Simon Grimm of Devdactic

Today, we interview Simon, a developer, educator and consultant at Devdactic. He is the creator of the Ionic Academy - I have gone through some of his tutorials while learning the Ionic framework and they are just excellent!


Simon Grimm

Simon Grimm

Location: Münster, Germany.
Favorite gadget: Apple AirPods.
Start your day with: At 5am with the 5 Minute Journal, my Winners Bible and 10 minute meditation with the Headspace App.
Favorite time-saving trick: Stop and recognise that you procrastinate (e.g. watch YT), make a short pause and then focus 100% on work again.
Daily reading: I just put articles I want to read into the Pocket app and then forget about them. Only reading books before sleep right now!

Simon’s workspace

Simon’s workspace

Describe an average day at Devdactic? What does your morning routine look like?

I try to get up early for my morning routine, then I put in like 1.5 hrs of deep work while my wife and baby are still asleep. Then we have breakfast together and I get the morning to work on whatever tasks I have planned. We take lunch together, I get back into my tasks and end the day around 4pm. I have a “shutdown work” task to wrap up my day and I mentally sign off from my tasks (mostly) once I finish that task!

Because I work from home and am my own boss, I try to still have a regular workday so I can still have this great employee feeling on Friday when the work week is over. Weekends are mostly for my family and sometimes side projects if I find the time.

How do you juggle between being a founder (and creating courses) as well as being a developer?

I try to theme my week. Mon+Tue are my high energy days, I either create new courses, videos, content and feel like I already achieved something important early during the week. Wednesday is then for client work, and Thursday for my own projects and growth of the Ionic Academy that I ran.

For Friday I got all the administrative tasks and things like answering all YouTube comments and recording welcome videos for my new members. This also gives me some buffer at the end of the week if I still need to finish something else.

Finally, I try to balance being a teacher and being a developer as good as possible. I still experience real life problems in client projects that I can then use for my content creation work to show how things can be solved! This gives me a nice balance and I can stay relevant

How did you get into programming? Do you focus on a few languages or try to learn new things going along? Any tips for newbie programmers?

I started early (like with 13) with C++ because my big brother was into it and I wanted to learn these things as well. I basically followed everything he did so I also learned HTML and PHP back then. In school and university we learned Java but I never really liked it.

The change came when I learned ObjectiveC to build an iPhone app during my university time. From that time on I was sold to mobile!

This got me my first job, but I quickly also picked up the pretty new Ionic Framework and Angular back then, and I finally sticked with that until today.

I don't branch out into other languages at the moment because it’s really hard to have skills in all the frameworks like Vue, React and Angular at the same time.

However, when you get the basic idea of programming you can quickly pick up new languages. I can get into Python real quickly or understand what some Swift or Ruby code is doing. Once you are at a specific level, things really start to get easier!

My tip for newbies: Don’t fear to get deeper into problems. Look at the root of a problem, dive into Git repositories and see why something is failing. There is always a reason why, and you can find it out. It will teach you a lot and is a boost for your confidence and mentality.

What is your dev setup look like? What apps/tools do you use to help you aid in your development work?

I have an iMac in my home office and another MBP for downstairs/outside. I use Visual Studio Code for coding and besides that a bunch of apps like:

- SourceTree for my Git repository management
- Todoist for managing tasks
- Slack for communications
- Postman for API testing
- Bear (instead of Evernote) for taking all notes

What does your wind down routine look like?

I finish my shutdown task to know that I have wrapped up all open ends for the day. I get downstairs to my family, we grab a coffe together or go for a walk with the baby and then my mind get’s into a different mood quickly!


A big thanks to Simon for taking the time out to answer these questions! If you are a developer and love to be featured here please get in touch with me.

Maxim Ananov of HazeOver

Today, we interview Maxim, an independent software developer. I have been using HazeOver since the last 4 years and it is one of the small mac utilities that I just HAVE TO install on a new machine.


Maxim Ananov

Maxim Ananov

Location: Pskov, Russia.
Favorite gadget: The new iPad Pro.
Start your day with: I start my day around noon with a hearty brunch.
Favorite time-saving trick: I use sheets of paper to outline tasks for the day and the nearest future. I find it satisfying to cross them out one by one and then crumble and throw out the sheet when it's complete.
Daily reading: I have a couple dozen of RSS subscriptions that I skim though regularly. Mostly tech, design and Mac related websites.

Maxim’s setup

Maxim’s setup

Describe an average day at your company? What does your morning routine look like?
I'm an individual developer and without a boss and hard deadlines so my routine is quite sloppy. I work at home and there's no regular schedule. Some days I do nothing but ruminate and plan things to do or look for ideas. Some days I code 12-16 hours in a row when I get in the flow. The hardest part is to make myself get started. Then I lose track of time and can't get myself to stop working. It's not something that I'd recommend as a way to make things done, but it works for me.

How did you get into programming? Do you focus on a few languages or try to learn new things going along? Any tips for newbie programmers?
I got interested in programming when I was a kid in the 90s. My cousin showed me some simple programming stuff on ZX Spectrum. For my projects I tend to do everything myself. So I had to teach myself different skills along the way to realize my ideas – programming, scripting, web development, copywriting and design. I'm in no way an expert in those fields, but I learn just enough to solve related problems. For example for an app I design and code it, draw an icon, create a website and write content for it.

My number one tip for a newbie programmer would be to keep learning stuff even if it's not directly related to programming or a single language. Don't lock yourself into a knowledge bubble. You'd be more effective at understanding how your work relates to other fields. If you work in a team, you'd integrate better and it gives you new ideas and perspective. Also some skills transfer really well to new knowledge domains.

What is your dev setup look like? What apps/tools do you use to help you aid in your development work?
I work on a 15" MacBook Pro. That's the only prerequisite. For better or worse it gives me flexibility to work anywhere. Sometimes I work at the table, then I move on to a sofa with the laptop on my belly. And when I travel I can get work done on the go or in a park. Some parts of my apps were written on a long haul bus trips or a flights.

What does your wind down routine look like?
To wind down I play some video games.


A big thanks to Maxim for taking the time out to answer these questions! If you are a developer and love to be featured here please get in touch with me.

Remote Dev

For software projects, I am a big believer in remote work. 100%.

However, I have never built a 100% remote team from scratch. I have always worked with developers in the office first (get to know them really well), and then have them work remotely (if they wanted to or if they moved to another country). Yesterday, I was thinking about how it would be like to onboard a remote developer that I have never met. Here are a few things that came to my mind…

  1. Get to know the developer through calls, chat and email. This is crucial. I prefer to know the person before I start working with them - especially their working style.

  2. Communication for work and expectations should be spot on. Don’t leave everything in email. Use Google Docs & Spreadsheets when needed to lay down the plan, specifications or notes.

  3. Manage expectations so that we both are on the same wavelength. The developer needs to know what the end goal looks or feels like.

  4. Weekly updates - here, I should be able to gauge efficiency and problem-solving skills. If something is taking too long, does the developer have the knack to get it resolved swiftly? Or, if work is getting done quickly, then does the code look efficient and well written?

Come to think of it, shouldn’t these rules apply to non-remote developers also :)

Because remote devs are out of sight, they sometimes are out of mind - which is a good thing. You give them the space to create their work instead of walking up to them to discuss bugs, features that they are not going to be working on this week!