This week, I published Erik Rasmussen's #DevJourney story on my eponym Podcast: Software developer's Journey. Among many other things, here are my main personal takeaways:
- Erik's story started at a very young age and he always knew he would end up spending his time in front of a computer. His parents had a small computer store, which allowed him to "work" with computers at a very young age, both with hardware and then later on with software as well during his first school years.
- At some point during Erik's childhood, his father created his own software company. Erik was then able to see software solving real problems, and even work on it himself.
- During the last years of high-school, Erik won a grant and got to go to a boarding school, where he both got deeper into programming and made important networking contacts for the future.
- From his time at university, Erik remembers his programming time in his dorm-room most fondly. That and the data structures and algorithms part of the curriculum. We then discussed the things you learn and thought would never ever use, and how those very topics often turned out to be the ones that really helped you down the line.
- In Junior year, Erik took the opportunity to do an internship abroad, and ended up in Copenhagen, Denmark. This was both a terrifying and fantastic experience. He spent a lot of time with other working students from all over the world and met his future wife there. But beyond this, this experience was very eye-opening for him and he encourages anyone who has such an opportunity to do it as well. Having used the same kind of opportunity to work in Chicago... and having met my future wife there as well... I can only relate to this fully!
- Further down the line Erik worked as a contractor in the UK. There he learned that some bosses will (financially) screw you as long as they can, and then laugh in your face when you confront them.
- Going from one gig to the next, Erik came to work with React, and then with forms, and that's how he ended up creating the Redux Form open source project, then the Final Form, and finally Form Nerd.
- Before giving his first talk, Erik got the following advice: "have you seen the level of speaking ability at these tech talks? we tech people are so bad at speaking, it's a really low bar you have to jump over". This convinced him, that he could do it.
- Erik attributes part of the success of his "Final Form" project to the work he did previously on "Redux Form". There he learned all the thousands of scenarios people use forms. He was then able to craft "Final Form" as a really generic library, not tied to any framework. It is always amazing how, in hindsight, a story came to be!
- Even though Erik's libraries became quite popular, it is far from helping him pay the rent... unfortunately. But in March 2020, Erik got laid off from his job and decided to try and use his "OSS Fame" to find a new job. It wasn't as easy as he hoped. He even interviewed at TypeForm, which is in the business of doing Forms... with React but it didn't work out. In the end, his "fame" probably helped him skip a few levels in the interview process, but he still had to fight for his new position!
- "I can trace a direct line through all the sides projects to how they shaped my career, so you should always have side projects!"
- "You have an array of items and you need to get those items into a different order, or filter them somehow, that's really all we do"
Thanks, Erik for sharing your story with us!
You can find the full episode and the show notes on devjourney.info.
Did you listen to his story?
- What did you learn?
- What are your personal takeaways?
- What did you find particularly interesting?