Howdy and welcome to my About page 🙂
What you will find here is some information about me personally, professionally, and how I became the individual I am today including my love of technology, “addiction” to video games and passion for software development.
Before we get too much into the details; below is a summary of my education level, where I have worked and what my role was and some of the societies and groups that I am a part of. If you would like to know contact me using this page.
Bachelor of Computer Science – Digital Systems Security; from the University of Wollongong, 2013.
Master of Computer Science – Computer and Network Security, and Intelligent Systems; from the University of Wollongong, 2016
Technical Project Lead; at Itree from October 2017 – Present Day
Software Engineer; at Itree from October 2014 – September 2017
Pre-Sales Technical Solution Consultant – Middleware; at Oracle from August 2014 – September 2014
Societies and Groups
Golden Key International Honour Society, 2016
If you don’t know already, my name is Christopher Tom Kochovski. Currently I am an Integration Software Engineer at Itree with my daily IDE being IntelliJ, Java as my go to programming language and my liquids of choice that keeps me charged during the day are a number of medium flat white coffees with one sugar (but I am trying to cut back, I promise).
Ever since I was a young kid I was always interested in how things worked, and how things were put together. My parents understood and appreciated this curiosity so I was fortunately spoiled with a number of educational toys. Out of all the toys (including my Lego kits) I loved everything electronic (something I probably inherited from my father, as he is an electrical engineer); so I have fond memories playing with these educational electronic kits. These kits were essentially boards with lights and speakers, where you would have to wire up circuits using actual wiring/circuit diagrams. Playing with these kits never got old because there were so many scenarios to try at varying levels of difficulty. While the family were around the TV watching the nightly news or Gilligan’s Island, I was on the floor reading the diagrams and trying out the various scenarios.
Along with playing with educational toys I was exposed to gaming early. I have fond memories playing Little Monster At School, Muppets Treasure Island, Full Throttle, and the Hunchback of Notre Dame Topsy Turvy Game in particular. But I was also exposed to and enjoyed mature games such as Wolfenstein 3D, Doom 2 and Hexen as well (mainly due to my older cousins playing them at the time). A memory that I will never forget is waking up Christmas 2002 (I was 11 at the time), and opening a present with my younger brother to find an original Xbox with Halo: Combat Evolved, Jet Set Radio Future and Sega GT 2002. My brother and I played Halo all day, loving every minute of it and I knew from that moment forward I would enjoy playing video games forever. This “addiction” to playing games has held strong through my high school, university and professional life where I still avidly game on PC and Xbox One.
Where did my specific passion for software development and programming come from you may ask? Well that’s a good question; it started in high school. I loved any subject that was testing my logical and analytical abilities. I was fortunate my high school offered a software design and development subject. I took that subject, and I knew going forward that programming and designing software is what I wanted to do. I enjoyed it so much because I got to create and design applications that people can use to assist their day to day lives. Helping people achieve their goals and needs, generates a sense of fulfilment and satisfaction for me. My very first IDE I used was actually outside of this class while doing my own programming research and was Bloodshed Dev-C++, with my first programming language being C++. In my class however I was exposed to Microsoft Visual Studio and Visual Basic, extremely different from the C++ I was learning outside the class.
As I started studying at university (completing a Bachelor of Computer Science degree) I was exposed to a new operating system (Linux, specifically the Ubuntu distribution), various other programming and scripting languages such as C, Java, SQL, Bash, and a series of development tools which I still use today such as Git. What I learnt at university helped me prepare for my future role as a Software Engineer. It wasn’t all about the practical application of the languages and APIs but the logical and analytical thinking, team work and Computer Science fundamentals needed to solve a number of problems that stuck with me the most. I found it was more important to know when to use a Hash Map and when to use an Array List, or how to functionally break down a problem so that the implementation is efficient and modular in design with appropriate unit tests accompanied. Anyone can read online documentation on how to use specific APIs but it is more important to know when to use it.
With a passion to continue to learn from educators who are experts in their respective fields being Artificial Intelligence to Security/Cryptography I decided to pursue a Master of Computer Science degree. I never wanted to stop learning, and pursuing this degree was another way to scratch this learning itch. The advanced topics I was being exposed to such as Computational Intelligence and Robot Perception and Learning made it one of the most enjoyable moments in my life and I recommend anyone who has a passion for learning new concepts and being challenged to always further their education in some way. There are no bounds and limits to what you can learn, and this is something I feel is a very important philosophy especially in an industry where everything moves so quick. You must adapt, learn and constantly evolve your tools to stay relevant, and if you don’t do this then you will start to fall behind.
For the last three years I have been part of an ever growing, passionate and enjoyable company where I have been able to grow as a Software Engineer. Itree allowed me to pursue my Master of Computer Science degree while working for them and I am forever grateful for that opportunity. They have helped me develop the necessary skills to ensure that the software solutions that I help design and implement are secure, robust and reliable for all the clients and customers. My Java and SQL skills have evolved tremendously because of the talented individuals I have had the privilege to work with. Being in such a commercially successful and professional environment I became a sponge and am absorbing as much information as I can; while also sharing any knowledge I have to my colleges. I never built or worked on large scale projects with tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands lines of codes before, so when I started it was very daunting. I learnt how to manage dependencies using Maven, how to deploy web applications on a Tomcat container, and how to write scalable and efficient code. Properly tested code is also very important and ensuring that all the code that is checked into the code base has appropriate unit and integration test harnesses is another area where I got to significantly increase my experience in using the JUnit, Mockito and PowerMock testing frameworks.
By now you may have an idea about how I managed to love gaming and programming. But my loves and passions are not just tied to those areas. I enjoy many things, not just to do with software development and technology. To stay fit and fulfil my competitive nature I practice Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. It allows me to step away from the computer, keep my body fit and do something that I find is very similar to solving problems but physically. The way I look at BJJ is that it is a physical Chess match, where you have to out-smart your opponent, thinking three to four moves ahead so that you come out on top and either taking a new position, preventing a pass or performing a submission. I am also an avid comic book reader, with a particular fondness for the Caped Crusader, the Dark Knight, aka Batman.
So there it is friends. A brief snapshot into the personal and professional life of Christopher Tom Kochovski, with plenty more to come in the near future. Stay tuned…