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Bringing the Hospitality Industry to the Next Level with Sergiu, Android Developer

The starting point of all great achievements is perseverance, and Sergiu Ciulean leads by example. From bringing the hospitality industry to the next level, one feature at a time, to being a self-taught guitar player. Learn more about Sergiu’s inspiring seven-year journey as an Android Software Developer and as an artist. 

Get a glimpse #BehindTheCode. Meet Sergiu, Android Software Developer at Fortech.

Tell us a bit about yourself – your background, interests, and hobbies.

My story, in a way, is not much different from the story of each student who relocates from another city to Cluj. I was born in Deva, Hunedoara and moved to Cluj-Napoca in 2012 to study Computer Science at the Technical University of Cluj-Napoca.

I was highly passionate about software programming from a young age. Thinking back, I discovered my passion for technology around the time I got my first computer in 2004 and had my first contact with video games. No coincidence there.

In the 5th grade, I was incredibly skilled at Pascal and attended a few contests. I still remember this first contest I won, where my prize was an envelope of money and a bag of sweets. Nothing really compares to receiving recognition for your hard work and talent, especially when you’re young. I am still thankful for that moment, as it’s what kept me motivated to pursue a career as a software developer.

When it comes to other interests, you should know that sports are a big part of my life – I’m a huge football fan and an amateur tennis player. As a child, I painted football sports clubs’ logos during my drawing classes, and I always attended matches with my father. Up to this day, I watch football matches almost daily.

The hobby I keep closest to my heart now is music. One of my biggest goals as an adult was to embrace my artistic side, as I did not focus on that when I was younger. A few years ago, when I discovered the local artist Valeria Stoica, I bought my first electric and acoustic guitars and decided to start learning how to play them on my own. Even if the journey as a self-taught guitar player might be difficult, I persevered and ended up an intermediate-level player. Don’t get me wrong, the F chord is still quite challenging, but I can now play multiple songs and I know plenty of chords. Recently, I decided to expand my musical knowledge and get a little help, so I started my canto and piano lessons as well. Music is now a big part of me, just like software development, and I’ve worked a lot on improving both.

How did your career evolve at Fortech?

I found out about Fortech from a friend. I was in my 3rd year of Computer Science and my friend got a job offer as an Android Developer, but he preferred iOS Development. He decided to decline the offer and recommend me instead.

At that moment, it really felt like the stars had aligned for me because I knew my chances of getting that job without a referral were low – I didn’t have much experience with Android except I was a big fan of the OS and it wasn’t a subject you’d study in college.

After I got referred, I joined Fortech as an intern on July 1st, 2015. Since then, I have worked on two different projects – one project for the healthcare industry (as an Android and React Developer), the other for the hospitality industry, a project I have been involved in for the past four years.

What software project are you currently working on?

Currently, I’m working as a Mobile Developer on a Guest Communication App that comes to the aid of hotels and guests as a tool to facilitate bookings of activities, tables, room service, check-in, opening room doors, and more. Overall, the features we’re introducing reduce guests’ need to directly interact with the hotel staff, leading to faster response time to their needs.

I think that the app I’m currently working on is bringing a lot of added value and takes the hospitality industry to the next level, one feature at a time. The feedback we received is also encouraging, as most of the users were happy to test the app and highly appreciate it.

What’s the project’s tech stack like?

When it comes to the tech stack, we use Java and Kotlin for Android, Objective-C, and Swift for iOS, React for WebApp, and Ruby for the back-end.

What’s your favorite thing about the project?

Hands down, the best parts about the project are the interesting and unique features that we’re working on, but none of that would be possible without the team and the client. They’re the ones who make this project special.

I’ve met the client multiple times, but most recently, we met face to face in Germany, where we had the chance to brainstorm ideas and think of ways to improve the product offered to the final clients. I can’t emphasize enough how incredibly grateful I am for how well our input is received and for the overall constructive way of working within the team. Mistakes are never criticized. Instead, the focus is on learning how to avoid them in the future and crafting creative solutions.

What’s the most challenging thing(s) about this project?

For me, the most challenging part of the project is the code. As the project started a decade ago, it still has legacy code, and bringing that up-to-date and optimizing its functionality to the newest standards can be challenging.

How about the team? How’s the vibe?

I couldn’t ask for a better team. Both the Fortech team and the client teams are dedicated, passionate, and friendly. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the whole team used to meet once a year in person, a time we dedicated to celebrating the amazing results we’ve accomplished.

Once the pandemic hit, the tradition moved to online, and currently, we have various games going on every week. My favorite tradition takes place on Friday and we call it the “Corona Cooking Club”. It’s a time when we gather for lunch to choose a recipe, prepare the dish, and enjoy it together.

What’s next in your career journey?

The next steps in my career journey are to continue developing my Android skills as the technology evolves day by day, and to improve my iOS skills. As most of my focus was on Android, I’d really like to level up my iOS knowledge as well.

Why should someone join Fortech? What advice would you give them?

I think Fortech has a lot to offer in terms of learning and professional growth. My advice to you is to be curious, willing to learn, and open-minded because this attitude will open your way of improving both professionally and personally.

What’s Your Story?

Browse the Fortech Careers section on our website and check out our opportunities. #CodeWithUS

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