My transition from student life to a full-time job
At BISS, we like to say that we are an innovative company with people passionate about software craftsmanship, technology, and making an impact. To create an impact, you need to have experienced software craftsmen eager to make one. I know because I’m currently working as a Frontend Developer on a project for the Croatian firefighters, but we will get to that later.
How do you become an impact maker? It is only possible if you work in an environment with people unselfish to share their knowledge and help you become a better version of yourself.
My story started in the third year of college by getting into an argument with my professor and little did I know my future boss. Not a great way to start my career, and certainly not a great recommendation on how to start a job. It all happened at the Java programming II course where we got a 7-step assignment to develop a product and I opted for a simple computer card game. The bad thing at the time was that my project proposition got rejected, so I started developing Pong Game from scratch.
PhD Aleksander Radovan and Dominik Hanževački at Algebra campus
I’m a big fan of music and drawing, while my biggest forte is frontend development so the task seemed easy. I would surely get an A, I thought to myself.
Fast forward a few weeks and the time to present my project came, but it was not as easy as I initially thought. Because of my obligations, the last three days before the presentation were a time battle to finish the project.
I was in a classroom with about sixty students and only five of us had the finished product in our hands.
During the presentation, the professor gave me a side task to change a few lines of code to make the ball bounce in only one direction not random as it was supposed to do. It was a quick way to tell if the code was indeed mine.
We argued, how could he ask me that, I haven’t slept for nights trying to make it happen. From my point of view, I had thirty thousand reasons to pass all classes. Why? Yearly tuition was thirty thousand kunas, which is our currency here in Croatia. Why would I copy someone else’s work and risked getting failed or even worse – getting kicked out of college?
Needless to say, I struggled a bit but managed to change the code successfully, and it worked! The professor was pleased and so was I, the fight between us ended as fast as it started.
He certainly remembered me, so when the time for the bachelor’s degree project came, I asked him for mentorship, and he agreed.
There was only one problem, but a major problem that needed to be dealt with. To obtain a bachelor’s degree, we were obligated to find student practice in an IT company. At first, my mind was hesitant to ask anyone for help, but as the days went by, I knew the help was well needed.
The culmination of my story happened when the E-mail from my mentor came. What was written in it struck me like thunder. He was offering me not only student practice but also a student job in a company that he works at. Did this just happen? I have not only got a practice but a job. It was a shock at first, and I was nervous about my first day at my new student practice slash job. Every beginning is difficult, meeting new people is not an easy task, especially at work and for a student that just got his first real job. In this kind of situation, a person has many questions running through their mind, one of them being would they live up to the expectations.
So how was my first day? I was presented with a desk packed with top equipment, so yes, I was pleased, but also a little stressed out. If you remember in the beginning, I was telling you about experienced software craftsmen, but why did I mention it?
I mention it because there is no better way to become one than to have help from not only one but a couple of them and I would like to thank them for their support! I’m grateful for all the knowledge you shared with me.
Fast forward, a few months ago I signed a full-time job contract.
I’m currently working in the Haven First Responders development team; we are creating software that helps firefighters and helps to digitalize the process of interventions in critical situations. Coding in an agile team that is maintaining great communication is one of the main advantages of working at BISS. Code that is well structured and defined is the biggest upside, so working on a project like this is not only a perfect way to learn but a great chance for personal development. As a master’s degree candidate and a full-time employee, my daily schedule is busy, but that is the thing that drives me to take even greater responsibility.
Dominik Hanževački working on Haven first responders project
During every step of my career my frontend team, my mentors Aleksander Radovan and Teo Šurković, and the whole BISS team were there to support me, to help me perfect my knowledge and test my limits, so thank you for that!