Meet the Team: Digital nomad and backend extraordinaire Adrien Sirjacques
Adrien Sirjacques is our resident digital nomad at Annertech. He travels so much that we’ve created our own game, along the lines of Where’s Wally, trying to figure out where he is in our morning coffee chats. When he’s not globe-trotting he’s tinkering in the backend of Drupal.
When asked to describe where he’s from, Adrien Sirjacques’ reply is: French born, Irish seasoned and now a Digital Nomad.
After spending 21 years in France and 13 in Ireland Adrien decided he needed to see more of the world. Working while travelling, each day is different, as he makes his way from country to country in search of a place to call home.
Alison Visser: What do you do at Annertech?
Adrien Sirjacques: I mainly do Drupal backend development work, but I also perform numerous tasks under the Managed Services banner – such as sorting out issues, developing new features or creating new modules.
I am part of Annertech’s social committee, which is in charge of organising social events. It’s important to know your colleagues outside of work or a project. The social committee is tasked with making sure we feel a bit closer as a team in a fully remote environment. We’ve organised games such as Truth and Lie, Trivia and Sketch. I believe it makes people feel part of the company, and it’s great fun.
Alison: What does a typical work day look like?
Adrien: I don’t have a typical work day. Today I am in La Rochelle (on the west coast of France) in the lobby of a hotel. Tomorrow I’ll be working in a friend’s living room. My office is different Add to that a bit of travelling to Ireland, Prague, Portugal … wherever.
Adrien Sirjacques working outside a cafe on Střelecký Island, Prague.
Although it can be tiring, I like an ever-changing environment. It reminds me that I am lucky not to be stuck in a traffic jam. I like to know I am in charge and I can choose the life I want. But, maybe next year I will be a bit more settled.
Alison: How did you get into this line of work?
Adrien: In my early years, I studied electrical engineering. In those days there was no way to study computer programming before you’d finished school. I moved to Ireland not long after I graduated from high school.
At that point I hadn’t even thought about developing websites, let alone with Drupal. But a work colleague had a business idea: to create an online listing of events at pubs etc. I quickly made a website from scratch (no CMS). My colleague was editing pages, and I started building a back office for that, and that’s when I realised the value of a CMS, because we were wasting a lot of time when he made mistakes or typos and we had to fix them. I started digging around for a CMS and I came across Drupal.
Then I started going to Drupal-related social events, and I felt so welcome that I stuck with it. In 2013 I was made redundant from my IT job, and went into Drupal full time.
Alison: What do you love most about your job?
Adrien: The fact that I only need internet, water and coffee, and I can work from anywhere. The versatility – I work on interesting and, sometimes, challenging projects. The flexibility. If I find a project taxing I can just go to the gym or swimming pool, come back later and continue, refreshed, on the project. I also like the fact that it is open source and the Drupal community has been an incredibly welcoming community.
Alison: What do you like least about your job?
Adrien: Sitting behind my computer all day!
Alison: Was there a favourite project that you worked on? Could you tell us a bit about it?
Adrien: It’s hard to pick one but if I had to choose I would choose the NLI project. I integrated the website with the event management system Eventbrite. It was interesting and I am proud of what I have achieved. The Paragon project was also interesting. It was challenging as it is a multisite, and was created to work across various countries and subsidiaries.
Alison: At the time of writing you were swanning around La Rochelle, but where are you actually from?
Adrien: I’m actually from Epernay, the capital of Champagne. It’s not my preferred drink. I am more of a whiskey connoisseur.
Adrien Sirjacques and Juanluis Lozano working outside a café in Rijeka, Croatia.
Alison: What are your interests outside of work?
Adrien: I used to spend most of my time doing computer-related things but this year I started hobbies that were either outside of work or less work-related. I enjoy playing with my Raspberry Pi and Arduino, but I’ve also developed a taste for woodworking, and have been going to a wood workshop to build some things. I enjoy Formula One, and would love to attend the race in Hungary. I’ve also made an effort to spend more time with my family, do a fair bit of wine and Champagne tasting, a bit more sport and a bit less travelling.
Alison: What is this digital nomad lifestyle all about? Is it the sort of thing you’d advocate for others to do?
Adrien: It depends. It’s probably better to do when you are in your 20s but for me it was all about testing out different countries and deciding where to live. I guess that if you have the choice you should try out countries you would like to live in.
For example, I used to think I wanted to live in a warm country such as Portugal, close to the sea and the mountains. It was the best of both worlds. When I lived in Prague I realised that I did not mind four seasons in one day and a cold winter… Then again I could also live a few months in one country and a few months in another… But everywhere I went I mixed with the locals and made great new friendships. It is hard to pick one spot. And not long ago I went to Rijeka to visit Juanluis Lozano and that was my first time in Croatia.
I will have to go again to visit Croatia properly. There are still a lot of countries in Europe that I haven't been to yet but I'd love to go to Peru and Mexico. Also, the list would not be complete if I did not include time back at home with my parents. That’s another place I need to consider. I’m starting to feel like the clock is ticking, because I would like to settle somewhere – and that was the reason why I started on this digital nomadic quest.
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