Author spotlight: Lars Klint –Windows Platform dev, Microsoft MVP & car guy
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What brought you to the land down under?
I have lived down under for 12 years and have loved every minute of it. I am a city boy having grown up in inner Copenhagen, then moved to Sydney and later Melbourne. However, in the last few years, I have moved more and more rural. I like the fact that I can choose when I am in the busyness of the city, and can then “retreat” home to the farm. Initially, I moved to Sydney to study, was then headhunted for a job, then another, and another. And now I call Victoria home.
What's the best thing about living in Australia?
The best thing about living in Australia is the opportunity to do whatever you want. And speaking of opportunities, I have pursued all that I can. I am an independent software architect, picking the projects that I want to work on. I am a Pluralsight author, have a tech podcast appropriately named The Dane & the Pain and I write a large number of articles for various publications. I own a bed & breakfast with my wife, compete in motor racing, restore classic cars, organize events (such as DDD Melbourne) and much more. If I hadn't moved down under, I'm not sure all of this would have happened.
You develop some of the best software applications in Australia. How did you get into the Australian market, and programming in general?
It wasn't until my early 20s that I got into programming for real and it was through experience rather than choice. I was developing software by doing the technical writing and testing, but realized I wanted to do the programming part in the middle.
I got into the Australian market because I was employed by some of the best custom software houses in the country. I learned an enormous amount by surrounding myself with the absolute best in my industry, therefore, my own skills grew exponentially as a result.
Why are you passionate about programming?
I like to view programming as a craft. I see myself in much the same category as “tradies” (Aussie slang for trades people). I shape, mold and manipulate the material (in this case bits and bytes) in much the same way a carpenter would. I enjoy the whole journey of seeing the software come to life and take shape. I am not a “code monkey” that punches out one program after another like a factory, but rather put my soul into each project. It makes the losses harder, but the wins sooooo much better.
Share some of your most memorable career moments/highlights and why they were so special.
Firstly, becoming a Pluralsight author. Authoring courses (more to come very soon) has opened so many doors and introduced me to the most amazing people. I appreciate that I am part of a very small, exclusive group of high achievers and industry leaders. I would not rate any career element higher.
Secondly, I do a great deal for the local developer community, such as run a meetup, organize hack days and co-organize the very successful DDD Melbourne conference. I speak at local user groups and generally love getting involved and talking to other devs. All of this resulted in me being awarded the Microsoft MVP for Windows Platform Development. It is one of those things that takes years of consistent involvement in the community and you can't aim to be an MVP. It is awarded for being passionate.
Thirdly, I have to mention the Nokia Future Capture Hackathon. It was an event where 10 developers from around the world were invited to Sweden to build cutting-edge prototypes for the groundbreaking Nokia Lumia 1020 and its 41MP camera. This event kick started my belief to see myself as a community leader rather than a follower.
You co-founded the DDD Melbourne community event. What's so special about this event and why did you get started with it?
I got started with DDD because it was unlike anything I had seen. With DDD, we want to give those eager beavers an opportunity to speak in front of more than just the 15 people at their local user group. My great friend Alex Mackey (and fellow Pluralsight author) brought the concept with him from the UK, and I was onboard from the beginning. We have grown each year, and expect 350 people to attend this year.
Why are you a Microsoft guy?
I am a Microsoft fanboy and I am proud of it. I use other platforms as well, and I really appreciate a lot of the aspects of competition. However, to me Microsoft is the most progressive and innovative company on the planet. The work they do for developers is especially amazing and Visual Studio is without question the best IDE around (ask any developer that knows what they are talking about). I could ramble on this topic for a long time, but let me summarize:
- Windows Continuum
- Universal App Platform
- Surface Pro 3
- Visual Studio
- Microsoft Azure
- Windows 10
- Microsoft Band
- And all the stuff coming out of MS Research
How did you become a Pluralsight author?
I used to watch quite a few courses to skill up and one day it occurred to me that I could do this too. I found an old blog post with an email address to become an author, wrote an email (that I mulled over for days) and got into the audition process that way. The rest is history (and bloody hard work!).
What is your favorite Pluralsight course (that you've authored) and why?
The latest course I did with Troy is awesome! It is a Play by Play where Troy teaches me about web security and I (pretend to be) the “green” dev. The style is natural, the content is super useful and the production is top class. I am immensely proud of it.
What advice would you give those who are trying to get started as developers or who want to advance?
Software craftsmanship is not something you can force. If you don't have passion and eagerness to learn and constantly improve, you will never be great. After all, you can't be a great cook if you don't appreciate great food. You need to find that one thing that you want to create or build, which then becomes the catalyst for learning software development. My Pluralsight course Building Your First Windows Phone App has a module purely on how to find the right project to create.
You love cars. Are there any similarities between programming and working on cars?
Debugging. The way to investigate and discover what isn't working is very similar in approach. You have to find out which bits do work and where a potential fault/bug could be. You need to be analytic, patient and precise. And if you don't have the right tools, the process is infinitely harder. Working on cars is very satisfying; I love getting my hands oily and learning about internal mechanics.
You're presenting at NDC (Norwegian Developers Conference) in Oslo. What can we expect from you? What should people know about NDC?
One of my goals for 2015 was to present at NDC, which is probably the most influential and high quality developer conference around. I am going to talk about Universal Apps and the Universal App Platform from Microsoft-possibly the biggest innovation in cross platform development ever. I am going to inject my usual humor and unexpected segments, coupled with some serious food for thought for any developer not on the MS stack.
Hear more from the “crazy Dane”: check out some of his Pluralsight blogs, visit the links below and keep tabs on his at thoughts at the upcoming NDC!