Sebastian Golasch

Sebastian Golasch: Be curious and never be afraid to ask

Germany is in the house and it is bringing Sebastian Golasch! Sebastian is a Senior Developer at Deutsche Telekom and, of course, speaker at the third edition of DevExperience!
So today we are getting to know Sebastian a little better from this interview that we took!

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

When I was young, I always wanted to be an architect. Not really knowing what an architect does, but I liked the idea of creating things for other people. During my teenage years I was getting started in journalism, wrote articles, earned some money with it & finally found my love for music journalism.

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

While I was on my way to become a proper journalist, I attended a design school to learn more about the production of newspapers & magazines, that was about 15 years ago. While I always liked to tinker with computers, I always thought you need to be some math genius to get started with programming.
During my years at the design school, I was introduced to HTML, CSS, PHP & JS and I immediately fell in love with programming. It was amazed with the opportunities, just open up a blank page in your editor, type some weird-ish characters, save it, open a browser and see the results immediately.
I’m in love ever with it ever since.

DevExperience: Favourite programming language? Not so favourite?

The people who know me for a couple of years know that I was bashing Java every time I saw an opportunity to do so. But I’ve grown past that, I try to embrace the idea that you always should use the best tool (and therefore programming language) for the job.
Of course there are languages I feel more comfy with, like JavaScript and Python (most probably as they embrace the mental model of being hands on & just getting things done) and languages I like less. Guess that would be Delphi & Perl, I´m just not able to cope with the syntax of both, it seems so full of weird decisions to me. Anything but fluent to type.

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

The inability to communicate (which doesn’t just apply to developers) properly always seems like the most problematic thing in projects I’ve worked on so far.
Often I see misunderstandings because people of different professions have a fundamentally different understanding of the products they’re working on, but instead of communicating clearly, they just assume that everyone does have the same understanding as they do. Always when I see people and teams do learn and start to communicate openly without bias I see productivity and outcome boosted to a whole different level.

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

Well, I must admit that people like Vlad Tepes and Nicolae Ceaușescu are the first associations I do have when I start thinking about Romania (as well as Laurențiu Reghecampf, because he played for my favourite football team back in the day).
During my 2 visits in Bucharest I saw a beautiful city with many links to the past directly side by side with a modern atmosphere I hadn’t expected. I don’t know much about Iași to be honest (aside from that when people talking about the Romanian tech scene they either talk about Cluj or Iași), but I’m really interested to see if my view of Iași will be similar to the one I have from Bucharest, or if it will be fundamentally different.

DevExperience: What is your advice for a junior who wants to develop a career as a Software Developer?

Always be curious. Never be afraid to ask and never take a “No" for an answer; if someone tells you that you can’t do a thing then do it more than ever.
Be inclusive and embrace others opinions, but never just adapt others opinions, make up your own mind.

DevExperience: What do you do for your both personal and professional development? How does a normal day looks like for you? What about a not so normal day?

I try to look out of the box & try to expand my horizon beyond just programming. I’m trying to read up more about the structure of organisations, psychological factors that impact our lives and productivity as well as trying to train myself in self organisation & self care.

As far as a “normal” day looks, I must say it changed in the past years. 3 or 4 years ago I would’ve just said: I start coding when the sun comes up & stop when it goes down. But as time progressed I started coding less and less, started having more meetings & tried to have an impact on the management layer below. So, nowadays a not so normal day would be: I start coding when the sun comes up & stop when it goes down. ;)

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

The greatest part is definitely the ability to learn something new every day. May it be about the technical side of things or the people side of things, as well as the moment when it “clicks”, when I’m able to combine two things I’ve learned that seem to have nothing to do with each other, but in the end do have a connection in a not so obvious way.
The not so great part, I´d say when I attend a meeting which is badly prepared and is a waste of time for everyone who participates in it, if you want to help people feel valued, don’t make them waste their time.

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

I recently had a similar moment with my partners father, who asked me what programming actually is.

My first reply was:

Me: “I type in weird character that seem to have no meaning until a computer does what I want it to do.” Him: “Like with Excel?”

Me: “Well. Ummmhhh. Yeah, kinda like Excel.”

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

After all these years working on a large, long term codebase in the frontend space I tried many things to keep the codebase understandable, readable and efficient.

I found tools & metrics that claimed to help me, but seemed to confuse me more in the end, eventually, after years of tinkering with those numbers I had an epiphany:

We often do consume metrics in a way that we treat them as isolated silos & regardless of the environment we’re working in, trying to please the metric gods by adapting our code, when instead, we should adapt the metrics to our unique environment and see how we could interpret them differently when we put them in relation.

So, everyone who gt confused by code metrics, discarded them because they didn’t seem to fit & who´s working with a large (frontend) codebase in a larger team should feel invited to maybe get some new ideas on how to tackle the challenges they´re facing everyday.

Well. You know what to do if you want to meet Sebastian in person: get your ticket and join us at the absolutely normal international IT conference in Iasi!