Hi, 👋 I'm Tomasz Łakomy Senior Frontend Engineer and AWS Certified AMA

On Thursday, May 7th, 2020 I’ll be here to answer your questions about React, serverless, AWS (especially CDK - my course on AWS CDK is coming to egghead soon!) testing, and teaching.

Thursday, May 7, 2020 7:00 PMThursday, May 7, 2020 8:00 PM

Feel free to check out my collections:
AWS Lambda from Scratch
Build serverless applications with AWS Serverless Application Model (AWS SAM)
Add e2e tests with cypress to a React application

Reply to this post with your questions!

Click here to add a reminder your you calendar:
https://egghead.io/s/tomasz-ama

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Hey Tomasz!

What are the opportunities and challenges that come from teaching in your second language?

How has your egghead teaching impacted your day-to-day development practices?

Keep up the awesome work!

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  • What do you think are common mistakes made when dealing with AWS regarding serverless technology? (That might be too broad :sweat_smile:)
  • How do you assess what are the right tools you want to bring in for your application? Like how do you know what is too much or too little? Should you go all into one provider like AWS?
  • Do you cover concepts around securing your application in your AWS CDK course? :smiley:
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Hi Tomasz!

What did you learn from publishing +100 lessons?

How do you deal with “this lesson/article/tutorial already exists” dilemma?

Thanks for doing this AMA.

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What made you want to learn AWS?
Do you think AWS/cloud tech is important for a front end dev? If so, why?
How were you able to learn AWS concepts well enough to teach them?

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What advice would you give yourself if you could go back in time and talk to “just learning to code” Tomasz?

What was the part of leading a live workshop that you were most nervous about before hand, and how did you address it?

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How does using the CDK compare to some of the other infrastructure tooling with AWS? Is that something you would use along side of tools like CloudFormation?

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I took the Cloud Practitioner cert, and while it’s the entry level one, I found that simply learning all of the acronyms of the different services made it much easier to have conversations about project work with the rest of my team. Are there any key things that made it easier to work with AWS or at least have conversations about it for you?

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Hi Tomasz! I’m about to start diving into AWS and serverless for some of my side projects so thanks a lot for this awesome content! I have two questions:

When you were going through and learning all of this yourself at what point did you feel like you had a good enough understanding to begin creating these workshops and tutorials?

How do you decide what you want to learn among all of these awesome technologies that are out there?

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What are the opportunities and challenges that come from teaching in your second language?

More reach and impact is definitely an amazing opportunity, unfortunately even though writing (and especially recording!) in Polish would be easier - the vast majority of tech community would not be able to consume this kind of content.

Someone asked me a while ago - “what is the most important language in programming?”. And if you’re not a native speaker - the answer is: “English”.

Local community and reach is important (and it helped me a lot in my career) but there’s a whole world out there (cue the Aladin song!) and if I want to reach folks on international scale - I have to create all of my content in English (and to be fair - I’m funnier in English :sweat_smile:)

When it comes to challenges - I’m not a huge fan of my accent but the most annyoing thing is that I sometimes forget how to English as soon as ScreenFlow starts recording.

How has your egghead teaching impacted your day-to-day development practices?

Great question! Because I’ve recorded so many byte-sized lessons, I feel like I’m better at explaining programming concepts in a concise way.

That really helps - our work slack gets quite busy (and we weren’t used to working fully remote before COVID) and being able to quickly level up someone is highly useful. Every lesson has a description and I feel like my writing has improved as well, another benefit :slight_smile:

This is not work related but at some point I ended up recording a lesson for my mom because she had issues navigating her healthcare website, a good example of how those skills translate really well to areas outside of tech.

Keep up the awesome work!

I will! :smiley:

What do you think are common mistakes made when dealing with AWS regarding serverless technology? (That might be too broad)

Hey, great question! IMHO a common mistake is not adapting the proper mindset when trying to adapt to serverless technologies like AWS Lambda.

Yes, there are servers in serverless but you cannot just take your module which you ran 24/7 on a server somewhere (or on a laptop under your desk) and just plug it in Lambda.

A huge part of serverless is adapting an event-driven mindset. It’s no longer about running a machine, a script, a function all the time - it’s about reacting to events, running code only when it’s necessary and only when it’s necessary.

How do you assess what are the right tools you want to bring in for your application? Like how do you know what is too much or too little? Should you go all into one provider like AWS?

When figuring out what kind of tools I’d like to use, I try to assess what kind of problems do I have and which tools provide a solution for those kind of problems.

For instance - at work the problem we’re trying to solve is “how do we operate in a high scale environment while not burning money”, that’s where serverless comes in - we end up paying only for the compute time we consume and we’re able to run production-scale systems for hundreds of $ per month which is incredibly cheap.

Regarding going all-in when it comes to cloud provider - I’m not 100% sure, my experience with cloud is strictly AWS but from what I can understand going multi-cloud is really tricky and is not going to save you that much money. Even if you choose a cheaper database in Azure and cheaper solution for queues in AWS you end up paying the hidden cost of maintaining the connection between those resources.

Do you cover concepts around securing your application in your AWS CDK course?

Ha, this is going a bit too deep for this course, I wanted to give an approachable introduction to CDK! I’m already thinking about the next AWS course which is going to be based on CDK so I’m more than happy to expand on that!

In your opinion, what’s the best part about your job?

What did you learn from publishing +100 lessons?
I hope that I won’t come across as lazy but I’ve written a whole article about it so feel free to take a look!

How do you deal with “this lesson/article/tutorial already exists” dilemma?

I used to have those kind of thoughts but not anymore! I’ve realised that everyone has a different take when it comes to teaching (and learning!) and even though there’s already an article/video about X your approach of explaining that “X” might be something that finally clicks for someone.

Rarely I see complaints from some people “omg, anoooother article about React Hooks” and my usual response is: “what exactly is wrong with more awesome content?”. IMHO the worst thing that may happen once you publish an article about a topic that was discussed at length before is that… not many people will read it. But! The things you’ve learned and the knowledge you’ve solidified is always yours. I was surprised to see how many times I revisit my own posts and videos in order to re-remember something. This kind of personal library is highly, highly useful.

Thanks for doing this AMA.

No problem! :smiley: Always happy to help!

What made you want to learn AWS?
My manager :sweat_smile: On a more serious note - my company (OLX Group) is betting heavily on AWS. A while ago we’ve migrated all of our infrastructure (and we serve millions of users daily!) to AWS and since the company is betting on AWS, the engineers should as well.

I’m really glad I jumped on that train though! Ever since I started investigating this topic ~2 years ago I’ve grown a lot as an engineer and I’m really glad that I was able to share this knowledge with others!

Do you think AWS/cloud tech is important for a front end dev? If so, why?

IMHO - yes! For a bunch of reasons.

First up - I strongly believe that more and more teams will adopt serverless technologies in near future (this article does an excellent job at explaining why: https://www.szymanskilukasz.cloud/why-companies-will-adopt-serverless-sooner-than-you-think/). In order to be able to contribute to all kinds of conversations and new solutions in your organisation that will be a part of the process of adopting serverless/AWS (I’ve been there!) IMO it’s important to explore this area.

I also believe that no matter your field of expertise - it’s important to always keep your eyes open. You don’t have to take a deep dive into AWS but knowing the core concepts can take you a long way! Not to mention the fact that using AWS solutions can make you much, much productive (for instance creating a DynamoDB table takes a minute, as opposed to time needed to setup and configure a MySQL server etc.)

How were you able to learn AWS concepts well enough to teach them?

Not gonna lie, it took me a while! Last year I’ve spend a lot of time learning about AWS in order to get an AWS Certified Solutions Architect: Associate certificate and once I had it in my hands (okay, I had a pdf on my email) I figured - dang, I’ve spent all of this time learning - might as well share what I’ve learned with others!

Not to mention that teaching gave me much more confidence in my own skills, and judging by the feedback I’ve received so far - it’s useful for others as well!

What advice would you give yourself if you could go back in time and talk to “just learning to code” Tomasz?

“Tomasz, my dude. Two things: start believing in yourself, just because you’re struggling for a bit doesn’t mean that you’re an impostor. And get the heck out of the tutorial hell. You don’t learn by memorizing, you learn by experimenting and teaching! Start writing articles in 2012, not 2019!”

What was the part of leading a live workshop that you were most nervous about before hand, and how did you address it?

Let me start by talking about things I was not nervous about beforehand and they turned to be a bit of a problem.

  1. My voice - my throat got ridiculously sore after an hour or two and this is not a good time to start coughing during a workshop. Note to self: drink more water when teaching

  2. Remote workshops are a bit different than offline ones - all in all, you’re sitting alone in your room. If I were to run another workshop I’d definitely encourage more voice communication. I’d like to thank @Will for helping a lot with the chat though! There were a lot of interesting discussions and comments :smiley:

I was worried about not being prepared enough and as we saw - my solution is to overprepare and overpractice everything. But honestly - it’s worth it, the end result is what matters and the more you prepare - the more confident you are as an instructor during the workshop. Which helps - having a solid foundations makes it possible to explore other topics with all the learners while ensuring that there’s always something worthwhile to continue working on.

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How does using the CDK compare to some of the other infrastructure tooling with AWS? Is that something you would use along side of tools like CloudFormation?

Excellent question!

Let me address the CloudFormation part first - as you probably know, CloudFormation allows you to define the shape of your AWS infrastructure and resources using either YAML or JSON.

CDK is based on top of CloudFormation - while CloudFormation is a ‘infrastructure as code’ solution, CDK is based on ‘infrastructure IS code’ model.

AWS CDK allows you to write TypeScript (among other languages!) to define the structure of your AWS infrastructure! What that means is that you can use a single language to build frontend, backend (with AWS Lambda!) and infra - I call that becoming a fuller stack developer :smiley:

What’s a habit that you would like to develop to boost your career over the next year or so?

Hey! I’ve actually have a whole post about it, last year my manager encouraged me to pass the AWS Certified Solutions Architect: Associate exam - that experience gave me the boost I needed to learn quite a lot about AWS (well, you gotta pass the exam somehow) and boosted my confidence in my skills!

But the biggest breakthrough when it comes to solidifying my knowledge was teaching - I find myself leanring a lot about the concepts I’m teaching, as the saying goes:

when one teaches, two learn

To be fair - most of the AWS services rarely come up in the conversations I have.

I got lucky because my company is betting heavily on AWS and I get to have all kinds of discussions at work. There’s lots of AWS communities out there you can join in order to feel more comfortable with all those services and acronyms - I can definitely recommend https://awsnewbies.com/cloud-newbies-society/!