On Being a Java Developer

Cogs work with a wide range of digital wizards and to get a more in-depth look at some of the talent we deal with daily we spoke to Berlin based Java …

Java developer

Cogs work with a wide range of digital wizards and to get a more in-depth look at some of the talent we deal with daily we spoke to Berlin based Java developer Claas Augner.

Hi Claas, thanks for meeting with us today.

You’re very welcome.

How’re you doing today?

Good thank you. Busy but good.

So how did you get into programming?

I suppose my very first contact involved a learning computer with a BASIC interpreter during primary school. Then, when I was about 14 years old, my chess trainer showed me how to implement a prime number generator in Java. That made me curious and so, shortly after, I started volunteering as a web developer and web administrator for a regional chess federation.

Later in my first IT class in high school we were taught object-orientated programming using Java and at university, during my Computer Science studies, we used Java as a reference language for data structures and assignments.

And after your studies?

Actually, I continued to volunteer ever since, but I also already worked part-time during my Master studies, as a Java Developer on a large and complex business web application.

What’s your current job title and what are your key responsibilities?

I have just started as Lead Software Engineer at a small company in the translation business. Right now, my job involves modernising an existing legacy application as well as implementing a new innovative application.

And what’s the most challenging part of your role at present?

Generally? It can be tough to work on a software system that has evolved historically, and more specifically, I’d say how to gradually migrate product and processes to best practices without disrupting the ongoing business is the most exciting challenge I tackle right now.

And the positives? What are the highlights of your job and what do you enjoy the most?

I enjoy the task itself: implementing measures to increase effectiveness. One example is enabling colleagues to achieve their full potential. In the end, getting positive feedback from stakeholders about product and process improvements is very satisfying.

How are you finding the job market in Berlin and Germany as a whole?

For me, I didn’t actively apply too much as I already had a great job offer. I’ve found that recruiters such as Cogs reach out to you, especially if you have a meaningful profile with good experiences.

But generally, there are a lot of diverse offers in Berlin. The IT market here is wide and I get approached at least once a week.

And what advice would you give to those without much experience?

Well, I’d really recommend job seekers to join open-source projects or discussions early on, be it on GitHub, Twitter or on StackOverflow. It’s actually much easier to contribute than it may seem.

There are a lot of different opportunities in Berlin to build up experience in the first place as well.

And what about elsewhere? Have you worked abroad?

I’ve not yet had any international experience job-wise, but I spent a significant time in Paris and Manchester during my studies.

What ways would you say are the best for finding new career opportunities?

It depends. On the one hand, I’d say keeping an eye on companies that you’re particularly interested in working with and looking at their job offers is worth the effort.

On the other hand, signing up to job offer newsletters and regularly looking at job offer listings is a convenient way to gain an overview of the market.

And of course, social networking sites such as LinkedIn and XING are great ways to find new opportunities and connect with interesting and relevant people.

There are some good recruiting sights too, such as Cogs, who have Java-related job vacancies across the world, including Berlin, London and Singapore.

I’d also recommend people looking for new opportunities in Java to look out for activity on Twitter, write a blog or attend some Meetups relating to Java or other tech topics.

So how did you discover Cogs?

Cogs approached me via LinkedIn. I was interested in the vacancy they had in mind for me so I sent them my CV, had a telephone interview, then Cogs got in touch with the company who had the job offer and then I had a first interview with them.

What do you like most about Cogs?

I like that they are modern, international with the expertise to match. What I also really appreciated was the fact that they’d keep me updated. If I had a question they’d reply fast, sometimes even within minutes.

What makes Cogs stand out from other recruiters?

Admittedly I’ve only really worked with Cogs so far, so I can’t really compare them to other recruiters. But what I would say is that the Cogs team keeps you informed about the status of things at all times.

From my experience with Cogs, the whole process from them getting in touch to the company’s offer of a job can take as little as 8 days!

Java, like all things digital, changes frequently. How do you keep your knowledge up to date and still relevant?

I try to look not only at Java but also beyond into other languages, frameworks and technology stacks. Looking at other programming languages gives you insights into what is and what is not possible in Java.

Twitter is great for keeping up to date. Following project accounts and skimming through the articles they post or retweet helps broaden your horizons, and I can read these in the U-Bahn on the way to work. Likewise, I use the Enki app for a daily developer “workout”.

Then again, going to conferences is perfect for learning from experts in the field, whilst Meetups let you exchange experiences with other engineers.

Last but not least, I regularly listen to developer podcasts such as “Software Engineering Radio” and “The Changelog”. Both publish about one episode per week and cover diverse topics that are relevant to developers in general, and not just about Java.

It sounds like such an interesting field to work in Claas, thank you for sharing your knowledge and expertise as a Java developer.

You’re very welcome and thank you.


To explore the latest jobs Cogs have visit the jobs board of speak to someone in Cogs’ Berlin office today.

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