Plan to Become a Back-End Engineer? Get Ready to Learn Your Entire Life

Sep 26

Every day, Ramas Grikstas wakes up before 7 AM, turns on his laptop, and gets ready to learn. This is a habit that he developed as a newbie PHP developer and plans to maintain for years to come. 

“There are jobs where you come to work. Development is a job where you come to learn,” – he explains as he starts to describe a path toward becoming a back-end engineer.

From electrical engineering to PHP development

His journey is all about learning. Originally, Ramas studied electrical engineering and eventually started working in the industry. Even though programming had been his hobby his whole life, he regarded engineering as a safe and interesting career path.

But after the company he worked in closed down, his wife suggested trying his skills in web development. 

Ramas took the chance. For two years, he created websites using HTML and CSS until he was sure he had strong basics in the field. He decided to unlock an entirely new career path by learning PHP engineering, so he joined a logistics company that was using the CodeIgniter framework. At first as a web developer, then – as a PHP engineer. 

After 4 years, he decided he needed a new challenge and discovered that Kilo Academy was gathering a new group of students for the PHP course.

Becoming a back-end engineer

Even though Ramas had a strong background before joining the Academy, he would still spend hours at night learning during the program. Some days, he would start at 11 PM and keep reading until 2 AM.

“When I was working with CodeIgniter in my previous job, half the time, we used OOP (Object-Oriented Programming). In the Academy, I refreshed my memory on the foundations, filled in the gaps, and systemized my knowledge,” he explains.

He mentions that the PHP course covered architectural systems, OOP, design patterns, and other essentials.

“One of the reasons why I decided to switch jobs is that I gradually started writing clean code,” says Ramas. “There are not many companies in Lithuania that would invest so much into the quality of their code as Kilo Health.”  

Ramas began working for Kilo Health as a mid-level developer after completing the course. Within a year, he advanced to the mid-senior level. His current ambition is to become a senior-level developer.

He just got certified in the Laravel framework and plans to keep going and learn more about infrastructure building. But that wasn’t easy either – he had to read, understand, and memorize a 1,000-page handbook filled with technical knowledge. To do that, he would wake up at 7 AM, read, go to work, and learn more once he came back home. The goal was to cover two topics every day. 

Experience with Kilo Academy

Starting this September, Ramas also became a mentor at Kilo Academy. He will start to train new people who want to join the engineering team at the company.

“If you want to become a developer, you must love learning,” he says. He also estimates that if you want to become a programmer who is always in demand, you will have to constantly refresh your knowledge on every topic, from the algorithms to the newest frameworks. You would also have to have analytical skills and patience. 

“A lot of times, you cannot complete a task from the first, second, or even fifth try. A great developer has to stay resilient and keep going, no matter how frustrated they get,” Ramas explains.

Technologies are constantly changing, and, in his opinion, it’s technically impossible to truly become a senior developer and know literally everything in your field. The learning journey never ends, and there is always a new topic to master. Even if you know a lot, you will always feel that there is a new concept waiting just around the corner.

“Programming is a lot like working as a doctor. You never stop learning – and if you take a pause, you fail. Of course, making mistakes while programming is way less serious than those made in medicine,” Ramas jokes.

What it takes to make a PHP developer

Ramas estimated that it’s possible to become a junior developer if you intensely train every day for half a year. This might open the door to an entry-level position, and from there, the sky’s the limit. 

“Of course, if you already have some background, the story might be slightly different. I was a web developer before becoming a PHP engineer, and it took me around 3–4 months to recalibrate and focus on the back-end. When I joined Kilo Health, I had to step up my game even more because the Core team where I work focuses on the quality of code so much,” he says.

If a beginner developer wishes to truly succeed, Ramas suggests gathering experience in whichever ways they can. He would freelance after work and help create products for some of the biggest local brands. 

Another essential part of being a good developer is learning to balance work and life. He plays tennis, surfs, and loves to travel – so far, he has lived in Tenerife, Gran Canaria, and nearby Faro town in Southern Portugal.

However, the ultimate key to becoming a good back-end engineer is having the correct foundations and focusing on code quality. 

“I started out in companies that did not care that much about the quality of the code, and I would write code in a way that would make sense to me. But I didn’t get any code reviews, so I used half-baked coding practices and had to spend time unlearning them,” he says. “Every line of code shipped from Kilo Health must be of high quality. Learning the right types of practices from day one puts you on the fast track of your career.”

Are you curious about learning PHP development?

Autumn is the perfect time to level up your career. Apply to become a part of Kilo Health engineering team, or join Kilo Academy and start your career:

Ramas Grikstas
Back-End Engineer at Core Marketing Team
Engineer who thrives on building startups.

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