I thought I’d be a chemical engineer. I loved physics, chemistry, biology, and had an eagerness to understand how the world works. But I was a young high-school teenager when something earth-shattering happened: I got my first computer. You’re probably guessing how this story goes. I started playing video games, then learning how to program, and then understanding the power of digital.
So, I became a software engineer instead.
I was working as a consultant for a few years when I realized what I really wanted to do: be part of product creation. I wanted to feel that excitement of being in front of a blank page and transforming it into whatever I wanted — poetic, right? When that opportunity came along, I took it.
I joined OutSystems in 2008. Back then, we were working on the version 5 of the platform. The IDE and bunch of code had to be completely re-written. I was like a kid in a candy store. A year later I was leading a team, doing a few projects that I’m proud of to this day.
Then came the day when everything changed. OutSystems was looking for a new Head of Development and my name came up. It wasn’t an easy decision. I was a tech guy, the kind of guy who likes to get his hands dirty, build things, and solve problems. But there I was being asked to trade all that to manage people. It basically meant I had to become “the guy in the suit” — figuratively speaking, of course. But the company needed me. That’s the thing about OutSystems. You feel so much a part of it, that your path is not always decided by what you want to do but also by the opportunities and needs that come up along the way.
However, even though I was working hard, and giving my best to help my people and my teams to grow, I realized that, in the morning, when I was taking a shower, I wasn’t thinking about that. I was thinking how I would build the next version of the platform to reach a certain goal. And then, it hit me: maybe that’s what I want to do. A few weeks later, I applied to be Head of Architecture.
Don’t think I regret my journey through management. I learned a lot in those two years. I understood the importance of the human factor. You may have amazing engineers and a cool place to work, but if you don’t offer people the opportunity to grow and learn, you’ll never have a great product. And, if in a few years, OutSystems needs me somewhere else or even back where I was, I probably won’t say no. But right now, I’m very happy. The difference between being a good professional and an exceptional one is being truly passionate about what you do.