Member spotlight | June 4, 2019

Burak Demirtas

Sr. Backend Engineer, WayUp

We had the opportunity to sit down with Burak Demirtas, Sr. Backend Engineer for WayUp and their first Terminal member hire out of Montréal to dive into his experience to date, his love for startups, and his dedication to being a lifelong learner.

  • members and community

About WayUp

If you haven’t heard about WayUp, they’re doing amazing work building the go-to digital platform to connect employers with recent grads for internships and jobs. They are a relatively recent addition to the Terminal ecosystem, having joined earlier this year to reinforce that vision by amplifying their engineering team with us.

We had the opportunity to sit down with Burak Demirtas, Sr. Backend Engineer for WayUp and their first Terminal member hire out of Montréal to dive into his experience to date, his love for startups, and his dedication to being a lifelong learner.

Terminal: Tell us a little about your career journey so far and how you came to join the WayUp Team?

Burak: I have worked in Backend for the last 10 years. I have always been interested in how we can develop reusable code — maintainable, easy to understand, and readable like a book. My journey to joining the WayUp team was incredible. Everyone here is very friendly and patient, ready to answer all my questions no matter how many times I bother them. This has been great for a newcomer like me to be surrounded by amazing people to learn from.

Terminal: WayUp is relatively new to the Terminal ecosystem and you were the first Terminal Member to join them. How has that been?

Burak: It was my first time working for a US-headquartered company and to be honest, I didn’t really know what to expect and was a bit worried I wouldn’t fit in with the team. Those fears were quickly assuaged — like I mentioned, the team has been so welcoming and willing to help with any question I might have, WayUp is awesome.

Terminal: Why did you choose a startup? What about them do you enjoy the most?

Burak: I have always enjoyed working with startups — they feel more like family than working for a company. I don’t like rigidity and having to stay in one lane, so with startups I feel free to learn new things from others, challenge myself everyday, and improve every aspect of the platform.

Terminal: What’s it like to work in the Montréal Terminal Space?

Burak: The office is very well situated right in downtown Montréal. Easy to access, surrounded by a lot of restaurants and stores, and well-connected by public transit. The office is calm and feels so comfortable it sometimes feels more like I’m working in my house than in an office. Not to mention — Mike, the Montréal office manager is really cool!

Terminal: What do you think makes Terminal unique from other workspaces you’ve experienced?

Burak: I’ve worked in the past from WeWork offices. The difference with Terminal is that you don’t feel it’s like an office — it’s a warm place with lots of little touches like good coffee and a nice kitchen. I really feel like Terminal management tries their best to accommodate everyone compared to any other workspace I’ve experienced.

Terminal: What’s a win you’ve celebrated recently (work-related or otherwise) that you can share?

Burak: I can probably say that I’ve almost finished my first open source library. It’s an ORM for CouchDB in Python that is ready to be published soon, plus I’m going to start to contribute to the Django Framework. I’ve been thinking of giving back to the community for quite awhile and am thrilled to be able to finally do so. Unfortunately, few developers and companies contribute to the open source ecosystem.

Terminal: What do you like to do when you aren’t at work?

Burak: Depends — if it’s summer, I like to get out and enjoy nature. I do a lot of camping in the forest and I love fishing or sometimes just taking my weekends to relax without planning anything. I’m not the biggest winter person — I tend to stay in my house more than going outside that time of year.

Terminal: What’s one thing you can’t do but really wish you could?

Burak: I have an insatiable curiosity about countless subjects, and some of them have been of particular fascination: medicine, physics, astrophysics, to name a few. How much have I read about these? A LOT. If I could only remember a fraction of what I have read, my life would very likely be quite different.

Terminal: Hypothetically, if you couldn’t work in tech and money weren’t an object, what would you do?

Burak: I would probably go back to school and start a new programme to learn or teach at the University.

Terminal: You said you like to read “a lot”, what is your favourite genre and what are your top 5 must read books?

Burak: I don’t have a top 5, but I just finished reading The Martian written by Andy Weir which is in my opinion better than the movie like always.

These are a few of Burak’s favorite things

Terminal: What are some of the books, podcasts, or resources that you love and that inform your work?

Burak: I always refer or talk about the Uncle Bob Clean Code book. It is constantly on my desk and close to me anytime I need to go back to read or search for something that I’ve forgotten. It’s been 10 years since I bought it and its the best investment I’ve ever made.

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