Hello folks! ✌️ We're starting a new series of articles called Humans of CodeChem. And we'll break the ice with Blagoja, aka Baze. When we told him to answer the questions, he said, "I would take a little time because the answers must be genuine". And his suggestion turned out to be correct. Like always, he's genuine!
Blagoja is a software engineer in CodeChem. He started as an intern and bloomed into a great engineer. We admire him! Blagoja is inspirational to us all. His calmness, ambition, and kindness are priceless.
So, without further ado, here's a short interview with Blagoja. Enjoy!
1. What are the three things that are awesome about you?
That’s a little tricky to answer when it’s so easy to focus on what should be improved instead! Three things that I’ve been honing in for a while would be:
Introspection - I think that regularly reviewing the patterns of past behavior and thinking can be helpful to better direct new changes
Consistency - I’d say working on establishing routines and habits is a good thing. People would know what to expect of you if you’d rather be consistent with everyone.
Helpfulness - Every person is continuously learning, I’d be glad if my experiences and knowledge can help others. We can all learn from each other’s different perspectives.
2. In your opinion, what makes CodeChem - CodeChem?
I’d say that it’s the shared mindset and values that we all adhere to very strongly. Any one of us feels comfortable asking a teammate for help. We try our best to consider the oftentimes opposing viewpoints of others while debating various solutions and decisions all the while being always ready to accept constructive criticism. We push each other forward by sharing knowledge. The person that needed this knowledge can one day share the same thing again with a teammate that didn’t know it, and thus a loop of knowledge keeps evolving. Outside the productive hours, we organize events that enable us to make fond memories together which makes being a part of the team that much more enjoyable.
3. What is your favourite part about working at CodeChem?
That’s knowing the fact that I’m at a place where there’s always incentive to become better and to learn from each other. There’s always a new challenge ahead that we’re all glad to deal with head-on and we’ve got our backs.
4. What achievements are you most proud of? Why?
I’d say that’s the stabilization of a project that we took on which was in a poor state. It has taken a lot of team effort, but our mutual perseverance kept leading us forward.
5. How did you grew inside the company after coming here?
Right off the bat with the internship, the mentors started planting the seeds of great practices in us interns. The growth ahead was due to the incredibly patient mentors, who always steered our proposed solutions and decisions in better directions. But in doing so, we were never talked down to, instead, we were always challenged to think critically and to debate what they were proposing. They were an example of a teammate that is not egoistically holding on to their code with pride, but instead, they were always glad if they could refactor it and improve it. I’d say this support from more experienced people is an advantage against trying to improve alone.
6. What values are important to you in CodeChem?
Knowledge should not be a secret. Everyone is incentivized to share it.
Honesty. It has become reflexive for me to expect every teammate here to be always straightforward and truthful.
Patience. It should be kept in mind that every person doesn’t know something that they should know instead. Help each other, don’t be condescending.
Fairness. Any malicious behavior is a no-go. We’re here to lift each other, not to put each other down.
7. What are your productivity hacks?
Note-taking has been helping me quite a bit! Daily to-do lists give me a clear sense of how the working day will roll out. Also, writing down what you learn will slowly build up a knowledge base. It could be project-specific or related to technology, or some topics of personal interest. Some note-taking apps support searching by the note contents, which makes it a lot easier to retrieve something. I also use recurring events to schedule time every week for progressing through a given goal (e.g., some literature). The literature is sourced from two queues: a technical and a non-technical queue of books. The first queue includes books that I think are beneficial professionally, while with the latter I explore personal interests. As they get read, I enqueue new ones. I think these structures are beneficial because they avoid scattering your attention. Although looking back, I’d say I may have gone astray due to always trying to allocate the available time for productivity. It’s challenging to crawl out of burnouts, so that’s why I’d say that devoting time for only resting can be a productivity boon, as well.
8. If you weren’t in IT, who would you become?
I’d get involved in neuropsychology to study the nervous system and how it is related to our psychological processes. I am fascinated by what can be unveiled even though science is constantly in flux. Luckily, we get to live in an age where experts from many areas share their expertise and we can learn from them even if we don’t pursue those areas professionally.
9. What does your typical workday look like?
- Groggily take a shower.
- Check out the to-do lists to see what’s on the schedule.
- Have some meetings that will shape the day
- On your marks, get set, go!
- Review what’s been done in the day. This can include noting some issues that I deemed to be a hindrance, or perhaps most of the things went smoothly. Either way, the data is necessary for tomorrow’s meetings.
- Depending on what day it is, either process a goal from a queue (e.g., a book) or chill with some video games with friends.
- Try to mindfully focus on breathing for a set amount of time.