Hi, hello, hallo, salut, yasass, ciào, bonjour .... Anyway you say it, it means essentially the same thing. Or, to be more technical, it translates into the same intention. In the same way, the word "dev" does not require translation. It might be the second most used word after "design".
So, hi devs, I too am a dev. And I believe in stories, so I thought I’d share mine today. Some devs will remember when I say Cyrix, Quantum Bigfoot, AMD K6II, Barbarian (HC90 Basic OS loaded on tape), or Descent. Some will not remember (or might not have heard about them), and that's fine. That's why the “dev” story is a long one, still in the making, growing every day.
My story starts in college; actually in my dropping out of it
In '98 I went to college in Bucharest. I tried to keep up for about two years, but when I found the PC room in the basement, with around 20 Windows NT machines connected to the Internet, something clicked for me. I was so fascinated that shortly after I dropped out of school to create my own story.
Ever since, I’ve been surrounded by computers. I didn’t start programming per se until 2014. Then, as my story was just beginning, I met Radu Stanciu, the type of dev guru who could make an iOS app in Delphi language if he wanted. He kept using obscure notions like "Angular”, “Node”, “Nginx” and “CouchDb”. As a curious person by nature, I kindly asked him to explain them to me and he did. Or at least he tried to. My brain, however, was not prepared to understand them (yet).
Having no job and plenty of time on my hands at that point, driven by curiosity, I spent about two years trying to understand the meaning of those notions and the relations between them. I started with teamtreehouse.com online courses, and I spent about 10-12 hrs/day (I’m the opposite of a night owl, an early bird if you will).
I received my "degree" after building a SaaS named AutoServicePro (still haven't launched it yet though). I believe I re-made it from scratch at least four times so far.
Life as a freelancer
I later discovered Upwork and got my first job in late 2017, working for a French-Sweedish startup based in Stockholm. Although in the beginning the work environment was very friendly, within about two years, that feeling went away, and the focus of the company for quality and UX slowly dissolved. Their CEO had no idea about what a LOC means, but he was running an IT services accountancy platform.
At the end of last year, I decided that it was time to move on, and I started planning my way out. I am an optimistic person and I believe in human miracles. Upwork was still my first choice for pure freelancing, so I polished my profile a bit and started fishing, waiting for a big client to bite: USA, Australia, Germany, UK (1-0 for biases on this matter). I was never really thinking about Romania.
A message from the elephants
One day I got a notification on my phone, Upwork was informing me about a job invitation: Thinslices from Romania wants to offer you a job. On my way to click DECLINE and select the appropriate reason option (too busy on other projects), I glanced over the invitation message, which was in Romanian.
Besides being well written, the content was actually appealing. I looked at the job details >> Thinslices, Company from Iasi, Romania. So I said “Uuoook, yeah, why not? Let's have a Zoom call”. I consider myself to be a fairly polite person and I enjoy meeting new interesting people, even in an online format.
On the day of my HR interview I got to spend 30 minutes or so with a digital talent recruiter, Mihaela. She did not waste my time, which I really appreciated since time and knowledge are pretty much all I have... and synths, sure. The talk went really well and we agreed to set up a technical interview with the team leader for a project - Daniel, senior software developer.
During the technical interview, the positive feelings were mutual I think. I had a really pleasant conversation and enjoyed spending an hour discussing several topics with Daniel, which gave me a great start of the day.
After the interview, Daniel concluded that I was the right man for the job (React dev, by the way), but I still needed to complete one more step. I had to meet my (future) new team for about 45 minutes, and, if we got along well, we would move forward. No topic upfront, just friendly talks. And that was the moment when I made the click: I might just be in the right place, the place that I was looking for, where my voice mattered. A place where we should work together if we like each other. Aha.
I joined the Thinslices team in October 2020, and I’ve been working as a FE dev on a project for The BMJ. There are about 10 projects at the moment in Thinslices, but the one I’m working on has actually been pretty visible on the blog, if you’re curious to know more.
- Reinventing bmj.com with a completely new approach to front-end development
- Decoupling bmj.com using Vercel and Next.js
- Developing Design Systems for BMJ - An interview with Sean van Oossanen, UX Designer
I haven’t yet met the whole team, face-to-face, because of the pandemic. But working remotely, especially from where I live, which is a very picturesque little village near the Apuseni Mountains, has been the best solution for me. I get to enjoy mountain air, spend time in nature with my dogs, and also stay connected to my passion and to my team from Iasi. I look forward to visiting them at the museum sometime this year.
“Would you recommend Thinslices as a place to work?”
I am constantly discovering Thinslices's values and way of working, the culture of openness, and the human-centered working environment inside the teams. It’s not the USA, Germany, UK company I was targeting; instead it’s a Romanian IT company, with a history of 11 years and over 100 clients, and I couldn’t be happier with my choice.
I feel grateful that they found me and I think that this is only the beginning of a long friendship.
Do I recommend TS? Yep. Should you consider working in TS? Yes. Should you just believe my story? I don’t know. But time is limited and I think we should be more careful how we use it and who we spend it with.
If you want to listen to more of my stories, you can tune into my Youtube channel.