Software development is like making furniture, it has to work well, look nice and be well put together. It shouldn’t be over-engineered. It’s a point
Who is NL-ix?
Behind the world of the Internet, behind the world of fibers, protocols, peers and terabits, are actual people making it all work. But who are these people? In other words: Who is NL-ix?
Today: 🤝 Arjan Wekking, Lead Software Engineer
The Internet arrived just as I turned 13, and I was hooked. I remember arguing with my parents about huge dial-up phone bills for hundreds of guilders, but fortunately they let me keep using it. In the beginning it was just a bunch of nerds, then online games like Quake arrived, and a community started to build around them. We joined LAN parties with big CRT monitors – sometimes up to 1000 of us. We shared software and pirated movies.
I started work there and then, designing websites for some of my Quake friends. Then my dad wanted one too. There were no books on web design, so you had to use the Internet to learn the Internet. I considered studying Graphic Design, but they didn’t cover the Internet then, so I got a job as a web designer at the Tubantia newspaper and learnt things like PHP 2 and Oracle databases. Then I needed to find out about programming, so I moved to the back end, and that helped define my career.
I moved to a new web firm, and when I was 23 I went back to school, studying for an Informatica HBO and learning Java, then starting at university. But the course was very heavy on science and maths - plus I was an avid World of Warcraft player at the time - and there were always too many interesting startups, often launched by online gaming buddies. So I went back to work, developing software solutions for Streamtech, which then merged with Pine Digital Security, then became Computest.
I find it hugely satisfying to solve problems using software and the most satisfying thing is to make something useful. And I love talking to end-users and asking questions. Do you need a button? Are you sure? Software development is like making furniture, it has to work well, look nice, and be well put together. It shouldn’t be over-engineered. It’s a point of pride.
Software development is like making furniture, it has to work well, look nice and be well put together. It shouldn’t be over-engineered. It’s a point of pride.
When I joined NL-ix to work on Elastic Interconnect I had a lot of software design and troubleshooting experience, but I didn’t really know networks and BGP, so it was an exciting change. Like all good solutions, Elastic Interconnect is about removing complexity and giving just the right amount of control. Companies now depend on the internet, but for most of them it’s like being in a car with no pedals or steering wheel. You want a car that you can control, but you don’t want to build it yourself. And you don’t want to take the bus.
I think at NL-ix we all care about the Internet, and feel it is for everyone. To some extent we are the greybeards who were there when it all began and know it from the ground up. We’re still small enough to be agile and experimental, which allows us to be innovative. And we can achieve big results with small changes – just keep applying them. Constant innovation. Constant pushing. Making sure thing work well then make them a little better.
We’re a bunch of smart asses. At best we cut right through it and get to the point. You can speak openly, say you don’t know stuff and someone will explain. I like that and I like to be that way too – it helps when you are working out the best way to do things.
Please contact Arjan if you have any questions.