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Talent Story – Martin Varela, Senior Software Engineer

15 May 2018 by Maria Kotaniemi

Who is Martin?

My name is Martín Varela, and I am originally from Uruguay. In 2001, after finishing my Computing Engineering studies, I went to France for an MSc and kinda stayed over for a doctorate. After that, I went to Stockholm for a few months for the first part of my post-doc, and then came to Oulu, to work at VTT for 9 months. That was almost 12 years ago!

I’d say that I’m still more of a scientist than a “real” developer, but of course, programming has always been an important part of my work, and also a hobby, from time to time.

I got my first computer, a Commodore 64 in 1986, and started playing with the BASIC interpreter into which it booted. I think my first program was some sort of “choose your own adventure” game, on that C64. A couple of years later I got a PC and started learning Pascal, later C. Then came the uni, and C++, Java, assembly (x86 and SPARC… yes, I’m that old!), a bit of Haskell, and so on…

What hardware do you use?

At home I use an old 15″ MacBook Pro, ca. 2011 (with a lovely matte screen), to which I’ve changed the SSD and brought it to 16GB of RAM, and it has served me well so far. At work (which nowadays is also at home), I have a newer, smaller MacBook Pro, and a 40-inch, 4K TV that serves as my main screen.

And what software?

I pretty much live inside Emacs, iTerm2, and Firefox these days.

What would be your dream setup?

I’m pretty satisfied with my current one, but I wouldn’t mind having a proper workstation, with a couple of CPUs and boatloads of RAM.

What is your favorite programming language and why? Is there a new one you’d like to learn or you kinda have to learn?

It varies with the task at hand, but for my own projects, I tend to gravitate to Clojure these days. I feel it is a very natural match for my way of thinking. It’s funny how after doing functional programming for a while and using Lispy languages (I do use Emacs Lisp quite a bit, too), using more “traditional” languages feels constraining.

For simple scripts, I often fall back to Ruby, and when I’m feeling more intellectual, I play with Haskell.
At work, I’m currently using quite a bit of Python. To be honest, it is not my cup of tea, but it’s ok, and since it’s the language that the rest of the analytics team is most comfortable with, it makes collaboration much more fluid.

How did you hear about Talented and how did your process go?

I had had some contact with Reaktor, but my location constraints made it a no-go and the recruiter I was talking to there put me in touch with Tuomas from Talented. From there, it was only a couple of days until I went to chat with him. We had a very relaxed and fun (in a nerdy kind of way) chat. After that, it was only a few more days until I was in touch with It all went very fast!

In the beginning, you got to tell us about your preferences for jobs and companies, so has your new job matched with your expectations?

I think you guys found me possibly the best match in the industry, considering my background. I was looking for something that was not just straight up development work, but had a more science side to it, and where I could apply my expertise. provides a monitoring platform for WebRTC, and one of the things they do is estimate the quality of the WebRTC calls. I have a background in Quality of Experience, and I knew that WebRTC poses some interesting open challenges in the area, so it was a very good match both for the company and for myself.

How did we do?

I didn’t have very high expectations, as I knew Talented is geared towards developers, and I was not really looking for a developer job, but I was blown away! Besides the actual “getting a job” part, I appreciate that you have stayed in touch, and even gave me the chance to participate in a socially meaningful activity and help refugees and migrants to learn to program. I’m just very happy that I got in touch with Talented.

How would you describe Talented to a friend or anyone who is looking for new

I haven’t had experience with other recruitment agencies, so I cannot compare, but I would highly recommend Talented to any developer looking for an interesting career change. I found the whole process very friendly, fluid and effective.

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