Name: Ajmal Afif
Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Topics of Interest: Web Products, Front-End Tooling, Workflow, Programming
Occupation: Front-End Developer at Billplz
Today we’re taking you to Malaysia to meet Ajmal Afif.
Today Ajmal is a full-time front-end developer, but it took a lot of work and a couple of changes of career direction to get there. He started out getting a degree in Actuarial Science from Penn State University and working as an analyst at a Malaysian conglomerate, Sime Darby.
But then, five years ago, he made what he calls a “leap of faith”. He started fresh, joining a local startup and working in a customer support role while he brushed up on his coding skills.
He started using Tuts+ extensively in 2012, when he was transitioning from being an online marketer to a web developer.
Since then I’ve been using Tuts+ to learn new skills, which helps a lot in my career progression.
Gradually he started getting front-end development work with companies like Business Insider, Major Drop, and Pestle & Mortar clothing.
Learning online has helped him to broaden his knowledge, he says, and to have an open mind when approaching any kind of request or problem.
It’s very natural to fall back on what’s comfortable and familiar, but I will always try to take a step back and look at the problem or challenge as is.
Today, he works full-time as a front-end developer at Billplz.com in Kuala Lumpur, as well as running a web application development studio at sixleaves.com.
Ajmal still has plenty of goals for the future. He wants to “keep improving as a developer and working with world-class teams, while building useful and meaningful products”.
He says he wants to join “value-driven companies like Buffer, Envato, GitHub, Shopify and Hanno.co (and any other companies with the same vision and culture)”.
Why these companies? Above all they value positive culture and people. “Be nice” is in every Envato job listing. “No Ego Doer” is in Buffer’s. You get the point.
If he doesn’t work with one of these companies, he says he’ll start something similar!
Ajmal picked up his best piece of career advice from a friend:
Always try to include at least one new thing for every new project you do. It can be a framework, language, CSS preprocessor or anything.
Another technique he uses is to pair up with a colleague to work on a programming or design project. He’s found that you can learn a lot from seeing how other people do things.
Sometimes what you’ll learn will be “something epiphanic like a thought process or new concept you never knew”, and other times it will simply be a workflow tip that makes you more productive. Either way, it’s worth reaching out and connecting with someone else for your next project.
Want to know more about Ajmal’s work, and his tips for a career as a front-end developer? You can reach him at: