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Issue 51

Interview with Ionică Bizău

Vlad Mihalcea
Hibernate Developer Advocate @ Red Hat
INTERVIEW

Hello, Ionică. Despite the fact that you are very young, you are a developer who has many achievemnts on GitHub and on StackOverflow. Can you introduce yourself and tell us a couple of words about yourself?

My name is Ionică Bizău (translated in English that would be Johnny B. :smile:). I build things and random stuff. I'm a web developer, and usually, I spend my days in a *nix terminal window, writing code in VIM (the amazing text editor). I also play piano, love science (especially Physics and Maths).

Ionică Bizău

Almost any developer uses StackOverflow each time they have a problem to solve. In spite of this, few contribute with questions and answers. You have quite a reputation on StackOverflow. Can you share some tips and tricks?

StackOverflow helped me in my learning process a lot. Back in 2011, I started learning C# which I was pretty excited about at that time. Of course, I had many questions. I heard that we can use StackOverflow to ask questions and I did it. My first question was terrible. It got a few downvotes, being closed and then deleted quickly. At that time, the StackOverflow community wasn't that friendly to the newcomers, but I didn't give up. I learned to ask good questions and it worked. Since then, I use StackOverflow when I don't know how to solve something.

The reputation system is addicting. Each upvote made me happy (they still make me happy today, so upvote me if my answers help you!). The author of the post gets 5 points for a question upvote and 10 points for an answer upvote. By getting more reputation, you gain super powers such as closing, deleting, editing questions and answers, consulting the site analytics etc. I started helping people there and I realized I can do it! I was keeping a browser tab with questions having specific tags (the ones I was feeling comfortable with: e.g. jQuery). Whenever I could give a good answer, I did it.

The idea is simple: if you want to be a constructive user in the community, post quality content (questions that will be seen by others in need, answers to help others):

If you want to get reputation by posting answers, well, you have to be fast and correct. Post your answer as quickly as possible making sure it solves the problem. Other users will see it and upvote you.

This is applicable to any website from the StackExchange platform—you'll find (almost) any subject to talk about there. If you don't, then you can suggest a topic for a new website.

At the end of the day, it's not about Stackoverflow reputation, but it's about helping each other as developers and human beings.

Your open-source projects on GitHub have an impressive number of stars: https://github.com/ionicabizau. How did you come up with so many ideas for projects? How did they become so popular?

I do believe what Nikola Tesla said: My brain is only a receiver, in the Universe there is a core from which we obtain knowledge, strength and inspiration. We were created to build things. While we do have ideas, and we can create stuff, there is a source of our knowledge, strength and inspiration, and that is God.

Some of the projects I build are just for fun, while most of them are used in real applications. In general, they are tiny modules which are used in bigger modules which are used in applications. Generally, when I build something, random ideas for new projects come and this happens so naturally that I can't really explain it. By working on small projects, while learning, I get new ideas. I note them somewhere, prioritize them and build the cutest ones.

The GitHub stars are just the result of the entire process. It's nice to see people's feedback (stars, issues, pull requests etc).

Can you tell us how your career benefitted from the fact that you became a StackOverflow or a GitHub contributor? Did this hobby help you land a better job?

My StackOverflow profile made a good impression when I started working at jillix—a Swiss company. That was 4 years ago. When I started working at jillix, I created my GitHub account and started contributing in open-source. I learned a lot at jillix. While we did have proprietary code, I promoted the open-source philosophy. Many things I did at jillix are open-source, so you can see them on GitHub.

People find my projects on GitHub and that's great. Sometimes, I get small donations. While my projects can be used free of charge, donations4 are always welcome.

I cannot say StackOverflow and GitHub helped much in getting better official jobs. I'd rather say again that, in the end, it's about helping our fellow developers and humans.

What future plans do you have and where do you see yourself working in 5 years' time?

I have a long-term project and that's Bloggify[^5]—which is a software and a company same time. At Bloggify, the goal is to make publishing easy—even easier than it is today. Probably is a bit too early to tell you more about this, but stay tuned. Hopefully, in 5 years this will be (still) a nice thingy to work on, while being used in applications around the world.

In parallel with that, I am a CodeMentor: I teach others how to code, debug their apps and fix bugs—which is pretty cool since I talk to random people from different places and their common desire is to learn.

Conference

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Vlad Mihalcea wrote also