Kotlin Dev by Day, Motorcyclist by Night. Meet Piotr, Backend Dev from Poland

Kotlin developer. Motorbike lover. Got his first IT job because he was the only one in the room who solved a Java puzzle. Say hi to Piotrek – a Backend Developer at Bright Inventions.

Backend Developer at Bright Inventions

Why did you decide to become a programmer?

Because I was spending lots of time on my computer. 😉 When I was younger I wanted to study law, but when I found out that I had to pass Matura exams on Polish, History and Civics – I simply knew that was not for me.

Why backend?

I would say that is a pure coincidence. It was just the first thing I started to learn about. I started to do backend and then quickly held on to it. But maybe if I had started working on frontend, the story would be different.

How do you recall your beginnings in software development?

I studied Computer Science at Koszalin University of Technology, Poland. I had to write my first “Hello World” at the first classes but it wasn’t till my 3rd year of college when I really felt that I was coding something meaningful.

My professional career started by joining extra Java classes at my college. During these classes one of the local software companies gave us a task. People who solved it would be invited for an internship at this company. The task was to create from one very popular in Polish sentence 2 entry points separated with a comma (“Ala ma kota, kot ma Alę.”). I won’t go into details but this was something that now I would resolve with 1 function. But then I wrote the answer based on 50 lines of code. I was the only one who got it right so I got that internship. Years after that my boss was looking back to that situation when I wrote such a long code still making it right. It was an amusing anecdote at my first place of work. The internship turned into a job. I was working there as a Java developer for a couple of years until I realised it was time for a change.

The job market in Koszalin wasn’t big enough so I was open to relocation. At that time I was choosing between two cities in Poland: Poznań and Gdańsk. Poznań was actually my number one option at that time because I had a family living nearby so I was visiting Poznań quite regularly. Gdańsk was a second option. I was considering this city because my close friend lived there. So I started to look for a job in these cities. I had a few interviews when I bumped into Bright Inventions. When I was applying, about 40 people worked at Bright Inventions (now over 60). And I was leaving a corporate company that had more than 1000 employees. Honestly, I was scared that this new company would be too small for me. I wasn’t sure if this was the right fit but I decided to join Bright Inventions. Now, after almost a year of working here, I see that being a part of a small company has a very important advantage. You have a greater influence on things happening at your project and at the company itself.

What do you do at Bright Inventions?

I came as a Java developer knowing that I had to learn Kotlin because this is the language we are using at Bright Inventions. I quickly understood why Kolin is better. Kotlin has lots of benefits that aren’t in Java. It makes coding simpler. Now after a year of writing in Kotlin I wouldn’t like to come back to Java.

I work on a project dedicated to the hospitality industry. I am a part of a team that is delivering Android applications used by thousands of restaurants in Israel and a couple of European countries. Working with an international client gives the best opportunity to speak, write and learn in English. Before joining Bright Inventions my English skills were fine but now there are definitely more than that. Everyday communication in English obviously makes a difference.

Backend Developer at Bright

So, you love Kotlin now. If I asked you to mention top 3 benefits of Kotlin, what would they be?

One of the benefits is fewer NullPointerExceptions. In Kotlin we have to declare if a variable can be nullable or not. In Java, we don’t have the possibility to do that. So in Kotlin, we have much fewer null checks and I would say fewer NullPointerExceptions.

Another plus is data classes. When I was programming in Java, I felt tired of writing equals, hashcode, toString etc. methods. I wasn’t also a big fan of Lombok where we had to scroll down through all Lombok’s annotations to the desired class. All of these problems and more have been solved by a simple ‘data class’.

Apart from that, a great advantage is checked exceptions. In Kotlin we don’t need to define any try-catch. Every exception is unchecked. In Java, we have to handle checked exceptions by using try-catch block for example.

What’s ahead of you in software development?

I still learn and will be learning. I try to do it systematically. Of course, it doesn’t always go as planned. Sometimes I need to have some extra rest after a day at work or simply go to ride on my motorcycle. Yet I’ve bought courses that I wanna go through. I have also made a list of things I want to learn. The problem is that this list is still growing. 😉 Right now I am doing an architectural course, then I plan to do a course about testing and after that about the legacy projects. This is the plan for a few next months.

Backend Developer at Bright Inventions

What advice do you have for future junior software developers?

I recommend not to focus especially on money in the beginning. When you look for the first job, it probably shouldn’t be the main factor. More important is gaining experience, learning from others and NOT doing repetitive coding.

You and the motorbike. How did it all start?

Since I was a little kid I have been interested in motorbikes, electric scooters etc. I even asked my parents for a scooter but they told me that I should wait for my 18th birthday and then I would get a driving licence and a car. My parents are fans of a little bit more traditional vehicles. 😉

When I was 18 my friends and I were often driving to Mielno which was a city close to Koszalin. Driving there isn’t a pleasure because of traffic. I remember that once we were stuck in a traffic jam. While sitting idly in the car I saw people on motorbikes quickly avoiding this traffic. Then I realised that it was high time to have my own one. So I bought it. Of course, my parents weren’t happy when they heard the news. Now I don’t ride a motorbike in the street. I think it is too dangerous. I prefer riding on the pole. I am looking for a sporting pole in Gdańsk to practise. I want to attend the motorbike racing championships next year.

If you weren’t a software developer, who would you be?

A building constructor. But I won’t tell you why. It will remain my little secret. 😎