Meet the HackerNoon Contributor Alejandro Duarte, Developer Advocate at MariaDB by@alejandroduarte

Meet the HackerNoon Contributor Alejandro Duarte, Developer Advocate at MariaDB

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Alejandro Duarte HackerNoon profile picture

Alejandro Duarte

Software Engineer · Published Author · Developer Advocate at MariaDB Corporation

Tell us a bit about yourself. For example, name, profession, and personal interests.

“Hello, World!” I’m Alejandro Duarte and work as a full-time Developer Advocate at MariaDB Corporation. A Developer Advocate is someone who likes to learn in the open and share their findings in form of talks, videos, articles, code, or even just Tweets. I’ve been in the Developer Relations (or DevRel) industry for about 7 years now, mostly sharing the good stuff that the real software developers create.

My background is in software development mainly with Java technologies. Oh! And I wrote these:

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Interesting! What was your latest Hackernoon Top story about?

So, at MariaDB I get to play with all kind of cool technologies since most applications need to connect to databases and MariaDB covers pretty much all kinds of workloads. Even though I’m a Java guy, I like to try other cool languages and was looking for an alternative to IntelliJ IDEA with not only good Java support but also the possibility to bring in tools for development with other programming languages like JavaScript, Python, and C++.

In the past I have worked with Eclipse and NetBeans as well, all good IDEs in my opinion. After seeing more and more people switching to Visual Studio Code (VS Code), I decided to give it a try. And wow! Yeah, it’s definitively Java-ready! After some weeks using it, I was positively surprised by its functionality, speed, and customizability. So I decided to document the extensions, configurations, and a couple of tips that I found useful. Then I shared this in a Hacker Noon article (How to Configure VS Code for Java in 2022) that includes plenty of screenshots, gifs, and videos, hoping to help those new to VS Code. I was very happy to see that the article was featured in the home page of Hacker Noon! Nothing more rewarding than knowing that what you created is useful to others.

Do you usually write on similar topics? If not, what do you usually write about?

Yeah, I think so. Pretty much anything related to software development with Java. Here on Hacker Noon I have a series of articles on JDBC for beginners, and JPA/Hibernate. I also like to record videos on these kind of topics, currently for the official MariaDB channel on YouTube. Here’s one on a closely related topic:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rJYUTxD-2-M

Great! What is your usual writing routine like (if you have one?)

I usually start by playing with some technology, framework, or tool and try to create something with it. For example, when I was exploring a topic on R2DBC for Reactive Programming, I coded a Wordle clone using Spring Boot, Svelte, and the MariaDB R2DBC driver (check it out on GitHub). From there, it’s easy to find topics to write about. From an introduction to R2DBC to how to connect to a MariaDB SkySQL database using R2DBC, the ideas just pop up immediately.

Being a writer in tech can be a challenge. It’s not often our main role, but an addition to another one. What is the biggest challenge you have when it comes to writing?

True. I think that getting over the course of knowledge bias is one important challenge. Especially if you have significant experience with the topic, it gets harder and harder to imagine what it is not to know something. On the other hand, mastering a topic obviously helps you to go deep and guide people.

Another challenge is that of breaking that “static friction” when you see a blank page and you want to start writing. This is particularly true in the case of chapters of a book, but applies to articles as well. However, once the cursor starts to move and a few titles, paragraphs, and snippets of code appear on the screen, you have the chance to get in the zone and make serious progress.

Also, sometimes is not the right moment to write. This is something I have learn from experience. Nowadays I recognize this more quickly and simply close my laptop, call it a day, and let the closeness of deadlines motivate me later. Not sure this is the best strategy, though.

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What is the next thing you hope to achieve in your career?

I’d like to continue to inspire software developers to try new technologies, techniques, tools, and frameworks. Now with MariaDB, I’m trying my best to create awareness on the cool technologies and products that are not as well-known as the MariaDB Community Server is. Things such as XPand, MaxScale, ColumnStore, and SkySQL.

In the future I’d love to build a DevRel team and help them share the amazing things that the software industry has to offer. I want to always “get my hands dirty” and continue to code and share knowledge. And why not? Maybe write a new book, this time about MariaDB!

Wow, that’s admirable. Now, something more casual: What is your guilty pleasure of choice?

Haha that’s a nice segue! I like keyboards. Both as in computer keyboards and musical instrument. Or anything with buttons really. I’m not even a fast typer or can play the piano, but keyboards are such cool pieces of hardware. I guess I like pushing buttons. So, sometimes I just keep repeatedly pressing the Ctrl, Option, and Cmd keys on my laptop as I think about the next phrase or line of code to type. It’s like a stress ball. I’m not sure it does good on preventing

Carpal Tunnel though, so I guess that could be a guilty pleasure. I try to have a healthy lifestyle otherwise.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cHGQxMkpCMM

Do you have a non-tech-related hobby? If yes, what is it?

I like photography, rock and metal music, the taste of stouts, and exercising. Sometimes I play the guitar. Currently, I spend a lot of time studying Finnish. And I’m sure I’ll continue to spend a whole lot of time on it–not the easiest language to learn!

What can the Hacker Noon community expect to read from you next?

Definitively topics on database access and persistence frameworks, as well as MariaDB features, technologies, and products.

Thanks for taking time to join our “Meet the writer” series. It was a pleasure. Do you have any closing words?

Thank you and thanks to the readers for being part of this community. I’m always happy to talk about tech stuff, so feel free to contact me, for example on Twitter or LinkedIn. Happy coding!

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