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June 13, 20238 min read

Balancing Bytes and Fun: The Coding Journey of Michal Slepko

Michal, a full-stack developer from Poland now based in the UK, boasts a decade of experience. His expertise spans PHP and JavaScript, and he's recognized for sharing coding journey insights on diverse digital platforms.

Inside Michal's Setup

setups and workspaces
setups and workspaces
setups and workspaces
setups and workspaces

Tools And Software Products

Warp: The terminal for the 21st century. I switched from iTerm and was sold. It's very fast, has AI assistant built in and great auto-complete and workflows that you can customise to yourself.

VS Code with Electric Ice Theme: my code editor of choice. Works perfectly with the languages I use. I have a bunch of plugins installed but even out of the box VS Code is a powerful editor.

Notion: I use it for notes, tasks and projects, documentation. Aka Second Brain.

Timery for time tracking. It integrates nicely with Toggl and has a lot of widget and shortcuts. Allows me to track my billable time but also time off work to make sure I keep the balance.

How would you describe your personal style when it comes to your workspace? What aspects of your personality does it reflect?

I like to keep my workspace clean and organized but I don't worry too much if it's not as perfect as on Instagram photos. I try to keep it minimal and keep only the things I actively use. Everything else is in a drawer behind me. I have a couple of coding/tech-related poster and frames (iPhone and Apple Watch).

I think my desk resonates with my productivity style allowing me to limit distractions and have things I need do to my job in one place.

How important is your workspace in the overall process of your work? How does your setup enhance your productivity?

My desk is where I do most of my work, I don't go to the office, co-working space or coffee shops. As I try to keep everything I need digitally I'm able to work from anywhere however having a good desk with an ergonomic chair, a big external screen, a good mouse and a keyboard makes working long hours easier. A nice-looking desk makes you want to come to work from it.

setups and workspaces

I try to keep it cluttered-free, if I notice it's getting too messy I try to quickly clean it up when I have a break. Changing position from sitting to standing makes me more productive or at least I think it is. A game changer for me was to leave the desk in a standing position when I'm going out of my home office. It made me stand more often.

How do you envision your workspace in the future? Are there any changes or upgrades you're considering?

I'd like to add a couple of small things

  • another monitor or a 49" Curved Monitor

  • boom arm for my microphone

  • improve backlighting

  • a treadmill

Overall I'm happy where I'm now with my setup, these are just other things that would bring my setup to the next level.

Could you share with us a little bit about your journey? How did you get started in web development?

I started my journey in high school, at that time internet was not very popular. I built my first website in MS FrontPage and deployed it to a free hosting provider that offered 10MB of space (yes it was a long time ago). During my university I started losing interest in coding I was learning more and more about SEO and search engine marketing as Google was getting to be more popular. SEO audits were my first freelance projects however very often my guidelines were not implemented by the companies so I've started offering a full package - SEO audit and implementation. I've had to learn a couple of different CMS platforms and WordPress was one of them. I've started learning HTML, CSS, JS and PHP while doing SEO changes.

As I started to gain more experience and my first baby was about to be born I wanted to find a full-time job as a programmer and I've found one in the UK. We've decided to move here from Poland and since then I've had many programming jobs that made me a full-stack engineer. Now I code not only in PHP but also in React and on top of that I manage servers for some of my clients.

setups and workspaces

How has your journey in tech evolved from when you first started to where you are now?

I've started with a basic Windows laptop with Linux distro as dual-bool. During my first couple of years as a full-time developer, I used Windows for my personal projects and for work. In one of the jobs I was "forced" to use a Mac as the whole company was very in the Apple ecosystem and I started to be more into Macs and Apple in general to the point that I now own a MacBook, Mac Mini, Apple Watch and an iPhone. I still need to find a use case to get myself an iPad :)

What's the most valuable piece of advice you've ever received about working in tech?

There were a couple.

It's never too late to learn new skills.

Don't be afraid of asking questions.

Learn at your own pace, don't look at how fast others are achieving their goals. They are not you.

Learn by doing projects.

How do you stay updated with the latest technologies, languages, and frameworks? Are there any resources or communities you find particularly helpful?

I take most of the news from Twitter, I've tried Reddit, HackerNews and some other blogs but it just started to be too much, I just don't have time for all the news happening in tech.

But if I'm working with a given framework I try to read their docs regularly to know what's new.

With the latest release of Apple VisionPro I think AR and VR are the future of the tech. I believe we are entering a great time where we can enhance our surroundings with the help of technology and make our life better. Of course, we need to be mindful of it and for example, don't wear VR goggles on the street but I'm looking forward to this new chapter in tech.

setups and workspaces

If you could go back and give some advice to your younger self when you were just starting out in your career, what would it be?

Document and share everything you learn and your progress. This will allow you to see how far you've come and also show your expertise. Try to find like-minded people who either are learning to code too or are willing to help you and will encourage you to work on this. There are many Discord servers related to programming and the people on these servers are just amazing. They are always cheering for your successes, they will help you and guide you

It's all about AI now, isn't it? I like seeing AI being used to help you with mundane tasks like checking errors in your code or writing tests. I think AI can free your time to focus on more crucial parts and features of the application.

AI will not replace developers, it will make them better.

Lastly, what's next for you in your career? Are there specific goals or projects

you're excited about in the near future?

I've started learning SwitfUI and my goal is to have an app published in the App Store by the end of this year.

I'd also like to start working on some long-form content on YouTube, this is something I'm thinking about constantly but just can't find the strength to finally do it.

Finally, I want to give back to the community this is either through the content I'm creating or digital products. I've recently created a free wallpaper pack that you can find here

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