What is your day-to-day life like as an IT consultant at Ytech?
Marcelo: It usually starts with a daily meeting with the team to establish the tasks for the day. After everything is aligned, we move on to coding. Our job includes a lot of searching on-line for bug fixes. Every now and then we have little brainstorming sessions where we ask our colleagues for help. It’s always a great method of finding and sharing new ways to solve problems.
We usually look for the various possible ways to go about a given procedure, considering that the technologies we work with are always evolving and getting updated. On the Internet, we usually find people with the same problems and questions as us, specially when it comes to a particular tool or framework or library that we’re not used to working with.
What platforms and technologies do you usually use?
Marcelo: Stack overflow, W3Schools, GitHub, Visual Studio Code, and Chrome DevTools.
What led you to choose the path of IT?
Marcelo: I would say I was influenced by my family. From my brother, father, and uncle. My father installs ATM machines and my uncle works with lights and sound systems. Ever since I was a child I have always been very curious about electronic devices, I liked understanding how they worked. When something stopped working, like a radio, I would often look at the individual parts and try to fix it. So I’ve always been very familiar with disassembling things and putting them back together (laughs).
What is your educational background?
Marcelo: At college, I chose engineering physics, but I was still a bit undecided about what I wanted to do professionally. I believed this course guaranteed various possibilities and career paths. I imagined myself learning how every machine worked, from microwaves to spaceships. In the middle of the course, I started to have some contact with programming through the different classes we had. Then I had the opportunity to do a professional IT internship where I realized how this is an ever-expanding field with a lot of potential for the future.
What do you find most fascinating in the IT area?
Marcelo: It’s interesting to think how there is always something new to explore, how technology is evolving exponentially. If we stop and think about it, it’s quite fascinating how, through simple things like binary language, ones and zeros, it’s possible to create so many complex systems.
What about artificial intelligence? What can you tell us?
How do we get to Artificial Intelligence if everything is 0 and 1? This area is being worked on a lot and the software is getting more and more advanced. Some people believe that AI can in theory become sentient and acquire consciousness, showing some life/will of their own.
Others think that these machines do not have much potential for actual intelligence, but instead just a lot more capacity to process big chunks of data in less time, i.e. AI does not have the ability for real creativity. There are numerous issues surrounding artificial intelligence, some even somewhat controversial. But anyhow, the premise here is always that these intelligent machines should not be used for evil. I think this development has contributed positively to opening up more possibilities and improving our lives and will continue to do so.
Do you believe that the way we do financial transactions will change?
Marcelo: The area of cryptocurrencies also has immense potential. It’s expanding and a lot of people are studying it.
How do you imagine the future of technology?
Marcelo: This is a complex question. It depends on how we perceive life. Will there be sentient machines? It depends on the prism through which we look at it. If so, ethically speaking, will it be correct to consider these machines as our property? Several well-known films have touched on these possibilities. A few years ago we would say these things were impossible and nowadays we realize a lot is going in that direction. Hardware implants could also be the next step, we’re not that far away from it.
How do you look at social media?
Marcelo: It is impossible to talk about technology without talking about social networks, we’re having more and more stimuli and in different ways. It all evolves around instant gratification which comes with a consequent addiction and that is definitely a problem. Anyone who sees our social networks gets a preconceived idea about us.
A lot has changed and several changes are yet to emerge. There are differences in the way people interact. Younger people are almost born with a phone in their hand. The concern on social networks is how many likes the photo has. We’re changing the way younger generations interact with each other, and not necessarily for the better. As soon as our children are born nowadays, we give them a smartphone to get them distracted. The need to keep checking how many likes our posts have is a real addiction.
It's true, a lot has changed since we were born.
Marcelo: Sometimes I miss when all we had were text messages with dumbphones. Maybe I’m just getting old. I still lived a childhood without much digital tech, but today’s children are born in a fully digital world. Even mobile phone apps are built in a way that is quite easy for anyone, including kids, to use. The Digital transformation has brought many good things but maybe some things are too much and too addictive. And we’re not really talking about it.
Our phones and social media profiles have become and extension of ourselves. Most of us can’t even imagine how we would go on about our day without them.
What other changes do you foresee?
Marcelo: I also foresee an evolution in the way we access entertainment platforms: most will become subscription-based. Instead of buying gaming consoles, personal computers, video-games, cellphones and even cars, we will get these through subscriptions and cloud services. Like we already have with Netflix, Spotify, Glovo and so on. It will end up being cheaper and more convenient for the consumer to get paid subscriptions for these things rather than buying them.
Any other areas that you also think are going to undergo major changes?
Marcelo: Yes, several. The automotive area, for example. 5G will allow self-driven cars to communicate with each other efficiently, allowing them to become fully autonomous.
Going back to IT, what do you recommend for those who are starting now as consultants?
Marcelo: I recommend they choose a programming language to specialize in. However, keep in mind they will most likely have to learn and work with a lot of other languages and frameworks as well. Don’t be so sure that you’ll have a one-language-fits-all kind of job. There is no perfect language for everything. Certain projects might require you to use languages or frameworks you’re not used to, so keep an open mind for learning new things as needed.
School of choice to learn programming?
Marcelo: There are many interesting things on Udemy and they’re quite cheap! Youtube is also always a faithful ally.
Marcelo: Learn to use Google well and know how to search for things in that search engine. There are better and worse ways to find what we’re looking for. It is important to transform what we need to know into concepts and keywords for the search engine to understand our needs. In a way, this also applies for when we’re learning/teaching something from/to someone. There’s a whole lot of information out there on the web, all we need is to understand how to navigate through it as to find what we want and avoid the useless stuff.