Lessons from working remotely for the first time

by | Nov 22, 2017

According to a survey conducted by Gallup, there has been a 7% increase in the number of people working from home between 2012 -2016. In the tech world (at least where I’m from), the term “working remotely” or “working from home” has been among the commonly used terms along with AI, ML etc.

I embarked on my web development journey sometime this year and I was very excited landing my first job as a developer. To add to the excitement, it was a remote job. My job was simply to add some features to the mobile app of a startup in Nigeria, Wesabi.

I have been at Wesabi, for roughly 3 months and I want to briefly summarise the experience of working remotely for the first time.

Cons

Communication

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Communication, was at the top of the chart in terms of problems I faced at Wesabi. Before I joined the team, there was only one developer and so the primary means of communication was via WhatsApp and phone calls. Most of the tasks I was meant to accomplish were given via phone calls and this led to misconceptions and misunderstandings between several members of the team.

I had heard of GitHub for version control and I wanted to introduce it but we already used a private file manager hosted on Gigalayer and apps for testing were shared on WhatsApp. Sharing apps on WhatsApp had some installation problems on some devices and, we couldn’t enjoy seamless tracking of testing dates.

Tools that mitigated the issue:

  • Trello
  • Google Drive

These tools stated above didn’t completely solve the issue but Trello helped me clearly define my tasks and Google Drive was used to store and track the apps temporarily during the test process and then the link shared to other members of the team.

API creation

Before i joined the team, the APIs for the website and the mobile app were made and implemented by the same person. The senior developer made the APIs and integrated them to the website. Since we are different people, I would most likely had thought of another algorithm to solve the problem and he wouldn’t want to change the structure of the API since it’s already running on the website.

For example:

//PURPOSE: TO GET THE NAME ‘MIKE’ FROM THE API

//API created
[{  
   name: Mike,
   Tel: 777
},

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{
   name:’John’,
   Tel: 888
}]

//My code(AngularJS)

$http({
    url: URL + “users/” + KEY,
    method: “GET”
}).then(response=>{
   return response.data.filter(e=>{e.name == ‘Mike’});
})

//API i would have created
[{
   name: Mike,
   Tel:777,
   id: 1
},

{
   name: ‘John’,
   Tel:888,
   id:2
}]

//My code with this solution
$http({
     url: URL + “users/” + 1 + key,
     method: “GET”
}).then(response =>{
    return response.data.name;
})

In the example above, if I was creating the API, I would have had the id in the URL so I could just get the data of that user instead of filtering.

Tools that mitigated the issue:

Explaining how you intend to go about the algorithm can give the senior developer an idea before the API is created and implemented.

The understanding of higher order functions mitigated the issue with tools like:

Pros

Time

During my time at Wesabi, the greatest benefit I had was time. Before I joined the team, I had other things going like getting my front-end certificate on Freecodecamp, taking Udemy courses and learning stuff in general. As a developer, times will come when the project at hand seems a little boring and you want to engage in something more adventurous. Having spare time, will help you balance your work time and play time instead of mixing your work time with your play time.

Work-life balance

Working remotely, can help you kick off your day earlier than normal. You don’t have to calculate the time needed having your bath (which you might eventually not have), boarding a bus, getting stuck in traffic, etc. Your office is some centimetres away from you, and you resume work when you choose to. This helps you accomplish the tasks assigned to you on time, and so you’ll have extra hours to yourself.

Thanks for reading this. You could suggest other ways you and your team handled remote working in the comments section below.

About the Author

Paschal Obba: Network engineer. Web developer. Follow me @_Obbap.

Guest Contributor
Guest Contributor


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