Welcome to “Inside Wercker,” a feature where we introduce you to one of our team members. This time we get to know Jacco Flenter, Interaction Engineer at Wercker. You can follow him on Twitter or ping him on the Wercker Slack channel: @flenter.
Who are you and what do you do at Wercker?
My name is Jacco and I would call myself a mix of Frontend and Interaction Engineer. I live in Gouda, a city in the province of South Holland. You've probably heard of it because of its namesake cheese and seasonal cheese market which is regularly held on the medieval Market Square. I'm also the person with the longest commute here at Wercker, but I get a lot of work done on the train so I can't complain.
I've been with Wercker from the start, after having worked as a Frontend Engineer for several different agencies. I like working on the frontend because it is right where between the user and the machine meets. In my eyes, the machine is a tool to be used and without human interaction is less interesting to me.
When did you know that you wanted to be a developer?
Let's start at the very beginning: I always liked playing games, but hey, what little boy doesn't!?! So even as a child, I spent quite a few hours behind the computer. Computers just had a certain attraction for me, which is why after finishing middle school, I went into Computer Science. It was fairly different back then. My studies turned out to be pretty dull. I wasn't enjoying programming at all [at this point], so after finishing up, I decided I wanted to do something different. The only problem was that I had no idea what that might be. I looked into Image & Media Technology, as well as some Natural Sciences stuff. In the end, I decided on Interaction Design (HKU Hilversum), which focuses mostly on creativity/innovation and the interaction. It was while I was doing this that I got back into programming, with more powerful machines and better prototyping tools it was easier to find out if the stuff we designed would work. So I started coding quite a bit again, and this time I enjoyed it.
What attracted you to Wercker?
What attracted me to Wercker the most was that it was going to be a completely new journey, starting from scratch. The other thing that made me sign on were the people that I was going to be working alongside. We already knew each other, and I had a feeling that it would be an exciting new challenge. The product didn't really exist yet, so we needed to develop a completely new prototype. Initially I was worried that it would be boring to work on one single product —because as an agency engineer I was used to ever changing projects— but it turns out that there are so many things to focus on while working for a start-up like Wercker that you never get bored.
What project(s) are you proud of?
That would be my latest project: Walterbot. Our new Walterbot app allows you to interact with the notifications about your builds and deploys in Slack. You can set Walterbot to directly interact with the updates from your builds. For example, you can set up a retry straight from Slack or have Walter notify you once your container has been pushed. It also works for teams!
ChatOps are popping up more and more, and here at Wercker we try to always be in touch with the latest trends. This is our first version, but there are definitely plans to go further.
If you’d like to find out more about Walterbot, please check out the blog post I wrote about it, which you can find here.
Where would we run into you when you’re not sitting behind a computer?
One place you will definitely run into me is on the train from Gouda to Amsterdam and back. ;-) Apart from that, I can often be found on the local playground with my daughter Lyra. The other place I really love is Bali. My wife is from there, so we try to go there at least every couple of years to visit some family and relax on the beach.
Regarding hobbies, I enjoy building audio systems, even though I don't have as much time for it anymore since I became a dad. I guess I'm what people call an audiophile because I really am enthusiastic about high-fidelity audio reproduction which I could prove by showing you my modified cd-player, self-built amplifiers or speakers.
Want to get to know more about Wercker? We're hiring, so check out the careers page for open positions in Amsterdam and San Francisco.