Ilya Lyamkin
BlogAboutCV

Farewell, FREE NOW

March 27, 2020

Today is my last day at FREE NOW. It’s a bittersweet moment, but I believe it’s the right thing to do.

It’s been a lovely journey over 400 reviewed Pull Requests long, advocating for simplicity and performance. With the help of my team members, I’ve grown as a software engineer and as a human being. So without further ado, let’s go over main learnings.

Year of static types

At FREE NOW, I’ve been onboarded with Flow codebase. I got to learn what’s the benefits of static types or how much bugs they can catch. Soon we understood the limitation Flow has and decided to move towards Typescript. Since then, we’ve launched migrated several projects to Typescript.

Year of writing and speaking

In the last spring, we’ve launched LearnNOW initiative — a place where anyone can share their learning with team members. I’ve fully embraced and liked it: I did my talks about static types, async/await, and Next.js.

I’d also like to say thank you for motivating and supporting me in writing. It’s been several months since I published my first piece, and now they have over 50K views and growing.

Year of refactoring

The most common type of anti-heroes in any Marvel movie is someone who has had enough and wants to make a world better by clearing it first. Sounds familiar? That’s one way how we deal with legacy code.

I understand that it’s fun and fascinating to start something new and shiny instead of making small tedious iterations. But without that experience, you won’t know how to build software that lasts or how to design architecture for change.

Last year I was working on improving a project that some people even suggested removing. It’s in the much better state right now: unused code removed, dependencies are fresh, performance is higher — and more importantly, there is a plan on how to make it even better.

Year of testing

When I joined a company, I didn’t have a lot of experience with testing. To be honest, I wasn’t even sure if we need them that much. However, since a lot of people advocated for different test approaches, I dived into it. It was an exciting journey. At some point, I ended up leading and creating tests improvements epics and contributing to open-source testing libraries. Right now, I can tell you all the good and bad practices in tests. Just don’t be obsessed over 100% test coverage — it doesn’t mean that your code 100% correct.

Year of ping pong

For the last year, I went from 0 in ping pong to pretty acceptable result (could’ve been better, but I also like to work). It made the office an attractive place to be in even though I could’ve worked from home.

It was a year of collaboration and pair programming. What I especially like is that I’ve met people eager to learn and explore new stuff, open to feedback. FREE NOW showed that you could focus on these values and deliver value for business at the same time.


Above all, I think, FREE NOW is a great group of people. Friendly, smart, funny, self-aware, humble, transparent, I could go on. It’s was a pleasure to be working with you.

Thank you.


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