Another Change in Direction

After studying English for half a year (with great results by the way) I know and realize that I really enjoy it, but that it is not my future. The question then becomes whether to finish (by studying another 3–4 years) or quit and do something more “compliant” with your future. After my girlfriend applied for a Ph.D. position in the west of Holland (I currently live in the north), I started to think about this more. I considered finding a job in the west as well, but after talking to some people I reconsidered the option of doing a Ph.D.

I started looking around in the country to see if there were any interesting projects going on. Then I found this. And it reminded me of what I posted almost 2.5 years ago in The Importance of Laziness:

This is what I’m passionate about: being lazy, err, tools that make developers more productive. I like playing with them, promoting them and creating them. It’s what I want to do. Not only tools, but also development paradigms and everything that improves the development experience, getting rid of the boring stuff and reducing it to the essentials.

That’s why I like languages like Python and C#. That’s why I like IDEs like Eclipse and Visual Studio. That’s why I like paradigms like object oriented programming and code generation. That’s why I like application frameworks like ASP.NET and Ruby On Rails (which I’ll be looking into soon).

When I get my master(s), we’ll see where I can work on stuff like that. Having programmers only working one hour per day, yet doing the same amount of work they did in a day before, that’s my goal.

When I read the research project’s full project plan I found this:

The aim in development is to produce a high-quality system with the least possible effort. The aim in maintenance is to apply improvements and extensions with the least possible effort.

When you set your goals so much in line with what I wrote about 2.5 years ago, how could I not apply for this position? So I did. And they were interested and invited me for a day of interviews American style.

Yesterday morning I got up at 5.30 in the morning, took two trains and two busses and arrived at the TU Delft around 11. First I did an (almost) hour long presentation for their group (slides in PDF, 14 MB) about my M.Sc. dissertation project, I think it went well. They had some valid remarks.

After lunch I had interviews with four of their group members. First the project leader Eelco Visser, then the professor, Arie van Deursen, then two of the current Ph.D. students: Martin Bravenboer and Ali Mesbah. They all turned out to be really great people working on interesting projects. At the end of the day I was offered the job. This morning I accepted.

So, starting September 1st I will be a Ph.D. student at the TU Delft! I’m very excited and looking forward to it. I will have to move of course, so I have to find a place to live somewhere around there for me and Justyna, but I’m sure it will be fine.

If you think: hey, that is really interesting, I would want to do something like that, maybe you can. If you have a M.Sc. in computer science and interested in this have a look at this page. They are still looking for one or two PhDs and a PostDoc. So if you have your Ph.D. already you can also apply. You will be working closely with a great group of people, among who will be… me. And honestly, who wouldn’t want to work with me ;)

I am not quitting my English studies yet though. I intend to more-or-less finish this year. I probably won’t take all classes (I also teach myself this semester which takes time), but I’m still studying.