Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m a senior software engineer working at Intrasoft International. I’m also quite involved in the tech community in my city Thessaloniki, responsible for organizing Thessaloniki .NET meetup. Recently, I became a Microsoft MVP at Visual Studio and Development Technologies.
How did you get started in programming?
In 1990, when I was 8 years old, I was really addicted to arcade games. At that time arcade rooms in Greece were not the best place for 8 year old boys. Therefore, my father decided to buy me a PC so I could play games safely at home. That first PC (a brand new 286, no hard drive, 1 MB RAM and 5¼-inch floppy drive) came with MS DOS 5 with QBasic. Also included was Gorillas, a really great game with its source code. A few months later I was already hacking the code of Gorillas to make my bananas fly faster!
What are some of the languages you use today and why?
I am a .NET enthusiast, coding mostly in C#. I also like F# a lot. I think both are very powerful yet very elegant languages with a great community supporting them.
What type of applications do you develop?
I develop web applications at work. My pet projects at home are bot applications, machine learning apps, mobile apps and games.
What’s your biggest passion these days relating to programming?
I am very excited about Augmented Reality, and I recently played with Vuforia and Unity. It’s amazing how nowadays the concepts of machine vision are integrated in such tools, consequently making the life of us developers that much easier.
What is still inadequate and shouldn’t be in programming?
Tight deadlines and understaffed teams. This combination is always a source of trouble, killing creativity, quality concerns, and of course the first to pay the price are unit tests.
What are some of the most important skills developers should have?
Team spirit for sure. I know many very good developers who fail at being team players and this is really sad. Soft skills are also very important.
What are some of your must-have tools or libraries that you use in your daily working life?
A good IDE is a developer’s best friend. I use Visual Studio. We are eternal best friends.
Who or what inspires you in the technical world?
Quantum computing and its potential. It’s exciting. I can’t help thinking that this great technology has the capability of solving serious problems in medicine or cryptography for example, if however the economic elite and governments don’t take advantage of it for the wrong reasons, thus leading to a dystopia.
When you need a time-out at work in order to regain focus, what do you do?
Switching reading mode to the old school way usually helps. I read a good book.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received or what advice would you have given your younger self?
Always have the big picture in mind. Being a developer is more than patterns, practices and new frameworks. It’s being able to help society and to solve problems.
What are some interesting links you can share regarding yourself?
You can find me on LinkedIn@ https://www.linkedin.com/in/skourtzanidis/
You can also follow our meetup on Twitter @ThessNetMeetUp
What is one question that we should have asked, and we didn’t and what would be the answer?
Why is it that although technology is progressing so fast, poverty still reigns in the world?
- Because technology is a tool. You can use it to build nano-robots, to kill cancer cells or build smart bombs to kill people. That’s why we need to supervise how our technology is being used and who owns it.