1. How did you start developing and what are you currently working on?
I started like most of us in IT, playing games which turned into a general interest for computers, then that again grew into IT and so I went to college, started working…It all went by default or the standard way it usually happens and then it later turned into my career when I started doing development, which grew into something else, I started working on start-ups and then it also grew into something different which is now what I do and that is Developer advocacy. We are a team of people who promote or talk about some products on the IT scene. It can be through conferences, through blog posts, through working with the community, through open source development, through anything that has to do with helping the community to develop better products and this has a lot to do with what I do. it’s a job I’m currently doing, in a company that develops monitoring softwares, that helps other engineers make their applications in a a simpler way so my career over the last couple of years is tied to making tools so that other engineers can make their products better.
2. Adnan, you mentioned that you are doing something called developer advocacy which means that you should be good in public speaking…Do you have any advice on how to overcome the nervousness of public speaking and how to be a good speaker?
It’s hard to say whether I overcame that fear or not, I’d rather say that I learned how to deal with the fear of public speaking. I think that you can not completely overcome that fear, you will never be able to overcome the stress you will feel, however you can teach yourself how to deal with stress, how to reduce stress, and how to deal with it in the sense that it doesn’t ‘eat’ you. That’s at least what I’m doing and how I’m handling it, luckily I also had formal training for public appearances that helped me a lot…The most important thing and the click that happened to me was when I realized how to overcome that fear is through something that our coach on that training said, and that is that we humans are mammals accustomed throughout history to act in packs and our brains are so created that we are afraid when we are out of packs, and the very fact that you are on stage lifted from other people watching you, you are there by default, your brain tells you ok I'm out of the pack, this is dangerous, I can't do this and it's the initial trigger for stress in 99% of people, it's the reason but you don't know it and you can't figure out why it is the way it is.
3. In addition to that pack element that creates fear of public speaking, fear of condemnation and fear of mistakes is also something that creates stress during public speaking, how to overcome this?
I think that the fear of condemnation is something that is very often one of the main factors why some people consciously stress themselves to such a level during public appearances. I think the easiest way to overcome the fear of condemnation is for you to tell yourself and give yourself 'credit' because you were chosen to be a speaker at a conference, at an event, it doesn’t matter… This means that you are already by that default competent to talk about it. I think it's also important to get rid of the feeling and the need for everyone to love you…You can tell yourself I would like people in the audience to like me, but I don't need it, I won't die if they don’t like me. When you set that mindset to yourself like that and when you put your mental well-being in the first place, then it will be much easier for you to appear in front of the audience.
4. What would you do if you were not in the IT profession?
I would be a stand-up comedian… and would probably have no money (laughs), because I’m not too good at it.
5. How do you maintain mental hygiene, especially in this demanding period of the pandemic?
For mental health it is important to be physically active, to be physically healthy and to eat healthy…It does not necessarily mean that you have to eat too healthy in the sense of being an ‘ultra nutritionist’, it is important to eat a variety and get enough vitamins, proteins, minerals and everything that you need so you don’t feel sluggish and bad. Since I changed my diet in recent years and started training, I see that I sleep better, that I am less tired, when I wake up in the morning I see that my back no longer hurts randomly at the age of 27…If you don't want your back to hurt in the 20s you need to lead a very active lifestyle, because for us who are engaged in this business, sitting at a computer for 8 hours is disastrous for both the neck and the spine. The fact that I have become more physically active in the last year has helped me with my work productivity, because as soon as nothing hurts physically, you feel mentally fulfilled by spending your time in more productive ways such as training, staying out, running, any kind of activity, hiking, etc. All sports that can be done outside, as far away from the monitor as possible are ideal for us who are engaged in IT because we sit all day at computers and this is disastrous not only for the back and eyes but also for mental health in general because we stare at the screen all the time.
6. The other day you also mentioned to me that you meditate...
Meditation is great, first of all to calm you down a bit mentally if you have trouble sleeping and for us in the IT industry this is often the case because we stare at monitors that are mostly blue light, and blue light has been proven to create sleep difficulties. I’m not that much into meditating and I don't understand much about it but there is a series on Netflix that I watched called Headspace… The guy who leads these meditations was in Tibet with monks and he’s a really interesting guy, you follow his meditations on Netflix for 20 minutes and you're just fine, it calms you down and you sleep better ☺
7. Since when have you been a part of the tershouse community and why did you choose this coworking space?
Oh well, it's been almost a year and a half I've been here…. Coincidentally, Nermin and I were in the same co-working space, we sat next to each other in Hub and we were there for years and I think we both already knew what was right and what was not right with that coworking space and Nermin took advantage of that by creating a coworking space that is, objectively and subjectively, in my opinion, the best in the state. Objectively it is because of the awards, and subjectively in my humble opinion because I feel at home here. For me, coming here to work, hanging out with the team is like going to coffee, to the cafe I always go to, or staying home...So that's the best part of this office and aside from the benefits, we have from the internet to space, sun, the terrace, etc.
8. Advice for someone who wants to work in the IT industry...
Don’t hesitate, this isn’t such a big deal, but don’t get into this either because you think this is going to be easy or quick money for you or whatever. Our people sometimes have these prejudices when they think they can do something simply because they see someone else doing it, and then they say you needed only an hour for this coding …Yes, but I spent ten years of my life learning how to do it in an hour. People need to realize that it is a lifestyle choice if you want to do IT. It’s a lifestyle choice if you decide to be great at something, now it’s up to you whether you want to be great at something or if you just want to do something to get rid of it. You have to have some motivation and drive to do something with yourself and with your life, now if it's IT, to me it is ...
9. Life motto
Karma is a bitch but can also be a faithful lover.