Car-Free Spaces Bring Me Joy with Noonies Nominee Konstantin Sokolov by@konstantin-sokolov

Car-Free Spaces Bring Me Joy with Noonies Nominee Konstantin Sokolov

Konstantin Sokolov is the CTO of Cape of Good Code. He is nominated for a 2021 Noonies award for contribution to software analysis. He believes that software engineering can be smarter and cheaper if more data-based insights are incorporated into the decision-making processes. He also believes that automated software analysis is the most exciting technology of the present. The tool is called DETANGLE®, a tool for software quality analysis and technical debt detection. It counts technical debt based on the modularity of features rather than just modularity. For example, we have approaches to detect early indicators of burnout.
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Konstantin Sokolov

Co-founder & CTO of 15+ years in software development. 7+ years in software quality analysis.

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Hey Hackers! I’m Konstantin Sokolov and I’m the CTO of Cape of Good Code.

First of all, a huge thank you to the HackerNoon community and staff for nominating me for a 2021 Noonies award! I’ve been nominated in the following category, please do check out the award page and vote:

As someone in the software quality industry, I believe that the most exciting technology of the present is automated software analysis because

“software is eating the world”

as Marc Andreessen said in 2011 and in the meantime has eaten the world already. Learn more about my thoughts and opinions on software analysis and my journey in the tech industry via the interview below.

1. What do you do and why do you do it? (tell us your story)

I am the co-founder of Cape of Good Code. We have developed a novel tool for software quality analysis and technical debt detection. The tool is called DETANGLE®. We use it in software audits and software due diligence projects to provide all stakeholders with actionable knowledge about areas of the code base that need improvement.

I co-founded Cape of Good Code because I believe that software engineering can be much smarter and cheaper if more data-based insights are incorporated into the decision-making processes. So far, the domain has been too much about heated, subjective discussions and blaming each other.

I also spend a lot of time with my kids and try to be more like them. Because that in itself is a hell of a lot of joy. And by the way, far more important than software development.

2. Tell us more about the things you create / write / manage / build!

My children have often asked me to tell them stories. But I had difficulties in thinking of something again and again, so I just tried to retell something that I love and know myself well. So in the meantime, I have already written two child-friendly “Terminator” tales for them.

Professionally, I write about software engineering from time to time. Most of my time, however, is spent on managing our analysis-engine development team, on code reviews, and also writing code (although less and less). We are in the process of transforming DETANGLE® from a pure expert tool into a SaaS solution and making it available to a wide range of users.

The USP of DETANGLE® is that it analyzes relationships between features & code and among features over the whole lifetime of the project and counts technical debt based on the modularity of features rather than just modularity of code. Analyzing relationships between features, rather than just between programming language artifacts, allows for more purposeful insights about the maintainability/extensibility of a system.

Another major point about DETANGLE® is that it aims to support software stakeholders in performing a holistic root-cause analysis down from its own DETANGLE®-specific KPIs to architecture metrics AND code, test, and documentation quality metrics being integrated from other state-of-the-art tools.

Last but not least, a further large field that we cover through our analyses are people in software development projects. For example, we have approaches to detect early indicators of burnout.

Which, unfortunately, is becoming more and more of a problem. We also recently wrote about this on Hackernoon: Why Burnout Syndrome Is More Common Among Software Developers

3. How did you end up on your current career path? Do you like it?

When I was 6 or 7 years old, I saw a computer at my cousin’s house for the first time. He also played on it from time to time, but I was always interested in the part where you write something down and then something happens automatically. I also thought the word "Basic" was cool (I mean the programming language). That way my path was predetermined pretty early by my childhood impressions, so I didn't have to make any great conscious decisions about it until today. It was always clear to me that I wanted to become a programmer, so it went and went and went…

After graduating in Computer Engineering at the RWTH Aaachen University in 2011 I became self-employed as a software developer. In 2013 I met Egon at Siemens Corporate Technology in Munich, where he was working on novel history-based approaches for automated software quality analysis. After leaving Siemens, we founded Cape of Good Code in 2018. For me personally, it was not a big decision. It was the most natural thing to continue with what I saw a lot of potential in. We picked the most promising ideas, combined them with many innovative features, and implemented a totally new and unique analysis tool from scratch.

In the beginning, Cape of Good Code was supported by the Bavarian funding program for “Technology oriented startups” (BayTOU). In the meantime, we are proud to have again received a 6-digit grant from the funding program for the implementation of an automated refactoring recommendation system. I think it's quite a big honor for our work.

Do I like it? Well, of course, otherwise I wouldn't be doing it. Nobody forces me. I've never been permanently employed and that's why I'm not afraid of losing my job, I guess. Do I always enjoy every single second of it? Of course not. I don't know of any activity where that could be true. When you found a startup, you always have to operate on the edge of the available resources. And one piece of joyful news has to be bought with possibly ten disappointments. But it's actually a good thing because then you really enjoy it.

4. What tech are you most excited or passionate about right now and why?

Well, by now it should come as no surprise that I am interested in all sorts of things in the field of automated software analysis. In particular, I'm curious to see what the coding of the future will look like, where algorithms can not only detect weaknesses but also make more complicated suggestions for improvement on their own. Does it amount to self-programming machines? I don't know. Are we on the way back to “Terminator” again :)?

In addition, I have been interested in the functioning of our brain for a year now and have read a lot about it. That's how I came across the cognitive biases. I realized that these also put a lot of obstacles in the way of software development and lead to the fact that we often reject objective data-based facts. This is how the article with the ironic title "I Already Know Where the Problems Are in My Code" came about, for which I was nominated.

Beyond that, I find anything to do with "smart mobility" exciting. I'm not a big fan of personal cars in the city (once the kids are older, I hope to get rid of our car too). In my case, it has nothing to do with climate. Car-free spaces bring me joy, that's it. I guess that's why I like going to the mountains and the forest. But I still don't want to move away from the city. The idea that you need to own a thing that weighs a ton and takes up 15 m² of space to get a 70 kg heavy body from A to B sounds a bit absurd to me. And cities are clogged with these. We've gotten used to it, but it won't stay that way. Looking forward to seeing what it will be like with more intelligent car-sharing, public transportation, bicycles, scooters, and other smaller vehicles.

5. What tech are you most worried about right now and why?

If I'm honest, I generally don't worry much. Don't get me wrong - it's not as if it is a personal merit of mine. We can hardly consciously influence whether we are afraid of something or not. But this is a quality of mine that I like. Worry, anxiety, and panic are rarely useful and the phenomena one worries about usually do not happen anyway.

But don't confuse that with indifference. There are trends that are already a reality, which I consider to be quite dangerous. By this, I mean all the technologies that are leading us to replace real interpersonal interactions with digital ones. Whether it's called "digital dementia" or smartphone addiction doesn't matter. But I am sure that this kind of substitution of real-life with digital life makes us unhappy, although it seems to provide opportunities and satisfaction at the first glance. But that's true for many addictions.

6. If we gave you 10 million dollars to invest in something today, what would you invest in and why?

Counter question: What would you like to get back for the 10 million dollars? If it's a gift, I'd be skeptical. We know that lottery winners rarely become happy.

But I don't want to be a spoilsport and go along with the thought experiment: I would invest in different things. Part of it, of course, in Cape of Good Code. One part in the startups of friends. One part I would give away to family and friends. And a part I would donate.

7. What are you currently learning?

  • Mountaineering (of course learning by doing :))
  • To keep my weight permanently (works very well for one year)
  • How to make fire with a tin can
  • And, of course, constantly something in the professional environment. It is not possible to work in IT without constantly learning. A couple of examples from the last month:
    • new design patterns for testability
    • insightful facts about code review smells
    • strategies for brain-friendly training (quite sure, it will improve our software quality training)

8. What’s the best advice you’ve ever given someone?

Well, I would be quite an asshole if I didn't pass on the best advice I got myself ;). So see below.

9. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are”.

--Theodore Roosevelt

About HackerNoon’s 2021 Noonie Awards

The annual Noonie Awards celebrate the best and brightest of the tech industry, bringing together all who are making the Internet and the world of tech what it is today. Please be sure to check out our award categories, nominate, and vote for the people and companies who you think are making the biggest impact on the tech industry today.

The 2021 Noonies are sponsored by: bybit, Dottech Domains, and Avast. Thank you so much to these sponsors who are helping us celebrate the accomplishments of all our nominees.

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