Twingly Team Interviews: “I want to know if a new technology can make my life easier”

Recently we could welcome a new developer to our team: Magnus Hörberg. And as it is our tradition with new employees, we did an interview with him to tell you a bit more about him.

Hi Magnus. Tell us about about you.
I am 24 years old, and I grew up in a small Swedish village called Dillnäsby, south of Stockholm. I recently joined Twingly as a developer, before that I worked at a consulting firm. During the past weeks I have made myself familiar with the different IT systems that Twingly needs for its operations to run.

magnusWhen and why did you learn to code?
All my life my family had computers at home. My father worked as a traveling sales man when I was young, but he didn’t enjoy that too much. So he taught himself how to create simple computer programs. Eventually he was able to quit his job and start his own consulting business. Seeing what was possible with programming skills I got inspired. After the military service back in 2008 I myself began to code.

How did you learn it? By experimenting?
Yes, reading, testing and evaluation. I learned the basics during my studies of Applied Physics and Electrical Engineering, but personally I think our current school system isn’t really suited to teach full scale application development. Too much is happening too fast for the education system to keep up. You can learn the basics in school, but not enough time is devoted to the subject. At least not at my program. So basicaly you have to sit at home at night and develop your own projects to grow as a developer.

And you are never finished learning, right? Today’s programming knowledge will probably be outdated in a couple of years. How do you keep yourself updated?
Absolutly, it’s very easy to become lazy and start to think “I know enough to do my job, I don’t need to learn that new thing.” But if you meet up with other developers over a few beers and discuss problems you have in your projects, almost always someone will have read an article of a new solution that you can discuss and try out. Also, Hackernews is a great source for new stuff and general thougths on software development. Basicly I think it comes down to curiosity. I want to know if a new technology can make my life easier.

Do you remember you first coding project?
I’m not sure. It could have been a photo album application for one of the student associations I’m a member of. But I never finished that. The first project I finished calculated the inbreeding coefficient of a individual given its family tree.

What is the most exciting part of developing for Twingly?
I would say it’s the amount of data and the amount of development the company currently is going through. And the challenges in renewing an old technology stack. All code always has a debt coupled with it.

What’s the best approach in your eyes to solve that? Rewriting everything? Or just fixing the parts that need to be renewed?
Small incrementing steps. You can never and should never try to fix all problems at once
but if you continually do small improvements you will evolve.

You mentioned the amount of data. There is a lot of talk about big data, many say it’s one of the biggest trends right now. Do you agree?
Absolutely, when storage is so cheap there is no excuse not to store information. You never know when it might come handy.

Apart from big data, which other trends do you see for the near future regarding web technology and trends in development? Is there anything you are especially looking forward to?
Well it’s a couple of things. One is the new mobile OS that Mozilla is developing, the other is the WebRTC effort. Enabeling a developer with relative ease to develop video chat application and stuff like that is really exciting. Also companies as Github and Heroku make a huge impact on how we develop software.

On a Friday evening, do you already look forward getting back to coding on Monday?
Absolutely. But I don’t even need to wait until Monday since I have some own projects I am working on during the weekend.

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