This week, I published Khaled Souf's #DevJourney story on my eponym Podcast: Software developer's Journey. Among many other things, here are my main personal takeaways:

  • Khaled went all the way to the end of his studies by being in love with the machines. Only after graduating did he realize the value that coding brought to the table. He discovered he could add value to society and have an impact. Then it all changed! The application Khaled worked on at that time, had a very easy to grasp domain, which helped relate with the customers. That was the eye opener.
  • Khaled got his first "slap in the face" (his words) when he joined a company in Paris, France and worked in close contact with two senior developers, versed in Open Source Software development. They were willing to take the time, teach him the ropes and show him that he knew nothing. Unfortunately, it always seems to comeback to this: people that care about their coworkers are the ones who move the needle.
  • Realizing that he had been wrong (about his own skills) for so long, coming down to earth and leaving his broken dreams behind was not an easy step. But it was a necessary one. How many of us haven't yet realized this?
  • Once he left his baggage behind, Khaled discovered XP (eXtreme Programming), ethics, humility and uncertainty. And that's when things became exponentially interesting.
  • Khaled has an interesting way of interviewing candidates. He likes to ask people to do a kata in a language they don't know. Then he use this as an opportunity to discuss with them about how they approach that particular problem. He can evaluate how open-minded they are and how they react to criticism. He can see how they process and use new information, how curious they are, etc.
  • Khaled defines the "Crafters Movement" as a mix between technical practices (eXtreme Programming, Test-, Behavior- and Domain-Driven Design, etc.) and "soft skills" like ethics, philosophy, how you behave as a developer, in a professional context, etc.
  • In order to change his behavior, Khaled first concentrated on increasing his empathy and on interactions.
  • Khaled prefers "unconferences" to "regular conferences" because they make it easier to interact with everyone, to try things and get feedback from the attendees.
  • Khaled decided to move abroad to learn another way of working. He picked Canada to get closer to the "American Way"... but not too close ;)
  • Since he moved to Montreal in Canada a few months ago, Khaled has had the impression that developers were taking more risks over there. They are being less rigorous upfront and not trying to achieve perfection (like in the EU - and he meant it in a good way). It is also way easier to get fast feedback.
  • Khaled's goal or dream is to build a product that will have an impact on society.
  • Khaled's advice: stay humble, it's ok not to know everything. If you know everything, you are in the wrong place. Time to move on!

Some quotes:

  • "What is complicated in our work is dealing with humans, not with machines"
  • "Back then, I was the problem in the team. I was arrogant. I was the hero, always solving the problems. I thought I knew it all already."
  • "It's all about the people and how they use the tools you provide them."
  • "The best discussions happen outside of work, at meetups, where people are more relaxed and where their ego are less present"
  • "Getting into those (Crafters) communities is a shortcut to getting years and years of experience."

Thanks Khaled for sharing your story with us!

You can find the full episode and the shownotes on

Did you listen to his story?

  • What did you learn?
  • What are your personal takeaways?
  • What did you find particularly interesting?