I am Walter Almeida and I intent here to drop a brief description of myself, for sole purpose of making my Blog more lively and personalized and for drawing the background of the posts I will be writing.
I am the creator and owner of UNIC International, and the co-creator and co-owner of Pulp Informatique, Microsoft Certified Partner companies. This Blog will be an open window on my thoughts, returns on experience on processes and technologies we use daily at UNIC and Pulp, but more on this in a next post where I will explain what I mean by "Business Oriented Software Solutions"!
Back to the beginning, here is briefly where I started: I have been in the IT business for more than 10 years now, am passionate with technologies, always have been. I have indeed always loved "creating things" in general, and the flow of life and the chain of decisions and events brought me to accomplish my goals and build my career in the software industry. And I am grateful for being in this business that IMHO happens to be a very challenging, exciting creativity sandbox, and this keeps me alert and happy to go working every day. After all we spend the most part of our lives working, so why not making it a great journey and enjoy the ride?
I started my career as a software consultant for 5 years, in France, Spain and the United Kingdom, working for several clients in the telecommunication, health, space and financial industries. I started as a developer, first in C language and rapidly moving to C++, language for which a dedicated several years of my working time and it was the language through which I was getting confident to modern object oriented programming techniques and patterns. I remember that I especially loved the C++ template aspect that was much more than the generics we find today in .NET and could be used as a powerful mechanism to perform advanced static (at compilation time as opposed to runtime) programming tasks. This is something I discovered through the amazing book of Andrei Alexandrescu: Modern C++ Design: Generic programming and Design Patterns applied.
I then moved from the Consultancy business to be a technical team leader in a leading medical imaging software company based in London. I was responsible for the delivery of Windows based rich applications for the company imaging software solutions. And this was a total new and enriching experience for me and I had to manage a team, handle inter-team collaboration by integrating the work done by the research team, and setup a highly iterative software development process to answer the very demanding company targets and fast changing business directions due to the unexpected nature of research results. It was the first full opportunity for me to build a proper, layered software architecture from scratch while making sure we would deliver time to market solutions in a highly dynamic and demanding environment.
I have mainly been working on Microsoft technologies until today and I will keep the same direction in the future. And I am not saying here that one technology is better than another and that Microsoft or any other technology is the best. However I believe than one individual/company should always decide on a set of technologies and tools to use and then train on them, use them and become expert and mastering them. The IT industry is a very fast evolving industry and a technical centric team always has to learn new concepts and new tools in order to keep competitive, so crossing this challenge with having to master the same tools but from different vendors is very tedious and inappropriate in a business oriented vision. It is important to remind that the objective is not to learn new technologies for the sake of it, but because new technologies can bring new productivity gains that can make you more efficient in delivering time to market and high quality solutions. To make a long story short, technology is only a mean to deliver solutions but not a goal, so make your final choice and then go for it! For what I am concerned I made my choice on Microsoft technologies and a set of third party and open source tools and frameworks on which I will discuss in a later post.
So having worked for years in C++ on Microsoft centric technologies, it was then clear to me that the logical next move would be towards the emerging Microsoft .NET technologies. I always felt in the past that Microsoft was being behind in terms of proper support in their technologies for clean modern object oriented developments. I must say I was quite into their component oriented COM technology but for the rest they lacked of all what for instance Java was providing to the developer community. This was about to change with Microsoft.NET and I therefore left my London based company, came back to Paris for a full year of intensive training on Microsoft.NET technologies, C#, Windows, Web and distributed solution development. It took me a year to get my MCSD.NET certification. I based my training on the development of a concrete multi-tiered application which was an online web application for collaboration and picture Sharing along with a rich client for the administration of communities. I utterly enjoyed developing this solution and learning .NET.
I then decided upon leading my own business and created UNIC International in 2003, followed by Pulp Informatique in 2006. I keep getting more and more expertise, knowledge and experience using Microsoft Technologies and I am investing now on the SharePoint 2007 collaboration platform, business intelligence, workflows, SOA and am actually developing a large solution following the Software As a Service strategy, but will not reveal more on this at this stage!
In order to not give of myself a complete geek vision, let's talk quickly about what I do when I am not
thinking or writing or working on technology and business matters! Everyone has its philosophy of life and his own path to happiness, some people place work fulfillment at the top of their life, others make their private and family life the top priority and their job is only a mean to pay for the bills. And each philosophy is equally respectable when happiness is the sole consequence of a deliberate choice, there is no judgment to be made. I am part of those who need both professional and personal realization and give them an equal importance, I would be very sad and frustrated if I would lack one or the other. So I have a great girlfriend, wonderful family and friends and exciting hobbies which provide me with a very good and enjoyable balance in my life. I love to travel and especially when I am able to communicate in the welcoming country language, it indeed makes the whole travelling experience even more interesting and deep! I can speak French (natively), English, Spanish and am currently learning Portuguese, so it makes the choice of travelling destinations very interesting! I love practicing sports which I believe is part of a healthy and balanced life: I run, ride my bike, do fun stuff like body boarding, windsurfing and plan on trying kite surfing. I dive and underwater world is the most amazing thing I have seen so far in my life. And recently starting powered paragliding which is an amazing toy for flying and enjoying nature from the skies! Give you some pictures through this post And as a bottom line, I am interested in all practices that can lead to better knowledge of oneself and search for inner peace and joy in life, part of this is Yoga, relaxation and meditation, and deep thinking phases. I indeed think that it is essential to try to reunite body and spirit and especially in our modern, fast pace and consumption/material driven European life.
I will next write about this blog and what I intent to share through these writings.