This week, I published Clifford Agius's #DevJourney story on my eponym Podcast: Software developer's Journey. Among many other things, here are my main personal takeaways:
- Cliff grew up in east London, nose up, looking at planes taking off. Even though he aced Maths and Science, he had trouble getting through school and ended up joining a new electro-mechanical engineering apprenticeship with Ford Motor Company. Looking back, Cliff regards his apprenticeship at Ford very highly. He thinks it was the best for him, and he would encourage anyone on this path. There, he discovered PLCs (Programmable Logic Components) programming. But during all this time, he was looking up.
- He then got his private pilot license and learned what he needed to do to become a professional pilot. 2 years and ~90K£ later, he got his "wings"... right after September 11. It was hard to find a job. He continued contracting for his former company during this time, which is an excellent example of why you should NEVER burn bridges! Later on, he finally got a job as a pilot, worked his way up, and joined British Airways to fly a Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
- I asked Cliff why he wanted to become a developer while he was living his dream? His answer was clear. Due to JetLag, he was often awake when everyone was at work. So he started doing websites for friends, and one thing leading to the next, he woke up having a side business he loved as well!
- Doing client projects, he stumbled upon ASP, .NET, C#, and finally Xamarin. Being an electrical engineer, IoT also became an ideal subject. He found his sweet spot at the junction of those two and even contributed to the Xamarin codebase.
- One of Cliff's main side projects is building on the Open-Bionics source code to 3D-print prosthetics. He now managed to bring down the price of such prosthetics to less than 500£. His goal (before COVID) was to pack a few 3D printers, filaments, and gear and fly them to hospitals in India and Pakistan, where Cliff has contacts. Hopefully, this will restart as soon as COVID cools off. Follow his account on Twitter for more information about this.
- Many skills cross over from one domain to the other. One example Cliff gave is decision making: "in aviation, we make decisions very early, and review it regularly, and revise if needed."
- "Always be learning"
- Me: "Do you sleep?" Cliff: "yes, I sleep on the plane!" 😁
- "When you remove yourself from an office, and stick yourself in a hotel room in Seattle at 4:00 and turn off your phone, there is no distraction, so you can crush out so much work"
- "I love flying, this is my passion, I get paid to do my hobby"
Thanks, Clifford, for sharing your story with us!
Did you listen to his story?
- What did you learn?
- What are your takeaways?
- What did you find particularly interesting?