Episode 223 – Take Every Opportunity To Learn Something New with Michael Hunger
Phil’s guest on this episode of the IT Career Energizer podcast is Michael Hunger. Michael is the Caretaker General of the Neo4j Developer Community. For the past few years he has been working with Neo Technology on the open source Neo4j graph database.
He likes to help Neo4j users to be successful with their use cases & projects and he is the project lead of Spring Data Neo4j. He is also an author of several books as well as a regular conference speaker.
In this episode, Phil and Michael discuss behavioural career tips, why patience, understanding and compassionate are so important and why you shouldn’t be afraid to be a contributor.
They also talk about making the most of every day and how opportunities can open up to you when you expand your horizons.
(3.10) TOP CAREER TIP
Michael talks about the book Apprenticeship Patterns which is a collection of behaviours that are suitable to people joining the industry. It includes tips and tricks from experienced practitioners and is a book that Michael often returns to. Michael provides the example of learning to share what you have just learnt. This could be a blog post or a talk. Mentorship and continuous learning are two other examples from the book.
(5.22) WORST CAREER MOMENT
Michael describes a time when he was frustrated with someone. However instead of taking the time to find out what the reasons for this were, he responded by email to vent his frustration. He learnt that there are often legitimate reasons as to why people do what they do and not to be so impulsive.
Another learning from this was that email and written communication has its limitations and is no substitute for conversation.
(7.36) CAREER HIGHLIGHT
Open Source has been had the greatest impact on Michael’s career and his life. Working on Open Source projects has opened up career opportunities as well as connections with really great people.
Working on one Open Source project led to Michael attending a conference where he heard the founder of Neo4J give a talk. This, in turn, led to Michael joining Neo4J.
(10.28) THE FUTURE OF CAREERS IN I.T
Teaching kids and, in particular, girls to code is something Michael very much supports. Having a development skillset gives you an understanding that will be helpful to your career, even if you don’t work in I.T. later. Michael also talks about the importance of diversity in I.T.
Other things that excite Michael include the possibilities that technology offers and the potential of machine learning.
(13.40) THE REVEAL
What first attracted you to a career in I.T.? – Michael started writing computer programs on paper before he had a computer. Computers fascinated him from an early age and it’s what he loves to do.
What’s the best career advice you received? – Make every day a day where you learn something new.
What’s the worst career advice you received? – Focus only on your own career advancement.
What would you do if you started your career now? – Be much more active in travelling around the world and learning from different people with different backgrounds.
What are your current career objectives? – Helping team members to grow, giving them feedback and making sure that they have everything they need. As well as learning how to delegate and make difficult decisions.
What’s your number one non-technical skill? – Michael has learnt how to ask the right questions and elicit information from people.
How do you keep your own career energized? – Read a lot and listen to podcasts, both technical and non-technical. Also attending conferences which helps to generate new ideas.
What do you do away from technology? – Spending time with his daughters and family, playing board games. Michael has also started meditating.
(25.36) FINAL CAREER TIP
Don’t be afraid to contribute to projects, ask questions and talk to people at conferences. Michael says that he would rather ask for forgiveness than permission.
(4.09) – Michael – “If you learn something new, write it up and publish it as a blog post”
(8.47) – Michael – “Open Source is such a great way of collaborating, showing what you can do”
(15.32) – Michael – “Make every day a day where you learn something new”
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:
Join the I.T. Career Energizer Community on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/groups/ITCareerEnergizer
ABOUT THE GUEST – MICHAEL HUNGER
Michael Hunger is the Caretaker General of the Neo4j Developer Community. For the past few years he has been working with Neo Technology on the open source Neo4j graph database.
He likes to help Neo4j users to be successful with their use cases & projects and he is the project lead of Spring Data Neo4j.
He is also an author of several books as well as a regular conference speaker.
CONTACT THE GUEST – MICHAEL HUNGER
Michael Hunger can be contacted through the following Social Media platforms: