The Story of Chris

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The Evolution of a Passion

Hi there! My name is Chris Hessler. However, my official name is Christiaan. It’s like my secret hero identity, except I don’t have a cape… yet. It all started when I was just a young developer working on hobby projects to complement my other passion: watching anime. Back then, I was all about anime, especially classics like Dragon Ball Z. I wanted to share my experience and information about that anime online. It was around the age of 12 when I started figuring things out, and by 13, I had my first website up and running. It was a basic HTML site, decorated with some photoshopped design elements and a simple PHP script. Those 20 lines of PHP were my first introduction to programming. 

As I dived deeper into web development, I started liking it more and more so I expanded by creating more webpages and trying to make them more dynamic over time. I started taking on small projects for neighbours and friends who needed it. For example one of my neighbours had a small jewellery boutique and she wanted a website so I created it for her. Sometimes I received payment for my work but other times it was just a friendly gesture. These projects sparked my interest and before I knew it, I had unofficially started my own web company. While I was too young to register in the Chamber of Commerce, I had fun doing something I enjoyed and I made some money from it. 


A Developer’s Journey

This lasted for 5 to 6 years because I eventually started my education at Grafisch Lyceum as a media designer. In that same period, I got hired as a part-time logo designer for the first company I ever worked for. I did that for half a year and it wasn’t long before they offered me a position as a junior software engineer, working with C#. I expanded my knowledge of programming in general there for about 4 to 5 years until the company went bankrupt and I eventually found a new job at another company where my love for PHP programming started. 

I learned so many new things and then I moved on to another company that does secondment. On my first day there, I got sent to a client and within a month I had no contact with the company I was hired by so naturally I felt very disconnected from them and like I was just a money factory. That’s when I decided that I could do the same thing myself and earn much more than what I was getting paid. So I looked for a job as a freelancer (by that time I was old enough to register at the Chamber of Commerce so I did). 

I found a group of developer freelancers who needed additional people to complete a project so I joined them and it was a really enjoyable experience for me. This journey lasted 7 to 8 years, it was a period of a lot of growth, learning and independence. However, you never get the familiarity of a company that you get when a company actually employs you. Then you are part of the team, not some external asset that gets burned when they don’t need you anymore. 

I still think that is one of the larger milestones I reached in my life because I felt confident enough that I had the experience and the proper soft and hard skills to be able to work independently. That did a lot for me in terms of personal confidence, financial freedom and opportunity-wise. It rocketed my career in a way. I had a few very fun and large customers who are currently on my resume and I believe are very important for hiring managers or companies to decide to invite me for an interview. 


From Freelancer to Full-Stack Developer

At the moment, I am at a point in life where I want to grow my family so I like having more stability in my life. That was the main reason I wanted to stop freelancing and get employed by a company, but why did I choose Pionect? They worked with the technical stack that I’m interested in, they offered a good salary, and they were looking for someone like me 😉 (it’s always good to feel wanted haha). I strongly believe in hiring the person and not the skills because characteristics are something that a person has and skills can be taught. This is an idea Pionect also pursued, that’s why they say everyone has the opportunity to be a pioneer, so sharing the same vision of growth drew me to them as well. 

I believe in the power of collective growth, where the company’s success reflects individual achievements. I also find it important (besides getting paid) to have a goal to work towards. Mine is to commit to Pionect to show the people here that I can help drive the company’s growth while growing myself. As a growing company, I am positive Pionect is going to give me enough opportunities to demonstrate my abilities. I was hired as a senior full-stack developer and I pride myself on critical thinking, having an eye for detail and being open-minded. 


Beyond the Keyboard

Outside of programming, I still have hobby projects that I like working on. Most importantly I spend time with my family. As opposed to what I thought in the beginning, I really enjoy playing with my kid and being “the fun” parent. I thought I would be more of a strict parent because my parents used to be like that. I’m a gaming enthusiast as well and spend a lot of my time watching movies and series. I also consider myself a car lover and an animal-friendly person. I have 2 cats at home but I like all kinds of animals, especially the ones who you can interact with a lot.

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