Straight from university, Mladen joined HTEC Group. Seven years later he is our Frontend Tech Lead still in love with the company’s culture and the values we nourish. This is a short story of his inspiring professional growth and development.
Mladen was always into computers, and when he got his Pentium 4 in high school, with Barton processor quite suitable for overclocking, he thought he had already decided on his future career. He was obviously interested in software development, but he knew his passion was true once he realized that engineering things kept him by his computer more than any computer game ever could. His grades went down, but his parents were patient because they recognized his potential and let him do what he loved.
When his university studies ended, it was time for him to gain some practical knowledge, and he came across HTEC’s website. He still remembers the pictures of Nikola Tesla on some of the company’s website pages, and from what he could see, the company was still young and full of young engineers eager to create something great together.
Mladen interviewed with the company’s CEO, Aleksandar Cabrilo, because the only HR representative the company had at the time was on vacation. “I was honest. I said I didn’t know much, but I was very interested in learning and growing. After a few tech questions, he saw how hungry for knowledge but inexperienced I was, and he said they would let me know.”
Mladen says he didn’t expect a callback, because that was his second interview ever, but he somehow knew that HTEC would be a perfect place for him.
Less than a month later, he started his internship at HTEC, and the rest is history. “I started working in a team of several amazing people, most of whom are still in HTEC. Although the company is growing at an insane rate, we are still trying to maintain the atmosphere that we created years ago when HTEC was still a small company. With over 700 people, we are still riding that very positive “you can do it” wave.”
Mladen found his professional passion in React. He had been working with HTML, CSS, and JS for years, and frontend was always his cup of tea. “I saw how quickly apps managed to make everyday life easier, and React simply brought a lot of hope when it came to optimization.”
“The world keeps changing extremely quickly, and I love working on things that can help in any way. On one of our projects, we worked on optimizing routes for a shipping and transportation company to reduce the consumption of sulfate fuels, which would eventually reduce their impact on the environment and our planet, among other things.”
Having experience in several successfully delivered projects gave Mladen an opportunity to try his hand at leading a frontend team as a Frontend Tech Lead. He notes that his primary focus is to inspire the people he believes in. “I know talented people when I see them, and I also see they are often shy and don’t have enough confidence to show their true potential. This role will enable me to not only mentor and motivate people to grow, but will also allow me to learn from each and every one of them.”
Mladen loves working with people, and he really enjoys the company of those who surround him every day. “Even before we acquired Execom and Konstukt, HTEC expanded its team mostly on people’s recommendations. I believe it was the same at Execom because they work amazingly well as a team, and they all seem to share the same values. It’s really great to work in such a healthy environment. I’m sure that at any time you can ask for the support of an engineer who is not in your team and that call will surely be answered.”
From his personal experience, Mladen can tell you that HTEC is a place where you have the opportunity to learn more about yourself. He started his first workday in HTEC in a QA position, and he did not enjoy it at all. “I made a comment or two among my colleagues about it, and a few days later, Cabrilo, our CEO, came into the kitchen of our old office and in front of everyone jokingly said: “I hear you are not loving the QA, you can try the web instead”. I was shocked, but I loved the idea. You can guess what happened next! Things are still the same here, and I don’t see that happening in other companies. Mladen says that all his dear people are already in HTEC, and he can freely and honestly recommend the company as a great place to work. To everyone considering a career in HTEC, he would say that it is a company where you are allowed to make mistakes and learn and grow from them—” I have been in the same company for 7 years, there is not much more to say, right?”.
For Mladen, a workday starts with a coffee, and he uses those first thirty minutes of his day to see if something he did yesterday could have been done better. “Not just in an engineering sense but in general. I think that’s the right way to be better tomorrow. With work, technology, people….”
Mladen loves to recommend tech resources, but he also says that in engineering the normal flow of things is progress, and sometimes that progress may drive you away from tech and into some other directions. “I’ve been catching myself more and more often with books by Simon Sinek or Richard Branson. So far, I have progressed through other people’s visions and I believe I have that charisma to one-day direct that same vision.”
Finally, one of the most important lessons he has learned throughout his career is that you should surround yourself with both accomplished and less experienced because there are lots to learn from both. “You always admire the better ones and try to be better yourself, but you should never forget that one day you were the less successful one.”
A lesson he has learned in his career is that you should always be brave and focused on your goals, “Focus on today and face all the challenges life throws at you, this is what you will be remembered for. Rather than waiting for someone to tell you what you need to do, help yourself. So, in the end, you’ll know at least what you didn’t want to do.”