Can you briefly introduce yourself, and tell us about your background?
My name is Sara, and I am a developer advocate a consultancy called YLD. I previously worked in Portugal in several companies as a frontend developer. I recently moved to Berlin a little to be closer to the community and also because I love Berlin as a city. Plus I recently created my own meetup there.
“What got me into programming was a dare from my dad that I couldn’t make him a website.”
I couldn’t stop learning new things. Programming made sense to me and I really liked how just a few lines can bring something online. If I could go back in time, I would have started publishing my things on the internet way sooner.
What advice would you give to someone who is just starting with software development?
It’s super easy to get overwhelmed by the number of things to learn and all the smart people but you need to think we all started somewhere and we all had to learn and fail. Don’t be afraid to build things and put them out there. Make stupid things, anything.
There are a ton of public API’s you can use for.
More and more girls are starting to code — which is excellent! Any suggestions/tips for young female coders how to begin/get experience/to improve their skills?
Bless your heart! Come! We have no bathroom lines. 🤷🏻♀️
Now seriously, don’t get intimated and that’s hard but never forget we all started somewhere. If you look up to someone talk to them. Most likely you won’t be bothering them but making their day. Never look at what else you have to learn but what you have already learned!
We’ll be happy to pass on that message. So what’s your current role in the web development industry?
I think I am just another developer. I do have a passion for teaching young people because I learned all I know from the internet with no formal training.
I am currently working on new workshops. I am also making the new company website and helping on CodeSanbox.
Also working as a developer advocate for YLD.io is pretty sweet. I get paid to teach people and work on open source. What comes with it is mostly a learning aspect both in the community and in the company itself.
We looked at your portfolio. Why did you make it this way?
I was actually learning GraphQL. It was one of my goals, and people always experiment on their portfolio. The sad thing is I want to change it, but people seem to like it.
Why do you think that GraphQL got picked up by the community?
I am a huge advocate for GraphQL, so I love it. I’m super happy developers picked it up. I like the fact that it makes the front-end a breeze regarding management of data and that it keeps the backend super well structured even in a dynamic language like JS.
What challenges do you usually face during product development?
I think maintainability is a huge problem. Additionally, we (as developers) often lose the focus on what’s important. Often we spend most of the time on the project polishing an animation but forget to add some essential accessibility. In the end, your animation is great, but someone with a disability can’t experience your site at all.
What tools do you use to cooperate with designers and why?
Usually Figma or Sketch. I feel like the biggest obstacle so far is the massive difference between code and design tools. Luckily with tools like Avocode, that gap is getting smaller each day.
“I feel like the biggest obstacle so far is the massive difference between code and design tools.”
Should designers learn how to code?
I think that should come from the designers if they want to learn it. I do believe designers should know some basic constraints of our code and also some essential accessibility. I also think front-end developers should know the basics of design to able to create things that not only work but are enjoyable.
What’s your opinion on style guides?
I feel like in any decent size project should think about making style guides because they keep consistency at a top level. It also allows anyone to spin up a simple mockup in an incredibly short amount of time. Style guides speed up my process of coding so much! It’s a lot less guesswork and repeated work in an application.
Any recommendations on creating the style guides with designers?
I feel like it still requires a lot of back and forward communication to check if all the specs are okay in the design system. There will always be tweaks that will just show up and you can never predict.
So how do you go about design systems?
I usually work with designers that use either Sketch or Figma. Once I receive the files, I create a single file for each component. This file includes both the logic and the render how it will eventually look. Then I’ll deploy it somewhere so they can have a look. If all is okay it will be merged into the style guides and if not we tweak it together.
Do you have any spare time for some fun side projects/activities?
I do a lot of dumb stuff in my spare time, that’s how I learn new things. Here are some examples:
How do you keep up with trends and new tech updates in the front-end world?
I get a ton of newsletters. Here’s my list I would recommend checking out:
As a conference speaker, do you have any suggestions what should dev conferences, and meetups look out for?
I think the most significant point is to be a decent human being and treat speakers like humans. Last year, I went to JSHeroes. The main reason I fell in love with that conference is that I was treated as a friend of the community.To most of the people there it was obvious, but to me it was terrific. I felt like a part of a family, though I was far away from home for two weeks.
What’s your favorite TV show?
Definitely, Parks and Recreation simply because I have watched it 3 times. It’s still funny, witty and just amazing!
Have a suggestion for an exciting designer or front-end developer we should interview? Hit me up at [email protected].