"Hello Thomas, we enjoyed the pleasant job interview and would like to welcome you to our team", are the words I heard from Codana 1 year ago. "You can start working with us as a React developer!". Wow, blissful! Needless to say, I was super happy to hear this! But, I had never written a line of React before.

Of course, I had acquired some front-end knowledge in the years before. At a marketing agency I was responsible for building and maintaining websites which I mainly wrote in VueJS. But React? "That is javascript processed in 'html' that in turn is processed in javascript... Bah! That was how I thought about it a year ago. But you hear many developers speak positively about it and React is also used by so many development agencies that I wanted to give it a chance.

Eerste dagen werken van thuis uit

Hey Google, I want to learn some React

Understanding the fundamentals was the least I could do before starting my first day at Codana. So I went through the documentation and soon I got the umpteenth 'Hello world' running on my screen.

Day 1. Many unfamiliar faces on my screen in a Microsoft Teams window. It was 2021, corona in full bloom and everyone at home behind their PCs. I introduced myself and got to know the whole team. Dries became my buddy, my personal coach, who already had many years of experience in React. He put me on the right track to get the hang of React.
But which project will I be working on next? None: "First we are going to train you and make you familiar with React and other tools. Just make a few little projects and if you have any questions you can always contact Dries". I was impressed. Codana invests in its employees and wants to keep the knowledge level high!

Git Kraken tool

My schedule became full of training moments. Joris showed me how you can easily use Git with the Git Kraken tool and how our projects are set up in a docker environment. Sigert showed me how the ticket system works and how the agile work is done at Codana.

Know that I was previously employed by a marketing agency where there was hardly any talk of agile, git, docker or even deploy pipelines. I now had the feeling that I was really working in a development agency where everything was a lot more professional and structured than I was used to before.

Exciting, fun and challenging projects

A PWA for KU Leuven, a Next.js project, a React application with Storyblok and Gatsby, a React-native mobile app, a Chrome extension in React... At Codana, you have to be willing to learn a lot of new technologies. Fortunately, you get time for this and colleagues are always there to support you. If you call Dries, it becomes even more fun and you get a lot of tips on top of it with some examples from his experiences.

It wasn't always easy. There were times when I had to swear at a piece of code that just wouldn't work. Or noticing at the end of the day that you haven't made much progress at all. In such situations, I sometimes worked longer after working hours. Not that this was expected of me, but since I usually worked from home and didn't have to go on the road, it was easy to continue working to get that ticket to 100%. Moreover, React slowly but surely became a new passion and the motivation grew enormously!

Most good programmers do programming not because they expect to get paid or get adulation by the public, but because it is fun to program

Linus Benedict Torvalds developer of the Linux kernel

Of course, this motivation is not just born from a passion to write code. For this you also need good colleagues! After 1 year at Codana, I never thought about changing this warm environment of respect, tolerance, collaboration and fun for another job.

Codana & Calibrate Ardennen

Cold beer, anyone?

Because of the corona restrictions in 2021, all work was done full time remotely and I only got to see faces of colleagues. Fortunately, events were organized regularly, and yes, they were memorable!

The first meeting in real life happened at the head office in Kontich where everyone first had to submit a negative covid test. Funny, I hadn't estimated many of my colleagues as big. But it was fun, great colleagues! And it only got better after a 4-day 'weekend' was announced in the Ardennes.

An extensive barbecue, several fridges filled with wine and pints, a bar with all the ingredients for mojitos and other cocktails and most important: Tables filled with cheese!

I didn't expect it, but I laughed those days until tears stood in my eyes! Top colleagues!

Ik na 1 jaar in dienst

One year later

Woohooew, a plant to thank me for my efforts! That's even better than cheese right?

I'm already looking forward to the new projects I'll be working on. My view on React has completely changed and I'm aiming to change my junior/medior profile to senior in the future!

Author: Thomas Timmermans
Frontend Developer
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