Hello Jarek, tell us how you got into computers and coding?
Well, I guess the first time I wrote any programming was back in 1992, I was seven or eight years old and my mum bought the Commodore C64. I played around with BASIC which I found really cool at the time. Then a couple of years later we had our first PC, a Pentium X486 if I remember and I started looking at programming, still just for fun. I found a language called Delphi and borrowed a book from my friend but unfortunately, that book put me off programming for quite a while! It was far too advanced for me at the time, it focused on the concepts of object orientated programming which I didn’t catch at that time.
So, I did other jobs, including driving a lorry then came back to programming around 2006 and started to take some courses. I carried on driving the truck to support myself through a BSc in Software Engineering at The University of the West of England.
I then worked for a small start-up company doing regression testing for semi-conductors, it was really interesting but unfortunately didn’t pay well so I took an opportunity to join Nokia Music in Bristol, which was really exciting, really cool stuff. I learned how to use AWS cloud and started functional programming with Closure. Sadly, Nokia wasn’t doing too well and became part of Microsoft, which I didn’t want to be associated with so I made a choice to move on and joined BAE systems. It was a very interesting job at BAE, working on systems for banks before I moved to OVO Energy and then Flexys.
You’ve worked for large companies and start-ups, how do they compare?
They both have their pros and cons, big corporations have a lot of money but there can be a lot of bureaucracy and politics that I’m not a big fan of. In smaller companies, things can move much faster. You have more constraints but everyone pulls in the same direction, you cannot have the kind of tension you sometimes see in big companies. At Flexys, I like the atmosphere and the people. It’s very dynamic.
So, what does a senior developer do, what’s a typical day for you at Flexys?
It involves writing code, talking about the code, helping people writing code, asking for help to write code if I need it! It’s all about the code and that’s why I like it. It’s actually a big plus. Sometimes in big organisations, you have too many meetings you have to attend. I am a fan of meetings as long as there’s a clear agenda and outcomes that you have to act upon. As a new employee, I’m learning about the debt collection sector.
Do you have a philosophy that you use to approach your work?
Yeah, it should be pleasurable. I laugh with my friends that I never work, I learned programming for pleasure and I’m still doing the same thing that I find interesting and pleasurable. Because I love my work, it doesn’t feel like work, that’s my philosophy.
I don’t like a highly stressed environment although in any job there are stresses from time to time that need to be dealt with, that is fine.
How do you see the future of coding?
Things are always changing, it’s exciting. When I joined Nokia there was a change from on-premises computing to using the Cloud, that was nine years ago and the spectrum of how we write software has changed so much in that time. The products change, the stack has changed and I think in the next ten years it will be even more automated. We will be writing code much faster, using more complex products. We are much more focused on the business logic of what we do.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
Challenges, because they exercise my brain! Every day is different. If I was coding the same thing every day I would find it boring. Fortunately, it’s never like that, if you write the code right, it works and you don’t have to do it over again. Challenges that have to be solved are what is exciting.
And outside work, how do you relax?
Usually, I spend time on my bike, I love mountain biking, especially going downhill as fast as I can. I try to do that as much as possible. I travel with my girlfriend, see different places, experience the world. Canada was pretty good, it makes you understand the meaning of the road trip. In Europe, you go from town to town and you are there in two hours; in Canada, it can take five or six hours with literally only forest around, which is pretty cool. A completely different experience.