Hey, I’m Oliver
This page is about me – Oliver Jumpertz – and my journey into tech.
I’m a software engineer with nearly a decade of professional experience, and I currently work in the streaming space, building highly scalable GraphQL infrastructure as a systems engineer and software architect.
I started programming at the age of 12, in my bedroom, with an i386 and an x86 Assembler. This was back in the days when I dreamed of creating games one day.
At the beginning of the COVID pandemic and the first lockdowns in 2020, I started to take Twitter more seriously and began blogging soon after.
How It All Started
At the age of 12, I finally fell in love with computers. This was when it all began, and my deep connection to technology slowly formed.
My dad had actually studied physics back in the day. He even researched nuclear physics at a research center for a few years. At least back then, researchers wore a plaque that showed when you were exposed to radiation. And precisely this plaque showed that he had gotten a higher dose of radiation than was considered safe.
My mum and dad were already together at this point, and they both strongly wanted to get kids. This is why my dad decided to leave research and find another job. At this time, IT was hot, and employees in this field were in high demand. Every company looked for people to get their IT up and going. The goal was to get away from paper-based ordering processes and use computers to speed up the process overall. Physicists usually were one of the largest groups of studied experts that went into IT because computer science wasn’t as common as a field for students.
My dad spent days and nights learning everything about computers he could, and all this brought him a job in the industry. He got the chance to rebuild all ordering processes for a large German company and became the department leader.
There are stories of my dad and me that my mum loves to tell. Stories of how I sat on my dad’s lap, four or five years old, curiously and cluelessly moving his computer mouse around and watching the monitor closely. There are also other stories of me watching my dad for hours as he works on his computer, sitting on the ground, or getting a chair from the kitchen so I can be even closer to what he is doing.
At 12 years old, my dad gave me his old computer, an i386 with a few kilobytes of RAM and a floppy drive. We used to go to local fairs where people offered floppy disks with various software. We always got a few new games for me, and a few new programs for my dad, and then we went home to try them out. I still remember Prince of Persia, Commander Keen, and other games that I loved to play.
After a while, I really wanted to create games myself. Gladly, my dad had all the knowledge I needed, and even better for me, he had an x86 Assembler and a pretty huge manual. I went into learning mode soon after and began to build my first programs.
I programmed software, ranging from savegame extractors to other useful tools, and tried to give my best to learn as much as I could. To be honest, I am sure I lost motivation quite a few times, but I never gave up, although I never managed to create a more complex game than pong at this time.
Road To Success
Throughout my teens, I never really stopped somehow working with computers. From scripting or modding my favorite games to writing tools that helped me with games, I tried to do it all. In high school, I even got into computer science as my first elective. Needless to say that I also did my German A-grades in computer science (and English, with physics as my third elective).
After that, however, I somehow lost track. I couldn’t seem to find a job and university seemed scary to me. This held me back for a few years when I tried to orientate myself. On one hand, I didn’t want to work a job that included my most favorite hobby, programming. On the other hand, I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.
It took me quite some time and some pretty demotivating rejections until I settled on vocational training in a whole different area, logistics. I learned the trade and art of moving goods from point A to B and everything in between. Funnily, after a year at the job, I already implemented my own software to ease my daily job. The software my employer used was just horrible and took hours, even for seemingly simple tasks. I learned in my free time, I programmed at work, and I saved my colleagues and myself quite a few hours of useless work each day.
It might well be that this reassured me to get back on track and make another attempt at getting into software development. The best way, at this time, seemed to be to get into university and get a traditional degree. And thus, after finishing my apprenticeship, I applied to university and got accepted. University, however, was not what I had imagined it to be, and thus my time there was limited. After only a few semesters, my journey in academics ended temporarily.
I got into another vocational training, this time in software development, and finished the apprenticeship in under two years. I learned a lot about enterprise-grade software development (and how different it actually is from what you do as a hobby). The projects we worked on were interesting (at least most of the time), and I had a great mentor who helped me learn even more about development than I had ever imagined I could.
After that, I worked a regular full-time job at the same company I had already worked at during my apprenticeship. After a while, I even got the chance to work on a project in the United States (Beaverton, near Portland, Oregon, to be precise). A whole other world of work waited for me, and I got the chance to collaborate with one of German’s largest automobile manufacturers. We built a pretty advanced predictions engine that predicted the state of traffic lights in advance of upcoming traffic. The idea was to give drivers an accurate estimation of how long a traffic light would stay green or when it would switch to red. That’s information not even interesting for the drivers themselves but also for all the assistance systems in your car. Your car’s automatic start-stop function can determine whether it makes sense to shut the engine off if the traffic light switches to green in under five seconds; the brake assistance can decide whether to make your car stop because you are about to hit a red light and much more.
Not long after this, however, I began to realize my real worth. My salary wasn’t that bad, but it was way below average. All negotiations went pretty badly because I only had “vocational training.” It didn’t take me long to apply somewhere else and get a new job, for more money, within the financial industry. At this time, I also started to study on the side to get my Bachelor’s degree.
During my time in finance, I learned much more than only technical skills. I also learned much about finance that still helps me today with my personal finances. After a year, I became a software architect and was soon responsible for the technical side of whole projects. My career finally took off. We built many interesting and modern solutions in an otherwise pretty traditional area of IT. If you think that Java is old and boring, just wait until you find database and CSV interfaces, age-old protocols not even supported anymore, and FORTRAN and COBOL programs running everywhere.
The Pandemic, Content Creation, And Me
We all know that at the beginning of 2020, the world changed. COVID-19 came unexpectedly and changed the world of work forever. I can still remember that after I had worked with a Linux laptop for ages, I had requested a MacBook that coincidentally arrived only one day before we were all told to get home and work from there. Suddenly, I didn’t have to take a 30-minute drive to get to work anymore. I could basically fall out of my bed, get a shower, drink a coffee, and get to work within a mere 15-minute time frame. No more traffic jams, no more delays, and way more time for me to spend on things.
This is the time when I started a small experiment. I had always dreamed of trying out content creation and becoming a more or less famous creator. Twitter, at this time, seemed like the right platform to me. Not long after I had started to work from home, I began posting content. I can still remember how I set myself a few notifications each day that reminded me of posting my drafted tweets. Later, I learned about scheduling tools and began to pre-schedule my content. This definitely freed up a lot of time each day.
This was over two years ago and it was a hell of a ride. I started blogging soon after I started Twitter, branched out to other social networks and now, here I am.