Interview with Our Junior Backend Developer

29May

Nikola has been a member of our development squad for over a year now. Before joining us, he used to work for the national television as a part of their IT department. We asked him a few questions to see how challenging it can be to leave behind a well-built career in one industry to pursue your dreams in another.

 

Hey, Nikola! So, could you tell us something about yourself for starters?

Hello! I want to tell you that I am honoured and excited to be interviewed for my company’s blog. I am 45 years old and I am an engineer of electrical and computer sciences. I have acquired my title at the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Before joining SoftwareHaus, I worked at RTV Studio B television station and national broadcasting television – RTS.

Now that you’ve mentioned it, what exact positions did you hold before you joined our company?

I started to work as a computer graphic implementer at the RTV Studio B – this was during the late 90’s, and after that as a computer graphic illustrator at RTS.

During that time, I graduated from college and became eligible to apply for an internal RTS call for a developer of a new platform called “RTS Planet”. I became the main engineer at IT sector, and I also made a WordPress Intranet platform for the RTS television. I worked as a network engineer and in technical support, but the focus of my work was on the new platform – “Planet”. That was a really inspiring and interesting job. I used my knowledge of PHP framework Codeigniter which I like to remember as my “first love” of PHP frameworks since my college graduation thesis dealt with it. The task was to build a TV program scheme and deliver it as XML files for 19 TV channels, 7 days in advance, with all the data needed (photos, descriptions, credits…).

I also worked on WordPress sites as a freelancer.

So, what made you take a slight turn on your career path?

Well, I started to work as a programmer at RTS in the summer of 2016. Still, I wanted to upgrade, to progress in my career and take my skills and knowledge to the next level. So, I started working as a junior backend developer in SoftwareHaus, which is a company dealing exclusively with programming, and this was a dream come true for me.

How challenging was it for you to enter a new industry after you’ve spent some time building your career in a different field? Are there any skills from the previous jobs you could use in your new position with us?

It was very challenging. I had a really satisfying position at the previous company, but I saw it as a good challenge to try to do more alongside good teammates at a new company. I was the only one at my sector at RTS who worked on web programming for the purposes of the company and I felt a little lonely in that environment.

During my whole TV career, I worked as a computer operator and later as a web programmer. So, I didn’t really change the field of work drastically, and there are a lot of skills I am still using in back end. Also, as a computer graphic illustrator, I am good at making computer graphic in Photoshop and that skill helps me be good at frontend development, and, maybe, site design…

How long have you been a part of SoftwareHaus crowd? How much have you progressed professionally during this time?

I have been a member of SoftwareHaus crowd since March 2019, and my professional progress has been amazing during this period. I gained the skills and the experience which I couldn’t have acquired at a closed environment and infrastructure such as RTS. I learnt how to correspond with my teammates regarding the tasks and use professional tools to get the tasks finished.

Were you nervous about anything in the first couple of days here?

At least in the first couple of months (laughs)! A new environment is always challenging, and I am a very introvert person, although I’m a Sagittarius.

Back at my old job, I used to finish all development tasks all by myself, even if I didn’t have enough knowledge to accomplish them. When I became a member of SoftwareHouse, I realised that everything is about teamwork and I finally figured out the worth of GitHub. I was nervous at the beginning, but I was prepared for that period of anxiousness. Also, my new colleagues did a lot to make my initial nervousness disappear.

What has been the toughest challenge you had so far faced when it comes to your new position?

Well, my profession change was soft and it happened at my previous company with all my friends and colleagues to help me during this change. Then, I faced a rough change with new colleagues and new rules at SoftwareHaus. Firstly, I had to learn all about backend work on our concepts. That included new skills in tools that I wasn’t familiar with before. I assume this has been my toughest challenge because I had to implement every bit of my knowledge to make the projects I was assigned successful.

Could you describe your usual day in the office?

I walk through the office door and sign and timestamp the appearance sheet. Then I say hello to everyone, enjoy my breakfast and the morning coffee together with the beautiful sight of Belgrade from the 19th floor of our building. Then, I wake up my Mac Mini from sleep and continue the work from the previous day. The software we use helps me a lot. Most of the days I have routine tasks and I finish them without any problems, but sometimes tasks become real monsters and make me nervous all day…and the following night (laughs).

Occasionally, there is a possibility to learn through the tasks and these are precious moments for knowledge improvement.

The office atmosphere is relaxed, I talk and joke with colleagues whenever it’s possible…

The special moment of the day is when our catering service brings lunch. Then we eat together, and after that have some refreshing Coke. Then, we keep working on our tasks until the end of the workday.

Sometimes, I take a break and go for a walk near the Sava river at Belgrade Waterfront.

Do you plan on staying in this industry? Why?

Yes, I plan to stay. This is a creative and dynamic profession, full of challenges and opportunities. No one knows where the boundaries are. I know that I have to learn daily to improve my skills of PHP, Laravel framework, Java Script, SQL.

What do you appreciate the most about our company?

I really appreciate our company’s attitude and braveness to innovate. I also appreciate the way the company treats the employees and provides good working conditions.

And are there any things you would change about it?

I would rather think of improving and changing myself within our company and making progress firstly for myself, as an individual, and thus being able to further contribute to the company. But if I really have to pick one thing… the office curtains, maybe (laughs).

You are among the most mature people in our company. How do you find working with people who have less life experience than you and learning some skills from them?

I was a bit scared this question might pop up (laughs). I am not among, I am the most mature person in the company. I am really amazed how mature and skilled all these young people are. Sometimes, I learn from them when tasks are narrowly connected to the company’s software and technical settings. But mostly, I work and research alone. And, why not mention it, I occasionally teach them some of my skills. Anyway, it seems that I fit in this company and that the younger colleagues aren’t scared of my white-haired look… At least I hope so (laughs).

Do you have any advice for those who are trying to enter the IT world or are consider joining SoftwareHaus?

The most important thing to say is that it is a must for them to be armed with knowledge and to be persistent in striving for their goals. I think that it is important not to wander but to know precisely what programming technique to choose and why. The Internet is full of sources of knowledge and nowadays we don’t have an excuse not to learn something because we don’t have the desired conditions. I think that SoftwareHaus is equally appropriate both for junior and senior programmers. And here’s a hint for those who want to join SoftwareHaus: pay special attention to Vue JS.

And, for all our future colleagues who are reading this, tell us something about your interests outside of work, maybe they share some of them.

I like to play classical guitar, read comics, play video games and chess, go out with my friends, listen to rock and roll, travel, and most of all, spend quality time with my girlfriend.

Thanks, Nikola, for such a pleasant chat!

Bye and thank you for your attention! I hope that I encouraged the readers of our blog to join our SoftwareHaus team.