Hi Ferdinando, tell us about yourself!
I’m a computer scientist, it’s always been my passion. My training started by enduring classical secondary school, with a great passion for technology and the sciences that led me to study computer science at university. At the same time I opened a small software company to earn some money during university.
After graduation I started to collaborate with the same faculty in the field of research on programming languages and software engineering; then I started my job in the company: I was hired in Milan on an open contract, but for personal reasons I moved to Rome to join a consulting firm as project manager and functional analyst.
When rational software, whose founders had written useful books I’d studied for my thesis, arrived in Italy, I went into rational and started my career as a technical representative, first with issues and solutions in artificial engineering,then moving towards new technologies and towards mobile in order to end up working in the cloud area for the last three years. Today in IBM, I’m a technical representative for artificial intelligence. I have many passions: I’m still a mechanically minded person so I like motorcycles and I have two of them, I have two boats, I love nature and the sea, I’m an expert in photography and I’m a decent producer of quality extra virgin olive oil. Diversification is a tool for great enrichment: it’s the salvation of my life and it’s been useful in my daily work and with clients.
Would you change the area you work in? Do you like your job? Do you feel fulfilled doing your job?
I don’t know if I can call myself fulfilled but I’m enthusiastic about my job, I like it a lot, I wouldn’t change it, or perhaps if I got a better one, but without changing my scope. The part of this job that fits best with my personality is the opportunity to keep up to date, even if it takes a lot of effort. And it’s also the opportunity to transfer values that the company puts in products to customers, and to always be in a very advanced technological context with very stimulating people. All the context that pervades my work is enjoyable.
Let’s speak about the specific talk you gave to the IBM Cloud community. Why did you decide to give this talk? In your opinion, has it had and will it have good development? Would you recommend it? Do you encounter any defects?
A little preamble: on these occasions when I meet with such a large audience, I always hope to provide as much value as possible and to give a message to whoever’s there about what the most important trends and job opportunities are. Since IBM’s Cloud platform is the non-physical place where you find tools that allow everyone to follow these technologies, I mentioned a modern way of running software applications (Serverless Computing): a program that doesn’t consume resources except when called for by another program or another function. Conversely, the subject of API Economy is a subject related to the proliferation of opportunities for software and data that are exchanged on the Internet: it’s a solution developed by IBM, and in this way a company can share part of its software and its data, displaying the APIs and perhaps getting paid during the use of these APIs. The Secure Gateway is instead a networking solution that allows invocation or hooking of on-premises systems (company data behind firewalls) by software that runs in the Cloud. Of course the big company that has huge databases and systems on-premises, but that still needs to broadcast a web application or back end on the web and has to make some queries, needs this from this technology which isn’t anything innovative per se: it’s something necessary if you want to move towards an integrated application that runs on the web but needs to talk with an on-premise application.
Are you thinking of doing other talks on this same subject, perhaps exploring it further? As a developer, who would you recommend should read your slides to get a better idea?
I certainly consider the function part extremely modern, and I recommend to anyone programming and in the Cloud in particular, do some in-depth study on this area, that’s very easy, and which doesn’t present any kind of difficulty for those who program, but for the company represents an epoch-making change in total cost ownership in understanding how much a solution transferred to information technology costs, or to a transliterated business with only a small expense each time it’s called upon, which is not the case when we have machines that “run” with software always in operation.
In your opinion, is it very useful for a developer to follow the various meetings available (meetups and #AperiTech), or is your own computer enough, without having to keep up with other people through networking?
In my opinion, everyone decides their own destiny. Generally it’s easy to answer this question: it’s absolutely necessary and beneficial. I’d say that it’s almost pointless recommending it to the modern developer because their training comes from a perspective of integration and collaboration: there are so many groups where you can talk about anything. Just think of Linux itself, the most used operating system in the world, which originated from a shared project. Looking back over the last 20 years of the history of personal computer science, it’s certainly the attitude of interacting with other people, of getting infected with other technologies, that’s been its salvation! Computer science is no longer a single subject like it was 20 or 40 years ago: technology’s producing a huge amount of things to learn, which can’t be picked up just during study or through the usual channels. I’m in favour of this perspective of total communication and community integration.
What course of study would you recommend to those who now want to get into the world of programming, especially in connection with data science?
Nowadays school’s much more important than before in some ways, because the world’s much more complex. But it’s also true that a lot of the information that school offers is knowledge that’s available to anyone with a phone in their pocket. Clearly such a profound, philosophical and complex matter such as programming cannot only be tackled autonomously, but there’s the need for a background that university can provide: here the first networks of colleagues and enthusiasts are created, who’ll meet and who it’s essential to keep in touch with over time. I’d recommend programming students and enthusiasts very closely follow the talks and the annual global conferences that all hi-tech companies normally do, and which give you the gift of understanding what computer technology will be developed. Computer science absorbs a lot of work, but this work has a high degree of disruption. There’s no such thing as being able to do the same job for 10 or 20 years, so knowing which branch of information technology has more chances of profit and fruition is something that can’t be taught, but can be suggested by the everyday context.