Today I was writing this new hire me section for the blog, because I will soon have to start seriously looking for a new job, and when describing my love story with coding I went a little bit long, so I decided to put it here, as a post, and link to it from the hire me section. Hope you like it.

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Long story short, this is what I love to do. Man, I just can’t sleep knowing I have an unfinished piece of code… for real.

I started coding back in 2014, as part of the classes received in the nuclear engineering 1st year study-plan. We started with LaTeX, and then C (Python and Fortarn I added by myself). Because I was pretty good at it, we enrolled every year in the Caribbean Online Judge competition. It was a 3 members teams event, and several Saturdays of the year we competed with people from all over the Caribbean to solve a series of really hard mathematics and computational problems. We never went to the nationals, because the mathematics and cybernetics teams were stronger than a bunch of nuclear engineers, physics, and chemists… damn it! 😅 Still, there we were, and always left behind some of those cybernetic guys. 😌

Then, the programming professor gather us in a room one day and proposed us to build a website for the university where we would list all the books and study resources for the four careers. He made the division of the matter each of us had to learn (HTML, CSS, JS, and back-end stuffs). In two days I knew how to build pages with HTML, and format them with some CSS, but the project never moved forward, not even to the second meeting because the professor got a position elsewhere.

Not feeling good about it, I comment it to my mother and she told me a boy from our neighborhood had studied informatics at the UCI. We went to see him (where I saw my first Mac, by the way) and I spent the summer building a site with WordPress to gather the resources for the students. I deployed the website in the local network of the institute, and I made several publications, but it never got traction. 🥲

For my degree thesis I had to code in Fortran and Python. We had a home-made code to make Molecular Dynamics simulations under conditions no other could. So there I strengthen my abilities on this subjects, and added a lot of Bash scripting down the line during the Ph.D. to extract information from the computational chemistry packages.

Then, starting this year (2023) I decided to start building this blog, and saw myself hacking with Hugo and its GoLang templates system, and HTML and CSS once more. It’s safe to say I am no expert in neither, and that’s precisely what makes me want to come and tweak here and there, hoping the blog will look nicer.

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The following is a horror story I experienced firsthand, related to coding.

During my Ph.D. I went to learn how to use this new computational chemistry package (let’s call it X) to another group, in another university. There, the professor who received me was developing a code to build the input files for an specific functionality of the package X, which was extremely time consuming to make by hand. So far, if you wanted to use that functionality of the package X, you needed to spend several hours, probably days, just to make the input file, which wasn’t funny at all.

So I put myself forward to help him code the program to make the input files for X. He had a lot done at the moment, but needed some help precisely reading the input parameters, which had to be entered interactively by the terminal one-by-one over and over again (or make a file with the correct sequence and pass it to the executable using pipes). In conclusion, he needed to read an input file with keywords determining how the input for X was going to be formatted.

I took the code he had, read it, and built the subroutine to read the keywords from a file. Even improved some of the functions he had. It was beautiful, because in Fortran Object Oriented Programming is not that usual, but this situation was made for being tackled OOP. I spent like a month or two doing that in my spare time, and at the end for the definition of new keywords you only had ti use an class I created. It was pretty smooth.

When I reach back to the professor saying the code was really advanced, that we should put it int a git repository, he never answered. Some years after, we met again, now he was evaluating my Ph.D. thesis, and he spoke to me again about the code. I explained I had it done, and all the story, but he justified and we agreed to have a video call in the forthcoming months. Never heard of him again. 👻

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