A new motorcyclist who writes code at work and novels at home
“I knew I wanted to be a programmer from the moment I first worked with a computer,” Samuel Ghinet recalls. His big plan hasn’t really changed along the way, and nowadays he is a programmer at The Qt Company in Oulu.
Samuel is originally from Petrosani, a small town surrounded by mountains in Romania. Around ten years ago, he swapped the mountains for plains after moving to Timisoara, which is flatter and has a slightly bigger population than Oulu, for work.
“My first job was as a C++ developer on a project that was meant to run cross-platform using the Qt framework. The project involved some server-side programming, but it mostly included desktop app development. That’s where I first heard about Qt. I have also worked with the Windows kernel and with networking, designed tools that developers use to build software, and worked at a company that focused on hyperconverged solutions,” he recalls.
Samuel holds a BA in information technology. He mostly worked in small companies before moving to Oulu for his current job at a company with more than 450 employees.
But why did he choose Oulu as his new home?
“Actually Qt made the decision for me when they offered me a job in Oulu. But I personally would have chosen Finland, too. I like that Oulu is so far north that it feels like it’s somewhat detached from the rest of the world. But not too much! I also like the local nature, with rivers, lakes, and the sea,” explains Samuel.
Coding – magic, art, or something else?
“When I was younger, I thought coding was like magic – doing things that normal people didn’t think were even possible. It’s a bit like being Harry Potter: once you learn a spell, you can do anything!”
The experience of growing up and becoming an adult made him realize that though you still find joy in these things, the magical world you saw at first can be much more mundane – it’s still fun.
“Sometimes this job is like art – there is no absolute right or wrong way to write code. You have to find the right balance between good enough and excellent, otherwise if you’re a perfectionist, you’d never get anything done. You can also find people who really love their tools of the trade and are perhaps too loyal to them.”
Coding involves a lot of teamwork, even though the entertainment industry gives off the wrong impression sometimes, according to Samuel. For example, the Terminator film talks about a “guy” who was so skilled that he created Skynet all by himself.
“When I was younger I had no idea how impossible that would be. Nobody can create such a giant program alone, no matter how smart or skilled they are. In order to succeed, huge projects need lots of talented people, and talented people really get to shine in successful companies.”
Samuel most enjoys his flexible work schedule and appreciates that he doesn’t have to attend presentations or meetings dressed in a suit and tie. He also likes international collaboration and the variety of projects.
“I’m not at all the kind of person who would enjoy sitting in the basement coding something no-one else knows about. I like to work together with others!”
His favourite moments at work are the launches of new products that he has worked on.
“I’m always delighted, it feels like such an achievement. It’s great to think you’ve worked on something that has helped and benefitted others.”
Samuel says that the industry always needs good coders. The most important thing is to find a job that’s just right for you in a company that’s just right for you. Qt turned out to be that company for him.
Dancing, winter, and market trends
Although Samuel hasn’t lived in Oulu for very long, he is excited about the thought of four clearly different seasons.
“I hope I love the proper winter here! Actually, in my home town of Petrosani, the seasons and weather were quite similar to Oulu. When I lived in Timisoara, the summers were really hot and it was dry and dusty. At its coldest, winter was still a few degrees below zero. You could say that in Oulu I’ll get to enjoy the seasons of my childhood, which I missed in Timisoara.”
Samuel likes to take walks and admire nature almost daily. He also enjoys cycling, even though his bike has been on standby since spring. Since May, he has preferred a larger bike, with an engine.
“I got it as soon as I got my motorcycling licence in May. Even though I’m not a very experienced motorcyclist, I began to make friends with other motorcyclists and we’re going riding together next summer. I’d also like to try kayaking, and I’ve planned to start swimming at the swimming centre. I also want to go to dance lessons.”
In Oulu, he enjoys the peace and quiet, clean air, and laid-back people. Even though there’s plenty to do and lots of opportunities for hobbies, there’s no need to run around in a rush. Sometimes it’s nice to spend an evening at home with a good book, and sometimes it’s nice to spend time with new friends.
And speaking of books; Samuel doesn’t just love reading. He’s also working on a novel.
“The novel is the same kind of treasure to me as the ring was to Gollum in the Lord of the Rings stories: I don’t dare or want to let it out of my hands. I’m terrified that my novel will receive negative feedback, so I avoid finishing it, but on the other hand I will not be able to find peace in this life until it’s published”, Samuel admits. Next he wants to find a publisher that would help him to scale his current Mount Everest.
Whether or not it is partly to avoid writing, Samuel has recently become interested in the stock markets and has begun to follow market trends and charts daily. He likes to bury his nose in books about the stock market and has a burning desire to better understand the topic.
“Right now, this is a still a bit of a waste of time and money, but we all have our vices, don’t we?” he laughs.