your daily code for breakfast

In the Spotlight 1: Felienne Hermans

This week I’m introducing a new topic: in the Spotlight! Every Friday you can find a new interview with the most inspiring people in Tech. I’m very happy to begin these series of interviews with Felienne Hermans.  Felienne is an assistant professor at Delft University of Technology (Netherlands), she regularly speaks at conferences, is board member of Devnology, organizes Joy of Coding and much more. I’m thrilled to share her tips with you!

Name: Felienne
Job: Assistant Professor
Favorite website, app or gadget: Pffff! I have so many, I’ll cheat and pick two. Favorite app: I really like the TimeHop app, which shows what I have done on the exact day a year (or 2, 3 etc.) ago. Fun little memory refresher. Favorite gadget is surely my brand new Xbox One
Twitter: @felienne

What inspired you to pursue a career in IT?
My high school math teacher was a big accelerant in my interest in programming. He let me and other kids in class skip regular class work and instead allowed us to learn programming. He also supervised my “profielwerkstuk” (a thesis you write at the end of high-school in Nl.)

What does your working day look like?
Every day is different! My job is 50% teaching 50% researcher. So some days I teach or supervise students, other days I program prototypes, visit companies I collaborate with or right papers.

What is the coolest project you have worked on and why?
Recently I analyzed thousands of spreadsheets from the bankrupt company Enron, that was pretty cool!

Do you have a hero, or someone who inspires you?
My promoter is one of my inspirations, I hope that one day I’ll be just as good in paper writing as he is.

Why do you love working in  IT/Tech?
I like inventing new things, but I have two left hands, so IT is the only field I can build things without hurting myself :)

Do you have a degree in IT? If so, what taught you the most? And if not, did you miss some important knowledge?
I have a MSc in Cs and a PhD in software engineering. What taught me most is programming by calculation, a mathematical approach to programming, and functional programming, because it is an entirely different way of programming.

What would be your advice to everyone who is interested in a career in tech? (or learning to code?)
Start today! There are so many easy ways to start (I love Robomind for this) When I was a kid I had to manually copy thousands of lines of code from a paper book (yes, I am about a 100 years old :)) Things are so much easier now.

Thank you Felienne!