Driven by the desire to always explore new things and build innovative solutions that would make a difference, Radivoje has come a long way from being a gamer to becoming a Solution Architect, and now, Global Head of Technology at HTEC Group and a member of Tech Excellence Office. With deep tech knowledge and outstanding experience, he took the helm at HTEC Group at the beginning of 2021, with the desire to help us spark innovation and provide unprecedented value to our clients.
Recently we sat down with Radivoje to discuss his background story, his responsibilities at HTEC and why he decided to join our vision in the first place. The insights from the discussion shed light on his thriving career path and versatile opportunities HTEC has to offer.
From a Gamer to a Global Head of Technology
Being a gamer at heart, Radivoje got interested into the world of tech from an early age.
“I got interested into technology and programming from an early age. I started playing games in the primary school as most of us do. Of course, I played it on a very basic computer, but it was enough to spark my curiosity so I got interested in how those games are actually built. The first thing I did in programming was to create a few scripts in QBasic. So, essentially, I became interested in programming through gaming. In high school I got introduced to Pascal programming language and then Delphi. But the real journey began at the Faculty of Organizational Sciences, where I got my formal education and where I started learning Java, which is still my passion today. The thing I really like about Java is that it is open source with a huge worldwide community — one of my great drivers is a chance to leverage open-source technology to build solutions that would benefit everyone.”
Career path: Innovation as the North Star
After graduating from college in 2008, Radivoje started working for a small Serbian software company which was working on a search platform for legal documents. But he didn’t stick around for long because he always wanted to work for a software company that build products for the global market and offers opportunities for career development.
“So, I changed the job and went to Mogul—a Swedish outsourcing company where I had a chance to work on global commercial projects and with better tools and processes. Most companies I worked for were start-ups. I have always been interested in defining and building products that would disrupt the market. And that’s what the startup culture offers. Guided by my passion for gaming, I also worked for a small startup whose focus was on building backend for a video game. At some point, I got interested in crypto — it was a hot topic back then, and still is. So, I worked at Gamecredits where the platform we worked on was actually a web wallet and a payment provider, but the target audience was the gaming community as well. So, you see, it’s all connected.
But there was something bothering me about startups. At some point, it all became quite exhausting — working long hours, always from scratch, with unpredictable outcome. I wanted to be a part of a more stable, dynamic working environment that offers opportunities for career development and higher probability of positive outcomes. And HTEC was basically the mix of the two. It allowed me to work as a Solution Architect across many industry domains, explore my own capabilities and work on some of the most exciting and challenging projects in my career.”
Delivering Value with Cutting-Edge Projects
Radivoje explains that he has been involved in building many innovative products over the last year but admits that the one that really got him excited was building an expert search platform.
“To build such a platform, you need to have quality data. There were many challenges in how to process that data, index it in the best way and get the best search results. So, the entire team had to investigate a lot. And this is another thing I love so much about HTEC — when a bunch of inspiring people get together to work on finding the most sustainable business solutions to complex challenges. You know, as a Solution Architect, you don’t have to know everything yourself. There are the domain experts that can help you solve complexities. On this specific project, we, together, did data science investigation and created machine learning models to come up with the best search results and recommendations. I had a chance to explore some new tools and frameworks I haven’t used before, which further strengthened my expertise.”
All Roads Lead to Impact
Curiosity led Radivoje to explore different paths during his career development and HTEC was the place where he discovered a plethora of opportunities for his professional growth.
“I came here as a Solution Architect a year ago now, as a member of a newly formed Tech Excellence Office, I and have worked my way up to a Global Head of Technology.
As a Global Head of Technology I’m leading a couple of initiatives, one of them being the project audit. We worked on defining the procedure for the project audit over the last year. Basically, during the audit, we check the project processes and tech solutions to ensure a consistent quality of our services and constant improvement.
Another thing I’m leading is the R&D. We are starting with a few small initiatives for now, just building some blueprint solutions and service templates with the help of senior engineers and tech leads. Basically, we want to encourage reusability inside HTEC as well as standardisation. For example, if you are starting the development in Java, and you don’t want to build everything from scratch, but use some templates to bootstrap your development, we can enable that through R&D. Later on, we can switch the R&D focus to emerging technologies and frameworks, allowing you to really investigate some new concepts and solutions. I’m really looking forward to this.
On top of this, I am also currently involved in other initiatives to help solve different HTEC challenges and provide guidance to our people. As a Solution Architect and a tech lead, among other things, I provide support to my colleagues, help with the mentorship, and onboarding. And, I must say that when I joined HTEC, there were only three or four solution architects at HTEC. And there are around 20 of us now and growing. The fact that we have different backgrounds and versatile experience allow us to learn from each other, help each other whenever the need arises.”
Tech Excellence: Turning the Impossible into the Art of Possible
At HTEC, technology excellence is at the core of everything we do. This empowered us to create our own Tech Excellence Network, a group of highly experienced domain experts, thought leaders and engineering talents who share the same mindset with a focus on finding the most innovative ways to solve challenges our clients face.
“Tech Excellence is a group of professionals devoted to one idea and vision to increase the level of professionalism and tech excellence within the company. Also, its mission is to establish the foundation and build engineering culture through various services and initiatives. Some of them are already mentioned. The growth that is currently happening creates a number of challenges. Professionalism and technical excellence are imperative if we want to make this period of change easier and beneficial for all of us.”
“Among other things, our colleagues reach out to the members of Tech Excellence when they are struggling with some technical problems. We listen to their problems, enable collaboration between different teams and experts so that they could share knowledge and exchange experience. This way we provide continuous support to our people. We really want to use our collective brainpower to push the boundaries of our capabilities and create a pool of invaluable sources that allow us to deliver continuous value to our clients and empower each one of us to thrive.“
HTEC Group: Culture of Purpose, True Team Spirit and Strategic Leadership
Radivoje points out that one thing that really caught his attention was the HTEC’s wide spectrum of career opportunities.
“If working on the same project, and building same features seems monotonous and not motivating enough to you, you can always switch to other project that grabs your interest, or maybe work with a new technology or in a new business domain. On top of this, you can also get involved in a number of initiatives like the ones I mentioned already, R&D or project audit. Put simply, you are in charge of your own career path.”
He also emphasises that working on meaningful projects that contribute to the quality of people’s lives and well-being is one of his main drivers and a reason good enough to be part of the HTEC mission.
“The very fact that HTEC gives you an opportunity to work on products that actually improve people’s well-being proves that here you will be solving serious issues and go home with the feeling that you are really doing something good. It gives you a sense of purpose and makes the whole effort much more meaningful. I like that feeling, it charges my batteries every morning. But then again, other big projects like Stena have a different, but still huge impact. Here, our team of engineering talents worked on ship routing problem. It was a real engineering challenge where engineers had to process and clean up a lot of data on the historic routing to come up with the best ship routing implementation.”
Finally, he says that HTEC Culture and strong leadership is what gives him enough confidence to move forward and advance.
“Although HTEC is a huge company with ambitions to grow even more, I don’t feel like I am working for a corporation. HTEC is really like one big family where I can reach out to anyone when I need help and where it is not hard to push an initiative. And I must say I feel really welcome here. All people are incredibly open and willing to jump in when there’s a problem to be fixed. It’s the HTEC culture that I like the most.
But let’s not forget the chance to work on cutting-edge solutions across interesting domains with clients all over the world. It’s quite exciting, you know?! But all of this would not make sense without the strong confidence we have in leadership and their ability to make the right decisions. We are going in the right direction — you just need to do your part.”