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Interview with Ionut Balan

Windows Phone MVP | CERNER ROMANIA

Tell us a few things about yourself. Where did you study, where do you work?

I’m a guy that breathes technology since 1989, the moment I got the chance to play with a Spectrum ZX computer. This is why, way before going to high school, I was writing BASIC code using just pen and paper and tried to imagine what the program can do and how can be improved. After finishing local Informatics high school, I graduated the Faculty of Management in Brasov.
This passion about technology make me want to join CHIP magazine team, in order to be in the middle of technology and be able to play daily with hardware and software that most of the people could just dream of. For 13 years I was editor, software tester, speaker and later editor in chief for CHIP magazine and developed a big passion for gadgets, mostly smartphone and now everything that is wearable.
5 years ago a saw an opportunity to start my own project, MOBzine.ro, a place where I can freely write about what I like most, do the best reviews for smartphones and wearables and still have the chance to be in the middle of this beautiful and fast changing world that is IT.
In parallel I started as tester and then moved to development for Siemens Healthcare division in Brasov, now a part of Cerner Romania, a place where I understand that technology, smart people and ideas can change and save lives.
This combination of two jobs, developer by day and IT editor/blogger by evening, is giving me the challenges and knowledge I continuously seek and the competence to be able to speak about technology.

What is your typical day at work?

My usual day is very busy one: it starts with rapidly going thru the important IT news from day the before, compiling the list of “must have articles”, taking the kids to school and then the office. Meetings, support issues for clients, coding, standup and it is almost time go home. Meeting my kids after a busy day is a comfortable and relaxing feeling, exactly what I need to start writing articles for my website. A little bit of sleep and another day is already here.
From time to time some extras are included: local and international press events, Skype calls/briefings, trainings and presentations that I must give.

Way before going to high school, I was writing BASIC code using just pen and paper and tried to imagine what the program can do and how can be improved.

Since 1999 when I joined CHIP I knew that I want to help people around me and offer them a chance to learn and experience things about technology that could help them have a better life.

What inspired you to be active in the community?

Since 1999 when I joined CHIP I knew that I want to help people around me and offer them a chance to learn and experience things about technology that could help them have a better life.
A few years ago, when I was in a panel of speakers for a Mobile Conference, one of them (a successful entrepreneur) came to me and said “Thank you Ionut, if it wasn’t for you, and your suggestion to attend a local conference, I wouldn’t be here now”.
It’s rewarding to know that your efforts can change people lives.

Are there any things you wish you knew at the beginning of your career?

Yes, I wish I could have had the chance to speak and listen to developers and IT entrepreneurs about their insights, experiences and vision.

Could you recommend some books, resources that young IT professionals might find useful?

Learn how to use Google, or Bing. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, don’t be afraid to try new things. Channel9 is an excellent starting point to learn about Microsoft products, which I use daily.

What you do to “recharge your batteries”? What are your hobbies? Do you have time for them?

I like spending time with my family, traveling and discovering new places. Playing and talking to my kids is the best way I can relax. And for my hobbies, besides playing with the latest gadgets, I like skiing.
Unfortunately, I don’t have the time I want to do all of this …

If you could go back in time and choose a different profession (outside of IT), what would it be?

I wanted to become an economist, IT wasn’t something that challenged me enough. I’m thinking that maybe a Computer Science teacher.

What do you think about ITCamp, and what brings you here?

ITCAMP is THE IT EVENT in Romania, the one I always use to recommend to anyone interested in the latest IT trends and technologies. After attending big IT events like PDC, BUILD, TechED, IDF, I see ITCamp as a similar one, made in Romania, for the East European region. Here I had the chance to listen and meet professionals who know how to use technology at its best.
Since ITCamp started, I was close to this event and did my best to promote it. I’m happy to see it growing, and proud to be one of his speakers.

ITCAMP is THE IT EVENT in Romania, the one I always use to recommend to anyone interested in the latest IT trends and technologies.

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