling a fragmented workday. Imagine you have some free time in the morning you can spend on working, but then you have to take your children to school, then you visit the nearest coffee shop because you need to have a meeting, you also work there for some time before getting back home and finishing up your workday. You can cross over your work with daily tasks and still get everything done; you might discover that this can be extremely beneficial. That said, I would recommend a fragmented work schedule for more experienced remote workers who have excellent time organization skills, as it’s easy to work too much or too little if you fail to plan it carefully.

Other techniques to help you draw a thicker dividing line between work and private life are:

  • Choosing a dedicated place in your home/room to work in. Somewhere you set the rules and won’t be interrupted.
  • Having a distinctive uniform just for work. It might be smart casual or some pajamas, but make sure it’s something you wear only while working. 
  • Turning off notifications. Some people are not bothered by notifications. Others require quality time without ‘work noise.’
Romove Tech Debt with Scalac

Self-organization

Let’s be honest,  the modern world has too many distractions. Workers must often really try hard to stay focused. Don’t blame people. It’s hard to keep a clear mind when you’re surrounded by media specifically engineered to grab your attention. It’s even harder at home because you don’t have coworkers who would give you dirty looks if they noticed you spending the whole day scrolling through news feeds.

How to deal with distractions? 

  • You might have noticed that I’ve mentioned this before: breaks! Adequate breaks are crucial for maintaining your mental capacity and staying focused. It might be a “tea break” every hour or quick breaks using the Pomodoro technique (which I use to refill my water tank and exercise). You should try out whatever you find works for you.
  • To-do lists. Knowing your plans makes them easier to follow. Remember to keep them simple and don’t waste too much time writing to-dos. I use a very minimalistic to-do app. You can do the same or use a more nuanced one, or don’t use an app at all – just describe your plan briefly in notepad.
  • Workflow apps. If you have a lot of responsibilities, it can be very beneficial to use apps for long term planning. You can use Gantt chart apps, agile apps, or even mind maps. Whatever suits you best.
  • Website blockers. There are a few apps that can block distracting websites and apps on a specified schedule. If you have a hard time restraining yourself from checking your favorite meme site every 5 minutes, maybe you should give one a try.
  • Time trackers. Plugins such as coding time trackers might give shocking results at first—in the programming world, not all of your time is spent coding (there are meetings, the creative aspects, the conceptual aspects, etc.). Time trackers will help you identify your productivity cycles and help to figure out how your work can fit in perfectly with your schedule. 
  • Well-implemented agile is a great tool for time and task organization for teams. An essential part of the agile process is to discuss tasks. This will help you organize time and help you build a representation of the task in your mind, generating ideas for solutions.
  • Focus on solutions, not tools. This can be a dead-end for a lot of young apprentices. Tools are meant to solve problems; if they’re becoming an obstacle they should be changed or improved or even thrown away. 
  • And, finally, to be well organized you should communicate with your teammates. Clear, polite and constructive communication is the key. 
We work remotely

Communication

This is an element of remote work – actually I would say any work – that needs a lot of your attention. Because interactions are not forced upon you by office conventions, they require a more proactive approach. You might find it surprising, but remote workers have to communicate! No, you can’t sit in your basement without talking to people for months. Sorry for spoiling that for you. With good leadership, good communication can result in better relationships, where interactions are more meaningful and involve an exchange of useful feedback. 


It’s easier when you work remotely

  • It is easier to schedule appointments working remotely.
  • When you’re not at the office you don’t waste time to find and book a conference room.
  • It is troublesome to interrupt someone speaking remotely.
  • It’s super convenient to use the messaging app and, because all messages are saved as text, sometimes this lets you skip overplanned meetings (and make no mistake, IT developers hate overplanned meetings).
  • It is also more convenient to pair program on other workstations, sharing your IDE session instead of a keyboard.

…but it’s not hassle-free

It all sounds incredible, doesn’t it? Of course! But there’s a dark side as well. Even though it’s mainly a stereotype, some IT workers, just like any other,  can be somewhat specific individuals, who don’t have a strong desire to communicate. Proactivity is crucial for keeping workers “alive” in a company network. No one will see your face or detect your mood. Remotely, your presence will be limited, so it’s super important to verbalize your needs and worries.

You might ask:

  • How will your team lead/manager know you’re struggling with a task?
  • How will anyone know that you’ve taken on too much work and need help?
  • How can you improve your project when you are frustrated with it but haven’t told anyone?
  • What should you do after finishing your current task?
  • What’s in your boss’s mind?

These are the kinds of questions that a remote worker must take into consideration and communicate. On a personal level, this requires practice, proactivity, and goodwill; on the company level, this involves strategy. At Scalac, we use different kinds of remote and in-person activities to engage employees. Mentoring programs to help newcomers with remote work, and special programs for exchanging feedback and to encourage coworkers to give constructive feedback.

Finally, I want you to remember that different people have different social sensitivities and needs. Some employees might be much more productive and communicative when doing all their communication remotely. Others require real-time interactions with varying frequencies to maintain their enthusiasm for the company’s mission. And both ways are okay. 

Summary

In my opinion, remote work is a great way to improve team spirit. It’s also a great life-choice when approached in the right way. Traditional office work hours fail to use employees’ productivity optimally and are often detrimental to their health and work-life balance. Remote work is an opportunity that can be beneficial for many people in different sectors. In my experience, it naturally boosts my excitement about the challenges posed by work. As Confucius said: “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life“. A work environment that you can shape to your needs is a powerful tool for maintaining this attitude throughout your entire life.

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Code review is (or at least should be) a common practice in the modern programming world. This is the place where the character and skills of different programmers meet. It’s meant to improve the quality and engage others to acknowledge the whole codebase in more practical means. But probably, just like me, you have encountered many problems, either related to the process itself, or you couldn’t stand a fellow coder’s way of commenting your solutions.

Why is it so?

I want to try to address the problem using the title of one of the famous western movies. Maybe I will rearrange it a little and consider three Review Candidates. The Bad, The Ugly and The Good. Enjoy! Read more

Seasoned speakers have a saying “there are two groups of people: those who use speaking skills to improve their lives and those who are too scared to seize the opportunity”. I think it hits the mark. Communication skills are in high demand in every industry, from marketing to IT.

For us, developers, good communication and speaking skills mean fewer conflicts and misunderstandings in our teams, better chance to be promoted, more opportunities to influence the direction the codebase and product are going, more visibility for our side projects, better opportunities for career advancement and much more.

This post aims to help you “level up” your communication skills by picking up Public Speaking at meetups and conferences. If you didn’t give any (or gave just a few) speeches before or you are considering giving it a try, then this post is for you. I compiled advice from people who were beginners just like you, but worked to improve their skills. Read more