From a back-end developer point of view

In an informal conversation with João Rebelo, one of our senior engineers, we tried to find out what motivates him to take the lead of training within Cleverti, and what are the advantages of having Microsoft certified employees.

Q: João, your adventure in the world of software development has been going on for almost a decade, but if you had to pick your programming language of choice, you would choose JAVA, or am I deeply mistaken? How did your experience with Java start, and if you had to give three tips to a junior who started his Java experience, what advice would you give?

A:  I’d probably pick Java as you guessed. Besides being my language of choice for the past 7 years (turning 8 next February), I think the ecosystem around it is very mature as well as the language itself.

I know that there might be a misconception that Java is old, after all, it turned 25 this year, but it’s also evolving a lot, currently being in version 15.

It gained a lot of traction after Java 8 with shorter release lifecycles, and features, such as: Lambdas in Java 8; “Java Modules” in Java 9; Local Variable Type Inference in Java 10, to name a few.

Even though I still don’t like some features that the language provides to programmers I think it is improving a lot on the side of simplifying developers’ life.

But as always, an engineer must be open to other tools that better do their jobs, and I can give you an example, since you’re already learning Microsoft Power Apps.

If Power Apps satisfies requirements on a specific task and reduces the overall complexity of the solution, and mainly, the time it takes to reach the end-customer, and Java introduces the opposite, there is no reason to pick Java to do this kind of work.

As to how I picked Java, it has begun at the near end of my university degree where during the course we learned the “cool” stuff in C# over .NET and I personally thought that Java was obsolete.

That changed with a project between my university and a Portuguese company which ended up using Java and gave me a completely different perspective on Java and its ecosystem.

For younger engineers that are picking up on programming what I can say is that you should:

1 – Be curious and open-minded

2 – Keep on studying

3 – Practice a lot (really a lot)…

Q: You are now especially focused on a very important topic for Cleverti: Microsoft training and certifications. How do you think this type of initiative can influence the performance of a company?

A: Well, I’d say this above all is an investment the company makes. The return of investment isn’t a direct result of putting money into the training department, it will be more of an indirect consequence of putting money similar to the marketing department.

And that’s the premise of training.

From the point of view of possible customers, it is an assurance of quality provided by certifications achieved by Cleverti workforce. For example, if it was me, not knowing anything about mechanics, I would probably pick someone who’s certified to do the job.

Don’t take me wrong! It doesn’t mean the guy with the certification is a better professional than the other one who doesn’t have it.

For us employees, I think it is more motivating to know I’ll end up working towards a goal, and it will be part of my job to earn it, like finishing a degree. For example, talking about Java certifications, I might end up with a an  OCP certification in Java in the next one, two years, contributing towards my career development and integration within the company. Speaking from an engineer point of view it gives me the possibility to evolve besides working only on projects.

Q: We have previously discussed the need to have a broad view of a technology company. Still, do you think it is possible to motivate older developers, perhaps more accommodated, for this type of initiative? I ask this because, sometimes, I think there is an idea that certifications are just badges for LinkedIn and not a considerable gain.

A: That’s like the greatest question ever (laughing). I don’t have the perfect answer. I think the answer to it comes from an individual level.

Even though I’d like to have everyone rowing in the same direction I think that it starts from individual thinking: “Okay, I think I’m weak on this side, I want to explore and I want to know more about these fields or that other field”. It must start from there, and I think it is where training provides that support on an individual level.

On the other side, from a company perspective, we need to have our goals well defined; skills we want to focus on, or areas we find critical to our business needs.

For example, if we want to pursue a closer partnership with Microsoft, we need to set those goals in place and get people on board with that. For employees, it means looking at it as part of the working day, pretty much like doing documentation (I’m going to be crucified).


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