Interview with Aelafseged, Software Developer

8 min read

Aelafseged is someone for whom a better tomorrow is always on the horizon.  

Born in Ethiopia and raised in Eritrea, this software developer has a passion for learning and self-improvement that inspires him in his everyday work. 

His interest in computers started early in life and never stopped. Now, thanks to Devexperts, Aelafseged is living in Portugal and working in Fintech, something that he’s passionate about. 

In this interview, Aelafseged will be sharing his path in life and how he’s driven by a need to push himself forward day after day. 

Please tell me a bit about your backstory and how you got started in your career. 

I remember being interested in any kind of mechanical stuff ever since I was a child. It was also important to see the impact of computers on my parents’ work.  

My mom and dad are both accountants, and I had seen the struggles they used to go through with manual accounting. When they started to use the computer, I saw how much it improved their workflow and how much more organized everything was. During tax season, you had so much paper laying around the table, that it was quite messy. This was something that benefited all of us because I also used to help them with their work. I believe my passion for computers started there.

What’s your role at Devexperts? 

I’m a Java backend developer working on the trading platform of one of Devexperts’ biggest customers. My team works in the backend and front-end of that platform both for admin and user GUI as well.

As a Software Developer, what would be the most important thing you would like people to know about your job?  

You never know what the next task will be, and you are faced with surprises and new challenges all the time.  

In software programming, we use the Jira Board. There are tickets on a board, and each one has its own problem to be solved. Once you get a ticket, you have to make sure that you understand it and then create a solution for it.  

Sometimes, you will need to dig through hours or even days just to understand the problem that you’re facing with that single ticket. Other times, it’s quite easy.

This is something that makes me excited for my job.  

What made you say yes to Devexperts?  

They have free coffee! 

No, really, Devexperts has allowed me to work in Fintech, a business area that is one of the most exciting to work in right now. It has been great to develop my programming skills while also furthering my knowledge in the Fintech area.

What do you enjoy the most about working in Fintech? 

When you work in Fintech, you work in something that makes the world go round. It’s an incredible learning experience to be a part of something so colossal.

What is the best career advice you’ve ever received? 

A long time ago, when I was in middle school, I did a project with other classmates on a mechanical device. We presented it to the teacher, and he said, “this is not enough.” At the time, we were kind of unhappy with that feedback, but then we realized that adding more to the project and improving it would be the answer. 

This became a life lesson to me even after all these years. As much as you think you’ve done today, it’s not enough. You must push forward, learn new things, and do something better than you did yesterday. 

In my programming career, I’ve found out that this is one of the most important things: even if something works, there’s always a better way to do it. You have to keep improving yourself through learning and experimentation.

What advice would you give to someone preparing for an interview at Devexperts? 

Programming skills are a must, of course, but you also need to be familiar with the technical fintech jargon. This is something that you’ll use daily, so you should read about those topics as often as you can. 

It’s also important to have the mindset of continuously improving your technical skills. Not only to keep up with the trends but also with the fantastic talent we have in this company.

Almost 2 years ago, you made a significant life change and moved to Portugal from Eritrea. How has your experience been in the country so far? 

My experience has been great so far. I come from a country with a different socio-political background and, at first, my family was worried about the possibility of racial discrimination. Fortunately, I’ve found that Portugal is an extremely safe country, and I never had any problems here. 

One thing that I miss from home is injera, the traditional Eritrean/Ethiopian bread. I cannot find it here, unfortunately. The other thing that I had a hard time with was the language. Portuguese is challenging, even though I’m taking classes at the company. I blame the people of Portugal for always talking to me in English and doing their best to accommodate me. 

Portuguese people are welcoming to a degree that astounds me. Once, me and a friend were trying to go to the Arouca bridge, and we took the wrong bus. The bus driver worried and helped us by calling other people that took us to the right bus. They were tireless in making sure we got there in time. It was an incredible experience.

Outside of work, what’s one thing you would like people to know about you? 

I enjoy doing things that bring joy and challenge at the same time. Physical challenges for me are working out in the gym, and doing CrossFit and yoga, for example. Emotionally, it’s important to keep a work and life balance and to do things that bring joy to your inner childlike reading books, watching movies, listening to music, and some cool podcasts.

You also have a YouTube channel in which you share videos about IT and Software Development. What were your motivations to create the channel? 

I was always that kind of person who enjoyed sharing what I learned with others. Before YouTube, I created a blog for that reason. I enjoyed writing and I wanted to talk about challenging topics in a way that would be easy to understand for someone who’s starting this journey. For me, this is also a way of developing my own knowledge about something, so it’s a win-win situation. 

On YouTube, I now have videos in English, but I started with my native language – Tigrinya – and Amharic, Ethiopia’s language. I speak both languages because I was born in Ethiopia and raised in Eritrea. 

What is your main driving force in life? 

The urge to live a better life than I did yesterday. I think it can be that simple. 

You can watch Aelafseged’s videos and read his articles at the following links: 

YouTube 

Medium 

Read our previous edition of dxSpotlight with Sofia, Head of Legal.