We’re marking one year since the FIVE team joined the Endava family and are proud to have Sanja Cvetkovic with us on Meet the SME. Sanja is a passionate Senior Java Developer based in Zagreb, Croatia, and she enjoys the possibilities and empowerment of coding and tech just as much as the serenity of nature and being offline.
Thank you for joining us, Sanja. So, what has brought you into the tech industry and software development?
Ever since the first console app I made during my school days, I’ve been warped into the power of making the computer do what you tell it. The exact and mathematical aspect of programming was the driving point for me; there is not much left to interpret when a piece of code is run. And I love that. And to this day, I do think this is the best job in the world. In this technologically driven day and age, as a developer, you are the one who really makes a (code) change and difference, both for the consumers and the industry you are working in, and – as I see it – a real impact.
What has been the biggest innovation since you have been working in the industry?
I’d say that cloud-based platforms weren’t really a thing when I started as a junior developer around ten years ago, and now they’re a preference. From a development standpoint, the ease of CICD (Continuous Integration / Continuous Deployment) on cloud solutions is a dream for a developer. Virtually from code change to deployment – automation of this (at least for me) tedious process is a great benefit.
Also, I have a particular interest in something that has flooded the tech world: machine learning solutions and frameworks. I think there is no end to what the algorithms could be used for, and I am looking forward to someday tinker and work closely with these frameworks.
What is the biggest challenge or opportunity you are seeing and what should organisations be doing to prepare for this?
If you had asked me this question two years ago, my answer would have been a vastly different one. In this war-struck time, I think it should be on everyone’s mind – people and organisations alike – how to help the ones directly impacted and lessen the impact on all our lives and the economy because we are all humans first and foremost. Also, since the pandemic has proven to be a much bigger and more persistent problem than we anticipated, we have seen organisations around the world already open up to, for example, working from home.
But also, I see the pandemic as a breeding ground for new tech, as we needed to switch a large number of activities from real life to virtual. There is an opportunity here to stop with the mundane, everyday, repetitive activities or unnecessarily time-consuming ones, which could be performed automatically, remotely. And I hope these new tech ideas and solutions will be with us long after the pandemic ends, and that we’ll even expand and simplify them as we go on. I think all software organisations could and should jump on this bandwagon, as it certainly is a profitable one but also much needed and helpful tech.
What is the project you’ve worked on that you are most proud of and why?
During my whole career with FIVE, I’ve been working on a project for a major music-streaming service. The switch from my ‘strictly Croatia-based’ previous job to a US-based client, working on an infinitely more complex platform, with some of the technology I used to only read about, with a more complex development system, and mostly US-based colleagues... This was a shock to me, and I’m proud that I managed to fully get on board. And I would recommend that kind of “shock” to any thriving developer. International teamwork has its obstacles, but I would say it helps you grow and sharpens you in a way you didn’t know you needed sharpening.
On the flip side, what is the project or technology that challenged you the most and where you had some setbacks? What did you learn from this?
I’d say there weren’t too many challenges in my work with that client, at least nothing which I could not handle. Most problems were related to working around old technology to be able to introduce something new. Besides that, my ongoing challenge and struggle is to find the time and balance between everyday work and challenging myself to learn about and adapt to modern technologies. Oh, and have a life besides that… Every day, I start with a plan to do 10% more than I actually have time for.
Let’s move on to a few more personal questions, shall we. If you were not working as a Senior Java Developer at Endava, what would you be doing instead?
I would still be in IT, as a Data Scientist, implementing a pandemic prediction model…
Would you be brave enough to share one of your guilty pleasures with us?
I love to watch crime documentaries; I’m fascinated with the psychopathy of serial killers and other criminals. Privately, I am a pacifist all the way, so it is a strange curiosity I cannot explain. And as a bonus, my husband is a bit scared of me because of this.
If you could go back in time and visit any historic period, where – or rather when – would you go?
I really love nature and would like to see what my surroundings looked like prior to the arrival of humans. I would like to walk through Zagreb without roads and buildings – probably would need good boots for that, though.
What was something you thought would be easy until you tried it?
Having children. I didn’t think it would be necessarily easy but at least more natural and organic. Not ground-breaking, terrifying, frustrating, and strangely, at the same time, the best thing ever.
Finally, would you share a favourite quote with us to send our readers off with some inspiration?
“Someone must have already thought of this.” – Every time I encounter a problem in my work, especially the tricky ones, I first find it remarkable and am in awe, ‘Wow, I found a great bug! I must get to the bottom of this!’ And then I humble myself, ‘C’mon, Sanja, you can’t be the first person to find this!’
It’s been great to have you, Sanja, thank you for sharing so much with us. Stay tuned for more insights into the work and life of Endavans in the next part of our Meet the SME series!