Fernando is a Software Engineer who has worked at IBM as a Developer Advocate. He has also spent time working at SoundCloud as a Mobile Core Engineer and, prior to that, at Flomio and Tuenti as a Mobile Software Engineer. Fernando is a huge fan of agile methodologies, programming, and tech in general. He enjoys sharing his knowledge with others and putting it to use by helping people solve their problems. His urge to share what he knows has turned him into a prolific public speaker.
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You are one of the most senior and well-traveled people in the industry—tell us a little more about yourself.
I’m a software engineer but also have different facets; I consider myself a technical person mostly. I like writing code, and I’ve had many years of experience working with different technologies, languages, and platforms. Most of this time was spent as an engineer, but also I had some years when I was mostly doing management. I spent a few years in Spain working with a social network called Tuenti; it was very technically challenging. Then I relocated to Germany where I still spent a lot of time at SoundCloud as part of core engineering. Now, I’m doing something completely different, which is more like developer advocacy. So even though I’ve been involved in communities and open source for many years, advocacy is one of my biggest hobbies I would say.
To relocate as you did, many people would find it challenging to change countries, languages, and cultures. Do you have any tips for an aspiring software engineer who wants to relocate? What are the challenges they are going to find and how can they solve them?
The biggest challenge is at the start when you first relocate. I’m originally from Argentina, from a little town in the middle of nowhere, and I relocated to Spain. Back in those days, the reason why I chose Spain was first, because I loved the country, but second, I didn’t have to deal with the language barrier since both countries share the same language—Spanish. Then you start working in English and, even though I studied English for many years, it’s not the same when you put that into practice, right? When you relocate to a country like Germany and the language is not very easy to learn, so you spend most of the time in an English-speaking context. Once there, I would advise not to be shy.
Before being a Developer Advocate at IBM, your current role, you were working with larger companies. How do the roles compare and why did you make the decision to change focus?
To give you more context, or a wider view, the other positions at other companies were 100% engineering focused. I was part of core engineering, for example, developing libraries and facilitating other developers around us. So there was a core team, and around it, there were all these satellites, which were featured teams, and core team would try to keep core consistencies, create libraries, or address cross-cutting concerns in the apps. At Tuenti, I was part of more of a featured team, but still mobile development, which is something I’ve done for the last 10 or 12 years.