Episode 210 – Don’t Be Afraid of Failing and Always Ask Questions with Nicolas Frankel

 In Podcasts

Phil’s guest on this episode of the IT Career Energizer podcast is Nicolas Frankel. Nicolas is a developer advocate who has consulted for customers in a wide range of industry sectors including telecoms, banking and insurance. He usually works on Java and Spring technologies with a focus on rich internet applications, testing, continuous integration, continuous development and DevOps.

As well as a frequent conference speaker, he is also author of three books including “Learning Vaadin” and“Integration Testing from the Trenches”.

In this episode, Phil and Nicolas Frankel discuss why you need to ask plenty of questions and not be afraid of failure. They also talk about how teaching and mentoring others helps you to grow as an IT professional.

 

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

(3.15) TOP CAREER TIP

Do not be afraid to ask questions especially when you are a junior. People won’t think you are stupid when you ask how and why. In fact, this is the sign of a good developer.

During the podcast, Nicolas provides several examples of how asking questions has helped him to get to the root of why something needs to be done a certain way. Being informed like this makes it far more likely that the code you write will fully meet the end-users needs.

 

(6.04) WORST CAREER MOMENT

Early on in his career, Nicolas managed to take down a production server. He was trying to automatically delete a specific set of files. Unfortunately, he ended up deleting them all. Nicolas explains exactly what happened during his discussion with Phil. It was a tough way to learn to never write anything in production.

 

(9.09) CAREER HIGHLIGHT

Interestingly, for Nicolas, it was not one of the many big projects that he had worked on that was his career highlight. It was actually a small project that he and another developer completed while working directly with the stakeholder.

Up until that point, he had always worked with layers of management between him and the end client. The customer was thrilled with the result and thanked him and his colleague in person. It was the first time that had happened to Nicolas, which gave him a real lift.

 

(11.30) THE FUTURE OF CAREERS IN I.T

The IT industry continues to get more interesting. There are so many opportunities to make things work better. For example, there is a huge need to make systems communicate and work together.

Right now Nicolas is especially interested in the new ways things are being deployed. He is excited by the new possibilities offered by using Docker Engine – Community.

 

(13.58) THE REVEAL

What first attracted you to a career in I.T.? – Surprisingly, it was a course that Nicolas took while at architect school that sparked his interest in I.T. He explains exactly how that happened, in the podcast.

What’s the best career advice you received? – Good communication is essential. You need to be prepared to share what you are doing with others.

What’s the worst career advice you received? – Stop coding and get into management. People thought that the coding work Nicolas loved doing so much would all be outsourced. That did not happen, so Nicolas has been able to continue to earn a living doing the work he loves.

What would you do if you started your career now? – Nicolas said he would not change anything about his approach. He found working for a consultant to be a good way to gain experience.

What are your current career objectives? – Nicolas is working on his people skills by attending more conferences and engaging more with others when he attends.

What’s your number one non-technical skill? – Being a good teacher and mentor. Teaching others has greatly improved Nicolas’ understanding of all kinds of tech.

How do you keep your own career energized? – Talking at conferences, writing about IT, creating prototypes and setting up demos all help to keep his career energized.

What do you do away from technology? – Nicolas loves sports he finds that it helps him to de-stress.

 

(25.35) FINAL CAREER TIP

Don’t be afraid to ask questions and don’t be afraid to fail. Failing is natural. If you don’t try you will never fail.

 

BEST MOMENTS

(5.50) – Nicolas – “Do not be afraid to ask questions. Keep asking why to get to the root of things.”

(16.58) – Nicolas – “Communicate what you are doing, why you are doing it and how it is better than other alternatives.”

(19.33) – Nicolas – “Working for a consulting company early in your career is an excellent way to gain experience.”

(21.31) – Nicolas – “Now everything is about teamwork, so social skills are becoming increasingly important.”

(22.46) – Nicolas – “Teaching others pushes you to delve deeper, to understand more and hone your skills.”

 

ABOUT THE HOST – PHIL BURGESS

Phil Burgess is an independent IT consultant who has spent the last 20 years helping organisations to design, develop and implement software solutions. Phil has always had an interest in helping others to develop and advance their careers. And in 2017 Phil started the I.T. Career Energizer podcast to try to help as many people as possible to learn from the career advice and experiences of those that have been, and still are, on that same career journey.

CONTACT THE HOST – PHIL BURGESS

Phil can be contacted through the following Social Media platforms:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/philtechcareer

LinkedIn: https://uk.linkedin.com/in/philburgess

Facebook: https://facebook.com/philtechcareer

Instagram: https://instagram.com/philtechcareer

Website: https://itcareerenergizer.com/contact

Phil is also reachable by email at [email protected] and via the podcast’s website, https://itcareerenergizer.com

Join the I.T. Career Energizer Community on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/groups/ITCareerEnergizer

 

ABOUT THE GUEST – NICOLAS FRANKEL

Nicolas Frankel is a developer advocate who has consulted for customers in a wide range of industry sectors including telecoms, banking and insurance. He usually works on Java and Spring technologies with a focus on rich internet applications, testing, continuous integration, continuous development and DevOps.

As well as a frequent conference speaker, he is also author of three books including “Learning Vaadin” and“Integration Testing from the Trenches”.

 

CONTACT THE GUEST – NICOLAS FRANKEL

Nicolas Frankel can be contacted through the following Social Media platforms:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/nicolas_frankel

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nicolasfrankel/

Website: https://blog.frankel.ch/

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