Kevin Diltinero, Software Engineer and Blogger

My name is Kevin Diltinero and I’m a Software Engineer at Ericsson, where I work mainly with Cloud technologies and Automation. I’ve been involved with Data Science for a long time and really enjoy teaching and mentoring within Tech. I moved to Athlone because that’s where the job, company culture, and working environment I wanted just happened to be geographically located. Athlone definitely has the work-life balance down to a T. Low rents mean that you can live right beside work. The Software Campus itself has greenery all around it, which is great for restorative walking breaks. The town has all the megastores, but without a frenzy of young professionals to shimmy around or queue behind after work. The sheer efficiency and ruthless removal of any dead time from my day is something I’ll really miss if things ever change.

My decision to move into Computer Science back in 2013 came from an intuitive sense that, based on my own personality type and the way the world was going, I needed to move into Technology pronto. It’s worked out so far and I still absolutely love programming. The minute I get into it, the hours fly by, the self totally falls away — I swear, it’s like you enter a different world. Even just the tactile element of meditatively tapping away at the keyboard is great. There’s a very addictive flow state you sink into as you plumb the depths of your technical knowledge and experience and perform the mental judo that’s often required to tackle problems. I’ve always loved the process of concocting these little micro-experiments and algorithms to try out in the interpreter. It is frustrating when they don’t work but hugely satisfying when you tweak your solution and something green finally appears on the screen.

Outside of work, I’ve always been very drawn to the process of mastery. Homo magister, “human the master”, as Robert Green loves to say. I don’t know if I’m all that unique in this respect, but I’ve always had a very childlike (arguably unrealistic) fascination with what the furthest reaches of possibility could be, whether it’s physically, cognitively, spiritually or creatively, provided someone was prepared to put in the practice and take the right approach to things. Whether it’s hearing fingerstyle guitar for the first time or seeing someone doing handstand push-ups, or when I first came across the Buddha’s claims about the plasticity of the mind and the potential for training it, my reaction is always the same. I become totally transfixed and immediately start plotting out how I can try to replicate it, usually at the exclusion of all else.

How this relates to blogging is that, as I repeatedly threw myself into these projects again and again with optimism and dogged determination, I quickly learned that enthusiasm is fine but there was far more required if I was to actually make any progress. Derrek Johnson’s quote, “It’s about outsmarting your opponent, not out-working them”, rang very true for me in those early years. It became apparent that it’s really more about the intelligence, self-critique, expert guidance, intellectual honesty and rigorous analysis you bring to the table that will be the determining factor to a project’s success or failure. Napoleon Bonaparte is a staple of war history not because he was the best at giving RA RA speeches but because he was the greatest strategist and human data cruncher history has ever seen. When I recognized this was the real game in town, writing quickly became a great tool.

Overall though, blogging is just a natural extension of having spent the last decade reading an inordinate amount of nonfiction books, and if I’m being honest, my deep love of books stems from pretty much a perfect cliché of failing to impress X group of ostensibly cool people and/or members of the opposite sex in my youth. More than once, I’ve been caught red-handed with unflattering titles such as “Stop being Mr. Nice” or “Becoming popular for dummies”. When classics like these are found on your bookshelf, it’s pretty hard to deflect people’s ill-concealed laughter when the books are all conspicuously earmarked and highlighted by yours truly. Although from relatively cringeworthy origins, attempting to absorb and actively engage with great books by writing about them and trying to apply them is still my greatest joy in life, even though happily the subject matter has evolved a bit beyond teenage angst.

My long-standing favourite writer and blogger has got to be Robert Greene. I really respect how he never shies away from taboo topics, how committed he is to giving the unvarnished truth as he sees it, and how he’ll always make sure that his views, although controversial sometimes, are rooted in a huge amount of research.

In terms of where the blog is going, I’m completely with Austin Kleon on this. We’ve been pretty heavily conditioned by our culture to feel that it’s not enough to just have hobbies anymore and that we should try to flip them all into online businesses, side hustles, or YouTube channels as quickly as we can. This obviously misses the point, which is the intrinsic value of doing something just for its own sake, because it’s a bit of crack. My Mom has enjoyed a lifetime of pretty impressive knitting skills without feeling the need to monetize it, so I don’t see why I can’t be the same.

All that being said, I recommend people try out blogging if they have the inclination. If nothing else, the reality these days is that people are busy, so if you have a way to provide employers, mentors and potential collaborators with a snapshot of who you are and a body of work that you’ve made with your own hands, it can be extremely helpful.

It doesn’t have to be too much of a time commitment either. It typically takes me a couple of hours every day for about two weeks to produce one blog post. I use that block of time to do everything from the research, the writing, the editing, and if I’m incorporating any Data Science, I’ll allocate some time for programming. There’s no ceiling to what you can go and what you can produce on the Internet. Programming is very similar to creating content online. They both have a very small barrier between the creative potential in our heads and the realization of that into the external world. Pop open a notepad on one side of the screen and a command prompt shell on the other and the possibilities are endless.

 

To read Kevin’s blog, be sure to check out the following link:

http://kevindiltinero.com/

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