Announcing Our Newest Hero: Tomasz Gawęda

Nicolas Frankel | Dec 14, 2020

We recently announced our Hazelcast Heroes program to recognize the efforts of the most engaged contributors in our community. Today, we are very excited to announce our newest Hero, Tomasz Gawęda from Poland!

Tomasz Gawęda

Tomasz became a Hero by having five of his Pull Requests merged. He was kind enough to answer our questions regarding his contributions.

Nicolas Fränkel: Hello Tomasz, congratulations on your nomination and thanks for having accepted our request for an interview. Let’s start with an easy question. Could you please introduce yourself to our readers?

Tomasz Gawęda: Hi Nicolas, thank you. I’m Tomasz Gawęda, I live in Wrocław, Poland. I’ve studied Computer Science at the Wrocław University of Technology. I’m now a Java developer working on high-performance distributed systems.

To be frank, I wasn’t a fan of being interviewed with only small contributions but I hope it will encourage other developers to contribute as well.

NF: May I ask you what got you interested in Hazelcast?

TG: I’ve got interested in in-memory data grids in general after my last job interview. Before that, I was interested in Big Data stuff. In a job interview, my future boss told me that they are using IMDGs and it sounded like a great option for some kinds of high-performance computations. We then migrated our product from another IMDG (that I cannot share with you for business reasons, unfortunately) to Hazelcast: it is open source, low latency, good memory usage when using Kryo, good performance. This journey lasts for about 5 years now, in the meantime, we’ve also started using Hazelcast Jet for some part of the project.

NF: Why did you choose to contribute? Did you already contribute to open source projects before? If so, which ones?

TG: I haven’t contributed to any big OSS projects before. I tried contributing to Apache Spark, but haven’t got enough time to complete PRs and enough knowledge. I didn’t give up and switched to answering Stack Overflow questions about Spark. I found some interesting questions, then either I knew the answer and posted it or dug into the topic and found a solution to the problem.

Another opportunity to contribute was at work. Sometimes we’ve found that something would be useful for us or that we need some fix, which we can implement ourselves – so, why not?

NF: Regarding writing software, don’t you write enough software for your job? For you, what’s the difference between writing software for your job and writing software for open source?

TG: Most of the time I just don’t want to look at the computer after work. Most PRs/issues were made in fact at least partially during my work hours. Sometimes a bit of spare time and a good idea (at least in my mind it’s good) is enough to start, when you start it’s like a challenge – will I be able to do this? Will my idea and code be accepted? Working after normal work requires some kind of motivation, so I’m just challenging myself. I try to keep the same standards as in work – code with good quality, which won’t be problematic in maintenance.

NF: I noticed that a lot of people would like to contribute to open source software but they are afraid that it requires much more than they can provide. Do you have any advice for them?

TG: Do or do not, there is no try 🙂 Find some “good first issue” issues on GitHub. If you need help, just ask on Slack or comment on the issue. I bet that none of my PRs would be merged without help from the Hazelcast Team. Sometimes they tweaked code to make it look/perform better or to fix some issues. Remember, you are a part of the community, not alone! I haven’t finished some PRs, some were even not pushed to the fork, but every small contribution may make someone’s day better.

I would like to thank all the people in the Hazelcast Team that helped me and my coworkers in implementing some features or in fixing issues we’ve raised. You are doing an excellent job, thanks!

NF: Thanks for your kind words, Tomasz, and thanks for your contributions! Congratulations again for your nomination as a Hazelcast Hero and keep the PRs coming in!

For more information, check out our Hazelcast Heroes program. And if Tomasz’s testimonial convinced you to join our community, it’s just a Slack away.

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About the Author

Nicolas Frankel

Developer Advocate, Hazelcast

Nicolas Fränkel is a Developer Advocate with 15+ years experience consulting for many different customers, in a wide range of contexts (such as telecoms, banking, insurances, large retail and public sector). Usually working on Java/Java EE and Spring technologies, but with focused interests like Rich Internet Applications, Testing, CI/CD and DevOps. Currently working for Hazelcast. Also double as a teacher in universities and higher education schools, a trainer and triples as a book author.

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