Geertjan's Blog

  • February 16, 2012

Be Like Theofanis: Join the NetBeans Team!

Geertjan Wielenga
Product Manager
Ralph, who you met yesterday in this blog, isn't the only recent hire in the NetBeans Team from outside the Czech Republic. Last September, Theofanis Oikonomou moved with his wife from Thessaloniki, in Greece, and now works on the NetBeans Team in Prague.

Maybe Ralph was special in finding Prague and NetBeans to be a great place to work? For those considering joining the NetBeans Team too, let's get a second opinion from Theofanis.

Hi Theofanis, so what's life like in Prague?

Before moving here, we asked our friends about their impressions while traveling to Prague. Everyone was excited about pretty much everything concerning the city. After six months here we still share their feelings. Every day we discover something new about our new hometown. Prague is beyond beautiful. People are great and always trying to help. Renting a flat close to the city center gave us the chance to live in a relatively relaxed and calm neighborhood, while having all the famous attractions on our door step.

How does Prague and the Czech Republic in general compare to Thessaloniki and Greece? What do you miss from there and what do you enjoy more in Prague?

I was surprised to discover that Czechs and Greeks have more in common than I thought. I can see that in every day little things like the way someone looks or speaks to you, how someone is eager to help you, invite you to dinner, or even give you home made cookies in order to say thank you.

The top two things, apart from family and friends, that I miss from Greece is the better weather and the Mediterranean oriented Greek food. On the other hand I really enjoy that Prague has so many parks and is so beautiful, clean, and organized. Overall I think it is a really great city to live in and enjoy your life.

And what's it like to be one of the engineers on the NetBeans Team?

When I started in the NetBeans Team, I was working on the Java Editor team but moved to the Core team after a couple of months. The shift was seamless. Everybody is so helpful. My managers are giving me enough space to move and evolve through my work, while my colleagues are among the best software engineers in the world.

Right now, I'm working on the Options window and on testing support. One of my first tasks was to reorganize the Options window in the IDE. In NetBeans IDE 7.2, you'll find that I've put all Java related options into a newly created Java category:

And now I'm working on improving the testing infrastructure.

What's your experience been in moving to Prague? And do you have advice for others considering the same thing?

I thought that moving to Prague would be challenging. This was not the case. Oracle's HR department was more than helpful and took care of pretty much all the paper work on my behalf. The really important and fun, I would say, thing is to get all the time you need to visit the apartment you want to move to and explore the neighborhood both during the day and night to find out what it has to offer. Chances are that you are going to use Prague's public transportation system so don't forget to apply for an "OpenCard" as soon as you come to Prague.

What would you say to someone considering taking the same step you and Ralph have taken?

Just do it! Do not let the process of moving to a different country scare you. You will get to work for one of the best IT companies and one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Sounds to me like a win/win situation!

Great to hear, Theofanis! And to everyone out there, the NetBeans Team is hiring, so you could be having a drink with Theofanis, Ralph, and the rest of the NetBeans Team, and sooner than you might think, by applying to be a NetBeans software engineer here.

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