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Senior Software Engineer at Zalando, Pierre Marais always loved working with computers but never imagined he would become a Software Engineer and Pierre now also writes articles on Scala. Here is his journey on how he went from a Computer Science Degree student to Senior Software Engineer.
- Where did you grow up? What’s your background?
I grew up in Durban, South Africa. I completed my degree in Computer Science at the North-West University in Potchefstroom, South Africa. Though I always enjoyed working with computers, I never imagined that I would become a software engineer. I only knew that I wanted to be a programmer in my final year of studies when I started my own business. It involved creating a web site that thousands of people ended up using. To me, there is no other job that can give you that sort of satisfaction.
- When did you first become interested in Functional Programming?
After countless hours of debugging a couple of "heisenbugs", especially related to concurrency, I knew there had to be a better way of doing things. All of my research pointed to functional programming - once I discovered it, and the benefits that it provided, there was no turning back.
- What’s your favourite functional language?
Scala. It's very practical and the learning curve isn't too bad if you're coming from a traditional OO background.
- How do you stay up to date on all things functional and new technologies?
Reading blogs, watching conferences on YouTube, trying out the latest technologies in my spare time. Signify's blog is my primary source.
- What is your current job title?
Senior software engineer at Zalando.
- What would be your favourite part of the role?
Seeing the results of a successful project. Writing software that improves the lives of other individuals.
- Do you contribute to the community? If yes, how?
Yes, I've written a few basic articles on Scala. The URL is www.pierrem.co.za.
- Have you been to any conferences? What is your favourite? Or if not which one would you love to go to?
Unfortunately not yet, however I'm hoping to go to Scala by the bay this year.
- Do you have a favourite speaker?
Speaker no, blogger, yes: www.lihaoyi.com
- What advice would you give to someone looking to start a career in software engineering?
You don't need any special background or a degree to be a programmer, you just need time and passion. Imagine problems as opportunities to improve your skills. If there's a will, there's a way.