Sandeep Ramgolam, a passionate developer and community driver in Mauritius
Sandeep Ramgolam has been passionate about Front-End Development since he was 12. Always working on new open-source projects, Sandeep has also been helping the Front-End community in Mauritius to grow.
In this 3rd episode of the podcast World Web Stories, Sandeep talk about his daily job as a Front-End developer and describe the community of developers living in Mauritius.
- Don't rush in learning how to use frameworks, learn your basics first!
- Mauritius is a beautiful island!
- You can't be good at everything, you must choose what interests you the most.
David Dias: [00:00:00] Today I have the great pleasure to be with Sandeep from Moriches for another episode of the podcast, world stories. Welcome Sandeep.
Sandeep Ramgolam: [00:00:20] Hi David, how are you doing?
David Dias: [00:00:22] How are you doing?
Sandeep Ramgolam: [00:00:24] I'm fine. It's just a bit tortilla and gracious. About one of the everything's good.
David Dias: [00:00:29] So just for people that may not know, where is marshes, can you tell us where it's located?
Sandeep Ramgolam: [00:00:35] Yeah, it's a small island in the middle of the Indian ocean. So you might know where Madagascar is. It's just a little south, east of Madagascar.
David Dias: [00:00:46] Nice. Cool. So what do you do in life Sandeep, tell us a little bit more about.
Sandeep Ramgolam: [00:00:54] So I'm a front end developer. That's my job. But apart from that I still could for fun. But apart from that as well, I guess I like to hike, play some, sports, stuff like that.
David Dias: [00:01:10] Do you have like places in marshes where you can go for.
Sandeep Ramgolam: [00:01:16] Yeah, plenty. And that's been my hobby for the past two to three years or so, which has been going everywhere, everywhere I can around the island and trying to like discover places that are right here.
David Dias: [00:01:32] Nice. Nice. So I'm curious. Do you remember when you started coding when, when he was.
Sandeep Ramgolam: [00:01:42] Yeah. That's a long time. So we are now in 2021. So I guess I started coding when I was informed too. That would be in 2012.
David Dias: [00:01:59] How many years old you were at the time?
Sandeep Ramgolam: [00:02:01] No, not 2012. That would be 2002, I guess, Southern, too. That's a long time. So I guess I was, I was 12 back then and we picked up like those computer classes. So in emotions we have like 4, 1, 2, 3 and inform one. That's where you get to start your computer glasses. That's when you are on 11 and in form one, you just do the people stuff like "what is a mouse?" "what is a keyboard?" You don't actually play with the computer.
David Dias: [00:02:42] Oh, so you guys write on paper?
Sandeep Ramgolam: [00:02:45] Yeah. Yeah, yeah. "So what is an input device?" What is a like, stuff like that? So that was kind of boring, but the next year you get to actually play with computers and learn a programming language. That's when I got started into programming. So I think the first language was basic.
David Dias: [00:03:07] So I, I imagine that like your colleagues or like other, other people in your class, they, they did the same course, but they may not have been as interested as you were like, do you know what, what do you remember? What motivated you to like continue like doing more and not taking that class.
Sandeep Ramgolam: [00:03:32] I think the main thing was that I thought it was fun. And mainly because we got to go into the computer room and play games between the programming lessons would sit at the back and play when the teacher was at looking. So that was kind of motivating, but. I guess I stayed for the fun of actually programming.
David Dias: [00:04:01] So since, since the beginning coding for you was something fun. And I imagine that's still the case today.
Sandeep Ramgolam: [00:04:10] Yeah, very much. That's my main with division. I wouldn't do it otherwise.
David Dias: [00:04:16] Nice. So, so you, you went to school how, like. Did you like after school, did you do any university or something like that? When did you start working as a front end developer? Professionally? Can you tell us a little bit more about that story?
David Dias: [00:06:28] Did you have, did you have a lot of friends with the same interests that you. How about like computing and coding kind of stuff.
Sandeep Ramgolam: [00:06:41] I mean, most of the people in the computer courses who were into coding. I guess at least half the claws were in for fun. The other half, half was just there to do the course, I guess. Cause they couldn't get anything else. But yeah, there was a, there was a lot of people who are very, very interested in programming and then I still keep in touch with a lot of them. And a lot of them are like, they have very, very good jobs in programming in malicious.
Sandeep Ramgolam: [00:07:45] So I like to focus on from then. I don't like that full stack. I don't think anyone is a true full stack. It's like, there are some people who are very good in everything. I knew some of these people. But they are very real. And if you really want to be a full stack, it's going to be like your whole team by yourself, and then you have to sacrifice some other stuff. Like. You probably need to get an assistant to do emails. I don't know. There's some things need to be sacrificed. You can't handle everything. So for me I chose to specialize in front end and I guess UX, not really UI cause I suck at designing. So I've accepted that all my design, so like square stuff. So. I don't mind admitting it, but I will see if there's a pixel of, I will see it. So I guess I go the UX and front end way. And of course a front-end is not just HTML these days. You know how it is. You have to learn at least one framework. You have to be very good at it. And then I guess the other frameworks, you can understand them because the concepts are the same, pretty similar.
David Dias: [00:09:00] What's your favorite framework?
Sandeep Ramgolam: [00:09:03] Oh, my favorite framework is a Vuejs. Started with angular long ago Angular 1.5 never got into angular 2. Still today I guess TypeScript is not what I liked back then, because it was very. It's very different from what we're used to. But yeah I, then I, I picked up view view as very friendly to me. I made a lot of projection view and to this date, I still am a very fervent supportive view. I'm learning you free right now, which comes with that group support. This is. Very very nice because I built a project like last week or so with you free on TypeScript and I kind of like it now. That's what it feels. It makes me feel very safe. So yeah, exactly.
David Dias: [00:09:54] For a lot of people, I mean, even, even cleaning myself like years ago, when I started types with was also more or less the same that you felt. And then few years after coming back to it and try it. Do it and see the advantages. And now I don't have any product I'm not using TypeScript.
Sandeep Ramgolam: [00:10:15] Back then, it was like, I was trying to fight that script instead of doing the project. But I guess that's how it feels with you too, because if you do, it's not really made to be used with script, but if you freeze or indifferent, you can actually use it.
David Dias: [00:10:32] Vue 3 came out. Like few weeks ago, right? Few months.
Sandeep Ramgolam: [00:10:37] A few months ago. Yeah. It was announced like one and a half year ago. I was waiting for it legally. I get, I forgot when it got released, I think early this year, or like late 20, 20 or something.
David Dias: [00:10:52] So. Tell us a little bit about like you job today. Like you, you work with other people, like, do you have like designers and other developers? How is your team today?
Sandeep Ramgolam: [00:11:06] Yeah. So I don't really how I got where I am right now. But if we go at where I am right now, I'm working fully remote. At the it's a south African company we have a branch in Mauritius, so I work with them. But I'm not on the Mauritius team. I'm on a south African team. So all my colleagues are remote, even if I do have some colleagues here who work in the same company. I don't really work directly with them. So I've never met any of my actual colleagues, I would say. But we still talk daily and this feels like the new normal now. The company's very, very eager to keep the remote setting. Which is great for me because I was planning to build my home office anyway, so this is all perfect. And yeah, so I'm the front end guy in the team. We have dedicated backends. We have. The product manager, we have the PMs as the UX guy. So yeah, it's it's a big dynamic and of course there's a client. We all try to work together to come up with the solution. My part of the job is to bring the front end. The best front-end solutions that can fit the situation. So, and then maybe implemented or pass it on to someone else to implement. But yeah, I guess that's, that's what I do these days.
David Dias: [00:12:31] So I know that you, you love buildings stuff. Like, that's something you, you do like last year you build a website on the COVID and all the statistics and numbers and probably a lot of project time, not aware of like why do you, like, you know, a lot of developers, they do their, their work but they don't do too much aside. But you've been building a lot of things. These last years, what, what, what this brings to you building these projects? Why do you do this? What motivates you, tell us about it?
Sandeep Ramgolam: [00:13:09] I mean, there is a number of reasons, but the most important one is for fun. This is actually my hobby. I guess many people don't get it and many people would like to go. Like, and have fun or like go hike. I do that now, but or go shopping. I don't do that, but yeah. This is actually really fun for me and it's, it makes me better at my job. There's no stress because it's, I'm doing it for me. If it doesn't work out, who cares if it works. Great. I have another project in my portfolio. And then I did realize that making projects and putting it out there is what will help me advance in my career. So for example, if I'm looking for a job Hmm. They won't be interested in what my, what my grades were in high school. They will look at what project I did last week. And I tried to maintain that and keep that up to date as much as possible, but that's not the primary motivation. Again, the motivation is foot. I just stayed for fun.
David Dias: [00:14:14] And, and then I can imagine you learn a lot in the process of doing things yourself. Yeah, that's, that's enjoyable. And like you said, like you have, you don't have any pressure. On your, on you. So it's like, if it works, I mean, I get it and I completely agree. It works signed. Doesn't work, you fix it eventually. And then you deploy and then that's it.
Sandeep Ramgolam: [00:14:38] I could give you an example, like the, one of the latest project, latest, last few projects I did. It's not that recent, but I guess two or three months ago, I saw. I swiped picture on Reddit. It was a clock. But we have a special concept. I guess I'll send you the link, but our, our listeners won't get to see it. Cause it's,
David Dias: [00:15:01] I will put the link in the, in the article, on the website.
Sandeep Ramgolam: [00:15:05] An example of a project that's absolutely useless, but it's so much fun.
David Dias: [00:15:11] Tell me more. What's what's that clock.
Sandeep Ramgolam: [00:15:14] So I just saw this yeah, I think it was a tweet about a clock that would be made up of other clocks.
David Dias: [00:15:26] Interesting.
Sandeep Ramgolam: [00:15:27] So it's a digital clock made of analog clocks and somebody actually did that. So that was very fun. I think it was an odd renewal project or something. And then I, I looked into last year. Okay. Maybe I can do that in CSS. Oh, you did my first CSS. Yeah. So I, I didn't know how to do it in CSS, but I thought. It's like, this might be doable.
David Dias: [00:15:52] Yeah. That's a good exercise.
Sandeep Ramgolam: [00:15:55] I tried for like a day or two and I did manage to make it. Did you get the link? I sent you the link in the chat?
David Dias: [00:16:02] No, no. But I will check it out. I will check it out, but it's, that makes me really curious about, I need to, I need to see how you did it. Cool. So can you, so how is the landscape any more shows about coding and web development and like, do you have a lot of companies in more shoes or even people working with web and web development?
Sandeep Ramgolam: [00:16:33] Yeah, I think web development is like picking up really fast. It's I would say it's already big invoices and. If you want to like cover a look at the landscape. It's, it's, it's a weird so we had you will see, because for myself, I'm involved a lot with communities and you see a lot of the same faces in the conference. So, you know, who is in the community, who is. Very skilled people or the new ones, you know that, but if you actually look at who is actually working in tech, it's much, much more than that. And there's like many more people who don't show up in conferences, but work in tech and that's fine. Th that's not an issue, but there's like many more, much more people working in tech. Then you can like when you can see in malicious, especially in web. I want to do just a bank.
David Dias: [00:17:31] And do, would you, would you be, are you able to, I mean, do you have any idea why people working in that area as like, you always have people that are really passionate and people that are just doing their job do you think that may explain why sometimes you see always the same, maybe they are passionate about their work and whatnot.
Sandeep Ramgolam: [00:17:58] I guess most of the people who show up for the conferences it's because they are passionate about it. Or they're probably just looking for another job.
David Dias: [00:18:07] Or making connections. Yeah. It's a good place. It's the best place to make connections. But like about the other people who work in tech, but don't merge with the community as much. I guess they're just there to do their job take is is a sector that pays quite well. Compared to the other sectors like emojis. Not I would S I won't say this many. How do you see fields sector? Yeah, not many of them at the, well, when you get started you would probably get the minimum salary at any of the job, but when you get soldered in techs, you get a bit above and after two years you get much more. So it's very, very attractive and that's why many people get into it. Not because they're passionate, but because you need a job and that's completely fine. Everybody needs a job. And I guess the economic benefits by getting a lot of people into it. So yeah, listening is like you, you have a lot of companies in Mauritius. That provides services and, and require people with these kind of skills.
Sandeep Ramgolam: [00:19:12] Yup. And lately I've noticed that a lot of non Mauritian companies are sending a base here and hiring Mauritians to work for them. Instead of like hiring them like remotely, they actually come here and open up a branch and hire the most skilled ones. So it's easy for them to do because they can be. Above average rates. But that's still lower than what they would have to pay in Europe or in America in where you are. So it's a win-win for both of them and yeah, I've, I've noticed that a lot. There's a lot of companies in Grand Baie in general that opened up in the last few years.
David Dias: [00:19:53] So do you have any, any, so we're talking about communities and, and, and events. Do you have any, any event or conference in Mauritius? That like, that brings people together about code and web development and this kind of stuff?
Sandeep Ramgolam: [00:20:10] Yeah. We have some. I would see what, how many events like that. Not many since the pandemic hit, but we do have the developer's conference, which, which ran yearly since 2015. Last year's got postponed. We have the usual front-end coders meetup that you started when you were here. And I, and that I picked up after that. So yeah. The front end coders meetup are the active meetups. Now I would say, yeah, because of the, after the pandemic hit not many people when doing regular meetups and we thought, okay, let's do it online. And the MSCC actually set up a Jitsi server. But I don't think many of the communities were using it. So Went for it and hosted, I think three or four meetups on that. But yeah, since January I haven't hosted any meetups, so I should get back to doing one soon. Yeah.
David Dias: [00:21:05] We are in challenging times. I mean, a lot of communities are like, not as active as before because of coding. That's, that's understandable. But one of the aspect I found interesting and is the fact that Conferences are not done online, which should open some opportunities and help some people that like, even like nowadays we have conferences that for them even I would not participate because I would need to pick a train ticket, train and go somewhere else now from my home, I can, I can attempt that conference. So that's, that's pretty,
Sandeep Ramgolam: [00:21:42] I mean, he, it's not, it's not really problem. Like you can get anywhere with it in an hour.
David Dias: [00:21:47] That's true.
Sandeep Ramgolam: [00:21:48] Let's do the yeah, it's fun. It's fun to be able to just, just join remotely and have no stress.
David Dias: [00:21:55] Totally. What like if you, you could raise like saying in, in few few sentence or a word, like what's, what's the challenges that developers in Mauritius usually face or could face in their career. What is the most challenging part you think people may make?
Sandeep Ramgolam: [00:22:23] I guess I can speak for web developers specifically, not all developers. But I guess web in web, you have this very low level of entry where, you know, we intuition, we can make anyone a basic fund developer can learn to understand HTML at least and change some colors. Probably anyone could do that. But then how did you go from there does a senior front end engineer who like, could knows what's going on. We really understands how the browser works. There's a, there's a gap there. And I think the hardest part is trying to get across that gap. Because once you get across that gap, Self-learning is very easy. You can just keep going by yourself. Until you're there. You will just like, you might even get frustrated in a loop because you won't understand how something simple works or like, I don't know something like an image dunk, which is quite much, but many people don't know how it works because it's rendering something on the browser. It's making a fetch in the background. It's doing all of that, but it's just one line and image Doug. And if you try to explain all that magic to someone's, it was, you know, I don't need to know all that, but then when they get an issue that they need to understand all of the behind the scene works. And then you end up explaining how fetch works, how, what our request over the web what's the cash. And then all of that is not there at the beginning.
David Dias: [00:24:08] Do you feel like people like the, I don't know what to say that, but they take shortcuts. And it's what do you think it is? It's like, people want to take shortcuts.
Sandeep Ramgolam: [00:24:19] It's both. If people do want to take shortcuts, but I think the way stuff is way too simple is this, like the web is also guilty of this. It's very like it's too easy to get it. Just get started. You just like compared to a Java programmer where you would need to set up the compiler first, before you have your world stuff here, you can just open note by then have it working already, but you don't really understand how it's working or what, what all the cool stuff behind it, even if it's just a local page, like something very simple. How many times did you see someone have a local HTML page and just like double-click on it and open it in the browser? They don't have like a local SCTP server, cause they don't know what that is. They will just open it with a file protocol and then you scratch your head and you think, okay, well, how do I start explaining what this is and why you need a server? To view a page because they will just tell you, I can see it in my browser, that opens
David Dias: [00:25:31] That reminds me like. I have some people that contact me through a platform that's called my job glasses in France. And a lot of people like that are interesting in being developer and this kind of stuff. I, and I know that one of the thing I always explain is how, I mean the basics of course, but how a browser works because I know that even they don't grasp that basic, like. They, they will be blocked some, I mean, somewhere in the future. And so this is, I think you, you pointed out something really interesting for people that will listen to the podcast is basics are really important and, and understand how things work even they are, they may sound a little bit complicated at first are really important to not be blocked in, in the future.
Sandeep Ramgolam: [00:26:26] Yeah. I think if, if someone thinks the they're finding a concept complicated, they probably miss something in the basics of it. Because once you get, like, for example, promises, I had no idea how they work behind the scenes. Like you really have to. Get to the low level, know what it is, what happens what's happening behind. And then it all makes sense. But until then, it's like, it's like, you're praying for the best.
David Dias: [00:26:59] And that. Yeah, I, I went to through the same. I think it's something that probably people like us that are self-taught top. Yeah. Yeah, we, we, we face this probably, I mean, I had to face the same experience in the past and sometimes I still wait less than before, but I think this is maybe something that is common between people that are self-taught. Oh my gosh. I can say that word anyway.
Sandeep Ramgolam: [00:27:32] It's good. I think to come back to your question about what's the hardest thing, I don't think it's. Specific to emotions. I think the hardest thing is to get to that point where you can self teach yourself before that it's going to be very confusing. You might find the whole thing very hard and you might wonder why your colleagues are getting good at it. And you're not. So I guess just. Do you, how that skill, it's a skill that you acquire to break down the task into simpler tasks, learn it and build from there. If you, if you try to skip a few steps, you would just get even more confused.
David Dias: [00:28:11] I totally agree with what you said. So I don't know what to ask. I mean about like more issues and, and where you. Like aspects of life. How is like, how is a day in Marsha's how you would describe what, what people do in during the weekend? What w give us a little bit of that feeling of Marsha.
Sandeep Ramgolam: [00:28:36] I can give you that, but I'm not sure it's the same for all developers in motion. So that's, that's a disclaimer there. So because I work remotely, I just need my laptop and an internet connection. That's all I need to work.
David Dias: [00:28:49] How is the internet connection Mauritius?
Sandeep Ramgolam: [00:28:51] So last year we got a new data package that is actually unlimited and not that expensive. Nice.
David Dias: [00:29:00] I'm not mistaken, you you've got recently and you cable and you submarine cable that connects marshes to the, I forgot which continent is. No, you are not aware
Sandeep Ramgolam: [00:29:13] That?No. These cable talks they've been around for years.
David Dias: [00:29:17] No, but apparently they, they ha they put in place a new one maybe three, four weeks ago. I, I can, yeah, I can tell you exactly, like, from where to where probably like the African continent, but I saw something about the new cable that was lunch re linking Mauritius if I'm not mistaken of course.
Sandeep Ramgolam: [00:29:39] Yeah, yeah, yeah. But the new data package that is available now is really good because you actually. Stop worrying because like I can run YouTube all day and it won't, it won't run out. So I won't do that, but actually I know how to worry. Is this package about to be over? Can I still do my work?
David Dias: [00:30:02] Before, before, I don't know. Like before you, you had a package was limited in terms of, I forgot. I mean like downloads and yeah, the bandwidth. So that's nice.
Sandeep Ramgolam: [00:30:18] Now, I think it's around. I don't know. It's, it's more than I can use. My battery will run out before the data went south it's around 15 gigabytes or 30 gigabytes per month or something like that. And it's, it's affordable, which is the most important part. So now my typical day would be like a wake up. If I want to work at home, If not, I can just take my call, go to the beach or to the park. And I just, I can just chill there and we've my internet connection is, and I'm in my laptop. I didn't stand up. I worked for a few hours and like the battery loss and then I have to head back home because my laptop won't last all day, but it lasts quite a few hours. So that's nice. So they don't think that's the same experience for everyone?
David Dias: [00:31:11] No, probably not. A lot of people like if people are curious, they they'll probably like go and tape type Mauritius in Google and they will see beautiful pictures. It is really like that Mauritius is, it is really beautiful. Tropical.
Sandeep Ramgolam: [00:31:30] Yeah, the beaches or really like that in the mountain, I think mountains as well, but then you also have the cities and the villages and the more urban areas, like event where all the it companies exist. So there you would, I, I don't really like that, that area. It never, never appeal to me. It feels more like a factory. Than an it workplace to me. So I worked there for, I think around six months, couldn't do it just left. So yeah, I, I don't really like the area, but it is like one of the biggest economic assets of the country. And a lot of it companies work there, like they settled there, so yeah. All kinds of weather and all kinds of landscapes, just a few minutes away. That's how it feels being here.
David Dias: [00:32:26] That, that sounds, that sounds awesome. So w I, I didn't ask you, but what, what's the language that people use in, in marshes?
Sandeep Ramgolam: [00:32:35] Yeah, so that's, that's an interesting one. Most people speak in Creole. Motion Creole. That's the mother tongue of guests, pretty much everyone, but also everyone is taught English and French in school. So since the very first day of school, so anyone you meet, you can speak English or French to them. They will. It's very likely that we'll understand. But that's not their language of choice. They probably prefer speaking Creole to each other, but in the workplace, it's mostly French. If your company is not an English business company, but yeah, it's these free languages. And then apart from. Depending on the ethnicity, everyone speaks an extra language. Like I could speak in the . Someone else could speak Arabic or Chinese Mandarin, or I guess last one is. Yeah. Yeah. That's all I can remember. So, so everyone speaks around four languages. Yeah. Four or five.
David Dias: [00:33:41] That's incredible. That's that's a lot for languages. I wish I could
David Dias: [00:33:52] Awesome. Sandeep, I really appreciate it. Like, it was really interesting. What you share with us and about your experience and what you live in the Mauritius. I, I'm sure people can feel how passionate you are and how dedicated you are. So it's thank you so much for being with us today and I hope you all the best and talk to you.
Sandeep Ramgolam: [00:34:14] Thanks David. Talk to you soon.
David Dias: [00:34:18] Bye bye Sandeep.
A question? A comment?
About our guest
Curious guy from Mauritius 🇲🇺 who loves .vue, .js, tailwindcss, UX, Linux, LFC & nature. Keeps wondering about spooky action at a distance.