Ever wondered who’s responsible for building Wakelet’s new features and integrations? We caught up with Dan Chin, one of Wakelet’s front-end developers, to find out more about his role in the development team
1. How did you become part of the development team at Wakelet?
‘I’ve been interested in computing for almost as long as I can remember and was first exposed to coding at a friend’s house when I was about 10. After that I started messing around on my own, starting with BASIC on Windows and going from there. The more I learned, the more interested I became and that inspired me to push through any problems I encountered – before I knew it, I could code! I met Jamil, Wakelet’s founder, through my Grandad – they played cricket together. He spoke to me about Wakelet’s vision and it sounded like a great opportunity; I was one of the first developers to join the team.’
2. What are the essential skills for a front-end developer to have?
‘I think the most important thing is that you’re genuinely interested and passionate about it. It’s that passion and interest that will encourage you to keep learning, building your knowledge and pushing through obstacles. Of course, being a good communicator, being patient and being diligent are all useful skills too but it’s the mentality you have that makes the biggest difference.’
3. What’s been your most memorable moment as a Wakelet developer?
‘There have been loads of memorable moments over the years but I think, as one of the people who has worked here the longest, it was when we started to see real growth in the platform and the first positive reactions from users that really stands out. We were developing the product in a bit of a vacuum to begin with, which could be tough at times, but seeing that real people were getting value out of what we were doing made it all worthwhile.’
4. What challenges have you faced?
‘In a start-up, you need to be as resourceful as possible and make the most of your time. It’s a dynamic, fast-paced environment with a lot of moving parts and if you’re not efficient and organized with what you do, it can be easy to fall behind. No day is the same and that can be really exciting but, of course, it can be challenging too.’
5. What does your day-to-day role entail?
‘Like I said, every day is different. I try to spend my most productive hours coding – in the morning, late afternoon and evening – and use the rest of my time reading and educating myself so that I keep on top of any changes or new trends in the industry. In terms of what I’m building, that could be anything from new features and integrations to fixing bugs and coming up with fresh concepts and ways to execute them.’
6. What advice would you give to someone looking to become a developer?
‘It’s a tough career path to choose so I would advise anyone considering it to take their time finding roles that are right for them. The thing that makes a real difference is working alongside a mentor who can help you grow. There’s a lot of conflicting advice out there and having someone highly-skilled, who is an expert in their field, to learn from is invaluable. Developers are shaped by their environment so be mindful of the positions you take and the people you’ll be working with.’
How do you use Wakelet?
‘As I’m working on Wakelet every day I probably don’t use the platform in my personal life as much as I could do, but I mainly use it for research, whether it’s saving links for work or building my shopping wish list!’