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Florentina, Full-Stack Developer, on Striving for Excellence and Crafting eBike Ecosystem Applications

Florentina Ilie has almost 15 years of experience in software development. She fueled her career journey with perseverance and hard work, continuously striving to become a better professional. Two years ago, she joined Fortech and embraced new challenges in her development as a Senior Full-Stack Developer and Team Leader.

Get a glimpse #BehindTheCode. Read about Florentina’s professional journey, the multiple hats she wears, and learn about the eBike Ecosystem Applications she is currently working on.

Can you please tell us a bit about yourself? What are your studies, hobbies, passions?

I started to study computer science in high school in Iasi. I remember my first Informatics teacher – a young lady, very passionate about her job, a truly inspiring person, and a perfectionist. It was her first student class and she put all her effort into teaching us programming. The start was hard, as my first grade was not a passing one; this was the moment I realized I wanted to challenge myself to understand this field. I did a lot of self-study, and after a few months my effort started to pay off and I became one of the teacher’s favorite students. I immensely appreciate the significant impact she had on my development from that early age.

After graduating from high school, the Computer Science Faculty at the Alexandru Ioan Cuza University was a natural option for me to start building a career in this field. The first year in college was also hard. Given my 4-year background in computer science, this came as a surprise. When realizing what a difficult road I had chosen, I reassured myself and became more determined to continue challenging myself. I found the motivation in my smart and passionate colleagues, who offered me their full support. Most of them were boys and that made me feel like I was special. For me, it was not hard to adapt to this “men’s world”, as it was seen almost 20 years ago. I have an elder brother with whom we shared the same high school, faculty, and now profession. We always helped each other grow and we are proud to be two professional software developers today.

I am a calculated person. I like to take as much time as needed to achieve my goals. I do not believe in overnight growth in a field or in luck. You can become successful through your perseverance, hard work, and native talent. This is also shown in my preference for gardening and growing apartment plants. Do you know how much patience it is needed to see a plant grow and blossom?

I also enjoy cooking. I usually try to cook as healthy as possible. Homemade pizza and shawarma are among my healthy and delicious specialties, as are fried potato with parmesan in the oven and mouthwatering yogurt sauce with basilica oregano and garlic.

My other hobby is watching Netflix. I easily become addicted to the TV series with superheroes, magic, the war between bad and good, and the ones with investigations and mysteries. Sometimes I watch soft comedies for a relaxing mood.

Homemade pizza cooked by Florentina.

Tell us a bit about your software development career. How did it start, how did your journey with Fortech begin?

I started my software development career as a Java Developer more than 15 years ago. I had the chance to work with different technologies and methodologies. I started in a Waterfall environment, then migrated to the Agile methodology. I started as a Back-End Developer with Spring and Hibernate. Later, I discovered the front-end technologies, like JSF, a little bit of Angular and Node.js with React. I enjoyed them a lot, mainly because of their flexibility and the different challenges they offer, even to an expert in back-end technologies. 😊 That’s why I embraced Full-Stack Development.

I joined Fortech about 2 years ago, as a Mid Full-Stack Developer, in a small multinational team. After 6 months, I was promoted to a Senior Full-Stack Developer role, and I seized the opportunity to lead the technical direction for two different projects. In addition, I became a mentor for a team member.

About one year later, I became the team leader for a team of 5 people with various levels of experience. Alongside my involvement in the technical and business decisions, I started to focus on helping my team members grow by improving their technical and soft skills. In this regard, we use iGrow – our internal performance management framework. We set individual objectives with each colleague, decide together a growth strategy, and monitor and adjust it during our monthly one-on-one meetings.

Besides my daily duties, I am involved in the recruitment process by holding technical interviews with candidates for open positions in our company. Additionally, I’m in charge of an internal Java course for those who want to start their career in software development or learn automation testing.

Considering my short period of employment here and the multitude of roles I have, you can easily understand that Fortech supports people and offers the right context for everyone to steer their career in the desired direction.

Tell us a bit about the software project you are currently working on.

I’m currently working on eBike Ecosystem Applications. The project consists of a set of interconnected desktop, mobile and web applications meant to improve the client’s customers’ experience after they buy a bike. They aim to provide maintenance advice, step-by-step instructions on maintenance and service operations, creating service history and issue reports, efficient firmware updates and configuration of firmware packages.

I am involved in two applications: one is the application server that collects and processes the data that comes from the manufacturers/rides/dealers and the second is a web application used by dealers to manage data about bicycles.

What’s the project’s tech stack like?

As a Full-Stack Developer, I work with two different tech stacks on those projects. The first is an application server that follows the microservice architecture. It is a central application in the entire ecosystem, as the other applications communicate with it by sending/querying valuable data. Every microservice is written in SpringBoot and multiple Spring frameworks modules (Spring core, Spring Bean Validations, Spring Security, Spring JPA, Spring Cloud), Maven, Git, GitHub and Circle CI as a build tool. Every microservice is deployed in the AWS Cloud.

The second project is a web application written in Node.js, Webpack, and React. The application is deployed in AWS Cloud as well.

What are your favorite things about this project?

I really enjoy the opportunities that this project offers. Being a senior developer on the project comes with significant responsibilities, but also with great opportunities and personal achievements. It’s a dynamic environment in which I navigate with a young and motivated team. I feel like I am the captain of the boat, and my decisions are important to both the client and my team.

At my previous job, I worked on a large project, being aware of only a small piece of the modules/processes for it. On the current project, everything is transparent, and everyone can come up with suggestions and have a real impact.

Tell us more about your team.

I believe that the people you work with are very important. It can be the reason someone chooses to remain on a project. It can make a difference. I totally agree that the team can be above the money you earn on the job. This is the main reason for which I changed jobs only once. I kept my first job for more than 10 years mainly because of the team. Once I decided to leave the company, I was wondering if I would find another great team ahead. And here I am, two years after, „adopted” by a great team, smart, funny, and helpful, a team above expectation.

My team is young, awesome, cool, consolidated, with a special vibe. We became more than colleagues; we are friends and we frequently visit each other at home. Besides coding, we share the same passion for barbeque and good music. 😊 We have a very friendly and charismatic colleague who jumps on every new team member and tries to make them comfortable and acts as a glue for the team. At a barbeque, I had the chance to meet his dog, and guess what – it is as friendly and charismatic as his master. So, we are extending our team with pets too.

Florentina and her colleagues during a team going out.

What’s next in your career journey?

I want to continue what I started about 15 years ago: striving for excellence and becoming an outstanding software developer. I want to pursue a full-stack development career, as I consider a complete software developer should know both back-end and front-end technology stacks. I still have a lot of things to learn, as the IT field is so dynamic and innovative. It’s a continuous effort to keep up to date, but I truly enjoy it. One thing is certain for me: I would never get bored of programming!

What advice would you give to someone interested in joining Fortech?

If you like a dynamic and diverse environment with multiple growth opportunities and challenges tailored to your professional and personal needs, you’ll find it here in Fortech. Your strong points would be emphasized, and you would get a role that matches your skills like a glove. Accept the challenge, as it would definitely craft your career in an unexpected way. Join us!

What’s Your Story?

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

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