Developer Productivity

Don’t Just React; Have a Plan

Oracle Groundbreaker Ambassador Rolando Carrasco’s top productivity tips

By Alexa Weber-Morales

November/December 2018

Today’s application landscape abounds with REST-based web services and APIs that enable you to share a program’s functionality with ease. That in itself is a productivity boost—but have you thought about how to make the process of creating APIs themselves more productive? That’s a question to which Mexico City–based Oracle Groundbreaker Ambassador Rolando Carrasco has devoted some thought, because a good API can be a gateway to all kinds of success. So how does he quickly create and validate service-oriented web hooks?

“One of the most useful things for my work nowadays is Oracle Apiary technology,” says Carrasco. The technology includes a powerful command-line interface (CLI) he can customize to programmatically run his API creation process. “After I design and model APIs, I use some of its CLI utilities to test and validate their design. Because those are CLI utilities, they can be automated and facilitate the work once the APIs are mocked up and passed to the developers for both consumption and customization.”

As a Java developer, Carrasco has been using Oracle JDeveloper since 2002—and has stayed faithful to the tool as both it and his Java work have expanded. “It was a very preliminary version, but because that was my first contact with an IDE, I continued using it. Then, because of all my work with Oracle Fusion Middleware, I kept using it.” For microservices development, he uses IntelliJ IDEA, and Atom is his preferred Python code editor. “Because I am a Windows guy, I use Babun as my shell, and I use Gradle to build my applications.”

Respect for Sleep

Structuring his day according to his energy levels, Carrasco dedicates the first 60 to 90 minutes to studying a new technical area. After his morning studies he jumps into development, aiming to get most of his work done in the morning and avoiding going too late into the afternoon. “I’d rather be at top speed at the beginning of the day than at the end. I normally try to avoid leaving things for the next day. If there is something I can conclude today, I try to have the discipline to do it.”

If you want to create good code and be productive, you must have a plan and a good design—something you can target.”–Rolando Carrasco, Oracle Groundbreaker Ambassador 

He also believes in the value of rest. “I have a lot of respect for my sleep, so I try not to get back home too late. In Mexico it’s very normal to have long workdays, but I try to finish my tasks before 7 p.m. and then get back home,” says Carrasco. At home he still aims to read or study something new, such as his current focus: learning to speak Japanese.

Finding Flow

Carrasco’s favorite shortcut to finding flow when coding? “Music. No doubt about it. I like many genres, from Big Band to ’90s alternative music. So if I really want to get into a good flow, a set of good music from artists such as Todd Terje, Erasure, Tim Maia, the Supremes, Pet Shop Boys, or the Ramones will definitely do the job,” he says.

Like any good citizen of a major metropolitan area, Carrasco views his commute time not as wasted but, rather, as an opportunity to learn more. “I am not a gadget guy, but what I do use is the Amazon Kindle—both the device and the app—to read books when I am moving from one place to another,” he says. Whether he’s in a cab, on a bus, or riding the subway, he absorbs technical articles, either reading them or listening via the Kindle’s ability to read the book aloud.

Ultimately, Carrasco’s success as an Oracle Groundbreaker Ambassador boils down to his ability to consistently contribute to the community, stay abreast of new information, and optimize the different segments of his day for the activities that keep his career moving forward. “Always have a plan,” he advises. “If you start your day with no plans, if you rely on your reactions and pretend that having no plans in your life will let you achieve goals, you are probably wrong. The same thing applies to programming: if you want to create good code and be productive, you must have a plan and a good design—something you can target.”

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Photography by Martin Vargas/Studio at Getty Images for Oracle