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Designing UIs for Millions of People Worldwide with Daniel, Front-End Team Leader

Six years after joining Fortech as a Front-End Developer, Daniel Stoian leads a team working on a major project for the consumer electronics industry. His team’s work reaches millions of people every day.

We sat down with him (virtually) and talked about his early days in Fortech, the support he got to learn and develop, and the mindset that helps his team cope with high expectations.

Get a glimpse #BehindTheCode. Meet Daniel, Front-End Team Leader.

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

I was born and raised in Sibiu, a beautiful city that is close to my heart. After finishing high school in 2008, I moved to Cluj to study at the Technical University of Cluj-Napoca. I did my bachelor’s degree in Telecommunications Engineering and my master’s degree in Multimedia Technologies. After graduating, I decided to remain in Cluj and pursue my dream of working in the tech industry.

As for my hobbies, I love to travel. Greece is one of my favorite European destinations due to its magical blend of gorgeous seaside and scenic mountains. I enjoy discovering hidden destinations wherever I go. Unfortunately, 2020 was not the best year to do that. So, during this past year, I focused more on my second favorite hobby, history. I enjoy history books and documentaries, especially if they touch upon cartography as well. I’m a huge fan of maps. I even have a scratch-off map at home with all my past and future travel destinations. A fun way I chose to combine both of my passions.

At work, I am very organized. I always take notes and use different apps and tools that help me finish work before deadlines. I like to keep a clean workspace, and I’ve created a logical filing method to find what I need quickly. I believe this increases efficiency and drives the rest of the team to stay on track, too.

Memories from Daniel’s travel adventures

How did your career evolve at Fortech?

My journey with Fortech started in 2015 when I joined the team as a Mid Front-End Developer. I worked on a Web-Based Marketplace for Pre-Owned Cars for an automotive industry market player based in Germany. Three and a half years later, I had the opportunity to become a Team Leader for the project I was part of.

In 2020, we took on a new project in the electronics industry, and I got promoted to lead the new team.

I am incredibly grateful for all the growth #perpectives I have found here so far. Since I joined Fortech, I had the opportunity to sharpen my skills in web development and started to learn how to become a good mentor and team leader.

How does Fortech support learning and development?

A big part of the learning happens on the job, as it should. I learn by doing and branching out into new projects, listening, brainstorming, and bouncing ideas off my team members. It’s a very collaborative environment where we find solutions to different issues together.

Then comes formal training, where Fortech pays for you to attend different conferences, take classes, or certifications. When I got promoted to Team Leader, I did two training programs that the company provided: “Leading People | Managing Work” and “Communication Skills”.

This year, we are switching to a new performance management approach called iGrow. Before rolling out the program in my team, I attended several training sessions on acting as a coach and guiding my colleagues throughout their professional development journey. The program introduces a mindset shift, as well as regular coaching and dedicated learning time. It encourages us to be the drivers of our growth by embracing challenges, making mistakes, learning from them, and improving our skillset.

As part of the program, we’ve added frequent knowledge-sharing sessions within the team. Each member hosts a short presentation about recent tech trends they read about.

What software project are you currently working on?

I’m currently working on a Car Connectivity, Control, and Multimedia Services Platform for a big player in the consumer electronics industry. Our team’s work includes developing and maintaining a series of UI components and libraries based on ReactJS, targeted at several industry sectors such as automotive and consumer electronics. We design UIs for a wide range of experiences, from in-car control and entertainment to day-to-day use of home electronics such as TVs.

The framework we are developing aims to provide building blocks for creating robust and maintainable applications. To that end, we’ve pulled together the best solutions for internationalization (i18n), accessibility (a11y), voice control, focus management, linting, testing, and building. Then, we created a set of reusable components and behaviors on top of that. We combined these pieces and ensured that they work together seamlessly, allowing developers to focus on implementation.

We started working on the project in April 2020, and our scope and team size have been increasing ever since, after positive feedback from the client.

What’s the project’s tech stack like?

It is a frontend-only solution, for which we use ReactJS, Redux, CSS and JavaScript, and Typescript. We constantly adapt and migrate the code to stay on top of recent technologies.

What is your favorite yet most challenging aspect of this project?

We develop UI components used by tens of millions of people worldwide, and I can see my work “in production” in my own house. That’s my favorite part about the project. It’s incredibly gratifying, but at the same time, the pressure to deliver the best solutions is exceptionally high. So, a big challenge of this new project was adapting to the high-quality standards and processes involved. Finding new colleagues who would be a good fit with the project and the client team makes the job even more demanding. Despite all the challenges, I greatly enjoy this ongoing development journey.

How would you describe the team? What should a new colleague expect?

We are currently six members, five software developers, and a Scrum Master, and we wish to add at least another React Developer. The project team works from Cluj and Southeast Asia. It’s my first experience with this interesting blend of cultures.

I am happy that my whole team looks forward to new challenges on this project. Whenever we have an issue, we sit down together and scout for solutions. If there’s more than one viable solution, we split into smaller teams, test our ideas, compare results and choose the best option. It says a lot about us. We see each challenge as an opportunity to learn something new and to improve our craft. We also celebrate success and failure as a team. It’s precisely the type of person we are looking to add to the team. So, if you’re a team player and focusing on quality is your second nature, please check out our job opportunities.

What’s next in your career journey?

For now, I’m focused on finding the right balance between improving my technical skills and building my people management skills. I still have a lot to learn in both areas. I want to become better at balancing the two without prioritizing one over the other.

What’s Your Story?

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

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