Meeting a Spotify tech mind - DevTalks Romania

Meeting a Spotify tech mind

Join DevTalks Cluj as we are pulling back the curtain and put in the spotlight our speakers! Get ready to meet Sándor Dargó, Senior Engineer at Spotify! Let’s get to know him better before meeting him in person:

# Can you introduce yourself in a few words?

My name is Sándor. After getting my master's degree in computer engineering 13 years ago, I started to work as a database administrator in Budapest. Probably that's been my most life-determining job as I met my wife there.

After a few years, I had the great opportunity to switch to software engineering and move to the French Riviera. Seven years later, the pandemic brought me another great opportunity, I had to try remote work and since then I haven't gone back to the office. Last year, I joined Spotify where I work in a team that is responsible for how C++ is used in the company.

When I took on my first software engineer role, I had terrific colleagues who helped me learn C++ and write decent code. I'll be forever grateful for them. One way of giving back is to share on my blog what I learn. At the same time, writing about something makes you more thorough, you explore topics deeper, so writing my blog is a win-win situation. I have something to give back, but I also learn more than I otherwise would.

Overall, writing makes me a better programmer and a better communicator which has opened up several great opportunities. Such as getting invited to DevTalks!

# What is the favourite part of your job?

My team. I'm surrounded by remarkably smart people. Even though I enjoy working alone, it's very reassuring that if we get stuck, we can rely on each other and someone will always have an idea that would push us through the difficult parts.

# What about your hobbies/passions outside your work?

I enjoy reading books about history and psychology, writing my blog, hiking, wine-tasting and sourdough baking. This latter one is also highly appreciated by my wife and two children.

# If you had to sum up your career in one sentence, what would you say?

I've never been satisfied either with the average or my current level of knowledge and that deep curiosity always opened up new doors in my career.

# What's the coolest tech gadget or tool you've ever owned, and what made it so special to you?

I'm not the kind of guy who has many gadgets. But I have 2 Raspberry Pis that I like a lot. One is simply used as a home media centre. The other is the heart of a small robot car that gave me quite some fun while I built it.

# If you could invent any piece of technology that doesn't currently exist, what would it be and why?

I would love to see a time machine. I know that even if we could build one there would be many philosophical questions to answer.

I know many would be interested to see old animals or to see how the pyramids were built or to change the course of certain events... Personally, I would be interested in meeting influential people from the past and understanding their motives, why they acted the way they did and if they had any thoughts about how they would change the world.

# What's the most unusual or unexpected way you've seen technology being used to solve a problem?

A friend of mine has a small garden. He likes gadgets and his wife likes gardening. He built an automatic watering system. He stuck sensors around the plants and the watering is turned on based on the plants' needs. They have a quite big water reservoir so they can leave for weeks without having to worry about dried plants.

# What's your favorite science fiction movie or TV show, and do you think any of the technology depicted in it could become a reality in the future?

I have barely watched any series or movies during the last 10 years, so let me turn towards books. When I think about science fiction The Last Question by Asimov comes to my mind without any hesitation. I read it a few years ago for the first time, and it still gives me goosebumps. With that being said, I think technological singularity might not be that far away.

# A piece of advice worth passing on:

Never stop learning. Dedicate some of your free time and some of your work time to dig deeper into the technologies you use and to discover new ones. In the beginning the time investment might seem expensive, with it will pay off with high dividends.

The famous mathematician, Richard Hamming said, "I always spend a day a week learning new stuff. That means I spend 20 percent more of my time than my colleagues learning new stuff. Now 20 percent at compound interest means that after four and a half years I will know twice as much as them. And because of compound interest, this 20 percent extra, one day a week, after five years I will know three times as much, [or whatever the figures are ...]".

Maybe 20 percent seems excessive, but even if you can dedicate an hour a day to learning new stuff it will change your life.

# Do you have a message for our Romanian Tech Community?

First of all, thanks a lot for having me here!

Keep building tech communities. They are not only great sources of learning and inspiration. There is something more important. People who are smart but see the world in completely different ways can work together to solve problems in tech communities and treat each other with mutual respect while ignoring their differences. That's outstanding in such a polarized world. We need to embrace such communities and build more of them!

Learn about “Why clean code is not the norm?” on the 27th of September, at Cluj Innovation Park, with Sándor!

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