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Interview with Radu Marinescu

Group Manager for Code Quality | ENDAVA

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

I studied in Timișoara, and in Karlsruhe, in one of the most influential European universities in software engineering. Regarding my career, I guess the most distinctive trait is that I have been constantly wearing multiple hats: currently, I am professor of software engineering and researcher in the area of code quality at the “Politehnica” University of Timișoara; at the same time I am coordinating the efforts towards software quality in Endava, a large software company; finally, I am serving as an expert evaluator for the European Commission. Last but not least, for six years I also wore the entrepreneurial hat as I co-founded and decisively contributed to a spin-off that created an innovative commercial code analysis tool rooted in my earlier research.

What is your typical day at work?

This is hard to say because most recently the word “typical” does not really fit my work… There are days when I go from meeting to meeting (or university lectures), others when I have to work against the clock on myriads of different tasks, or when I work in planes, airports and hotels; finally, I am still fortunate to have some more quiet days when I can focus on more longer-term goals and dive into some innovative ideas that I am currently exploring. I am sure you can easily guess which are the days on which I feel to be most productive…

What inspired you to be active in the community?

There is a simple answer to this question: the constant desire to learn and share. Almost every time when I participate in a community event I get inspired. Sometimes this happens directly, by listening to an interesting presentation or from a one-to-one discussion; some other times the simple fact of looking at things from a different perspective leads me to fresh ideas. On the other side, I see community events as fantastic opportunities to share my own ideas and insights with other peers and hopefully inspire some of them. Also, the feedback that I get during these events helps me calibrate my work.

Almost every time when I participate in a community event I get inspired. Sometimes this happens directly, by listening to an interesting presentation or from a one-to-one discussion; some other times the simple fact of looking at things from a different perspective leads me to fresh ideas.

[…] the success of a project is more influenced by the character and grit of the people who work on it and less by people being some sort of geniuses; and even less by the technologies being used or other technical aspects.

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

Absolutely! There are at least two key things: first, that the success of a project is more influenced by the character and grit of the people who work on it and less by people being some sort of geniuses; and even less by the technologies being used or other technical aspects. The second thing is the importance of staying focused and getting things done; I discovered that there is a big danger to waste time by having attention dispersed on many different directions. Actually there is, also a third lesson: avoiding to listen to people who advise me to follow a mainstream path.

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

This is a very hard question because there are many books that have influenced me and which I would love to recommend. However, I will make some suggestions that you may find surprising because they are less technical; nevertheless, because I strongly believe that human aspects are making a huge difference for the success of a software project I will recommend the following titles: “Leaders Eat Last” by Simon Sinek, “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team” by Patrick Lencioni, “Rework” by Fried and Hansson; and last but not least a classic that is a superb mix of technical and non-technical advices: “The Pragmatic Programmer: from Journeyman to Master” by Hunt and Thomas.

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

Last summer I installed a basketball hoop in our home yard; so when the weather is fine and I’m working from home I use to take a break from time to time and do a series of free shots. More recently I made a habit of starting my day with some swimming which, apart from the obvious health benefits, does also give me some time to plan my day. I also love to read (mainly non-fiction) and to travel to new places. I also have several TV series and TV shows that I watch regularly.

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

If I could add to the miracle of travelling back in time the miracle of getting a gift for drawing I would probably choose to be an architect. Apart from that, over the last ten year I have been tempted by a creative job in an advertisement agency, like being a copywriter.

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

This will be only my second time at ITCamp, but the experience from last year was great. I had the chance of meeting many passionate and highly knowledgeable professionals that enriched me with their insights and different perspectives. I am looking forward to meeting many more this year.

I had the chance of meeting many passionate and highly knowledgeable professionals that enriched me with their insights and different perspectives.

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