Dash Open 20: The Benefits of Presenting at Meetups

Ashley Wolf: Hi Everyone and Welcome to the Dash Open Podcast. Dash Open is your podcast for interesting conversations about open source and other technology. This podcast is sponsored by the Open Source Program Office at Verizon Media, which is home to many leading brands, including Yahoo, AOL, and TechCrunch. My name is Ashley Wolf, and I manage the open source program at Verizon Media. I'm here in our Tel Aviv office, and I'm excited to be chatting with Eran Shapira. Eran is a software engineering manager on the video activation team. Welcome to the podcast, Eran. Eran Shapira: Thank you, Ashley. Ashley Wolf: Eran, tell us a little bit about yourself. How long have you been working here and what does your day to day look like? Eran Shapira: I started at AOL in October, 2013. Eran Shapira: I've been here for almost six and a half years. I actually started as a very junior software engineer. I was a full stack developer. I came from a C# background, actually. That's the fun fact here. I finished my university bachelor of science degree in computer science, and then it was actually a minute after I sent my final assignment, I came into an interview and then started off as a frontend developer basically in AOL On. It was a website that was developed here in Tel Aviv. It was the only B2C website that was developed on AOL that was offshore. We created a new website based on cutting edge technologies, and it was very exciting. It was AngularJS 1. Ashley Wolf: Oh, wow. Eran Shapira: Which is ancient. Things rolled out, they switched teams, and I got to the position of a software engineering manager. Ashley Wolf: And tell us a little bit about your team. What does the video activation team do? Eran Shapira: What we're doing basically on a day to day basis in our team is serving developers, making their lives easier, and we're also creating features on our own. We get to test what we're building, and we know whether it serves the purpose or whether it doesn't. Ashley Wolf: During your different roles at Verizon Media, have you participated in any frontend meetup groups or any external activities that helped you professionally develop or learn new skills that might be useful for other folks in frontend to learn about? Eran Shapira: Definitely. I think if you're going to be an architect or if you're going to be a team manager or a group manager, you're going to have to know how to present or how to explain things. If you want to develop yourself, take yourself and go to a meetup and present. We had a very thriving meetup group here in Israel when we were AOL. It was called Tech Talk Teach, so I did a number of presentations. I presented some of the ideas that we were doing here and it was really exciting. We have a lot to share here. We're doing spectacular work. We have talented people that are always trying to think outside the box, so I think if you have a good idea, share it. Take the time to do it. It's worth it. Eran Shapira: That's the thing that will develop you more than anything else because if you're able to explain what you're doing, it means you know what you're doing. And if you don't know what you're doing, then explaining it will help you understand what exactly you're supposed to do. Every time I explain things to people, I find myself more excited about the things I'm doing, more complete with the things I'm doing, because I'm able to also shift what I'm doing to the right direction, and more importantly, people share their ideas with you. Ashley Wolf: What's next in your space that you're looking forward to? Eran Shapira: WebAssembly. Ashley Wolf: And what's WebAssembly? Eran Shapira: WebAssembly is a way to map instructions from the browser straight to the CPU. First of all, performance. I'm doing something related to other frequencies, and WebAssembly allows you to analyze and do mathematical calculations much better than doing it on JavaScript, for instance. I did an experiment, I did the same algorithm with JavaScript, Java, and WebAssembly. In JavaScript, the same scenario would take 80 milliseconds. On Java, it would take 20. On WebAssembly, it took approximately three or four milliseconds. So, the performance improvement is insane as long as you're doing the right thing because once you go low level, you better know what you're doing. Otherwise, optimizations that are performed on the JavaScript V8 engine or the virtual machine of Java would be lost, because if you're doing the same thing that they are doing much better than you, then let's face it, you're going to lose. Eran Shapira: So, make sure you're doing the right thing with WebAssembly. But if you make use of it properly, the sky's the limit. Like in my experience, it improved performance by like 40 times and thus increased accuracy by a huge margin. So, it was really important for me. The first thing I did when I saw that it's available, I said I'm going to use it, I'm going to try it out, and I was so happy with the results. This is definitely the next thing. Ashley Wolf: You're an experienced software dev. You're an engineering manager here, and you've definitely seen a lot. What advice do you have for folks listening? Eran Shapira: Always make sure you're a good team worker. Make sure your teammates and colleagues look up to you. And if they don't, ask them why. They'll be happy to elaborate. They'll always be able to improve you. That's the best thing, I think, the development. Ashley Wolf: Eran, it's been so great to chat with you today. Thanks so much for your time. Eran Shapira: Thank you. Ashley Wolf: If you enjoyed this episode of Dash Open and are interested in learning more about jobs at Verizon Media, please check out our careers website in the podcast description and be sure to share this podcast with your coworkers, friends, and family.

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