Having employees that propel us towards success for 15 years is something we are very proud of. In the manner of celebrating this amazing number, we decided to feature two of our employees and ask them all about their journey in the company so far and most importantly what kept them so long – Zhaneta Iievska and Zoran Dimitrovski. First in line is Zhaneta Ilievska.
1. 15+ years working experience in a company that exists almost 18 years means being with that company from its own beginnings. During that time, you get to experience a lot of changes, growth, challenges, achievements, and more. So, looking back at your beginning, how did you get in ⋮IWConnect? Did you have an official interview in order to start working in ⋮IWConnect?
Yes, the company hasn’t started working yet, but we already had an HR department 😊 …And it was not just a simple interview, but a two-phase selection process. The first step was a written test. I remember that there were questions from OOP, databases, SQL, etc., and then, those who managed to pass the testing were invited for an interview.
During the interview, our soft skills were to be recognized, and among other things, it was to check how seriously we want to come to a company that was just registered… and how much we can risk. At least for me, it was risky, because I was employed, and I had to take an unpaid leave of 3 months. If one starts thinking about it in detail, anything could happen in those 3 months, a new company, new people… But, to be honest, at the interview, completely by accident, we met with my ex-colleague from the previous employer (with whom I am glad to say that we still work closely), so that was kind of reassuring for me. There was at least someone else who will also get into the “unknown”.
Another part of the interview was to examine how much we are willing to invest, even to sacrifice… I knew that I had to learn many new technologies in a short time.
Finally, at the end of the interview, when I was asked “how much money I’m expecting for salary” … I recall that I said, “just not less than my current salary”. I was not 100% sure what I was getting myself into but I knew I would get a lot more than what I had on my hands at the time … new horizons, opening up to the world…and we made a deal.
2. What was the first project that you have worked on?
The first project that I have worked on was the historical GEH (Generic Exception Handler), a product whose initial development was started by our US partner and then entrusted to us. With GEH, many new colleagues were trained, grown, and became exceptional software engineers… and from here the phrase “Eh GEH”. Seeing this from my perspective and in that time GEH was complex, especially the logic for Exception Severity, but still valuable and so different from everything I have done so far …
As a business solution, GEH was a platform for capturing exceptions that were generated by systems in an EAI/SOA infrastructure which were then handled in a predefined way. The exceptions were actually messages that were captured in ESB whether through JMS or TIBCO Rendezvous protocol and stored in GEH Database.
Technically seeing, GEH was a multi-tier application composed of a GUI component and a number of message-based listeners. The GUI (from one side) and the message listeners (from the other side) communicated with a common GEH database.
And what did we learn? GEH was a rare opportunity, at least I had such a feeling at that time. First, because the work was divided by functionality, not by a layer or a technology, we worked as Full Stack Developers and it was very interesting for me. We learned the entire process of product development, from the requirements (functional or non-functional), design, to the coding part. I do not even need to mention, testing … but most importantly the entire process of preparing a release, packaging, preparation of documentation, licensing. Back then we did not work on client’s systems, but rather we worked only locally and we had to make a structure on how to pack the code, we prepared developer instructions for the developers on the other side on how to unpack it, build it, deploy it etc.
3. During these 15 years of working in ⋮IWConnect, you have probably changed the offices. In how many different offices have you worked in the last 15 years?
As far as I can recall, that would be 4 offices, and soon the number will change to 5. 🙂
The first one was a flat in a house in the strict center of the city, with 2 offices, one normal office for 4 developers plus another one smaller for the CEO. When the next group of 4-5 people came, they had to be accommodated in the salon, which was certainly not pleasant for a longer stay.
After about a year, we moved to a new facility, also in the strict center where we already had a whole floor with several offices. What was good for both locations was that all the pizzerias and cafes were nearby, which would be said “with one foot we were in the core of the events in the city”. Soon it became crowded… we had new projects, the team was expanding and we needed another office.
The third location was a building, slightly away from the center, owned by a construction company, so you can guess what a modern designed building was. The offices were very nice, especially the view of mountain Pelister from the hallway where we were resting for a break. There was no balcony but the ambiance was very pleasant. А good portion of the people who are in leadership positions today started their journey in this facility.
Finally, we came in the fourth building, also modern designed and owned by another construction company… and with even greater capacity. We stayed in this office for the longest time, about 14+ years. We moved here in the period when the global financial crisis started when some clients canceled projects, but we overcame that… and instead of firing people, on the contrary, the expansion continued in the years that followed until today.
4. What is the one thing that kept you part of ⋮IWConnect for so long?
One of the most important things in life is to know what you want, what the challenges are, and what you expect from work. One thing that I know for myself is that I do not like routine things or things that are repeated, I prefer changes and different things.
After years of thinking and considering going abroad, I decided to live in Macedonia, and I love my hometown Bitola with all its surroundings and its convenient geo-position. On top of it, ⋮IWConnect was the best combination I could get… I have the opportunity to work with world-renowned technologies for eminent clients and right from here, from Bitola but in the world. Over the years I have worked with various technologies and concepts… and then I had the freedom and support to learn and move gradually in other various non-technological, management areas. All in all, my job is an interesting one…there were challenges and there will always be… so I cannot say that there is one thing that kept me here, instead there are many. The environment, the people, the collaboration among the people and the respect from people, the continuous learning of new things… is the combination that has kept me here for so long.