Expert talks:

about his coding journey, career learnings & best tips for newbies

David Mazaira, software engineer
  • Name: David Mazaira
  • Job position: Product LifeCycle Manager Consultant, Siemens Gamesa
  • Years of experience: 20
  • Programming languages: Java, JavaScript, Asp, C#, SQL, JDeveloper, asp.Net, SQLServer, mySQL & PHP

His first coding steps

Why did you go for a tech career?

I love computers since I was a kid. I used to go to my friends to play with their computers till I got my own one. In the beginning I only played games but I started to get interested in what else was possible to do with them. I have always tried to understand how computers work.

Where or how did you learn to code?

I have started to learn by myself. At that time there was no internet so I tried to manipulate MS-Dos in order to execute my own programs and favourite games. When I was around 15 years old and had to decide what I wanted to do in the future, I decided to go for programming studies. When I finished, I was very lucky to start working on it straight away.

What was your biggest challenge in the beginning?

My biggest challenge was learning, as I could only make use of the available program at that time and didn´t have as many resources as we do nowadays.

When did you feel ready to start applying for a programmer job?

Fortunately I didn't need to think about it as I found a job after finishing my studies. I simply kept working at the company where I did an internship. After some experience, I worked at different companies depending on my interests.

What was your first job experience as a software engineer and how did you feel?

I had the chance to implement a new ERP, which basically means building different screens in order to add, modify, remove and consult information from a database. I actually felt as a pioneer as I was rebuilding and improving a very old system.

Have you ever faced imposter syndrome?

Yes, especially in the beginning of my coding journey as I wondered myself many times whether what I did or achieved was a matter of luck or thanks to my knowledge and skills.

His current career path

What do you like and dislike the most about your job?

I like thinking that I am doing my bit to produce green energy. I love the app we use, as we can see all wind generator pieces. One of the things I dislike the most is the company's documentation, as it is normally done by others.

What are your favourite programming languages and why?

My favourite programming languages are Java and SQL. Java because it is possible to do almost everything with it (programs, games, mobile apps, etc.) and it is very versatile. It is not necessary to worry about the Operative System you are programming for. SQL is very fast in terms of executing certain processes.

What technologies are you currently learning and what would you still like to learn?

I am currently learning MVC (Model View Controller) and I would love to learn how to develop mobile apps.

What was the most frustrating project you have ever worked on?

There have been many frustrating projects along my career but the most frustrating one was a client/server program that I worked on from sunrise to sunset for months. When I was done with it, it was incredible! I didn't only rest but my managers didn´t expect me to structure the project in such a smart way.

What do you do when you get stuck for hours or days on a project?

When I am stuck, I normally switch to another task. Fun fact is that, I normally come up with a solution on my way back home.

What kind of challenges do you keep facing everyday?

Despite so many years of experience, I still see that users demand more and more things and automation to make their work easier and save them time. They rather click twice than 4 times.

Have those challenges changed somehow overtime?

The challenges themself haven't really changed, but the way users want to access information. As mentioned before, users want to save some clicks to access information faster.

How do you face now imposter syndrome after so many years of experience? Have you learnt anything from it?

Imposter syndrome hasn't really changed. There will always be someone, who has more knowledge than you but I have learnt to accept my limits and try to be better everyday. Nobody is born wise and asking for help is not a bad thing.

His expert advices

Could you name any of your biggest learnings in the tech industry?

My biggest learnings are stop, ask questions and ask for help, have patience and a positive attitude. The one that has helped me the most is stop. One of the first things a programmer does after getting a new task is start writing code like crazy. My advice is stop first, think about it and whenever you have a clear idea, start coding. It looks like you might be wasting some time but it will actually make you save a lot of time. The second biggest learning is don´t be afraid of asking questions or asking for help. Every programmer needs help at any time, even a very experienced programmer. Being patient is my third biggest learning. This is sometimes complicated but it is better to breathe and relax. Your work colleagues and users will appreciate your patience. A positive attitude is another important and complicated learning at a personal level. From my point of view, it is the one that can help against imposter syndrome, as one can achieve whatever he/she wants with a positive attitude. I recommend a Víctor Küppers talk about the person's value (a sum of Knowledge and Experience multiplied by Attitude), meaning, Knowledge and Experience are unimportant if there is no Attitude, as a person can decide how he/she wants to be and how he/she wants to be seen by others.

What would you say to someone new in the coding world?

Don´t be afraid, practise as much as you can and ask for help when you need it. Everybody needs help at some point. There is no big problem, but many small problems. Start solving them gradually and you will get it. To sum up, divide and you will rule.

Would you recommend having a mentor?

Of course! A mentor will guide and teach you everything you need to be able to start working in tech. I had a mentor when I started with Java and thanks to him, Java became one of my favourite programming languages.

What resources do you recommmend to learn?

There are tons of platforms to learn. Google, for example, offers a lot of free courses about many different subjects. I personally prefer to do some research in forums.

Favourite programming memes

Favourite quotes

When users frustrate me, I normally think “don't teach a pig to sing. It wastes your time and annoys the pig”.

When I want to cheer myself up, I think “nothing is vital, nothing is important”, “Soy un junco hueco” (be water, my friend), “As Jack the Ripper would say: let's go by parts” or simply “let's go, you have already been into worse stuff and you have always managed to get over it”.