Blitz Interview: Most Senior feat. The Youngest Teammate
Hey, this is our People of Scale series.
Here’s something new – a blitz interview between (as the headlines says) our youngest and the most experienced teammates at Scalefocus.
Believe it or not they’ are from the same office.
This week on focus we have Daniel Joskovski & Filip Naumovski
Present yourself using only 5 words
Thirsty for knowledge
On his background
Daniel: Skopje, North Macedonia
Filip: Skopje, North Macedonia
Daniel: Senior father of two and Senior Software Support Engineer
Filip: Trying to finish college while contributing and learning as much as possible at work.
Daniel: Drop out after 48 university exams. Consider himself a regular student even though he was an employee of the Mechanical Engineering Faculty.
Filip: I am currently in my fourth year at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Information Technologies – UKIM, Skopje. Hoping to graduate sometime this coming summer.
How did you start your career?
Daniel: I’ve started as a support of the IT laboratory at my university and worked there for 5 years. After I’ve left, I started my own business and been doing that till 2014.
Filip: With a couple of internships in several companies, my current position at Scalefocus is the first real job I’ve had.
On his role at Scalefocus
Daniel: It’s simple. When the pandemic struck, I wanted a job that could be done remotely. And the “Work from everywhere” opportunity by Scalefocus came just in time. So, I took it, and here I am.
There is a funny story about my job application. A team member from HR called me and asked if I wanted to apply for a position at Scalefocus. And I was surprised because I’ve already applied and sent a CV. But HR said that instead of a CV, I had sent them an invoice, and the file is with my name. So, the mistake was correct, and after some time, instead of an invoice, I got my first paycheck by Scalefocus.
Filip: To me, Scalefocus is both a company that kickstarted my career and one where I feel like I can advance both in position and responsibilities, but also skills, technical and soft included, all the while having a real impact.
Tell us about your position.
Daniel: Currently, I am the most senior support engineer in the ACC team. As it turns out, I am the most senior employee of the company too. As I am working on a few projects, I have some people who help me, and I am satisfied with my position. I am confident because it allows me to learn about new technologies. Before I’ve started working for Scalefocus, I had no idea about Jira, WordPress and so on, and now they are a big part of my everyday work. I just had to adapt to evolve.
Filip: As part of the ACC team, most of my time is spent working on bug fixes or change requests (in AngularJS, Angular and Java Spring Boot). Still, I am currently in the process of transferring over to the Frontend department of Scalefocus.
Now share how you would explain to your grandma what you do for a living.
Daniel: Oh, it’s not easy at all. For example, my father has 2 universities degrees. And even though he is a technically educated person, he still does not understand how something that is not physical has such a significant impact.
Filip: I type things on my keyboard, and magic happens on the screen.
On his everyday work life
What are the qualities of a successful team or project leader?
Daniel: The essence is to have knowledge about project management. The most important thing is to know how to do the job and the second one is experience. And e pinch of charisma would help too.
If someone lacks the first two but wants to be a leader, they will not succeed.
For example, SCRAM is extremely popular to build a product, but unfortunately, not all project managers understand that framework. The methodology is not critical. What matters is the knowledge of how to lead the process.
Filip: I would say someone that recognizes the team members and their respective strengths and weaknesses.
Tell us about your team & colleagues?
Daniel: Even though we are working remotely, we are still a team, and I enjoy working with the people around me. They are educated people doing their best and have significant input on the projects.
Filip: The only thing I can say is that they have made my time in ACC very enjoyable and stress-free. Every single one of them is wonderful, and they are all delightful to be within both work-related and casual settings.
What makes you proud and confident about your work?
Daniel: I can somehow always come up with the best decision not only about problem-solving but generally in life. Everything becomes clear and simple if you think enough about it.
Filip: Getting a positive response from a customer is always a good sign, but just getting something to work, especially from a development point of view, is on its own a very satisfying experience.
On his updates
How do you keep your technology and programming skills current so that you can do your job well?
Daniel: As I’ve already said, I am a curious guy, and I have the skillset to learn quickly. So, when life challenges me, I can adapt. I am a Microsoft Certified Trainer for .NET, MS SQL Server, and SharePoint for the past 20 years. I’ve been in situations where I must teach in front of a group and have a week to learn everything from scratch about the topic, I am about to present to them.
Filip: I try to keep up with new technologies as much as possible because, especially in web development, it seems like there’s a hot new framework every other month. I’d say I keep my skillset current mainly through small personal projects in technologies that interest me or are needed for my position at work.
Are you an early adopter or do you prefer to be patient?
Daniel: With that said – you already know the answer.
Filip: I like trying out new technologies and seeing what they offer, so I guess an early adopter.
On his goals
What do you want to achieve? Career-wise and not only.
Daniel: Here is another story. Some years ago, I wanted to stop working because the market in North Macedonia was not challenging enough, and it did not motivate me. So, I needed something to push me. That was when I bought some land by the seaside in Croatia. And that was enough to get back my motivation. I want to renovate the house there and someday take care of my olive gardens. I want to prepare this estate for when I retire. This personal project affects my work performance, and I use it as an engine. Career-wise I hope to stay in my position until it’s time for retirement because the prominent positions do not tempt me. I don’t strive to be a General manager, you know – I’ve already been there. I just like to do what I am good at.
Filip: Imagining myself in a few years, I’d like to have a broad knowledge of multiple technologies and be adaptable to any environment or project as needed, contributing and having a real impact.
What do you want to say to your future self?
Daniel: Every part of our lives has its beauty and challenges. I wouldn’t say I like to overthink the future. I just enjoy the present.
Filip: I wouldn’t ask anything because it’s no fun if I know what awaits me!
On his challenges
What is the most challenging/exciting thing about your work?
Daniel: The most challenging thing is solving problems or creating solutions, but it is also exciting. When you solve someone’s problem, it could be really satisfying.
Filip: Probably implementing new features from scratch, start to finish. It’s always interesting to see how features or projects evolve from idea to blueprint, code, and finally to working product.
How do you think technology advances will impact your job?
Daniel: I am open to the news and advances. The main project I work on is based on Jira core, its automation of business processes. The ability to automate every business process in a brief time for me is an excellent thing. And when there are improvements, I will be able to build better solutions.
Filip: There is a significant impact, especially in our line of work, since technology advances are so rapid. As a result, we must be flexible and adaptable to whatever new technology might be popular at the time.
What skills or characteristics make someone an effective remote worker?
Daniel: A bit more self-discipline and good time management are needed. Everything else should stay as if we are at the office. I’ve noticed that I do more stuff at home than at the office. It’s because I don’t waste time on transport or trying to find a parking spot, or deciding on what I should wear today. I invest all this time in my projects.
Another benefit of “Work from Everywhere” is that it motivates you when you switch your home and go to the villa or the seaside. The change of the atmosphere has a positive effect.
Filip: I think good, clear communication is essential in a remote work environment. Most of our communication is asynchronous, through mails or chats, so asking the right questions and answering in a clear, detailed manner is a vital skill that could significantly lower the time spent communicating and leave more time for actual development.
On his favourites
What is your favorite practice at Scalefocus?
Daniel: I won’t lie if I say everything. The work-life balance is something that I really appreciate. Also, the possibility to do my job without sacrificing my free time is significant. It gives freedom.
Filip: How well organized everything is, from infrastructure to teams to everything else.
How do you manage your work-life balance?
Daniel: It’s not hard if you know your priorities. I know that I should do my assignment for today and contribute to my long-term projects. Everything works out perfectly if I do that and keep the phase.
Filip: Working remotely makes an excellent work-life balance easier to achieve, and the flexible hours at Scalefocus help a lot with that.
Music, hobbies, family, pets, and everything in between – who are you outside Scalefocus?
Daniel: Outside of work, I am an easygoing person that enjoys social contacts. Unfortunately, the pandemic affected this side of our life. I love to travel. I used to do it a lot with my motorbike, but 3 years ago I had an accident and my shoulder needed to heal. But hopefully, soon I’ll be on my motorbike again. Besides that, I regularly go to the mountains for hiking and long walks.
Since my kids are grown up, I still have the urge to take care of something, so that’s why I have two dogs – Pomeranians and they’re motivating me to go out and move more.
Filip: Regarding music, I’m definitely not someone that listens to a particular genre. I just listen to what sounds good to me, from pop to metal to folk. I spend a lot of my free time gaming, both casually and competitively (formerly on European Dota 2 leaderboards).
On the best advice
A piece of advice for Filip?
Daniel: He is a good developer. So, my advice for him would be to stay on this track, and everything will be fine. It’s a job for life – look at me, I am 59 and still doing it side by side with him – the youngest in our company. I wish him to prosper and get the position he wants – a manager when he is ready.
A piece of advice for Daniel?
Filip: Not really advice, just that I hope he doesn’t mind us consulting with him constantly about things he has more experience with
What practices would you “steal” from him?
Daniel: Unfortunately, I can’t steal his youth 🙂
Filip: How adamant he is about all the work that we do (and issues that we might run into) being adequately documented and communicated with the client.