How Much Coding Should Designers Know?


Written by Irina Papuc Topics: Learn to Code

Many designers think each discipline should mind their own business, while others see no problem in professionals wearing multiple hats. Many developers see designers who code as a threat, while others see it as a facilitator. This is a hotly debated subject, and although I think some great designers are also superb at coding, I will always defend that the more you focus on a particular area the best you will be at it. But this shouldn’t be a reason for you to miss out on the benefits of having another skill under your belt.

Learn to Code

Learn how to code and make yourself a great asset to any multi-disciplinary team.

As a designer who has gone as far to set up Linux servers and program back-end, I see no question that understanding ‘the basics’ of coding would benefit any designer. The question really is, how much coding should designers learn? At what point might designers be wasting their time, or really stepping over the line into the territory of developers?

In order to provide some insight into the potential benefits of learning to code, I’ve broken the different levels of coding knowledge down into degrees of usefulness.

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An Interview with a Successful Developer: Lifestyle, Taxes, and Node.JS


Written by Irina Papuc Topics: Business, Learn to Code, Self Improvement

At Toptal, we’re always looking for the best freelancers around. But what makes a freelancer truly great? Luis Martinho, one of our top developers, is beloved by his clients — so we sat down with him to talk about freelancing, technologies like freelance Node.js and HTML5, and paying your taxes.

So, to start, how did you get into freelancing? Have you ever worked a full-time job?

“I had worked a couple of full-time jobs: some of them were relatively corporate, but the most recent was in a startup environment, specifically in the enterprise SaaS space, building sexy management software in the cloud. We had a very talented team and a very ambitious vision. After four years of growth, we had an exciting product in an exciting space, which was great, but I wasn’t very happy. I needed a lifestyle change. When we started, I personally did not understand how hard it was to “start up”. It’s not just the hours, because you work long hours in all sorts of environments and projects; it’s the stress, the responsibility, and the pains associated with creating something new. It’s not all flowers and rainbows. In the end, I decided that I wasn’t co-founder material (at least, not at the time). But the experience gave me a much deeper understanding of the kind of pressure faced by startup founders, and I know that I’ve become a better freelance software developer because of that.

Freelancing looked more and more like the life I wanted: it presented an opportunity to find interesting clients and projects while being rewarded for quality work.

I started looking for regular jobs: first in my hometown, then in the rest of the country, then in the rest of Europe. I managed to find some interesting projects, some interesting compensation packages, and some interesting locations; but I believed that I could have it all. So I began to look into freelancing. And as I kept looking, freelancing looked more and more like the life I wanted: it presented an opportunity to find interesting clients and projects while being rewarded for quality work.”

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Boost Your Productivity With Clever Travel Hardware


Written by Irina Papuc Topics: Self Improvement

Boost Your Productivity

So, you want to boost your productivity? Nevermind Game of Thrones, winter is not coming, at least not in the northern hemisphere. It’s summertime, and here at Toptal that usually means many of our freelance developers and designers are either on the road or getting ready to hit the beach.

When I started writing this, some of our people were in Portugal, trying to work out the math behind surfboards. Now it’s my turn, and I’m wrapping up my draft with a nice view of the Adriatic Sea, just a few miles away from the best windsurfing spot in Europe.

Yes, I’m a workaholic, so this might as well be a good time to cover the topic I had in mind.

I can probably guess what some of you are thinking:

This is a lifestyle post! This guy is going to talk about surfing, healthy food and excercise.

No. This is not a lifestyle post. As far as food goes, fresh fish and veggies are always a safe bet. Exercise? Well, cycling to a nearby village to try a marginally different fish dish and sample local wine counts as exercise, at least to me.

So, with all the lifestyle stuff out of the way, I can get back to my message and start discussing the logistics behind travel and remote work and how you can boost your productivity. You can buy capri pants, cheap flip-flops, and boonie hats everywhere, but beachside shops usually don’t carry quality hardware that can help you be more productive on the road, or save time and money for more enjoyable activities.

Caveat: If you’re an avid Apple user with a profound dislike of Windows, you may not like where I’m going with this. I don’t intend to bash Apple, but Cupertino simply doesn’t bother with cheap hardware that won’t be missed if it ends up in the water.

Travel Hardware: Myths and Moths

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Psycho-Cybernetics – Maxwell Maltz | Book Recommendation & Hidden Gems #4


Written by Jason Nesbitt Topics: Books, Deep Thinking, Self Improvement Psycho-Cybernetics

Psycho-Cybernetics – Sounds Crazy

Psycho-Cybernetics…Where to start. This book is just totally awesome. After a couple of chapters I found myself saying ‘this is the best book I’ve ever read’. It’s true, quite a lot of books do get me excited when I get into them, but this one was particularly special.

I found myself writing a lot of notes right at the start of the book. It has very exciting ideas with apparent and practical revelations.

Today we will be talking about the very largely read:

Psycho-Cybernetics book by Maxwell Maltz – Click Here to Get Your Copy

I really hope you enjoy this post as there are some real golden nuggets in here.

Summary & Recommendation

Psycho-Cybernetics is all about the following quote:

The building of an adequate self image is something you should continue throughout a lifetime

It is full of excellent practical acts to build the best self image one can. It has a lot of amazing and inspirational stories and, as someone that is slightly obsessed with self improvement, I can say that it massively delivers on that idea.

Chapter after chapter is a golden gem with such excellent advice and mental activities that can help anyone improve themselves. 

As I mentioned above, it might very well be the best book I’ve ever read. There are so many examples and stories of the amazing implications of thinking positively and ignoring all negative thoughts and things. It is something I will frequently read.

Now, I know you must be eager for me to stop my meanderings and get into the juicy bits of brain work. Enjoy all the hidden gems below.

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News Feed Eradicator for LinkedIn – No More Distractions!


Written by Jason Nesbitt Topics: Business, Self Improvement News Feed Eradicator

News Feed Eradicator for LinkedIn – The Distraction Saviour

I have been a massive fan of the News Feed Eradicator for Facebook for quite some time.

I loved being able to nip on to Facebook…send my little insignificant post that will change the world and then get back on to the important work that makes me happier and makes my life better. OK, there is a tiny distraction on that Facebook extension – an inspirational quote. Not something I would call a distraction though!

I first heard about the the Facebook News Feed Eradicator on Tim Ferriss’ awesome podcast. I’ve already recommended you check that beauty out. But here is a link to the exact episode that makes the life changing recommendation.

This article would be fairly useless if it didn’t link to the News Feed Eradicator Chrome Extension now wouldn’t it?

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Click here now, now…now to check it out, download it and give it a pleasant review.

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