Episode 216 – Communicate Effectively and Become a Constant Learner with Diomidis Spinellis

 In Podcasts

Phil’s guest on this episode of the IT Career Energizer podcast is Diomidis Spinellis. He is a professor in the Department of Management Science and Technology at the Athens University of Economics and Business, and a long-time IT practitioner.

He is the author of many open-source software tools, including UMLGraph, CScout, and git-issue. His latest book is “Effective Debugging: 66 Specific Ways to Debug Software and Systems”.

In this episode, Phil and Diomidis Spinellis discuss how taking the time to develop tools to solve what are sometimes small problems makes you a better programmer and boosts your career. They talk about how to become an effective communicator and quickly understand the root of the problems you are working to solve.

Diomidis shares examples of how simple solutions can be used to achieve step changes. He also talks about the maths behind machine learning and the future of the IT industry.

 

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

(4.03) TOP CAREER TIP

The first skill you need to develop is communication. This is because everything you do involves humans. The work that you do is generally connected to larger systems.

If you want your technology to truly help and be widely adopted you need to be able to see the wider picture. You have to be able to effectively present your ideas to your colleagues, customers and the wider world.

 

(5.43) WORST CAREER MOMENT

In the 80s, Diomidis was charged with installing a powerful processor to sit alongside an existing one.

Unfortunately, when Diomidis did the installation, it literally went up in smoke. He explains why in the podcast.

At the time, this equipment was crazy expensive and you had to wait months to get hold of it. So, his error was a major one. Fortunately, the company took the view that mistakes were learning opportunities. That experience taught Diomidis to be extra careful when actions can have irreversible consequences.

 

(9.23) CAREER HIGHLIGHT

While serving the Greek government as the Secretary General for Information Systems he was asked to consolidate the payment authority system for its civil servants. Basically, he had to centralize the payment authorization process. It was to be a herculean task that could have cost a huge amount and taken at least 5 years to roll out.

Fortunately, an old hand in the administration came up with what most people thought of as a crazy idea. In the podcast, Diomidis explains how he was able to take that idea and very quickly develop a solution.

 

(11.54) THE FUTURE OF CAREERS IN I.T

Every year, we are blessed with better algorithms, new technology and more powerful computers. So, issues we could not solve yesterday can be solved today.

 

(13.36) THE REVEAL

What first attracted you to a career in I.T.? – The chance to acquire the necessary skills to be able to control computers.

What’s the best career advice you received? – Listen to other people, so you can understand their problems properly. Also, listen to and consider any advice you are offered.

What’s the worst career advice you received? – To learn the 4GL 4th generation programming language, advice he did not follow. Over the years, Diomidis has learned not to invest too deeply in proprietary technologies.

What would you do if you started your career now? – Diomidis would become a machine learning expert. He would go as far as gaining a deep understanding of the underlying mathematics.

What are your current career objectives? – Working collaboratively with people from across the world.

What’s your number one non-technical skill? – Writing. In the podcast, he explains how he developed this skill and uses it today, in his work.

How do you keep your own career energized? – Diomidis has got into the habit of periodically evaluating what he is doing in his career, which gives him direction. Looking for and solving new problems also keeps him energized.

What do you do away from technology? – Diomidis enjoys hacking gadgets. But, when he wants a complete break from tech, it is the natural world that he turns to. He also likes to run.

 

(20.03) FINAL CAREER TIP

Constantly learn new things- new programming languages, tools and ways of working. Doing this keeps things fresh, helps you to find more solutions and keeps things relevant.

 

BEST MOMENTS

(4.23) – Diomidis – “Learn to communicate with your colleagues and customers. To present your ideas effectively.”

(8.23) – Diomidis – “When mistakes are made that is how we learn.”

(8.36) – Diomidis – “Be extra careful when your actions can have irreversible consequences.”

(18.43) – Diomidis – “Using technology as a lever can make you 10 times more productive.”

(20.08) – Diomidis – “Constantly learn new things.”

 

ABOUT THE HOST – PHIL BURGESS

Phil Burgess is an independent IT consultant who has spent the last 20 years helping organizations 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 – DIOMIDIS SPINELLIS

Diomidis Spinellis is a professor in the Department of Management Science and Technology at the Athens University of Economics and Business, and a long-time IT practitioner.

He is the author of many open-source software tools, including UMLGraph, CScout, and git-issue. His latest book is “Effective Debugging: 66 Specific Ways to Debug Software and Systems”.

 

CONTACT THE GUEST – DIOMIDIS SPINELLIS

Diomidis Spinellis can be contacted through the following Social Media platforms:

Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/coolsweng

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

GitHub: https://github.com/dspinellis

Website: https://spinellis.gr

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