Daisuke Horie, or known on Twitter as @dice is currently the VP of Engineering for Peatix, a community and event management platform. On his journey through the technology industry landscape, he has worked through numurous big names companies like Amazon, Yahoo, Six Apart, Cookpad and Github. Dice was kind enough to answer our questions by email on what he thinks about programmers, programming and the industry in general.
How did you get into programming and software development? Do you remember when was that?
I started programming in elementary school, when we learned BASIC in some course. I didn't get far though and only remember the basic syntax. A few decades passed and I worked as a product manager in a few internet companies and learned about the technologies behind the internet. I finally learned how to program when I was building a start up with a friend in 2012.
And how did you get your first job in the area? Was it through the recommendation of friends and coworkers, or through more traditional means like job ads?
My first job was in marketing at a telecom company in Tokyo, I then worked as a project manager in localization for a few years. My first job where I was really diving into technology was as a program manager at Amazon. I got the job by applying for a job posting.
Do you think the first job is important for shaping up the career path of a software developer? How long did you stay in that job?
I think that working at a job that gives you the opportunities to grow your skills and learn from experience is important. That could be a company with a solid training program, or a company where you get a lot of hands on experience.
I changed jobs a lot, up until my last couple of jobs, the average time I was at a job was a year. Earlier in my career, I got to work at different companies where I got experience in different ares of the Internet. At Amazon I learned about e-commerce, at Yahoo! JAPAN I worked in search and at Six Apart I learned about consumer generated media and social media.
What do you think about software development career in Japan? Do you think that market is different from other countries?
I only know the markets in Japan and the United States. The numbers are pretty clear that salaries for software developers are lower in Japan than in the United States, but wages in Japan are just lower across the board and probably need to be raised.
Do you think it's still regarded as a lower job compared to other traditional professions? We always read comments about devs being treated badly - lower salaries, long working hours, etc.
I'd say that there are a significant number of software developers that work for lower salaries and for long hours, but there are also software developers that get compensated well. But, it's not just a problem with software developers like wages being low across the board, Japan needs to get better at helping their workforce work and live healthier.
What do you think developers should do to make the profession more highly regarded?
Software developers should be willing to turn down jobs that pay little and also be willing to improve their own skills and move onto positions at other companies that pay more.
What's the appeal for you to keep working in this industry?
The technology industry by definition means that there is constant innovation and new things to learn. I enjoy working in an industry where I'm pushed to learn more.
If you could give an advice to yourself back when you were just starting, what advice would that be?
The advice would be to learn how to write code earlier. I had tried a number of times, but I would have done whatever it would have taken to learn how to code.
What's the kind of developer that you would most likely wish to work with?
I like working with colleagues that are thoughtful, caring and empathetic. I've come to understand that personality is often undervalued, but is actually one of the most important qualities in a colleague.
Incidents occur, servers go down, things break, and developers/engineers will find a solution to the problems that occur. What matters if whether or not you'll want to work with that developer again when a bad situation comes up.
Are you currently working in any kind of open source project unrelated to your job? If so, can you tell us about it and why did you start working on it?
Not right now.
Do you think kids should learn how to code?
I think that if kids are successfully taught how to code it'll be an important skill that can be helpful to them. I'm interested to learn how Japan plans to teach all school children how to code.
Can you tell us the name of another developer whose work you admire and would like to see an interview here?
Not anyone off the top of my head right now.