It was the last day of my internship as a front-end developer. Or, more like two days after the last day of my internship. The office in Žirmūnai street was in a festivity mode. At Vinted, celebrating colleagues’ birthdays is as typical as having a cup of coffee in the morning. Such simple yet profound traditions makes everyone feel valuable here at one of the most successful Lithuanian startups.
It was by pure accident that I forgot to unlock the computer I had used throughout my month at Vinted. I had to return to the office again to make it available for others to use. As I brought Macbook Air back to life, I also had a chance to taste fresh Sangria and Spanish Paella while having conversations with ex-colleagues once more. Having received inspiring words from my mentor, Gedmantas, and product owner Mindaugas, I was about to leave when I bumped into the cofounder of Vinted, Justas, and his guests from an investment fund. I wanted to thank him for a pleasant work and learning experience. It was then suggested to send him my detailed impressions of my internship experience.
I had never worked with professional software developers before. I had been developing web applications as a freelancer for nearly two years before I applied for an internship at Vinted. It was more of a hobby than real programming, and thus I sought to challenge myself. Working at Vinted, as I thought then, would enhance my software development skills. It was the main reason of my application.
It was quite strange to be the least valuable person in a group for the first time in my life. At first I felt miserable as I was surrounded by professionals with at least 4 years of industry experience. Yet as Chad Fowler once said, “Always be the worst guy in every band you’re in. - so you can learn. The people around you affect your performance. Choose your crowd wisely.” Indeed, getting out of my comfort zone was a rewarding experience.
I am grateful to all Vinted guys for teaching me principles of quality programming when developing complex products. I finally grasped the idea that the code is not only for a machine to execute, but for colleagues to read too. I learned principles of sharing code on GitHub, managing your own branch, receiving feedback, cleaning code and then merging it with the master one. Profound suggestions, criticism, tips and all the support helped me realize the purpose of clean, effective code.
I found it unusual to see there was no hierarchical management structure at Vinted. I later discovered that this strategy is brilliant. The company is composed of teams, each with different focuses - new product features, communication, the community’s needs. Every morning all the teams have stand-ups. It was intriguing to join my first one as a member of a front-end guild. It was such a beneficial opportunity to interchange ideas with colleagues. Discussing possible outcomes and receiving constant feedback about my software plans, mockups and the code, I learned that debating on such issues helps tackle both minor and major software problems more efficiently. Colleagues would suggest algorithmic solutions, how to structure code (many times via GitHub which Vinted uses to host its code).
Connections I made with colleagues (many thanks Gedmantas, Aleksas and all other front-end guys for discussions about code quality, programmer’s lifestyle, marathon running, dot-com bubble and other topics) will definitely be of great help in the future, both in professional and daily ways. I also learned that creating value for the society is the greatest source of contentedness.
Lastly, lesson learned – technologies come and go. History repeats itself. It is worth investing time in fundamentals such as algorithms, code structuring, software development practices and core concepts of computer science and engineering first, so that the learning process feels efficient and enjoyable. And be the master of your skill.
It took me only a month to become a part of Vinted culture. It was fascinating how equal I was with all the peers during the internship. Such a philosophy allowed me grow and become both better developer and a better person. Thank you Vinted! See you again!