Meet our Principal Software Architect and “Early Bird” Liam who lives in Maastricht and whose working week is a good mix of in-office and remote work.
WHERE AND WHAT?
I live with my wife and three teenage children, I live in Maastricht – a small but beautiful city with Roman origins near the southernmost tip of the Netherlands. The Netherlands has a name for being flat but around here there are plenty of rolling hills – enough that when we moved here one of my kids asked if we had moved to Ireland. Aside: I’m from Ireland, so his comment made me very happy.
Workwise, I divide my week between a couple of days in the office in Cologne and the rest home-office. As the crow flies, the distance home to the office is a mere 84 km. By public transport … sometimes I wish I was a crow!
As one of the early birds to join Engineering at Silexica in 2015, I’ve generally been focussed on software source code analysis. The puzzles involved in supporting understanding and reasoning about software are somewhat addictive. Luckily there seems to be an endless supply of those puzzles.
With the Carnival costumes:)
BEST THING ABOUT SILEXICA?
The characteristic of the Silexica team that I think impresses me most is the inclusion-oriented support and respect people have for each other across departments and roles. It is so run-of-the-mill for us that I only notice it nowadays through contrast with stories from friends.
You also ask about working remotely. When Silexica moved to Cologne, my family was not at a stage where moving from Maastricht made sense for us. The weekly mix of remote and in-office working is good for my work-life balance while keeping up a decent level of face-to-face contact with everyone in Cologne.
BEST DEVELOPMENTS SINCE YOU JOINED?
Wow – that is a challenge to answer in 2-5 sentences. I always get a bit misty-eyed when Max presents those flash-back slides over how things were in the past years. Lots of details have changed: work location(s), company structure, professionalism of execution, … lunch options. But at heart it feels the same: a super-constructive team of people, determinedly working together to get product to people which will significantly help them to reduce the resources needed by the applications they develop.
Enjoying a several day cycling trip … with far too much baggage on standard city bikes.
IF YOU HADN’T BECOME AN ENGINEER, WHAT WOULD YOU WORK AS?
I always fancied the idea of being a gentleman farmer. I grew up on a beautiful little anything-but-intensive farm – the kind that can only survive if the owner earns money elsewhere to keep it afloat. But that would probably lead to a circle in the question – I’d still need to be an engineering professional to support being a gentleman farmer.
WHAT’S ONE GADGET YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT?
Easy – a bicycle. I dislike walking for any purpose other than recreation, but love the mobility a bike brings. I love that you can use it to easily transport 3 kids, the weekly shopping, 4 meter long pipes, office chairs, small trees …. or have I been living in the Netherlands for too long?
WHAT ARE YOU DOING WHEN YOU ARE NOT WORKING?
I love finding a reason to get out into the countryside, on foot or on the bike, with family and friends or on my own. Family life is lively: my teenage kids luckily love discussing all kinds of things, which is usually a positive thing, and with a large extended family spread across many countries there are always reasons to want to visit somewhere a bit further from home. And a day without some time to read a book is a very sad day indeed.
Recovering in a hospital near Cologne where I ended up on my way home from work … as Max kindly wrote: “very glad that it seems there is nothing major, just an old man not drinking enough water.”:)
ADVICE TO FUTURE SILEXICANS?
I’m currently surrounded by people going crazy for Marie Kondo’s “spark joy” – understanding if things you have somehow spark true joy in you or should go. The reason I mention it is something similar seems key to developing products, a need to frequently check that you can anticipate that spark of joy that using the result will cause. If that feeling is missing starting out, or gets lost along the way, then it is time to discuss with others to regain the understanding to rekindle it or decide it is not the right development for you. Luckily for me, I seem to easily sense that spark. Or perhaps unluckily – “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo” would probably not result in any clutter going out the door.