Diego Seghezzo is a web developer from Argentina who's been with X-Team for almost four years. He's passionate about technology, building websites, and photography. And he knows a thing or two about building a house... Read on to find out more.

Why did you choose to become a web developer? When did it start, and what was the motivation? Is there a story behind that decision?

From early on, I would say from when I was 6 years old already, I was fascinated by technology. I used to disassemble toys just to see how they work inside. My dad is not one of those Fix-It-All-types, so for anything that broke, he’d call someone to fix it (even to change a power socket). My curiosity plus that empty position at home as “the guy that fixes things” made me learn different technical things like electricity, plumbing, woodwork... At 10 I was able to fix most electrical issues at home.

After a few years, in primary school, I discovered computers. In the eighties, computers were very expensive in Argentina, so the only way a child could get his hands on one was through education. I went to a very good public school that had computing as part of its curriculum. At the time, I had the chance to play with D.O.S., logo writer, and later Windows 3.11. I discovered that I wanted to work with computers.

After secondary school, I went to university to study systems engineering, though I wasn't sure what I would learn there. After some time, I realized that this career was more about preparing people to be a Project Manager (PMBOK, factibility studies, resources measurement, etc...), but that wasn’t exactly what I wanted to do at that point. Then, in the 2nd year, I had a class about web development. That was my first time using ASP 3 and PHP 3. I found it really fun and future-proof.

At that moment, desktop apps were mainstream, but I saw that web development was more interesting. So I started building websites for myself and my friends, just for the sake of learning and trying new stuff. I’m still on that path, still a beta web developer.

Wow, that’s quite a journey. Over the course of all these years of learning and practicing knowledge, was there any particular project that gave you the most experience and/or satisfaction? Something that you are still proud of today?

I can name two projects. My first project in Drupal, back in 2008: it was a Drupal 5 multi-site solution for John Deere Latin America truck dealers. It was built to manage 50+ different sites. It was a startup, so we were two devs in charge of all of it (forget about release managers, AWS, and all those nice things). It was a great starting point for learning Drupal.

The other project is the fox.com Drupal site. It used to be a very well-organized project where I’ve had the pleasure to share lines with Kasper, Myram, and Yulia Tsyba, just to name a couple of the best professionals I’ve ever met. The synergy between our team and the client was great, and we had the chance to advise and propose alternatives to make the website even better during that time. It was a challenge in terms of scalability and in terms of continuous changes, but I am very proud to have been part of it.

I would like to ask about another project of yours — the house you've built! Were you able to speed up the work thanks to being a remote developer? How has being remote changed your life?

I would like to say that I can’t imagine building a house without being a remote developer. It takes time, and you're often most needed when the builders are working, in the morning. Even talking with builders... it’s very complicated for them to plan what items they will need for the workday. So, a common day when you have a house project it’s like:

  • 10 AM - Builder: "Hi Diego, we will need 1,000 bricks for this afternoon to continue our work."
  • 10:01 AM - Diego: "1,000 bricks! Why didn’t you tell me that 2 days ago? You know it takes 48h to get those bricks..."
  • 10:01 AM: Builder: nods a few times
  • 10:02 AM (after one minute of internal rage) - Diego: "Ok, don’t worry, I will get those bricks."

For someone working in a cubicle from 9 to 5, this is an impossible endeavor. The only way to move forward is by having a flexible schedule, and this is where working remotely makes a huge difference.

And there are some other fun things that happen:

  • Several meetings with the architect.
  • Finding a good plumber, glazier, etc…
  • Going to the construction site to check that everything is moving the plan, just to realize that several things need to be redone.
  • More meetings with the architect about the issues with the construction that he didn’t notice, despite him being the guy in charge of the coordination and organization of the project.
  • Taking your family to the construction site just to imagine how will it be when it’s finished. Drink mate (a South American drink with caffeine) there and take some pics while imaging the joy of living there.

Amidst all that mess, I had the chance to organize my development work. Even if I was coding, I could stop to assist with the house construction and then continue with my daily work later.

Definitely sounds like it. What would you say was the biggest accomplishment when it comes to your personal growth in 2018? Do you have any particular goals for 2019?

2018 has been a busy year in terms of personal things. My younger son is in his first year, which isn't an easy age. I would say that learning how to organize between house chores while having two kids and a full-time job was a great accomplishment.

Also, I have been working on PHP and Drupal for 10 years. So I decided it was a good time to start seriously learning new technologies. Now I'm on my way to become a JS full-stack developer. My goal for 2019 is to be prepared to take on projects with JS as the main language, using node and React as main frameworks. Still learning, but that's my main goal for this year. Let's see how it goes 😄.

Speaking at UnleashConf (before I started growing my hair)

Is there someone who has been a great inspiration to you? If so — how?

Well, there are many great people I can point out. In my close circle, I can mention my dad. I grew up watching him reinvent himself, leaving his comfort zone within a company and pursuing his own endeavors, trying different alternatives, falling and getting up several times.

In my professional world, I would like to name Yulia Tsyba, an impressive developer, who is always growing in terms of tools and looking for new challenges, and Kamil Ronewicz, who has been learning a new set of tools recently, as teammates I regard as an example to follow.

What are your other passions, apart from programming and building houses? 😄

I love engaging people emotionally, and I’ve found that I can do that doing photography. I have always been into photography. I can remember having an awful Kodak micro 110 film when I was 6. I began to take it seriously in 2012, when I bought my first DSLR camera, a Nikon D7000. I took some courses, and I have been taking pictures since then.

Professionally, I’m doing newborn and belly photography, and also some product photography. I’m also just getting into real estate and erotic photography. I feel about photography like I feel about programming — I’ve been doing run-of-the-mill photography for the past 5 years — it’s time to try something new. Click here if you wanna take a look at my Flickr profile for some more pictures.

I also have a drum kit in my studio, which I play a couple of times per year. But my oldest son is using it way more than I am.

Awesome! Has the Unleash+ budget helped you in any of that?

The Unleash+ budget is there to help us grow, on any possible aspect. Lately, I've been using it to go to different conferences around the world, like Smashing Conference in 2016, or UnleashConf in 2017.

I use it to buy photography gear to help me keep growing in that beautiful hobby / job I have. Just a while ago, I bought a pair of Asics running shoes to help me go out and take care of my legs. Yeah, X-Team wants that we take care of our skills, mind, and body 😄 . Now I need to find a good conference to go to in 2019, so I can use my 2019 Unleash+ budget wisely.

And have you been to an X-Outpost?

I haven't been in one X-Outpost yet but, in June we will have X-Outpost: Argentina and I will be the Guardian of it. So, my first time as X-Outposter and Guardian at once. It'll be a great opportunity to travel around my country and come face to face with many X-Teamers, who I currently only know through Slack.

That's so exciting. And, as a final question, what lasting impression do you want to leave on the world?

Help people anytime I can. It doesn’t matter who the other person is; just give my support. The world is not for the gifted ones; it belongs to those who don’t give up. If you want to achieve something, push yourself further, harder, and believe in the people that surround you and whom you love.

The world is for those who don't give up. That's a great line. Thank you, and best of luck with your future projects!