Threads of Connection

Matej Horak - Software Developer for Snowball Digital

As an introvert, it’s the time that I get to spend alone that best recharges and refuels me. So perhaps one of the greatest gifts the developer community gave me was getting me to open up and come out of my shell. They made me feel safe, heard, and respected, so much so that I never once felt afraid to speak my mind or share my ideas. Ultimately, this led me to meet some pretty amazing human beings, many of which, in their own special way, helped get me to where I am today. It’s why I feel so strongly about the importance of connection. Conversations spark interest and inspiration and make our lives all the more exciting. 

The Second Choice

You could say that I started “late” in life when it came to programming. It wasn’t until high school where I had the opportunity to take some online classes related to computers. Offered through John Hopkins University, I listed ‘Internet Security’ as my first choice and ‘Java’ as a secondary backup choice. Low and behold Internet Security was not an option, so I was signed up for Java Development. To my surprise, I immediately fell in love with the subject and dove headfirst into anything that got thrown my way. It’s kind of crazy to think about what life would’ve been like today if my first choice would have been accepted!

I have always enjoyed finding the minor, often overlooked problems that if solved, could take a product from great to exceptional.

Once I heard about the vast market potential for developers and the flexibility of their work schedules, I was sure about it being a life-long career path. So an early topic I looked into was Android development and self-made applications. I started with backend development, which is still what I mostly do today. Yet I like to call myself a software developer, because the field is much more comprehensive and requires a lot of expertise in order for you to see, understand and solve for the bigger picture. 

From Hosting to Helping

Community has always been important to me, and I have always wanted to give back. So I began by hosting offline developer events and workshops. However, I soon realized how saturated the market already was with information. So I brainstormed, transitioned, and today now spend most of my free time working on projects that directly help others - particularly in my home of the Czech Republic. One recent project offered a type of financial assistance to give people a more accessible overview of their debts. If I can help just one person lessen the burden of “living paycheck to paycheck”, my work will be worth it. 

I like being able to see something I have built get thrown into the world and stand on its own two feet.

Today, I lam pretty dedicated to the idea of quality over quantity. I would rather spend more time on a product to ensure perfection than deliver a less-than-perfect product because of some arbitrary time constraint. I think this makes me unique and is why I enjoy working so much with Snowball. Because even though I am young, they trust what I have to say, and then show it by putting me on high-responsibility projects. I have even moved between companies to find the projects that best resonate with my own values. Add in the extra time they set aside for you to research and learn about new topics, and you have yourself a pretty perfect workplace.