Lessons From a Veteran: Dawid Ziolkowski on Trusting and Taking the Plunge

This post is part of a series interviewing veteran developers, asking them questions about their journey to tech mastery and sharing the advice they have for those getting started.

Dawid ZiolkowskiToday we’re talking to Dawid Ziolkowski. Dawid has 10 years of experience. At the beginning, he worked as a network/system engineer, did DevOps in between, and recently became a cloud-native engineer. He’s worked for an IT outsourcing company, a research institute, telco, a hosting company, and a consultancy company, so he’s gathered a lot of knowledge from different perspectives. Nowadays, he’s helping companies move to cloud and/or redesign their infrastructure for a more cloud-native approach.

If you’re considering a career switch to programming or questioning whether you’re in the right field, Dawid has some great insights for you based on his own experience. Let’s hear what he has to say.

Basic logistics: Stack? How long have you been doing it?

So, the answer to what stack I use is not straightforward. For most of my career, I was a system engineer involved with DevOps. My first programming experience was with Python. As a DevOps engineer, from time to time I had to write smaller or bigger scripts. And the more experience and different jobs I got, the more programming I did.

For a long time, I was able to more or less understand and write small programs/scripts in Python. After a few years, I decided to finally properly learn at least one language. I decided to go for JavaScript. I made that decision partially because I wasn’t really a fan of Python and partially because I wanted to learn a bit of front-end development.

After learning the solid basics of JavaScript, I learned Angular.js and Vue.js. I enjoyed building front ends, so later on decided to learn the back end, too. Now I know Node.js and Ruby. So, for a little bit more than two years now, I think I can call myself a full stack developer.
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Lessons From a Veteran: Turning a Hobby Into a Fulfilling Career

This post is part of a series interviewing veteran developers, asking them questions about their journey to tech mastery and sharing the advice they have for those getting started.

Mauro ChojrinToday we’re talking to Mauro Chojrin. Mauro helps PHP developers hone their craft through his trainings, books, workshops, and other tools. He’s been in the IT industry since 1997 and has held roles such as developer, architect, and leader of technical teams. Mauro also likes to write and vlog.

Mauro is going to tell us about how he got his start in programming, and you may or may not recognize some of the throwback systems he references. While the technology may have changed, you might have had similar inspirations for getting into programming.
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Lessons From a Veteran: Back to School With Michael de Ridder’s Drunk Metaphors

This post is part of a series interviewing veteran developers, asking them questions about their journey to tech mastery and sharing the advice they have for those getting started.

Everyone has a different path in life, and that’s OK! Today we’re talking to Michael de Ridder, who tells us about how getting into programming was accidental, not intentional. And that’s OK, too.

MichaelMichael De Ridder has worked in software development, data visualization, data science, research, consulting, and business analysis across health care, telecommunications, radio and finance. He enjoys the challenge of combining and utilizing the relationships between different domains and technology. A big fan of travel, Michael is a proponent for the benefits of work-life balance, believing that time away from a subject allows creativity to flourish.

Let’s learn from him how even a (perhaps drunken) accident can lead to good things and valuable lessons.

What made you want to go into programming?

That’s a more interesting question than it seems. And it’s as good a time as any to say that I wouldn’t call myself a programmer. I recently heard my résumé described—in a job interview no less—as a drunkard’s journey. When the interviewer said drunkard’s journey, he definitely didn’t mean it as a negative, and in fact I took it as a compliment.
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Lessons From a Veteran: Gabriel Aizcorbe on Unexpected Lessons

This post is part of a series interviewing veteran developers, asking them questions about their journey to tech mastery and sharing the advice they have for those getting started. Today we cover a lot of topics, from whether you should go into programming or IT to being specific about what you set out to learn to the lessons you’ll never learn until you start working.

Gabriel AizcorbeAnd we’re learning about all of these things from Gabriel Aizcorbe. Gabriel got into IT when he received his first 8088 at 14 years old. From then on, his whole life was about computers, programming languages, and learning more. As a project manager with PMP and agile methodologies, he gained experience in all kinds of projects in the local and international markets. He has a deep passion for data and analysis and is striving to launch a startup devoted to data manipulation and analysis while he works as DBA/BI consultant.

Let’s hear about the lessons he’s learned on his journey.

Basic logistics: Stack? How long have you been doing it?

I’m a bit of an “un-stacked” person—more a “free soul,” if you will. I prefer to mix my own tools as I need to in order to achieve a goal. But, if I had to associate myself with a stack, based on the tools I use the most I would say  Microsoft stack. Either way, I have enough flexibility to change to a MEAN stack or whatever else comes along. In the end, they are still development tools.

And since when? Well, I started self-teaching when I was 14 years old. But let’s say that, formally, my first big development job was at 25. So I’ve been working for more than 20 years.
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Lessons From a Veteran: Approaching Things From a Different Direction

This post is part of a series interviewing veteran developers, asking them questions about their journey to tech mastery and sharing the advice they have for those getting started.Eric Goebelbecker

Today Eric Goebelbecker is telling us about what really matters for programmers. Eric is a developer, DevOps engineer, system administrator, and whatever else he needs to be for the small trading firm he works for. He’s also writes fiction and enjoys cycling in his free time. You can catch up with him here.

How long have you been a programmer? What Stack do you work with?

I’ve been working as a developer in one form or another for just about 28 years. I started playing around with code a decade or so before that. The “one form or another” bit feeds into the stack question.

Talk code to me coffee mug
Image credit: Pixabay.com

The first bit of code I wrote for money was while I was working as a systems engineer for a major financial services firm. A major job called for a small bit of custom code, and I raised my hand and wrote it. That eventually led to supporting the API for my employer’s middleware.

So suddenly, I was a C developer. Continue reading “Lessons From a Veteran: Approaching Things From a Different Direction”

Lessons From a Veteran: Step Outside of Your Comfort Zone

This post is part of a series interviewing veteran developers, asking them questions about their journey to tech mastery and sharing the advice they have for those getting started.

Today, Omkar Hiremath is telling us about lessons he’s learned during his journey as a programmer. Omkar uses his BE in computer science to share theoretical and demo-based learning on various areas of technology, like ethical hacking, Python, blockchain, and Hadoop.

Let’s find out what advice he has for new programmers.

Basic logistics: Stack? How long have you been doing it?

Python code on a phone screen
Credit: Pixabay.com

I started programming when I was in school. Like everybody, I started with C and C++. But when I started programming in Python, I never felt like going back or changing. What interests me about Python is that there’s a library for almost everything.

I’ve been programming since 2012.  Apart from my work with Python, I’ve done a decent amount of Java programming, mainly for Hadoop, and Bash scripting. But if I have to talk about what I regularly work with, that would be Python and ethical hacking tools because I’m also into cybersecurity.

What made you want to go into programming?

Something about computers always grabbed my attention. I started using a computer when I was 7 years old, and computers have always been like magic to me. I was very curious to know how computers work. That’s where it all started. I started researching and learning about computers and how they work. And one day I read about what a computer code is.

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Lessons From a Veteran: Hard-Nosed Advice From a Softie

“Lessons from a veteran.” Ow, doesn’t that just make you want to duck and run?

Trust me, I didn’t come up with the first part. Being called a veteran is a lot more attractive than the dinosaur label I put on myself more than 10 years ago (already!). Being a dinosaur is what it felt like, though, being at least 10 years older than my colleagues and having started in programming long before many of them were even born.

From the Seven Seas to Bits and Bytes

My career started in 1985, the week after I graduated from nautical college. Yes, I was trained as a ship’s mate. I loved the education, the variety of topics, and the adventure of sailing the seven seas during my apprenticeship.

Three months into my final year at college, though, I realized that I would get bored pretty quickly, despite the variety of work as a mate.

HP3000
A relic from when dinosaurs roamed the earth. Credit: Pixabay.com

Being a sailor isn’t half as romantic as it sounds. The long stretches crossing an ocean are tedious, to say the least. There is little to entertain you (remember it was the ’80s!) and no way to escape your colleagues unless you want to become fish food.

At the time, my brother was working somewhere programming coffee machines or cash registers. Having taken classes in electronics and BASIC programming (no, not Visual Basic, basic BASIC, on an HP3000 with teletype terminals) at nautical college, I figured I could do that, too.

Six months or so later, I walked into the offices of Volmac, the biggest and badassest software consultancy firm in the Netherlands at the time.

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Lessons From a Veteran: When You’re Not Sure If This Career Is For You

This post is part of a series interviewing veteran developers, asking them questions about their journey to tech mastery and sharing the advice they have for those getting started.

Sylvia FronczakToday, we’re talking to Sylvia Fronczak. Sylvia is a software developer that has worked in various industries with various software methodologies. She’s currently focused on design practices that the whole team can own, understand, and evolve over time.

Wondering if a career in programming is right for you? Read Sylvia’s advice below.

Basic Logistics: Stack? How long have you been doing it?

Most of my career has involved Java in some shape or form. Coming in a distant second place is JavaScript, and it’s distant mostly due to the fact that I’ve spent more of my career developing back-end web services or batch jobs than apps that include a front-end. In the case of Java, I’ve been writing Java for over 20 years, since version 1.2. The language has changed so much over the past few decades as it works to follow the needs of programmers. And although many other languages have become very popular, Java still has a strong share of the market.

Early in your career, don't put too much emphasis on learning multiple languages and frameworks. Instead, work on getting depth in just a couple languages. And then learn those well.

Although I’ve done mostly Java for my entire career, there’s a ton of value in learning other languages, frameworks, and tools. In fact, I spent time working with many other languages, like C++, C#, Kotlin, Groovy, and Scala. For front-end work, when just considering JavaScript frameworks, I’ve used jQuery, Vue.js, Angular, and React. And then if you add in all the different databases, integration tools, and messaging systems, you can see that there are a lot of different tools to solve software problems.

Through my experience, I realized that one of the most important skills you’ll develop over your career in programming involves being able to pick up new languages and frameworks easily.

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hardware

Lessons From a Veteran: Peter Morlion on Legacy Code & Bird’s Eye Views

Today, we’re starting a series interviewing veteran developers, asking them questions about their journey to tech mastery and sharing the advice they have for those getting started.

Peter MorlionOur first interview is with Peter Morlion. Peter is a passionate programmer that helps people and companies improve the quality of their code, especially in legacy codebases. He firmly believes that industry best practices are invaluable when working towards this goal, and his specialties include TDD, DI, and SOLID principles.

Let’s hear what he has to share!

Let’s start with some basic logistics. Which stack do you work in? How long have you been doing it?

I started out my career in 2007 as a .NET developer. I preferred Java as a student, but hey, I wasn’t going to be picky for my first job as a software developer. After several years, I found opportunities to work in other stacks. I’ve worked with technologies like Node.js, Python, TypeScript, and AWS Lambda. Since I moved from general software development to helping out with technical debt, the specific stack is less important now. Although I suspect the .NET space is still a big market in Belgium (where I live).

What made you want to go into programming?

Ever since my parents bought a PC when I was about 10 years old, I loved playing and working with computers. As I got older, I started to tinker more and more. I studied political science, but after graduation I decided I wanted to “do something with computers.”

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