The main goal of my blog is to help people, and I’m one of them. Even if no one read it, it would still be useful to me. Writing is cathartic to me – it’s my “pensieve” (Harry Potter reference). It helps me structure my thoughts or it forces me to think about something. Sometimes it starts with an idea, a title, or a question.
My name is Diogo Nunes. I used to be a Software Developer, but three years ago, I started as a Software Tester at Equal Experts, “a network of experienced software consultants specialised in agile delivery”. I collaborate with clients and developers to ensure the team delivers the right thing, built the right way. My responsibilities are not set in stone: I explore, I automate, I ask, I suggest, and I create memes as much as possible. I consider my duty anything that can make my team happier or more efficient, because you can’t have one without the other.
Being average at everything and good at nothing is me in a nutshell. I always enjoyed using technology, and since IT had (and still has) such a high demand, that’s what I decided to study. I graduated from one of the hardest university in Portugal. Years later, I was offered a role as a Software Tester with Equal Experts, even though I knew little about testing (I actually skipped that subject at university). They made a bet on me and I accepted the challenge. I’ve never been happier –this is the company and the role I was looking for.
My oldest hobby is photography. Then I started a blog. When I finished my teen years, I wrote a poetry book. Then I started another blog. Then I tried entrepreneurship. Then I wrote a quarter of a novel (I’ll finish it one day). Then I started yet another blog. Then I started volunteering at anime/games conventions. And I just finished another book. I’m always doing something – it’s a (bad) habit that I have! Every six months, I get a new pet project. But blogging and photography have always been there and always will be.
I first became interested in photography back in the “analog days” – I frequently took the family photos, and people complimented me for not cutting anyone’s head or feet, which was an achievement at the time. I think that praise motivated me to give it a try.
Each photography field has its master. In the last decade, several photography platforms appeared with amazing individual talents. There are so many photographers that have inspired me that I feel bad for highlighting only a few of them. But there are two photographers that never disappoint me: Steve McCurry for portraits and Joel Santos for landscapes.
I appreciate landscapes, urban architecture, and portraits – but the latter is my favourite. For me, a good portrait captures a bit of someone’s soul. It doesn’t have to be a face, it can be anything that reminds you of that person(ality). You know you got it right when a friend or family members look at the photo and says “that’s so you” or “you look so natural”. That means you need to know the person you’re trying to portray. As an introvert, that’s hard for me, yet maybe that’s why I do it – to push me out of my bubble. That’s why I “evangelize” photography to engineers – it’s an excuse for you to either travel the world or meet people in real life.
I have used many different cameras for my photography. When I was 14, I had access to my family’s first digital camera, a Sony Mavica which stored its 0.3 megapixels photos onto floppy disks! Motivated by the praise I was getting, I decided to put myself into it and buy my own camera: a Sony H2. I self-taught myself photography through magazines and online tutorials. I quickly became the official photographer at school and university events.
After three years, I was sure I wanted to keep photography as a hobby, but my camera was holding me back. So I sold it to buy a proper DSLR: a Nikon D3100. It’s their entry-level camera, but it hasn’t disappointed me yet. Currently, I have two lenses: an 18-55mm that I use when traveling (because it’s versatile), and a 50mm that I use for portraits and some events (due to its image quality). I like to use this analogy for photography gear: if you eat a nice cake, you praise the cook, not the oven. The gear sets the minimum quality of your photos, but it’s up to you to get them to their full potential.
There’s one particular photo I’ve taken that I cherish. It’s not NatGeo worthy or anything. I took it when I travelled to London. I bought and carried a small bag of grapes the entire day. The afternoon is ending, and I start eating the grapes as I was walking. I’m halfway there when next to me, there’s a car. Its colour is just like the grapes. And the license plate, besides the numbers, says “UVA”… that’s Portuguese for grape – #OnceInALifetime.
Just like photography, the start of my experience with blogging was not that fancy. As a kid, I disliked reading and hated writing. Now, look at me, three books and two blogs later! I started on Blogspot (2008-2011), writing sarcastic comments to national news. It was cathartic. Yet I gave up because I felt I was helping no one. My current blog (2014 –*) is more constructive. I focus on sharing my experiences so that others can learn from my mistakes and successes.
Regarding other people’s blogs, I love to read Derek Sivers – every blog post is pure wisdom and inspiration. His values and mindset towards life really align with me. Several decisions and habits of my life were influenced by what he wrote.
My articles are usually one of three types: tutorials, reviews, or musings. I try to use a simple language, even when talking about technical subjects, which leads to a text that sounds like a conversation between me and the reader. My favorite sections are “Life” and “Thoughts”. The former is where I write about my life experiences, so that others can learn from my mistakes and successes. I just finished publishing one about “Working (just enough) to live”. The latter is where I write about random or provocative thoughts, like “Use birthdays as an excuse to praise your friends”.
The message I try to convey is one of positivity and growth. It warms my heart when I read a comment saying “I feel more confident after reading your post” or “that’s exactly how I feel”. I feel like I achieved the positive impact I was longing for. Sometimes people just need to hear a “you can do it” or read an “I’ve been there, it hurts, but it gets better”.
I do see similarities to some extent between blogging & photography and my current occupation. As a Software Tester, I should have attention to detail, see what others overlook, and be curious to explore. Photography enhances that. But there’s also value in the differences as well. Photography pushes me outdoors, closer to nature and away from machines.
I absolutely think these pastimes have been a benefit to my technological career. Recently, I did a self-discovery journey. I concluded that my hobbies were my main source of fulfillment. They helped me balance my mood when life or work was particularly nasty. Besides, they develop all kinds of technical and emotional skills. Since the current market is shifting towards T-shaped people, I would say hobbies are a great investment.
My advice to anyone looking to take up either blogging or photography is to not compare yourself to others. Focus on slowly improving instead of being the best or better than person X. It’s healthier and more productive. Do it for yourself before doing it for others. If you don’t, your self-worth will always be hostage to someone else. People liking your work is an extra – it’s like dessert: if you can have it, it’s delicious; if you can’t, you won’t starve.
I have many friends and colleagues that love tech and code in itself. For me, technology is just a means, a tool to improve life. And this powerful tool can be used for both good and evil – it depends on how we use it. So let’s carry our passions, our values, and our humanity to the technology we create.
To read some more of Diogo’s photography and blog, The Geeky Gecko, be sure to check the following links: