Communicate Effectively and Become a Constant Learner with Diomidis Spinellis

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Diomidis Spinellis

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.

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Diomidis Spinellis

Resources

Spinellis – Check out Diomidis’s website!

GitHub – Check out Diomidis’s GitHub!

2 Top Career Tips

1) 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.
2) 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.

Show Notes

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.

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.

The Future

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.

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 is the best career advice you’ve ever received?

Listen to other people, so you can understand their problems properly. Also, listen to and consider any advice you are offered.

What is the worst career advice you’ve ever 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.

If you had to begin your career again in today’s world, what would you do?

Diomidis would become a machine learning expert. He would go as far as gaining a deep understanding of the underlying mathematics.

What career objectives are you currently focusing on?

Working collaboratively with people from across the world.

What’s the number one non-technical skill that has helped you in your career so far?

Writing. In the podcast, he explains how he developed this skill and uses it today, in his work.

What do you do to 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 in your spare time 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.

Contact The Guest

Contact Diomidis Spinellis through the following social media platforms:

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

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

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Accelerate Your Career Every Week - NOW

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