Codealike Interview: January Excellence Award Runner-Up

By Angelos Katrantzis

min read time
This week’s interview subject is Angel de Jesus Jimenez Escobar, who came in second place for our excellence award (based on score) in January! Angel is an experienced coder from Colombia who has been programming for around 11 years and has worked at several different companies, in multiple industries and has utilized many different technologies and programming languages. We spoke about his background and his years of experience.
Q: Can you tell me about your background?

A: I have worked in a bunch of different places, mostly on the back-end side of things. I know a lot about Python, GraphQL, and JavaScript. The last job I had was with Pinterest. And before that, I was with this company called Merqueo back home in Colombia. It's a bit like Amazon but for groceries, delivering stuff quickly from different cities. But, you know, not every city could get things so fast – we were special for doing it super quick, in 24 hours, or sometimes even three hours if it was close.

At Merqueo, I did a lot of work changing how we did things and worked with all sorts of tech stuff, like PHP, Python, Go, and a bunch of Amazon services like SNS, SQS, Lambda, DynamoDB, and RabbitMQ. I was there for like two years.

Then, before Merqueo, I was with this other place that did stuff with cryptocurrency – we sold trading products and digital things. I used PHP, Laravel, Python, and worked with Digital Ocean. That job was shorter, about six months, but I learned a lot.

I started messing around with coding about 11 years ago when I was in university. That's where I really got into it, using different kinds of coding languages like Java, C#, Python, and PHP. I worked for this one company in Barranquilla for about five years, doing a ton with PHP, JavaScript, and using jQuery a lot since it was big back then. I’ve done some front-end stuff too, like with Angular, but I really like working on the back-end more.

I also spent a lot of time in school. I got my degree from Universidad Tecnológica de Bolívar during the pandemic, in 2022. It took me a long time, like ten years, because I started with a technical degree, then worked a bit, and then went back to finish at the university. I had to spend two years just on my thesis. And though I was born in Cartagena, I've been living in Bogotá for about seven years now.

Q: What future initiatives or features are you most excited about within the Torc ecosystem?

A: I'm really excited about how Torc tells us about new jobs. They keep the website updated and send out emails when there are new job openings. I like that the people at Torc always let you know what's happening. They tell you if a job is already taken or if it’s still up for grabs. That’s not something you see everywhere. Usually, you apply and then hear nothing back, just left waiting.

With other places I've applied, sometimes I wait forever without any news, not knowing if the job's gone. But at Torc, they keep me updated about what’s going on with the jobs I applied for. It feels more open and clear. I think it would be great if more places worked like this. I hope Torc just keeps improving this system in the future more and more.

Q: Can you talk about a time when Torc’s tools and community help make a big difference for you professionally?

A: Yeah, a big thing for me was figuring out which jobs are needed right now and what tech skills they want. When looking for jobs and talking to people at Torc, I saw they really care about certain tech stuff, like PHP, Python, and AI things lately.

So, what I did was start learning about the tech they wanted, like NumPy and other computer things I hadn’t really used before. I did this because these skills were important for the jobs I was looking at. Learning the right skills for the job has been super important.

Also, I started using Codealike to see how I use my time when working on different things. It’s not just about counting hours; it’s more about seeing when I’m actually doing my best work and not just stuck in meetings or something. This helped me figure out that I’m not really coding non-stop all day because of other stuff I have to do.

Using Codealike, I found out I do better work later in the day, like after lunch till evening. So, I changed my schedule to do meetings in the morning and keep the later hours for the serious coding work. This change, based on what I learned from Codealike, helped me work better and focus on stuff I wasn’t doing great at before, like working in the morning.

And another thing, Codealike shows not just how I work but how everyone in the project is doing. This is good because it means everyone knows who’s doing what and how much. It’s been really good for working as a team and making sure everyone knows who did what.

Q: Why would you recommend Codealike to other developers?

A: I tell other coders to use Codealike because it really shows you what’s going on in a project. It tells you who is working on what and how long they spend on each thing. This helps us see how the team works together and how everyone helps out.

Like, if we’re both working on something using Codealike, I can see when you’re doing your work, and you can see when I’m doing mine. This is super helpful for planning when we can work together, especially when we're not in the same time zone.

But Codealike isn’t just for keeping track of time; it also helps us understand why maybe someone isn’t coding much. Maybe they’re stuck in a bunch of meetings, or they’re leading the team and have other stuff to do. Sometimes, I’m not writing code because I have to meet with clients or do interviews, so I only get to review code or work on backend things.

Codealike also shows when we do our best work and how we spend our coding time, on what files or tasks. Knowing this can help us plan better and work smarter.

Q: How has Codealike changed the way you manage your time and stay focused when you code?

A: Codealike really changed how I look at my time and keep focused, especially with its Chrome extension that shows where I spend time online. At first, I noticed I was using too much time on Facebook and Instagram, sometimes a whole hour on each. When I saw that, I knew I had to cut down to get more work done.

I was thinking, if Codealike could also check what I do on my phone or when I play games on my Xbox, it would be even better. It's like I want to see everything I do in one spot, not just the coding part. If it showed everything, like phone time or gaming, I could really see where all my time goes.

It would be great if there was one place, like that magic ring from “The Lord of the Rings,” that could show me everything I do – coding, surfing the web, or playing games. That way, I could really get a handle on my time. One tracking tool to rule them all!

And if Codealike could work with other stuff I use, like Xbox or Microsoft Word, I’d see how I split my day between different stuff, like playing, coding, or writing.

The main thing is it should do this all by itself, so I don’t miss anything or trick myself. What I want is a system that keeps track of all I do, on every device and app, and puts it in one place. This would give me a full view of how I use my time, which is super important for doing more and staying sharp.

Angel’s wide-ranging experience and versatility as a coder is impressive. He is a high performer who's work-rate and productivity has only been improved by his utilization of Codealike. I found him to be an interesting person to speak with, who has a fascinating story and a lot of things of value to say.


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