Kelson Martins Blog

In this post, I am pleased to continue the Heroes in Tech blog series, where it is my goal to interview interesting people doing interesting things in the technology world.

To continue this series, this time I have the pleasure to present Elaine Shinagawa, a great Software Developer who I had the pleasure of meeting and exchanging knowledge that I am sure can be of great value to some readers.


Elaine Shinagawa is an experienced .Net Developer currently working Retail inMotion, a tech company providing cutting edge software solutions for most Europeans airlines and train operators.
Based in Dublin-Ireland, Elaine, while very experienced, is also specialized in Microsoft Stack technologies, having to work with Microsoft tools nearly all her career. Recently, Elaine started to apply her knowledge in Data related roles, which details we will soon find out.
Elaine and I connected some time ago in the beautiful city of Cork-Ireland through our mutual friend Igor Souza (who was also interviewed for the blog here), while they were visiting the city and attending a local meetup.
Since then, I also had the pleasure to connect and discuss all things tech with Elaine while both us of attended the Websummit 2018 in Lisbon.
Without further delay, I present you, Elaine Shinagawa.

Elaine, tell us a little bit about yourself, your background and your expertise.

I am a software engineer with 9 years of experience in a mix of different technologies, but my favorite is .NET.
I also had some experience in different roles like QA, Tech Lead, Product Owner, Business Analyst, and Support. It gave me a good understanding of the whole SDLC and I believe it made me a better professional.
As I said before, .NET is my favorite technology and my expertise is around C#, using Microsoft stack. Currently, I’m working as a .NET Data Analytics Developer.

What are the biggest technical challenges that you are trying to solve in Retail inMotion these days?

Retail inMotion provides solutions for airlines, having as main product an end-to-end solution for onboard retail management, being used by airlines across five continents. If you ever bought something during a flight from one of our clients, you already used our solution.
Naturally, based on the number of flights every day, the amount of data that we gather is huge. My team is responsible for aggregating data from all of the product’s modules and displaying them in Business Intelligence reports, visualizations, and interactive dashboards. The biggest challenge is to manage and validate this volume of data, in an optimized and fast way.

What are a few of the major technologies or tools that you are using recently?  Any technology that stands out that worth experimenting with?

I am currently working with Microservices and it has been great to use it when combined with some CI/CD tools. Such tools include Jenkins, SonarQube, Octopus, Helm, and Kubernetes.
The mentioned tools exist for a while, but I am being able to use them professionally just now. Not all companies use and understand their value, so I would recommend that everyone get some appreciation for these technologies, as their benefits are immense.

Your professional experience is very strong around Microsoft technologies. How did you start this journey on specializing in Microsoft tools?

I started learning how to program while still in high school, having modules that taught languages such as PHP, ASP, C++, and VB.NET. From this, I acquired a big appreciation for VB.NET.
Fast forwarding a few years, I started my professional career in an Internship that had VB.NET knowledge as a requirement.
Since then, I have been growing my experiences in a few different companies, being involved with Microsoft technologies in most of them. Such technologies include VB.NET, C#, ASP.NET, Sharepoint and SQL Server.

You are a Microsoft Certified Developer, having acquired the 70-461, 70-483, 70-480 and  98-364 certifications. Did these certifications open doors for you?

Yes, I think it helped me get some job interviews as it gives some advantage. Added to that, most companies like certifications as it demonstrates willing to learn and stay on top of technologies.

Still on Certifications, what is your view on their importance for today’s work environment? Would you recommend professionals to take such certifications? Or would you rather recommend professionals to focus on gathering industry experience?

The exams require you to be comfortable with the technologies and will make you learn topics you would not normally consume on a daily basis.
I definitely recommend experienced professionals to acquire certifications as it pushes you to upgrade your skill set. But I believe that certifications by itself don’t add much value if you don’t have much experience or a good portfolio to demonstrate your skills.
In the latter scenario, I recommend focusing first on building a good portfolio.
In summary, certifications give you some advantage but will not land you any jobs directly.

What resources would you recommend to anyone willing to take the same steps you did? What advice would you give to aspiring .Net Developers?

Microsoft provides some free online courses and training, which definitely worth have a look if you are interested in Microsoft stack:
I believe that .NET is at its best moment right now, where we can even run .NET Core using any OS (previous versions were compatible only with Windows). Microsoft is changing its mindset and is now embracing open-source software, so you can find their repositories on GitHub and everyone can contribute.
Some Microsoft repositories in GitHub has development guidelines, so anyone aspiring to be a developer (not only .NET) can have a look, learn from their code and even try to contribute.

You recently started to work with Data Science/Analytics. How is this experience going and how it differs from your previous roles?

I work as a .Net Data Analytics developer, which roles includes data cleansing/manipulation, reports development, and data warehousing management. All of these tasks still require a high degree of coding.
I think the main difference is the approach to “own” the data, as a Software Developer you only care about the code itself, but as a Data Analytics Developer, you also have to care and validate all the data that is displayed in the reports, as it’s crucial for the customers.

Data Science and Artificial Intelligence are in the mainstream nowadays. What are your views on their use in the near future?

Artificial Intelligence technologies are evolving at a fast pace in the last few years, and that is a good thing. Saying that I believe that voice-control and facial recognition tools have a bright future in the near future.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years time? Do you believe you will gradually make a transition to Data related roles?

I enjoy software development and coding, but I also have interest in other areas. If the right opportunity presents itself, I will definitely dive in Data related roles, such as Data Scientist or DataOps.

What non-technical book do you believe every Software Developer/Engineer should read?

The first book is The Software Craftsman, by Sandro Mancuso. In the book, the author describes his personal journey going from an aspiring developer to an experienced professional, providing great information for any junior or experienced professional.
I also recommend the book Weapons of Math Destruction, by Cathy O’Neil. The book provides valuable insights into the world of big data, predictive analytics, and artificial intelligence using real-world examples

Where can people connect and follow you?

You can find me on Linkedin:

Software engineer, geek, traveler, wannabe athlete and a lifelong learner. Works at @IBM

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