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[#interview] Offline-first during Front-Trends 2017

22 Feb 2017

Poland is becoming one of the major European hub for outsourcing of software development. Big corporates like IBM are establishing their IT outsourcing centres here but also sector of mid-size software development companies is booming. Industry is growing and changing dynamically. There are more then 200 programming languages in the world and the number is rapidly growing (some say it is more then 1000 at the moment) and big gap of 50 000 vacancies for developers in Poland itself.

So, how to keep up with the trends and prepare for upcoming changes? I am talking to Pawel Czerski, organizer of Front-Trends – one of Europe’s most established annual conferences for professional front-end developers to meet, learn and get inspired (we like to get inspired!). ideaHub is one of the partner media at the event.  

 

PG: Let’s start with some general stuff. What is the landscape of web development industry in Poland and CEE?

PC: Right now, we’re seeing lot of small-to-midsize companies that develop high quality code under methods that are on par with the best in the world. The drawbacks that affect Polish are similar to the ones that impact the startup ecosystem—sluggish Polish infrastructure, lack of key investor ecosystems, and a wide gap in technology consumers.

Despite that, the Polish web development industry is open to everyone, with community-driven, local meetups in major Polish cities driving a movement.

Due to a larger number of web development jobs, junior and mid-level developers have ample opportunities. Experts or established companies that use modern technologies and methodologies will find tons of opportunities by offering their services abroad.

 

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There are tons of opportunities for Polish companies abroad. My question is: outsourcing of software development – how to do it right?

Poland and the CEE region seem to be growing in popularity for outsourced IT projects, offering a mid-tier market pricing, while maintaining high quality work.

The most important part of being an outsource provider is to keep up with modern technologies and ideas. Using the best practices, progressive trends, and following forward-thinking communities is critical in doing web development right.

 

So, in this growing market – what are the biggest challenges for web developers and what are the solutions?

No day passes without a new piece of software coming to life on github. Keeping up with each new framework, library or technique is impossible, but it’s also tempting to try the new thing as soon as it’s out there. During a few months that take to develop a moderately complex project, you’re guaranteed to see updates of the tools you use, and the new ones being released. With all the hype they come with, sticking to a mature, stable and predictable stack is becoming a challenge even for experienced developers.

 

What are mobile trends right now and what is forecasted for 2017?

The good, Offline-first. The bad, mystery meat*. Somewhere in between the above trends is Mobile-only. A relevant number of users are mobile-only. For many of them, the mobile experience, including tablets, is not just their first online experience, but often the only one.

 

 

 

Are startups a growing market for Polish development agencies?

Because of their nature, startups are rarely big clients of development agencies. Software startups usually develop in-house, working on their core business. Non-software ones can use agencies for multiple non-core-business related tasks which require certain key skills. Those may include media creation, legal and marketing expertise, specialized software development, etc.

 

Why is it important to talk about web development and what are the trending topics this year at Front-Trends?

As mobile and desktop applications grow to favor browser-based web apps instead of native environments, web development is maturing rapidly. More than ever, being a front-end developer now means to stay on top of trends so that apps work seamlessly across desktop and mobile. Front-end developers and interface designers use technologies that are in a constant state of flux, as they shift, upgrade, go out of date, or find incredible new uses that weren’t intended originally.

While web development trends can be followed online, Front-Trends is an industry event that plays an important role in sharing knowledge and inspiring new ideas with real-life interactions. As a major European industry conference, Front-Trends is created to invite forward-thinking experts from all over the world who are working on the trending future web technologies and interface and experience design tools and trends.

The newest trends are in progressive web apps and React. In addition, CSS grid will be in every browser this year, and Vue is getting bigger. But there are growing trends in the more established, traditional aspects of front-end development, like those in performance, CSS3, HTML5, etc. Front-Trends is looking to cover as many of these areas as possible.

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Who should be participating in the conference?

While the majority of Front-Trends attendees are web developers, the event targets a wide range of web-related specialists. User Experience designers (UX), dev team leaders (Team Leads), and back-end programmers who work in web environments will all find useful and interesting topics. Front-Trends is open to any expertise level and talk quality and relevancy is our prime goal when looking for speakers.

Industry events like Front-Trends also allow businesses, corporations, startups and web development agencies to meet a professional developer audience. Employer branding, recruiting, or demoing web products are some of the reasons Front-Trends has dozens of sponsor-partners.

We are an inclusivity-focused conference, dedicating a segment for anyone at the event to share their knowledge on stage. This year we also started the Equality Scholarship program, focused on giving underprivileged or underrepresented people a chance to attend Front-Trends. Under the Equality Scholarship, attendees will have travel and lodging covered and conference ticket costs waived by Front-Trends.

 

How did it start after all?

We hosted our first event in 2010. Back then, the front-end community was just taking shape in Poland, with local meetups organized in different cities. Even nearby events in Berlin, London or Amsterdam were prohibitively expensive for most developers to attend on their own budget, and few companies sent their employees to events abroad.

I had an opportunity to help build a team of professional front-enders at Roche, where a part of their training budget was spent for attending industry events. Conferences and workshops led by top front-end technologists bring the kind of inspiration no online source does, and become an important factor in professional development. That realization, and a few lucky events was enough to light a spark.

*Mystery meat navigation is a term coined in 1998 by Vincent Flanders of the famous website Web Pages That Suck. It refers to buttons or links that don’t explain to you what they do. Instead, you have to click on them to find out

 

Paweł Czerski – Experienced product manager and passionate user experience designer with key expertise in web and mobile interaction design and usability with proven success in team building and management, and service design. Organizer of Front-Trends and Falsy Values conferences.

Conference website: 2017.front-trends.com

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