Interview with President of TYPO3 Association Olivier Dobberkau

Olivier Dobberkau is President of the TYPO3 Association and CEO of dkd Internet Service GmbH. He has been using TYPO3 for over fourteen years in over four hundred projects.

Olivier spoke to WebMagazin about which keynotes he will be attending at TYPO3 Berlin and what qualities he looks for when hiring a new employee. 

Oliver’s TYPO3 talk, entitled „A love affair: CMIS & TYPO3 CMS“ will take place on Future Day at 10:30 in Room 3. 

WebMagazin: Can you tell us what you’re looking forward to most at TYPO3 Berlin?

Olivier Dobberkau: Most of all I am looking forward to meet the fantastic TYPO3 Community members, to hearing their ideas and perception of the future for our favorite software projects. Berlin is also a great city to meet and find time to be inspired. In short the TYPO3 Conference is like a great family reunion. If I look at the program of the conference then I look forward to the keynotes everyday. Especially Kasper Skaarhoj’s Keynote should bring up some nice memories of the past year. Where as I think that Viktor Mayer-Schönberger will give us a good insight on what’s coming up with big data.

What about TYPO3 itself? Do you have a favorite feature?

That’s a great question, but I must disappoint you. There are so many great features in TYPO3 CMS and TYPO3 Neos that I cannot name one as my favorite one. In general I like the opportunities that are created with the TYPO3 itself. It enables people and their companies to communicate with their customers through the web. In fact I also have observed that TYPO3 has always adapted to the needs of its users and on the other hand it has also shaped the users into being experienced, thus profiting from the features offered. Looking at the megatrends of the next years, such as big data, internet of things, personalization and smart cities, I am sure that TYPO3 will surely adapt and embrace such requirements and help customers to transform their online endeavors.

You also studied law, right? Would you say this has helped your career in IT?

Knowing the basic contractual rules helped me when I started my career and it still does every time when new problems arise. Laws often describe a very abstract situation and IT often does deal with complex situations. Knowing how to deal with this two and antigonus situations gives you a more out of the box look. But let me tell you that my law studies were only a small portion of my career as a student. My IT devotion was ignited by the early days of the Internet and the possibilities to communicate with same minded people at that time. I learned and maybe subconsciously discovered that communication through the Internet will be a game-changing thing. Therefore i jumped right on the bandwagon when opportunity knocked. I started my company while still being at university and have never looked back not having made the finals exams.

Project management is one of your specialties. Have you any advice you can pass on to our readers working in this area?

I would give everyone the advice to look into the agile movement for projects. It enables you to solve actually the problems that occur in ICT projects, such as unplanned bugs and uncertain use cases. Bringing Kanban and Scrum into IT Teams makes them better and more focused to actual value to be created. It also helps you to evolve into a learning organization. I know that this is a very hard task to reach and that results don’t come overnight. But concentrating on the value created in such agile projects will show that each project following will have lesser problems and impediments for all involved. Results will be more of a quality your customers will love.

When you’re hiring new staff, what are the top three qualities you look for in a programmer?

I look for excellent team players with diverse knowledge. What I think is mostly important is to see that someone is curious and wants to achieve excellence with others. Passion should be multidimensional in a programmer profile. A great programmer loves solving complex problems, but should also be able to enjoy his time with his friends and family. I often look for that in the job applicants curriculum if they have other non-tech qualification or interesting hobbies. Diverse interests are often a sign for excellent soft skills.

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