Graduate computer scientist: “As a good developer and programmer, you have to grit your teeth”

Für Wojtek Gorecki, computer scientist from Niederaussem, Germany, spielte ein perfekter Lebenslauf nie eine bedeutende Rolle. Zugegebenermaßen brauchte er eine Weile, um zu dieser Erkenntnis zu kommen. Wojtek Gorecki möchte sich ständig weiterentwickeln. Daher bestimmen zwei Fragen sein ganzes Tun und Handeln und letztlich sein gesamtes Leben: “Was kann ich noch werden? Was erwartet mich im nächsten Level?”

In the series “How do I become…?” atechbook talks to people who have very different professions. But how did they get to them in the first place? Here in conversation – Wojtek Gorecki, computer scientist and web developer from Niederaussem.

Wojtek Gorecki, computer scientist from Niederaussem, Germany
Wojtek Gorecki, computer scientist from Niederaussem, Germany Photo: Wojtek Gorecki

When he was young, Wojtek Gorecki thought computers and gaming were really cool. Programming his own games or anything similar didn’t even cross his mind back then. Perhaps he was dreaming more of a career as a musician. In any case, music also determined a large part of his life. “I started making the websites for my various band projects back then.” In retrospect, that formed the beginning of everything that was to follow.

One of his brothers was already a little further along when it came to computers. “I first gambled on an Amiga 500. Later, my brother brought home a 386 PC and we took our first steps on the Internet.” Via ICQ, a kind of WhatsApp from the stone age of the Internet, Wojtek Gorecki chatted with his buddies back then and found it quite impressive.

“However, starting a computer science degree was too obvious for me. I didn’t want to do that. So I first enrolled in the information technology program at the Technical University of Dortmund.” Information technology combines computer science with electrical engineering and some physics. For Wojtek Gorecki, this was an aberration, which he ended after two semesters, only to switch to computer science after all.

Study provided the tools

So why didn’t the Bochumer initially want to go down this path? “Because there was a huge hype around this degree program at the time. And I don’t like to line up with things that conform to the masses.” For the record, at the time, in the late 1990s, the so-called dotcom bubble was just building up, and all the young people suddenly wanted to make money in the new, digital world. As it would later turn out, especially for investors, an illusion.

During his studies, Wojtek Gorecki worked at various companies, where he more or less taught himself how to program while studying. “The university trains scientists, not software or web developers. Everyone should realize that up front.” For his later work, the studies were nevertheless worthwhile, albeit indirectly.

“As a good developer and programmer, you have to bite through. You have to have the ability and the drive to work on something until you find the right and best solution.” That’s what he learned in college: how to approach certain problems in a structured way and develop the best possible solution for them.

What Wojtek Gorecki dealt with for a long time during his studies now forms the basis for Google Maps or other route planners: the Travelling Salesman Problem. “Basically a mental exercise from practical economics: how does a traveling salesman manage to visit customers in his area at the lowest possible cost.” The algorithms for this problem formed a significant part of his thesis. The solution to this mathematical puzzle has revolutionized the way we travel.

Good places to go

The Bochum native advises young people who are toying with the idea of also doing something in the field of development and programming: “No one needs to be able to program games at the age of six. The experience comes on its own. And everything is on the net to become a good programmer. Try it out.”

Anyone who is still undecided about studying should take a look at the Coding Bootcamps Europe. For career changers in particular, it’s also worth taking a look at Hamburg. There, the “Neue Fische” offer courses for future web developers.

In Wojtek Gorecki’s life, the next level is just around the corner. He has now completed the field of web development. Together with three partners, he is currently founding his first company. At “Let’s lead”, Wojtek Gorecki develops ways and solutions to help people in organizations improve their leadership skills. Ultimately, the aim is to help companies make structured and conscious decisions.