“Meet the Team” is a blog series that features the different roles at Antidot/Fluid Topics.
Today, we’re sitting down with Cyril Gaglio, Software Engineer to discuss his role within our company.
Hi Cyril, could you please introduce yourself?
My name is Cyril Gaglio, and I’m 37 years old. I’ve lived most of my life in the southeast of France, near Aix-en-Provence. When I’m not at my computer, compiling Gentoo Linux, you can find me either trail-running or mountain biking, around my place.
What made you decide to become a Software Engineer?
It’s a tough question! In high school, in all modesty, I was relatively good at writing software and not so much at writing in French, my mother tongue. But did I choose this career path because maths and physics were my strong suit? Or because I enjoyed studying these subjects? Or did I want to please my family? I think the answer lies in a bit of all three.
Ultimately, I enrolled in software engineering at ESIPE, an Engineering School near Paris and majored in Computer Science with a focus on “Networks”.
I opted for the apprenticeship program. Therefore, I would attend school for 1 month and then work at Alcatel, a former French telecommunications equipment company, for a month. It gave me real work experience as a Software Engineer, alongside the knowledge and theory I got from studying a degree.
What led you to Antidot/Fluid Topics?
I joined Antidot/Fluid Topics back in 2009 when the company’s main focus was the development of our search engine. As a new graduate, working for an innovative and rapidly growing startup was quite exciting! On top of that, the team sounded really enthusiastic about the project and was also based in both Lyon, and the southeast of France!
I started as a Software Reliability Engineer (SRE) and oversaw the installation, monitoring and maintenance of hundreds of servers. I also worked on deploying technologies such as LXC containers to replace our VirtualMachines. In 2015, I left the company to travel the world…for 3 years (more on that later on).
I came onboard, once again, in December 2018, as a Software Engineer.
Can you tell us about your typical day at the office?
When I don’t work from home, I kick off the day with a 15km bike ride to get to the office! I’m usually the first one there! I’m an early bird, mostly because I like to have some quiet time. It allows me to work on the development tasks that require concentration and focus. I then open Slack to catch up on any announcements or direct messages.
I work in the Fluid Topics Content team alongside Antoine, Milan, Guillaume, Remy, Enzo and Laurent, our Product Owner. We use the Kanban Methodology. In a typical week, we’ll meet for the different Agile ceremonies such as daily, planning, refinement, review and retrospective.
Every day, I’ll have a 15-minute stand-up meeting in the morning with my cross-functional team to discuss what we worked on the day prior, what we’ll be working on during the day, and if we have any blockers that prevent us from completing a task. We have team members in Lambesc, Lyon, Brittany or working remotely so stand-up is a chance for us all to sync up daily.
Our projects are broken down into tickets in a shared JIRA board. One of my favorite aspects of the job is to pair with a teammate to work on our tickets. I will code in the morning and I’ll hand over the ticket to him/her in the afternoon. I really enjoy working this way.
During our lunch break, some of us will go for a run. We’re very lucky because the office (in Lambesc) is really close to the countryside, so it makes for a nice run! We also have showers at the office, so that helps! After lunch, you’ll see me holding a thermos mug filled with mate, the national drink of Argentina.
In the afternoon, development and project discussions will continue. We often have meetings about architecture, monitoring and software reliability. As a software engineering team, we have tried to build a successful Continuous Deployment culture through technologies like Gitlab CI, Docker and Kubernetes. Our goal is to not have a dependency on the SRE team to update clients. We do remain close to them though to explore topics such as scalability, monitoring or backup systems.
We strive on DevOps practices! It’s not just a hype. In my case, my skills as a former SRE have helped me in my day-to-day job as a Software Engineer within the Content team.
What is your biggest productivity hack and how has it helped you?
My biggest productivity hack is fairly simple. I learned all the keyboard shortcuts. It allows me to work much faster. In an integrated development environment like IDEA IntelliJ, you can edit code, compile it and run it without ever having to use your mouse.
And apparently not using keyboard shortcuts makes you lose 64 hours every year.
What has been your favorite part of the job?
“I love waiting for a page to load”… said no one ever!
I’m convinced that a critical factor in the success of a software product lies in the rapidity of the software itself. As a result, I love when I get to work on optimizing our performances to improve speed. I call it the “killer feature”.
We recently optimized our “pretty URL” feature and I felt really proud of the work done by the team and myself.
Last but not least, can you tell us something unique about yourself?
I love to travel and that’s an understatement. As discussed earlier, I left Antidot/Fluid Topics to travel around the globe mostly by bike.
I visited 63 countries and walked/cycled over 78,000 kilometers.
My favorite memory? Visiting the Andes Mountains, between Peru and Bolivia. It has some of the most beautiful landscapes I have ever seen with several peaks rising above 5000m.
If you want to learn more about my trip, make sure to check out my blog.
Thank you Cyril, it was a pleasure chatting with you!