Patroklos Papapetrou

Patroklos Papapetrou: As developers, we can have amazing careers no matter where we come from

At DevExperience we have speakers from all over the world. And due to the weather outside, we are thinking of sunny Greece, so we present you today Patroklos Papapetrou, one of the speakers that you will see during the Architecture track speaking about Clean Code and Code Quality.

But until then, let`s meet Patroklos online in this interview for DevExperience!

DevExperience: What did you want to become when you were a child?

Nothing in particular :) The first time I thought about what I want to become was around the age of 16. And it was the profession I'm doing the last 20+ years ;)

DevExperience: What is the story of your begining in this field? How did you start working in this industry?

I started working at the age of 19. I was invited to work part-time in an accounting office helping other employees with IT tasks (LAN, printing, software configuration etc.). After a year they asked me to write a software to simplify some of their processes and they liked it. One of their customers was a software company that era and they saw what I had implemented by myself, they liked and then they hired me. The rest is just history ;)

DevExperience: What have you learned from IT people in different cultures while travelling across the world with your work?

I learned a lot but I would highlight two things. One is that all over the world, IT companies and software projects face the same difficulties that have to do with quality, time-to-market, processes.
The second thing I learned is to respect everyone - from the top principal engineer to the newbie who joined last Monday - and at the same time, I learned that nothing is impossible in our field. We are so blessed as developers - because the needs in programming are huge - that we can have an amazing career no matter where we come from.

DevExperience: What are the main mistakes that you noticed that people in this field are making a lot?

Mistakes? We (the developers) never make mistakes :P. Well, usually junior developers, when they start their career focus on a particular framework and/or programming language and forget about fundamental software engineering practices which are more important. Senior developers usually forget how they started. Sometimes they behave arrogantly, like primadonnas and don't listen to other people's ideas or suggestions.
There's an old Greek saying: "I'm getting older while being taught all the time" that we tend to forget.

DevExperience: What do you know about Iași and Romania? Dont Google it! :)

I know a lot about Romania but very few about Iasi. It is one of the biggest cities in Romania and in Iasi, the Greeks announced their willingness to fight against the Ottoman Empire back to 1821 and gain back their liberty. I've been many times in Romania (Bucharest) and I know that there are so many great developers all around the country. I have worked with many Romanians in the past and I highly respect them for the professionalism and how friendly they were. Romania is also the land of Dracula. I've never been to Transylvania but I'd love to.

DevExperience: What is your main advice for a junior who wants to develop a career in IT?

Damn, I think I answered it above. "Don't stop learning. Programming is not just another job. You need to be passionate, ready to get out of your comfort zone and always respect your peers"

DevExperience: What do you do for your both personal and professional development?

For my professional development, I try to work in teams with more experienced developers than me and learn from them. I also try to read a lot and make sure that at least know the basics about new technologies that look interesting.
For my personal development, I try to talk less and mostly listen to what other people say. This gives me the chance to actually learn, understand their opinion, in some cases even their feelings and then behave accordingly.

DevExperience: What is the greatest part of your job? What is the not so great part of it?

The greatest part of my job is that I don't stop working on new technologies. When I joined Elastic I was mostly a Java developer. Now I write in Scala, I do a lot of scripting and every day I learn something new! The not so great part of it is that I'm a remote developer and I'm missing the watercooler jokes and socializing.

DevExperience: How would you explain to an old lady who knows nothing about technology what is it exactly that you do?

"I explain to machines (called computers) how to react and respond when people (called users) ask something from them."

DevExperience: Tell us more about the main ideas of your talk and your workshop at DevExperience! Why should people register and attend the event?

"It's a talk based on my decent experience in software engineering. I believe, in 2018, all developers are aware of the important role that quality and technical debt are playing in software. We all know about those metrics but still, it's so hard to maintain the software quality at the desired level. My talk is a little bit funny, yet realistic, and focused on areas that we usually don't think are related to software quality, like the human factor of technical debt, strategies to mitigate technical debt. I'm giving answers to question most of us surely have once we start fighting the technical debt beast.

It's not about specific programming languages so I believe many attendees will be interested to discuss with me.

If you want to find out more about Patroklos and see him live, don`t forget to register and be part of the show!