Hi there! I’m Gervasio and this is my blog. I’m a Senior Software Developer at Stack Overflow, working on the Talent team.
Here’s where I try to tell you who I am. I kind of suck at that, so instead of trying to answer who I am, I’ll try to share a couple things that I think help explain why I get to spend my working hours doing something I profoundly love.
It all started when I was 6
Sitting in my father’s lap (and with him pointing me to the keys I had to press) I wrote “quiero comer ñoquis” on a Norton Commander console. I didn’t know how to read yet but my dad told me I wrote that and I believed him.
Then, when I was 8 my school bought some Atari 8-bits computers with Logo… that’s when I wrote my first program. I loved it, so I would buy graph paper, draw on it using a pencil and then write the commands that the turtle would need to draw exactly that. Then, when I went to school and had some time with the computer, I would copy the program from my paper and see the turtle draw the same thing I did at home. WOW. That was magic.
When I was 12 learned some basic BASIC but I didn’t have a computer… so I just wrote my programs on paper. Until my grandma started asking what was all that and once she understood it, she decided to buy me my first computer. That was love.
I kept on programming (PERL, PHP, SQL) through my high school… but when I finished…
I decided I didn’t want to become a nerd
I wanted to still be sociable… so I studied economics. I enjoyed it, but after a year and a half, it became evident that it wasn’t my vocation. So I switched to studying engineering and today I can say I embrace the nerd I am.
Studying economics was a great decision though, that’s how I met Daniela, who is now my wife.
I studied engineering!
Education here in Uruguay is a bit different from its US counterpart. The degree I hold (I’m an “Ingeniero en Computación” which could be translated as “Computing Science Engineer”) takes 5.5 years to achieve (that’s if you do it in the time it’s meant to be done), yet it’s not a master’s degree… so it’s probably more than a classical Bachelor’s but less than a master’s. Fortunately, I’ve never had to explain this to any of my employers ;) that’s the age we live in and I absolutely love it. It doesn’t really matter what degree you have, it’s all about what you can do.
I started getting freelancing gigs
While I was studying, I started looking for freelancing projects at RentACoder.com. I remember I charged $15 for 2 days of work and when I got the money (with a nice $10 bonus) I was ecstatic.
I got bigger and bigger jobs (IIRC, I finished 65+ projects and on all of them I was rated as 10/10) and then to my first long-term position. One I held for 6 years and a half.
There I had the opportunity to refer friends to my boss, and we set up an office in Montevideo. I still share an office with those friends even if we don’t work on the same company… it’s an excellent way of working remotely, having real people around you to share your day-to-day.
On this company I worked on a bunch of projects… but it’s when we started working with twilio when I enjoyed it the most…
I started playing with Asterisk
This deserves its own section… as I was working with twilio, I wanted to go lower level… I wanted to see how they did their magic, so I read they were using Asterisk and then I started playing with it.
Obviously, I wanted to integrate the Asterisk world (that had my real phones at home) with twilio’s (where I could write really complex applications using a great API)… and as that turned out to be a bit harder than I anticipated (and as I couldn’t really find good resources on how to do it) I started this blog.
This blog changed my life. People started contacting me to do that integration on their systems. I got to work with a bunch of different customers until one offered me a position to build a call center for Salesforce. I didn’t (and I certainly don’t) love Salesforce, but I’d only have to deal with the backend… so I was on board with that!
When I started at that company, it started the process to be acquired by a different one. This bigger company worked in the insurance world building systems with python. I had never worked with python before, but when they said they were willing to let me learn it I loved the challenge!
There I got to work with great people, I learned a lot about Angular and about the US insurance world and its weird laws with the gazillion corner cases. I loved it, until the company went to “maintenance mode”, which meant that I’d only be keeping the systems up, but not doing any more development.
I landed my dream job
Yes. And sometimes, that feels like an understatement. I’ve been using Stack Overflow since before it existed (I’m convinced I’ve been using it since I started the University, but its beta launched on 2008 so the math doesn’t add up). I’ve been reading their blog since I learned they had one and especially reading the ones that talk about how it is like to work at Stack Overflow.
It looked like a paradise for developers. I was applying for jobs for the first time in my life (and boy, that can be a frustrating experience) mainly using Stack Overflow Jobs as I liked the quality of remote jobs I posted there. I got a few interviews and even made it to the last round at HotJar… but they found a better candidate… until I saw a listing to work at… Stack Overflow! I applied, got contacted a couple weeks after and I got the job!!! I’m now part of the team building… Stack Overflow Jobs! (You can find details of what the interviewing process was like in my blog post)
When I say that calling it my dream job feels like an understatement, it’s just because so far it’s better than any dream I’ve ever had. I reviewed this page almost a year after joining Stack and I’m still in awe about it.
So, that’s my story
Oh, and I run. I love running, but that’s not probably why you’re here :) nice to meet you and mention me on twitter if you have any comments.