Episode 232 – Raise Issues Constructively and Be Prepared to Tackle Tough Problems with Michel Weststrate

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Phil’s guest on this episode of the IT Career Energizer podcast is Michel Weststrate. Michel is a trainer, speaker, micro-consultant and independent open source developer. As well as the author of MobX, MobX-State-Tree, Immer and a plethora of smaller packages.

Michel is on a quest to make programming as natural as possible

In this episode, Phil and Michel Weststrate discuss how to raise issues in a constructive way that greatly improves the chances of them being solved. They talk about why it makes sense to share code via OpenSource.

Michel explains how he pushes himself to tackle difficult problems without running the risk of burn out. He also touches on why he thinks React Suspense is going to have a huge impact and how tech is likely to evolve over the next few years.




Try to raise solutions rather than problems. It is far better to explain that there is an issue and at the same time share your preferred solution. Simply sharing the problem with your manager, who does not have the hands on experience you have usually leads to a very poor outcome.

In the podcast, Michel provides an in-depth example, that explains what he means. It is a practical example that many I.T. professionals will be able to easily relate to.



During his career, Michel has found himself regularly making the same mistake. He can overthink things a little and spend too much time working on issues that may never occur. But, he has also dismissed potential problems, only for them to turn into an issue, years down the line. In the podcast, he explains how he has changed the way he works in an effort to get the balance right.



Michel’s career highlight was working on MobX to solve what initially appeared to be a relatively specialist problem, which actually ended up helping thousands of developers.



Being a software engineer has never been easier than it is now. And it is likely to be more so, in the future. The number of technologies is also growing and will almost certainly continue to do so.

Many of these will lead to ground-breaking changes. In the podcast, he provides several examples of technologies that are set to drastically shake things up.



What first attracted you to a career in I.T.? – The fact that as an I.T. engineer you are free to create truly remarkable things. There are very few limitations that you have to work within.

What’s the best career advice you received? – Have confidence in your ability to learn. Michel also explains his take on negotiating a deal that will work for everyone.

What’s the worst career advice you received? – You can be whatever you want to be. If you push yourself too far beyond what is feasible, you will burn out.

What would you do if you started your career now? – Michel would get involved in Open Source, at an early stage.

What are your current career objectives? – Facebook works at an incredible scale; they have thousands of developers. Michel wants to learn as much as he can about how such a huge team gels.

What’s your number one non-technical skill? Being able to communicate ideas, especially very abstract or technical concepts.

How do you keep your own career energized? – Michel likes to tackle difficult problems, especially the ones he can work on at his own pace. They give him the chance to really dig deep and learn.

What do you do away from technology? – Michel recently moved to London, so he and his family are getting to know the city. He loves soccer and is also active in his church.



Go the extra mile to solve your problems. You may think they only affect you and a few others. But, often, when you provide a solution you will end up helping many others as well as yourself.



(2.27) – Michel – “When raising problems, share a possible solution too. The issue is more likely to be solved with that approach.”

(11.09) – Michel – “Have that confidence that you can learn something difficult if you really want to.”

(11.19) – Michel – “When negotiating, aim to make a deal where everyone is a winner. You get further that way.”

(16.42) – Michel – “Go that extra mile to solve your problems. When you do you will help others.”



Phil Burgess is an independent IT consultant who has spent the last 20 years helping organisations to design, develop and implement software solutions. Phil has always had an interest in helping others to develop and advance their careers. And in 2017 Phil started the I.T. Career Energizer podcast to try to help as many people as possible to learn from the career advice and experiences of those that have been, and still are, on that same career journey.



Phil can be contacted through the following Social Media platforms:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/philtechcareer

LinkedIn: https://uk.linkedin.com/in/philburgess

Facebook: https://facebook.com/philtechcareer

Instagram: https://instagram.com/philtechcareer

Website: https://itcareerenergizer.com/contact

Phil is also reachable by email at [email protected] and via the podcast’s website, https://itcareerenergizer.com

Join the I.T. Career Energizer Community on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/groups/ITCareerEnergizer


Michel Weststrate is a trainer, speaker, micro-consultant and independent open source developer. He is the author of MobX, MobX-State-Tree, Immer and a plethora of smaller packages.

Michel is on a quest to make programming as natural as possible.



Michel Weststrate can be contacted through the following Social Media platforms:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/mweststrate

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/michel-weststrate-3558463/

Website: https://michel.codes/

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