What are my preferred roles?

Definitely a halfling barbarian. Alignment: chaotic neutral.

Oh, you didn’t mean tabletop role playing but job roles? Riiiight…

I don’t think that this blog post will ever be complete, and it will always be evolving. But at this point, some of the things that I see myself doing:


Anything related to Continuous Delivery in software. From my perspective, that may include:

  • Test Automation – I’ve done this a lot, I liked it and wouldn’t mind doing more of it.
  • DevOps – I’m still not sure if DevOps must be a separate role, or if other roles can work better if they apply DevOps principles. That being said, I have done some devops-ish things, I liked it, and I would sure like to do more of it.
  • Software Development – There, I’ve put it in writing. I haven’t done this yet in a work context, but I like doing it and learning about it. And really – isn’t test automation also writing software?

Maybe you noticed that in none of these things I mention a specific technology. There may be tech&tools that I already have experience with, and you can read about that in my CV or on LinkedIn, but that is not what this blog post is about. I believe that technologies can (and should) always be learned, and it’s more of an attitude to work quality-driven.


Technical Storytelling or Technical Community Management
Storytelling can help simplify the complexities of new technologies. It’s a combination of technical skills, communication skills and empathy. It’s about supporting a community by creating helpful content, from sample code to tutorials, blog posts(*) and videos; speaking at conferences; and helping improve a product or technology by collecting feedback from the community. I recently read a blog post on this, and I can totally recognize myself there.

(*) Yes, the blog posts that I’m writing now, are also written with that kind of role in mind.


Also have a look at the roles that I am not interested in (but do get a lot of emails about).

What is my preferred region?

When recruiters contact me, I invariably get asked in what region I am willing to work. Well. It depends.
(scroll down for a map if you don’t want to read).

The thing is, I actually enjoy going from point A to point B. At the same time, if it is in much less than ideal situations (lots of traffic, or crowded public transportation), then I may get overstimulated, which leads to fatigue and lack of concentration. The least enjoyable commute was only 20km, by car, but it typically took me more than one hour. This was when a new bridge was constructed over the Scheldt in Temse.

The most pleasant work experiences I had, involved these commute patterns:

  • A 3km bicycle ride (about 10 minutes).
  • 30 km by car, with the first 15 minutes on almost empty rural roads, and then 25 minutes on a highway in the direction that had the least amount of traffic.
  • 5km, which I did on foot in 50 minutes (I was training for the Dodentocht at the time).
  • 40km, which I did with 5 minutes bicycle, 35 minutes train, 5 minutes walking. Ideal for listening to one or two episodes of a podcast. Doing the same distance by car would taken me about the same amount of time, in ideal conditions. And I can’t focus on traffic and listen to a podcast at the same time.
  • 6km, which was 20 minutes on a bicycle or 12 minutes by car. I preferred cycling, because I had separate bike lanes for about 80% of the way. 20 minutes was also an ideal amount of time to listen to one epidode of a podcast.

That looks like a lot of cycling, even though I don’t really consider myself to be an athletic type. It’s also eco-friendly, even though I don’t really consider myself to be an eco-warrior.

I’m not a petrol head, I don’t know anything about cars. 4 wheels and steering wheel, that’s about the limit of my knowledge. Currently I don’t even have a car, I make use of car sharing services like Cambio on the rare occasions that I actually need a car. At the same time, I do enjoy the experience of driving, especially long, smooth stretches. For example each year I go to a music course somewhere in the middle of Germany. That’s a 5 hour drive, not including stops. I absolutely love the change of scenery along the way. But but me in city traffic for an hour and I get too much input.

I have found a website where you can draw a map of the places you can reach within a certain time: TravelTime (the also have an API! ❤️).

This is a map I made with the following data:

  • Yellow: reachable by cycling in 30 minutes or less. That’s about all of the city center of Ghent.
  • Red: reachable by public transport in 1 hour or less. That doesn’t get me to Antwerp, Mechelen or Kortrijk, but Brussels and Bruges are just about reachable.
  • Blue: reachable by car in 45 minutes or less. That barely touches Antwerp. Brussels: the north, west and south edges. Kortrijk and Bruges are also within reach. Why the cutoff at 45 minutes? Well, I would need really, really good other motivations to consider Brussels. Some time ago I thought that 30 minutes would be my maximum, but it isn’t. I’d rather call it an optimum than a maximum.
TravelTime

Even with this map, I still have a personal bias. Most of my social life occurs somewhere in the triangle Ghent-Antwerp-Brussels. It becomes harder to do something after work when working in West-Flanders. It’s not a hard pass, just a preference.

I have more to tell on this topic, so I might update this blog post later.