Andrei Antal is a seasoned programmer and a familiar face at QUALITANCE. His fascination with technology began long before his education and professional career. As a child, Andrei could always be found taking cars apart and playing computer games. Anyone remember Doom? He always knew that he wanted to work with computers but was also deeply passionate about human interaction, learning and teaching. He even travelled to the land of Tulips and earned a Master’s Degree in Human-Technology Interaction from the University of Technology in Eindhoven, Netherlands. His QUALITANCE story began in 2014 when he was involved in the development of a mobile application for a U.S. client. We had the chance to hang out with Andrei and take a deeper look into his work-life, what tools he uses and what advice has stuck with him.
What is your preferred work style?
One thing’s clear – I’m not a morning person. I tend to be more productive in the afternoon and usually prefer to schedule most work that involves planning or brainstorming in the first part of the day so I can code afterwards. I guess you could call me a night owl.
What is your must-have gear?
My MacBook is my go-to gear. It offers a great working environment for programmers and the operating system helps a lot with common tasks. I move around a lot from meeting to meeting and it’s handy that it’s so portable. I work with a lot of people on my projects. Communication is a key part of the development process especially because we’re in an open space environment. But when I need to concentrate I put my Beats headphones on and play some Pearl Jam. This really helps me channel out everything that’s going on around me and focus on my tasks. Of course, for those times when I don’t have my laptop with me I have all the apps (Hangouts, Slack, Trello) wired to my iPhone so I can always stay connected.
What 5 things are always on your desk?
- My computer, of course.
- A pile of sketches and mock-ups of interface design and ideas for old/current projects. No matter how many times I clean my desk and throw them away somehow I always manage to have papers on my desk!
- A pencil; I think ballpoint pens ruin your handwriting and they’re difficult to use for drawing.
- A test phone for the applications I develop, usually a version of an iPhone.
- A glass of water, you need to hydrate in order to keep your mind sharp.
What apps, software, or tools can’t you live without?
As a programmer, I use an IDE for development and team tools for communication and all of them are important in the process. But the most important tool I use is good old Google. It might sound obvious, but my work would be infinitely harder without it. Besides the classical scenario of directing me to Stack Overflow with technical solutions others before me had and solved, it helps with finding new resources and tools I can use in my projects.
Tell us about your first project at QUALITANCE.
For my first project, I was part of a team that was developing a mobile app for a U.S. client. The thing that really stood out for me was that the people on my team took the time to teach me and trusted my judgement. From there I went on to work on many projects with different teams. Part of what I love about working here is that no two projects are ever the same. There is always something new and different.
You have worked with many teams over your career, what is your approach to working with people?
In the projects we’re engaged here, I’m lucky to work with very talented and dedicated people. There is one ingredient that makes our projects succeed and that is good communication between team members. On my teams, we do a lot of communicating but also a lot of doing! We’re always trying to find a balance between time spent planning and implementing.
Personal – Arthur C. Clarke – The Fountains of Paradise
What’s the best life advice you’ve ever been given?
One piece of advice that always comes to mind in many situations was given to me by one of my teachers in high school. It’s something simple but it’s been a guiding principle for me ever since. She said: “knowledge only has value if we share it with others”. It’s one of the reasons why I try to get involved in many learning activities such as doing workshops with students, participating in the internship process and talking at technology meet-ups or conferences. It’s my way of giving back to the community and learning.
How are you involved in the QUALITANCE community outside of your working teams?
I love teaching, and interacting with interns is one of my favorite things. Just the other day I talked to them about their experiences in the QUALITANCE Internship program. I also organize and manage a meetup group for AngularJS. I love programming but it is really important for me to get out from behind my computer and get to hangout with new people. You’ll always find someone at these events who has an amazing talent.
What is one piece of advice you would give to someone with the desire to work in your field?
Don’t limit yourself only to knowing some technology inside out but rather exploring what real-world problems that technology can solve. Technology is part of everything these days and being well versed makes you invincible.
What are your work goals for the future?
Since I joined the QUALITANCE team I’ve made great progress as a developer. In the future I want to continue on this current path and take part in more exciting projects. I would like to continue work on projects that involve hybrid mobile applications and try out new technologies for these, such as Ionic Framework, Famo.us, React Native or even experiment with native iOS development using Apples’ new programming language, Swift. In my work, no two days are the same and I’m excited to see what the future holds!