The always cheerful Radek has only been with Applifting for two years, yet he’s already managed to try out several different positions. That’s because he likes taking on new challenges and pushing himself. While Python remains a matter of the heart for him, he is now embarking on a career as a technical writer. What motivation does he have, and why does he like Python so much?
Radek, you’ve held several positions within the company. What were they, and what are you doing now?
How did you first stumble across Python?
It was all the way back in elementary school when I bought the book Python in Černá labuť (a traditional bookstore in Prague), and I didn't understand anything whatsoever :-D After that, I studied Java in college, so it was put on the back burner. But then, during my master’s, I got the opportunity to study other languages too, and I worked my way through it. I started submitting term papers in Python whenever possible. Then I had the opportunity to work with Python at a company called Red Hat in Brno, where I went specifically for this reason.
What is so interesting about Python that it made you move to Brno?
I have to say that I don't see that many differences between languages. Python is close to my heart because it's pure, there’s no fluff. If I were to write a language, that’s what it would look like. I also like the community around it. I like the fact that it isn’t backed by a commercial entity, it's universal, and I can do whatever comes to mind with it. And then there’s the syntax and the way the authors keep developing it, I like that too.
What would you recommend to anyone considering giving Python a try?
Go for it! :-) Don't get stuck trying to learn everything, start working with it. Hands-on experience is the best teacher. And be sure to visit PyCon (a conference) too--lots of great people there. I also recommend junior.guru, a website dedicated to beginners not only in Python. It'll guide you through the language and teach you to program and how to find a job. And they’ve also got a nice group on Facebook, where they’ll help you out if you’re at a loss.
Is there a difference between working in Python at Applifting versus another IT company?
It is true that we have yet to tackle artificial intelligence, so that’s something we’re still sleeping on. Other than that, I think there is no difference. There are just a few of us here working with Python, so that gives us an opportunity to develop it within the company as a whole.
Editor's note: Skillful python devs have an open door at Applifting. We'll be happy to welcome anyone who wants to set the course with us.
Are you active in IT communities?
Back in Brno, I helped to establish and get PyLadies going in the Czech Republic. I was involved for about two years. This community was mainly focused on women because there was this prevailing feeling that there were very few of those in the world of IT, and this initiative helped to increase the engagement. It all started with a group of several girls in college who needed help with Python as a subject. A colleague of mine offered to tutor them, and that’s how it all gradually came together. PyLadies is an international group of women dedicated mainly to sharing experiences and connecting female Python programmers. In the Czech Republic, the difference is that we teach them programming too.
I was engaged in the community even after moving to Prague. Now it’s taken a bit of a back seat, but I keep an eye on the groups, and I am on standby, ready to help when needed. I also used to frequent the Pyvo’s community get-togethers, which unfortunately subsided during the pandemic. I attend professional conferences too. From time to time, I follow the Czech community’s Python Slack. When someone is looking for help, I'm there for them. I’m also active on Stack Overflow, where I help to answer questions related to Python. So all in all, I stay on my toes :-).
You've moved through several positions at Applifting. What is your motivation?
The confines of the developer role are a bit too small for me. I need to be doing something more than that. So far, the way it works here is that you choose a specialization, even though our mentoring system gives you a free hand in learning other technologies as well. For example, we have this custom of moving from testing to developing, never the other way around. I enjoy breaking down these stereotypes. If you ask me, developers should be doing testing too. I wanted to know what it looks like when you're just testing for days on end. And I had been doing that for about a year.
And tech writing… developers usually don't like to write anything but code, especially documentation. In general, I feel that documentation does not get the kind of care it deserves, so now I would like to develop in this direction.
It's just a few days since you started tech writing :-) Do you plan to try anything else in the future?
Probably yes. In time, I would like to take a crack at front end too. And I might have a go at UX someday, though that’s something I know nothing about right now.
Why should people want to work at Applifting?
Because there's a nice crew of people here. We’re not in it just for the money, we try to make things nice for all of us here. And because people and their work are valued here. We also get the freedom to realize our potential the way we want; there are a lot of possibilities.