Thanks for joining us Roham, please introduce yourself to the readers?

My name is Roham. I am Iranian and I moved to the UK in 2002 where I started off doing my degree followed by a masters degree and then my journey into tech…

My whole family works in tech, so it’s always been a big part of my life. Both my father and sister work in Computer Programming and both have Computer Science degrees. My sister is a University Lecturer and my father is a CTO in tech.

Tell us about your degree…

My degree was in Computing and Information systems, which were relatively new at the time. It was mixed with Computer Science and Information Technology, so it brought a business nature to computing, which was good as I did my MBA in this.

Do you think this played a big part in where you are now as a leader? 

Yes, it helps me see the value of the work I’m doing and it helps connects how the work I do has a greater effect on the company. My degree was very detailed around computing with some modules which were dedicated to business and some connecting into AI. This has taught me a lot.

Let’s talk about your technical background?

So I have always been into computing. My father was always behind a computer and he was mad about it! When I was growing up he used his Industrial & Chemical Engineering degrees with Computing to be a developer, so it was a day to day thing for me to see. I learnt very early on how to work with Pascal and COBOL, very old languages!

I studied Java at university and then I got my first role as a Java Developer while I learnt .NET & other Microsoft technologies. These languages have similar syntax, especially Java & C#, so I learnt quickly even though there is a lot know, especially for the Front End. This helped me not to be afraid of learning other languages and ways to write things so I learnt ColdFusion, PHP & Scala, predominantly Back End.

I had a greater interest in Back End, however, I became a Full Stack Developer so I then had to understand the full project cycle and process. In general, I find Front End a bit easier than Back End and the challenges I came across are more exciting for me.

What differences do you face as a manager over being a developer? 

So for me, most importantly I want to be able to lead and have a team. A lot of the time you have great individuals and it creates gaps, but I like to identify this and blend it into a team. So each individual and team or company will be different, and identifying this will help individuals to think about a task as a team.

It will also help if you take on the role of being a mentor, you have a system for knowledge sharing and everyone could be a go-to person. It will also ensure the team isn’t affected by one person’s availability too much, so if someone is away or sick etc you can easily adapt without any problems.

How would you describe your leadership style? 

I would say I am a good listener and patient, but I believe that most of the decisions should be taken to the team, not one person in the team. I will take decisions to everyone and collect thoughts to involve people, I think this helps them respect everyone more as I involve their opinions. Obviously, on the occasion, I need to react quickly and make a decision so I will when needed.

What advice do you have for developers? 

I think people should work hard on time management, as this can be taken to any job, industry or place. I wish I started this earlier for myself as it makes a massive difference. Doing this works differently with different personalities, I am a paper person so I date my notebook and write it down, and then I prioritise my workload. I complete my day task-by-task, and I avoid multitasking so I don’t get distracted. I get a better sense of achievement then too.

How do you keep updated in the industry? 

I try to go to meet-ups a lot, it can be hard with timings but I do go. I also read lots and listen to podcasts, and I have lots of good friends in tech whom I keep in touch with. This is a good question because it’s hard to keep up to date as tech is constantly changing, I would say don’t worry about not knowing everything, as you’ll struggle too, but just be good at what you’re learning and have an interest in.

I enjoy listening to podcasts on my commute so I can have some quiet time. I like:

  • Chips with everything (guardian tech podcast)
  • Off the chain (blockchain podcast)
  • Tim Ferriss show
  • 99% Invisible
  • Ted radio hour

These keep me in the conversation and relativity updated.

How do you feel online schooling compares to degrees and how do you look at it from a management perspective? 

RJ: Personally, I have been involved in CV screening and recruiting process in different companies and I don’t think a degree is the most important thing. I would say experience and team/cultural fit is the main drive, so actually these online courses are great because if you don’t have a spare 3 years to dedicate to studying, you can take online courses which fits your lifestyle. I have met some great coders from this way of learning.

Do you have any predictions for the future? 

I am looking forward to:

  • Quantum Computing – This is very early, it will be interesting to see where it goes.
  • Blockchain – As a technology (not digital currency) how it can help other areas.
  • AI – Improvements on this, it’s always evolving but I want to see where it goes.

These 3 things are what I try and keep up with as I feel passionate about these, especially learning AI further and trying to involve it into my day to day work. Blockchain is on my list to try and get involved with next too.