Davy Engone, Head of Engineering at Hackages will be the first speaker of the evening and below explains in more detail about Hackages, their goals and visions for open source programmers future careers!
1. When did you set up Hackages and why?
I set up Hackages in October 2016 because of my experience as a consultant in Belgium and different European countries I felt the need in the industry for well-trained, highly skilled software developers. Many of my fellow software engineers just didn't have the time to keep themselves up-to-date with the fast-changing technologies. It was my mission to provide a solution to those problems, with Hackages.
2. What does your business at Hackages comprise of and its main goal/ethos?
Hackages in just one year has grown from 3 to 11 full-time employees, providing high quality, intensive training and coaching in the newest technologies for software developers around Europe. It's our mission to empower software developers by growing new tech skills and by reinforcing existing ones. That's also where our baseline comes from: "Where hack means education": we want to be known for inspiring education for 'hackers'(another word for software developers in the tech jargon), and all of this with great passion, not only from me but from each individual in my dynamic team.
Another important part of Hackages is the community and open source. We're a community-driven company and that's why we love to organise free community evening events called HackJams, in several cities across Europe: Brussels (of course), Amsterdam, Paris, Dublin, Berlin, Lisbon. Those evenings are vital for us to stay in touch with the community and share our knowledge in a fun way. Yes, pizza and beer are involved most of the time, however, our software engineers also spend time contributing to open source software mainly on GitHub.
3. Although based in Belgium, you have presence all over Europe, what have you learnt by immersing the business in differing countries?
Yes, we're based in Brussels but in the meanwhile, we feel very much at home in tech cities such as Amsterdam, Paris, Dublin, and recently Berlin and Lisbon as well. We have learnt that the tech community is very much alive in all those cities and countries and that there are tons of very motivated software developers all over Europe who are finding new ways of keeping up-to-date with tech, other than just reading online articles or watching videos. Our HackJams connect us to awesome people who are keen on sharing their knowledge and skills with the rest of the community.
I was amazed to see that every time we are welcomed with open arms by people who always want to stay current, they want to spend their free time learning the newest tools and tips & tricks, despite all the online courses available these days they prefer spending time coding with fellow developers and our expert mentors who can guide them. That's just fantastic! In every city, there are generally 30 to 40 developers that join us on those HackJam workshop evenings and these are even individuals who want to code still after a hard day of work, we can only encourage that.
On another note, what we also noticed everywhere we go that companies all over Europe are in great need of highly educated, skilled, software developers. Companies are happy to get their teams of developers trained with us or to host our community events because it's a great way for them to show that they are investing in their people. They want to show their in-house developer teams that they care about tech and want to add value to their human capital; that's how they attract talent. They contact us to get their employees up to speed with new tech and make it stay that way. Or they contact us because recruiters see our events or training as a good opportunity to meet new motivated software developers and show them: 'Hey, our company is nice to work at!'
4. What do you see happening for professionals working in open source programming over the next decade?
That's a hard one to answer. The industry and the community are in love with open source software. Both are contributing to it and more companies will set some more free time to allow their developers to contribute back to this ecosystem. Therefore, this network will keep improving, become a better source for innovation in many areas including; AI, data science, web technologies and mobile technologies.
5. In a sentence, what can you let us in on about your presentation at the next Eurostaff Connect Brussels MeetUp?