Interview with our Patrik Fiala about how he exchanged bartending for a career as an developer.
Blackfish: Patrik, introduce yourself please. What do you do at Blackfish?
Patrik Fiala: Where to start… I would probably describe myself as a boy from Šumava who spent the majority of his professional life in gastronomy. Then he hung an imaginary apron on a nail and started coding websites.
Blackfish: How did you get into Blackfish? And why Blackfish?
Patrik Fiala: I got to Blackfish thanks to the recommendation of my friend, who introduced me to Vítek. So we met, had a good chat and he took me under his wing. It will now be a year since I have been part of the Blackfish team. Yaaay!
Blackfish: What were your first impressions when you started at Blackfish?
Patrik Fiala: I got to know my new work team practically only when I threw away my crutches. Because I broke my leg shortly after joining Blackfish and I worked mainly from home for the first month. I appreciated that a lot and especially the fact that they brought a monitor to my house so I had the most pleasant working conditions. Well, as soon as I threw away my crutches and started going to the office, the face-to-face meeting began, the first team-building events, and since then my heart has been beating for Blackfish (laughing).
Blackfish: What made you change your career?
Patrik Fiala: The question here would be enough for an entire article. Anyway, long story short, the fact that I started thinking about changing my field was largely accelerated by the COVID situation in gastronomy in general. When you have been working in the field for almost 10 years and suddenly such a “hit” comes, it makes you stop and think. My brother, who has been working in IT for about a year, and then one of my bartender colleagues-friends, who also decided to go into IT, were a big inspiration for me. So I did some research on how to become a developer. Thanks to a European project, I found a course focusing on Java programming and thus started this life change.
Blackfish: What do you like about your job the most?
Patrik Fiala: Overall it’s a nice change for me, especially for my head. The biggest positive thing is that I don’t have to run behind the bar and spend hours at night trying to please customers. I also perceive the “office” working hours Mon-Fri/ 8-16 quite positively, because until I experienced it, I thought that it must be terribly stereotypical, but the opposite is true. It’s good to finally have some order in life. As you can probably imagine, life in gastronomy can be a crazy ride.
Blackfish: What do you miss from your previous job, what did it give you?
Patrik Fiala: I would probably recommend a gastronomy career to a certain extent to everyone. It is a job that teaches a person a lot, from manual work, handling a knife to refining one’s taste, after developing soft-skills such as dealing with people, multi-tasking, managing stress at work and so on. I see the main positive as the fact that I met a lot of people and quite a few friends with whom I experienced unimaginable things during my more than ten-year career. I had enough opportunities to travel, live abroad for some time and work in unusual places. I tasted incredibly good food and even better whiskey. To sum it up, I sometimes feel sad about this rock’n’roll life.
Blackfish: What are your biggest challenges?
Patrik Fiala: I see the coding of email templates and signatures as the biggest challenge so far. Since the technology is written in a rather outdated syntax, I sweat a lot when solving some design elements. But paradoxically, the more these tasks pass through my hands, the more I start to enjoy it. I think I met my enemy.
Blackfish: What are your development goals?
Blackfish: What is your favorite dev tool?
Patrik Fiala: At the moment, the testi.at tool for testing the HTML code of emails makes me most happy. As I mentioned before, writing email templates can be quite tricky, and this tool made my life a lot easier. I certainly must not leave out the ReactJS library, which I am now learning to work with so that my colleagues and I can then write most of our projects in this language. Furthermore, in general, our dev team really likes the Tailwind CSS framework, which we use in styling projects. This, together with another tool Storybook, makes a great duo for building individual components, which we can immediately test in different environments without interfering with the project itself.
Blackfish: What advice would you give to people who are thinking the same way about switching to dev?
Patrik Fiala: Go for it! As long as we can and AI robots don’t replace us. It is also important to mention that this is not just a job where you click something and go home, and that this field is mainly for those who want to constantly develop their dev skills and know how to find ways to solve new situations.