Lifestyle posts

The Toptal Engineering Blog is a platform for sharing projects and discussing technologies.
Time Management Secrets of an Efficient Engineer

Freelancers work flexible hours, but this convenience comes at a price: They have to manage their time better than on-site professionals. However, it also means they’re free to optimize their routine and achieve exceptional efficiency.

In this post, software engineer Dmitry Ryazantsev will guide you through the ins and outs of personal time management, leaving little to chance. What good are great rates if you waste hours each week?

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The Zen of devRant

Let’s face it: Sometimes you just need to rant. Fortunately, there’s an app for that. It’s called devRant, and it’s the place for developers to vent about clients from hell, non-technical friends and family, and clueless recruiters.

In this roundup, devRant Co-Founder David Fox shares his favorite collection of rants since launching. Some will make you laugh. Others will make you laugh so hard you cry. And just about all of them will make you empathize with the author.

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Boost Your Productivity With Clever Travel Hardware

You can buy capri pants, cheap flip-flops, and boonie hats anywhere on vacation, but beachside shops usually don’t carry quality hardware that can help you be more productive on the road or save you time and money for more enjoyable activities.

In this post, Toptal Technical Editor Nermin Hajdarbegovic takes a look at inexpensive and readily available travel hardware designed to boost your productivity on the road. You can put most of these gadgets on your summer shopping list without making a dent in your travel budget.

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Productivity On The Road: Work Full-Time, Travel Solo, Have Fun

Do you have what it takes to travel the globe while working full-time? Can you work on the road while still finding enough time to take care of yourself and enjoy the adventures of travel? It’s not a lifestyle for everyone, but it’s probably not as tricky or demanding as you think, especially when you have a sense of purpose.

In this article, Toptal Director of Operations Dror Liebenthal explains how to enjoy the nomadic lifestyle without compromising your professional performance, health, or social life.

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HTTP Request Testing: A Developer's Survival Tool

It’s tragically common for developers to come into a project where proper automated testing has been and will continue to be overlooked. It’s a situation Freelance Developer Bhushan Lodha has found himself in all too often; fortunately, he’s found a solution. In this article, he briefly covers the reasons why testing is overlooked and ultimately explains his “coding life hack” to ensure quality control even when he can’t introduce a testing framework.

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Encouraging Action And Timeliness In A Remote Workplace

Synchronizing productivity for interdependent team tasks can be a hassle even in the best traditional workplace environments. Add in the inherent challenges of a remote team, and the hassle becomes two-fold. But it doesn’t have to be.

Toptal’s Technical Editor Kate Scheer takes us along on her journey to inspire timely content from her remote authors, and her communication recommendations cross into other realms of remote work.

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Rethinking Authentication And Biometric Security, The Toptal Way

How does one secure a vast, distributed network of tech talent? There are three ways of doing this: the right way, the wrong way, and the Toptal way. Today, we will be discussing the latter, and unveiling our plans for a comprehensive overhaul of our onboarding and authentication procedures.

In this post, Toptal Technical Editor Nermin Hajdarbegovic will help you get acquainted with our brand new processes. Since all Toptalers will be required to use our new security platform, we encourage you to comment and contribute to our efforts.

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Bootstrapped: Building A Remote Company

There are a number of things which motivated me to start my current company. Breaking away from client work while retaining all the benefits of being a location independent freelancer was one of them.

We’re a team of 10 now, serving more than 1,500 businesses worldwide. We have an office in Berlin, but many of us work remotely. In this article, I’ll dig into to the principles, tools and lessons that have helped us along the way. After reading it, I hope you’ll be able to architect your software company so it’s remote-friendly right from the start.

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Toptal Global Mentors: Education Everywhere

The Toptal Global Mentors program is designed to help novice developers around the world improve their skills and create new career opportunities. In our diverse, yet interconnected global industry, cutting-edge skills are always in short supply. The program aims to bridge the gap between skilled software engineers in developed countries and students from across the globe, who aspire to join the industry.

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Is Open Source Open to Women?

The fact that women are underrepresented in tech is nothing new. However, while we’ve seen the gender diversity reports from companies like Google, Facebook, and many more, a look at the number of women in the open source community suggests that the numbers might be worse than these reports imply. In this post, Toptal COO Breanden Beneschott shares the results of a study looking at gender on GitHub and considers a few reasons why GitHub is so male-dominated, including a few ideas on how we can make the open source community a more welcoming place.

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A Remote Worker's Guide To Staying Healthy

There are a lot of developers who take good care of themselves and enjoy a healthy, active lifestyle. If you are one of them, you can skip the rest of this post, because I wrote it to help developers like myself, who could benefit from a healthier lifestyle.

Even if you are entirely focused on your career, and think you don’t have enough spare time to lead a healthy lifestyle, bear in mind that good physical health will also boost your productivity.

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Things To Watch Out For While Working Remotely

Remote jobs can be good for you, but depending on your character, they can also have some unpleasant side-effects. Burnout affects people in all walks of life and in all industries, so what makes remote workers different?

Recognising burnout symptoms early on is of vital importance and I cannot stress this enough. The deeper you sink into it, the longer it will take to recover, it’s as simple as that.

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Choosing The Best Headphones For Developers

Even if you have a brand new notebook and a flagship smartphone, you should not rely on stock hardware for professional voice calls. It’s simply not good enough; otherwise there would be no aftermarket audio industry to begin with.

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How to Make Remote Working Work for You

Remote work comes with lots of things to take into account when designing your schedule, so finding the right balance that works best for you can be tricky. Here’s how to create a remote working schedule that works best for you, enabling you to get the most out of life while staying productive and effectively supporting your colleagues.

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Ergonomics for Digital Nomads: Working on the Road Without Killing Yourself

We live in a time where technology has made it possible to work from anywhere, and many people have eschewed the traditional office for the chaotic din of a cafe in Bangkok or a hotel in Prague. Yet, while this trend has opened up unprecedented opportunities, it also brings with it a number of challenges, perhaps the most insidious of which is a lack of ergonomically healthy options in non-traditional workspaces.

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Power Efficient Home Offices Can Save Money And Polar Bears

Most of us work from home offices, so we use cheaper household electricity and enjoy better prices than businesses in many parts of the world. Since we don’t commute or drive to work each morning, we already save a bit of money and reduce our carbon footprint. However, there is always room for improvement.

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A Digital Nomad Adventure: Traveling with Hacker Paradise

The nomadic lifestyle is not a vacation. There remains an impermeable barrier between the work world within the computer, and the real world outside of it. Yet there is so much intellectual stimulation and inspiration to be found on the road, it’s a genuine shame that we can’t build on it in the work we do, and with those we find around us. Making that dream a reality is the goal of Casey Rosengren and Alexey Komissarouk, founders of Hacker Paradise.

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Hosting a Tech Conference for a Software Developer Network: The CordobaJS Event

Beyond its beauty, in recent years Córdoba has been enjoying a rapidly growing reputation as a technology center, one that may soon rival Buenos Aires as Argentina’s main technology hub. Last month, Toptal coordinated and hosted a highly successful and well-attended JavaScript Technical Conference in Córdoba, Argentina. Read about how the event came together and the vibrant network of software developers in and around Córdoba.

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In Search of the Elite Few – Finding and Hiring the Best Software Developers in the Industry

Effective interviewing and hiring is as much of an art as it is a science. Nonetheless, approaches and methodologies do exist for evaluating the more subtle dimensions of a software developer’s skills and abilities. When used collectively, these techniques yield a highly effective screening process with a proven track record of success. That process is what this post is all about.

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The Ultimate Remote Team Culture

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.

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How to Work Remotely and Still Be the Best

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.

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