Engineering & Design: A Dynamically Extensible Journey

In programming, design, chess, and life the world finds beauty in the means it uses to accomplish — beyond; mostly nothing.

Bleak as this may seem I have been wandering a path of new means lately, taking a position as a UX/UI specialist at an agency that works with businesses around New York State and beyond. We design brands, shape words, connect users, and develop solutions that support thousands of people with ease.

Always being the type of person to dig in, think often, and move cautiously I wondered what life would be like in this position, having wrapped up a series of interviews with leading AI companies, large startups, and exploring Software Engineering beyond my current state. I chose to stay local and grind my way to something enjoyable.

First to note that employment is tough to seek, especially in technology in 2020. Everything from sudo-website development companies to startups believe their stack is the next wondrous pile of code to grace the world. In short, it gets the job done. Being a pure JavaScript engineer, focused mostly in React, I found it interesting to find over and over in interviews a differentiation of stack away from the core of my applied knowledge.

I will say it again, it is tough to seek employment, on modern knowledge, in 2020, especially in technology, where everyone believes they are building the next Facebook-esque platform with SQL.

The Barrier Between Technology & Intuition

Look for the companies that know their ceiling and are ready to move past it. Find the opportunity that is unsure of you. Believe in your knowledge and continue to develop it.

I found this position through Twitter, which I had ironically been discussing as a place I would find my next role two years before — this at the beginning of a grueling journey of moving back to the place I grew up, developing a startup and catching up with friends. I had been coding & designing since I could log onto the internet, I have more hours behind a monitor than some of the best minds in technology, and I have created some of the most amazing products in the industries I have worked in, with the teams I have worked with. What I did not realize is how evident this was not.

I met with this agency a series of times. It took multiple interviews. I did not submit a thing outside of my portfolio & resume, I prepared a pitch out of my own will, and I sunk the job with two thumbs up.

The two weeks previous I had spent a total of 30 hours coding, 10 hours interviewing and watching the number $60,000 increase to $140,000 as I waded my way through whichever Software Engineering interview I could find around React.

I made it to the final round with some, extended my observation with others, was invited to a couple, and passed on submitting due to time with the rest.

I woke up drove to the city, pitched, left, came back, walked in with a job, a couple of t-shirts, and an amazing water bottle. After hours of interviews, troves of meetings around the different areas of localities in New York, I finally had a career opportunity much like I did when I finished school and left for Florida in 2016.

Experience in Solutions is the Secret to Exceptional Programming

For months I slept, for hours I designed, for years I built, coded, measured and defined where my path would lead. From online conferences to meetings with top global companies, I found that the best preparation for anything is honestly some good ZZZ’s.

The previous two years I had been between startup renegade and director of a few positions in businesses, whether it was web development or conversion, I had been working with people and small teams to up skill their businesses, mostly to make my job, well, easier.

Between work and sleep, I spent hours learning, reading, and writing. I deep-dove React and began a path to fullstack software engineering with the most modern technologies. I researched AI and incorporated it as solutions. Reading books on success, and books on failure.

I slept, I napped, I slept in, stayed up late, napped late, ran, read, and coded. I turned myself into a machine for the sake of breaking from the modern confines of career, for the sake of myself, for the sake of my future. While my peers were finishing their doctorates, chasing love at the local locales, and waning on existence, I was shaping companies and technologies to bend the existence of the modern day era. I slept a lot too, did I mention that.

Reusability in Design Systems & Software Architectures

I have always been a forward thinker, mind on the money, destination, and outcome. It took me this process to realize that it all happens through the process, every minute you are contributing to that.

Tenacity only measures so far in beauties eye, the rest is mostly focused on the core of work, the body of work, and output. How many times you did the push-up or metaphorical repetition that got you to where you are today. I thought about trying to become a Navy Seal: Officer, I thought about going back to school for my masters in data science. I thought, I worked, I slept. What is yet to appear to me, and maybe never will is a clear path to my true aspirations, what I feel more and more every day — things happen, you are there, or not, that is all.

Ignoring the present only works so well for so long, it works great for people who you do not like, bad situations to survive, and maybe some aspects of career progress, but as I am learning from “The Art of War” even Sun Tzu strove to understand everything, striving to never underestimate.

Planning for the future is great, what I have come to realize is that the future is the next second, and the accumulating seconds following. An hour of honest work today will do you better than dreaming about the years in the future when you finally “Make It”.

Think ahead, move close — aim small, miss small; until you are living your dream. Work until you are tired then work harder, be safe, smart and idealistic, share your ideas, but keep your ideologies to yourself.

Evolving Use Cases into Successful Features

I took you through a mental sprint; this is definitely a marathon, your mind is wrapped around how this sounds, or how fascinating opportunities seem.

What is most underrated is consistency, established businesses, and a path to the future that takes the least resistance.

I am a software engineer, I am a good programmer, I am an expert in AI, Business, and Experiences. These are affirmations I tell myself daily. I keep pushing myself, every day to become better and better.

Of course, I wonder if I had smiled more, or made more friends, became a doctor, wrote a letter to that design director from my job shadow, called my mom more, visited local businesses and networked; I wonder if it would have been easier — today, I mostly focus on how I can be more prepared.

Beauty is the beholder because it is so much about doing the thing you want to do over and over until you are so fanatical about it that you dream it. Beauty is the beholder because the most beautiful thing you can do in life is what you are inclined to do. You are blessed if you get compensated well, get to share & work with others. Your time is worth it if it is spent doing these things for the most cutting edge version of what it is your skill fits, it is all beauty if it is the beholder.

There is no man, woman, creature born a genius, they inherit this trait from the fanatical exercise of the mind — if your tires are flat, there is only recourse; if your mind is bent, there is only null return.

What I mean through this analogy is that making your life your work is making your life work. Exercise, study, sleep, contribution at whichever scale you can is the core of defining this, the rest is really relaxation — the time away to reflect.

Beauty is the beholder because to someone somewhere you effort is beautiful, your thoughts & ideas are magic, and no matter how the first version looks you are a genius for having started. Find the place where you are a genius, work hard, network, relate, share, listen, learn, and adapt from there.

Encompassing Thoughts from Product Teams and Building Interactive Solutions

I have no doubt that success will continue for me as a professional because I am the core contributor. The more I design the more I see, the better I code the stronger the solution. Inevitably they come together, functionally, as does my network, my people, those around me, and the ideas I can create.

In “What Matters Most is How Well You Walk Through the Fire” Charles Bukowski said,

“Things get bad for all of us, almost continually, and what we do under the constant stress reveals who/what we are.”

My favorite three-word sentence, from the most introspective class in college, goes likes this “Break / Your / Poem” (Jack Spicer on Alfred, Lord Tennyson). To all of you waiting for something new, start, begin, belong to the thing you look for so badly every night when you shut your eyes. Become beauties beholder.

From what started this all, to what will end it, “Be Like Mike”. Deplore your deepest positivity and move that into action so that your world is as colorful as it may be, with and without the things that bind you.

Thanks for Reading, Keep Believing!

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Joe Alongi

Joe Alongi


Application Developer @IBM — JavaScript, Java, Kubernetes, and Cloud Native. (These Views Are My Own)