Raincode blog

The People Behind #2: Nils Fagerburg, A Software Engineer Moving On

Posted by Charlotte Flemal on Jul 29, 2015 10:16:00 AM

 

How does a leaving employee perceive Raincode?

For the 2nd issue of the “People Behind” newsletter, Charlotte introduces you to Nils, who has decided to go back

 

to the United States with his wife-to-be. 

 

Nils

Hi Nils! In a few words, how would you introduce yourself?

My name is Nils Fagerburg, I’m 30. I was born on November 15th which is King’s Day in Belgium… But I don’t believe that that had any impact, really…  I would say that, first and foremost, it makes me a Scorpio.

 

So you think that your sense of humor comes from your astrological sign?

Ha! Ha! Definitely.

 

Were you born in Belgium?

No, I was born in the USA, in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin.

 

So when did you arrive in Belgium?

In 91, I think… I was about 7.

 

Back then, did you already speak French?

Yes, my mother is Belgian. Even though I went to school in English, I used to speak French at home with her. I went to school here, in Verviers, in French. When I was 18, I went to Brussels, to study. I started Business School, at Solvay and did an Erasmus in Denmark. When I started the last year of the Master, I realized I did not like studying business that much. I thus started to study Computer Science.

 

So you have two degrees… and did you succeeded in both of your Masters?

Yes, I did.

 

In Computer sciences, what was your major?

I studied artificial intelligence. I did my thesis on the use of heuristics to solve np-complete puzzles.

 

tamagochi

 

Puzzles? Is that your passion? Since when?

Since… always, I guess. That’s how I got into programming. When I was little, I used to play with QBasic, on Windows 3.11.

 

Really? You used to play with a programing language?

Yes.Though I was not very good at the time… I wasn’t aware of the existence of things like arrays…

 

And what was the first game you ever made?

It was a maze. Well, more or less. You were chased by a monster. I think I was about 12. Afterwards, I did a little Visual Basic. I did more and more programming in various languages, making games and websites. That’s when I took a bad decision.

 

Which was?

When I graduated from high school, I had to decide what I would study. I chose business, because I really liked programming.

 

I don’t see your point…

I wanted to keep computers as a hobby not a job… I guess that didn’t work out for me!

 

Yes indeed! When have you started to work for Raincode?

I’ve been here since September 2013, a few months after my graduation.

 

What have been your main projects here?

I started by introducing bugs in the COBOL compiler. Then, I worked on the Visual Studio plug-in. I also did some consulting for a client, which led to a contract to make over their compiler! I also worked on integrating our sorting solution with our compilers…

 

Ok. So, the big hot news is you leaving Raincode in July, to go back to the States, as we jointly agreed that teleworking from New Hampshire would be impractical. What are your projects there? And what’s your dream job?

Mmh… my first project will probably be to get my driver license. And find a job in software! The dream job would be to create and sell games, and live from that…

 

You know, if there’s one thing we’ll remember of you, it’s probably your sense of humor and your practical jokes… Which was your favorite one?

I guess it might be the time I briefly replaced our sister company’s internal website with a little train’s race, with employees’ faces on the train. It was a good one.

 

trainsrace

 

How will you look back on your Raincode’s years?

I’ll remember an amazing environment, very fun and playful. I sure had my share of laughs…

 

If you had to describe the atmosphere in here to a friend, what would you tell?

I would say that it’s quite relaxed; you laugh a lot, as I said. We’re surrounded by many extremely competent people, yet they don’t take themselves too seriously. It really is a great environment. But sometimes, we must plead guilty to a rather childish sense of humor. And we love to eat, a lot… which is good, as I enjoy that too.

 

What did you learn here that you wouldn’t have learned elsewhere?

The YAFL programming language, most probably… ha ha. I sure did learn a bunch of technical stuff. For example, how to write a Visual Studio plug-in. Overall, working here gave me a quite complete view of how a real world compiler works…

 

Okay, thank you, Nils, we wish you the best of luck in the United States!

Topics: Insider, fun, newsletter