Toptal Blog

The Toptal Blog is the top hub for developers, designers, finance experts, executives, and entrepreneurs, featuring key technology updates, tutorials, freelancer resources, and management insights.

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In Defense of Female Engineers

by Taso Du Val

Female engineers are valuable at Toptal. This is a piece about how we stand up for their rights and value them for their skills and talent.

6 minute readContinue Reading
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Init.js: A Guide to the Why and How of Full-Stack JavaScript

by Alejandro Hernandez

After much thought, I decided to engineer a solution to the idea abandonment problem. I call it the ‘Init' project (or Init.js). The core of the idea is to have a single project to start them all, to let the developer or the technical founder make all of the essential decisions at once, and receive an appropriate starting template based on those decisions.

14 minute readContinue Reading
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How a Single Front-End Engineer Can Replace a Team of Two

by Tom Kozacinski

Demand within the web design scene today has changed over the past few years: designers with front-end skills, and front-end developers with design skills, are more and more in demand. Yes, you could argue that the jobs are completely different—and maybe you straight-up don't like one of them—but truth be told, in my six years as a freelance web developer and twelve years as a designer, I’ve learned that it's much harder to get by as just a web designer or just a front-end developer. Wearing both hats has a lot of advantages: from a professional perspective alone, you can find work more easily and charge a higher rate because you’re bringing more to the table.

11 minute readContinue Reading
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The Ultimate Remote Team Culture

by Taso Du Val

At Toptal, we’re building a software product that aims to revolutionize team creation, contracting, and human resources. Our team is completely distributed: we have no office, and we work from all around the globe. And when I say “all around the globe”, I mean “_all_ around the globe”: our internal staff consists of nearly 50 full-time individuals from Brazil, USA, Russia, Argentina, Czech Republic, Ukraine, Hungary, and more. This includes engineers, designers, recruiters, sales, and executives. We all work from home, and we’re good at it: we’ve had countless Skype sessions, code reviews, feature iterations—all components in building a great product. We work hard, and we’ve been at it with as much fervor and energy as ever. Earlier this year, we decided it was time to bring everyone together in the same location. We’ve had tremendous success as a distributed team. But regardless, we wanted to add an edge to our collaboration and creativity, and connect in-person. Our journey, the results that came of it, and the economics behind it are all explained thoroughly in the post that follows.

12 minute readContinue Reading
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The H-1B Visa: An iOS Developer's Journey from Honduras to Silicon Valley

by Carlos E. Hernández Perez

These days, I’m living in the great city of San Francisco. I’ve got a job that I love, and one that I’ve dreamt of having for a long time. Everything seems easy now, but it wasn’t always like this.

10 minute readContinue Reading
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Growing Growth: Perform Your Own Cohort Analysis with This Open Source Code

by Alejandro Rigatuso

But this isn’t just another article about cohort analysis. If you already know the importance of the topic and want to skip the introduction, you can jump to the simulator, where you can either simulate startup growth based on retention, churn, and a number of other factors, or analyze your own PayPal logs with the code I’ve open sourced. If, however, you don’t realize that these are some of the most important metrics around–continue reading.

7 minute readContinue Reading
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From Node.js to Paying Your Freelance Taxes: Interview with a Successful Developer

by Luís Martinho

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, and paying your taxes.

12 minute readContinue Reading
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How to Work Remotely and Still Be the Best

by Ryan Wilcox

Starting a new remote gig, be it a contract project or a full-time job, can be a little intimidating if you're used to going into an office day after day. But this style of employment is growing in popularity, with some very notable companies lending it their endorsements. I've worked remotely for years now on projects of various scales and durations. With this post, I hope to enumerate some of the best practices that I've picked up for working in a variety of situations. The advice here ranges from specific recommendations for software and hardware, to tips for hitting your team's deadlines.

13 minute readContinue Reading
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CloudI: Bringing Erlang's Fault-Tolerance to Polyglot Development

by Michael Truog

Clouds must be efficient to provide useful fault-tolerance and scalability, but they also must be easy to use. CloudI (pronounced "cloud-e" /klaʊdi/) is an open source cloud computing platform that is most closely related to the Platform as a Service (PaaS) clouds. CloudI differs in a few key ways, most importantly: software developers are not forced to use specific frameworks, slow hardware virtualization, or a particular operating system. By allowing cloud deployment to occur without virtualization, CloudI leaves development process and runtime performance unimpeded, while quality of service can be controlled with clear accountability.

9 minute readContinue Reading

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