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From Repairing Cars to Programming their Software with George, Java Developer

Some might say George Gabrielli isn’t a typical software developer. Breaking developer stereotypes, he loves getting his hands dirty, literally getting covered in oil and grease to repair a car, change a tire, or replace a brake pad.

His passion for craftsmanship led him down the path to becoming a software developer. Today, he’s experiencing the best of both worlds, merging his hobby for cars with his role as Java Software Developer on a project for one of the largest car manufacturers in the world.

Get a glimpse #BehindTheCode, meet George, Java Software Developer at Fortech.

 From Repairing Cars to Programming their Software with George, Java Developer

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

I was born and raised in Brasov – a city famous for its beautiful mountainside. Naturally, people born in Brasov like to ski and practice all sorts of winter sports. Except for myself and maybe a handful of other people. 😊

Since I was a kid, my hobbies have always revolved around cars or electronic devices. When I was about 3-4 years old, my dad bought a Dacia. It was more of a puzzle than a car since its engine, gearbox, and other components were disassembled and thrown on the car’s back seat. He also bought a user manual and started assembling the car, part by part. My dad worked as an aviation mechanic, so he wasn’t exactly an amateur. Still, it was a big project, and I remember following him around while he was rebuilding the car, borrowing the user manual to look at the photos. Every week after the car became functional, he would take me to a friend’s car repair garage, where I would watch them tweaking different parts of the Dacia for hours on end. I wanted to be just like them, so at home my mom would always find me dismantling my toy cars.

To this day, I love getting my hands dirty to fix a car or some device, spending time discovering how things are built or how they work. I think this goes hand in hand with the job of a software developer. To become a good developer, you also need to “get your hands dirty” and find out exactly how and why the resources that you are using (libraries, frameworks, etc.) are working the way they are.

So, in short, it was this passion for crafting things that led me down this path. In 2015 I moved to Cluj-Napoca to pursue my dream of becoming a software developer. It was a dream that stuck with me since 5th grade when I first learned what kids were studying at our local computer science high school. Fast-forward a couple of years later, here I am, working as a Java Software Developer at Fortech.

George’s before and after car project

How did your career evolve at Fortech?

I joined Fortech five years ago and started working on a long-running project for the automotive industry. Since then, I have worked on several other projects ranging from HR (Human Resources) to the farming industry, where I worked both on the back-end and front-end sides of the applications using Java or JavaScript.

When I’m not coding, I focus on helping my teammates achieve their career goals, as I’m also a Team Leader. This year, Fortech introduced iGrow, our new performance management approach, which I’m a big promoter of. It’s an approach that helps you define and reach your professional development goals. The best part is that you are not alone on this journey. You have a coach, like me, who’s guiding you along the way. I think it’s a gratifying experience, and it’s an area I want to become better at.

What software project are you currently working on?

Right now, I’m working on a prototype application that is generating the user manual for one of the largest car manufacturers in the world. We distributed the application along several microservices that work together to create an interactive owner’s manual, which will later integrate into the car’s infotainment system.
We offer a full-stack development program. The project started more than one year ago when we formed a mixed team: the nearshore development team at Fortech and the customer’s team.

What’s the project’s tech stack like?

The application is written in Java with the help of the latest tech goodies. We are using Spring Boot for our microservices, deploying the cloud services, and managing them with Kubernetes. For CI/CD, we are using Jenkins with a direct link to the IBM cloud cluster for a smooth and fast cycle from commit to running code.

What’s your favorite thing about the project?

Being a car enthusiast myself, the first thing that comes to my mind is the close relationship this project has with the automotive industry. The second thing is the abundance of fresh, “out-of-the-oven” technologies that we use to do our day-to-day work as smoothly as possible. Tools and frameworks such as Spring Boot, Kubernetes, Spring Cloud, RabbitMQ, and ELK help us manage, deploy, and scale our cloud services, facilitate message-based communication between services, and aggregate all logs from all microservices.

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

The most challenging thing about this project is keeping up with all the changes that need to be dealt with as soon as possible. Working for a fast-changing and very competitive industry such as automotive, we often pursue one path, then must switch directions swiftly due to changing buyer behavior.

George and his team during a meeting

How about the team? How’s the vibe?

We are a distributed team from three countries. We have developers and QA Engineers from Romania, Architects, Product Owners and Scrum Masters from Germany and QA Engineers from India.
With the Romanian team, we had some fun traditions before the pandemic, some of which we are still doing today. The most notable one is our bi-weekly meeting with the team in which we share presentations and ideas about the new things that come up in the tech world. In our last meeting, we talked about Java Sealed Classes. We used to have this meeting at the office, with the possibility of anyone interested in joining, but right now, we are doing them remotely.

What’s next in your career journey?

My focus now is sharpening my people management skills. In my spare time, I read many books on this topic. I also attended all the iGrow training programs and another Change Management course provided by Fortech.
Of course, my other focus is to continuously improve my technical expertise, which is a must in software development.

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

From my experience, Fortech is the type of company where you get a lot of help to grow as a professional and a person. The principles and the mindset present here helped many people achieve things they thought impossible, including me. I never thought I’d be developing leadership skills. So, I think you have the proper setup here, but you need to roll up your sleeves and work towards finding your path.

What’s Your Story?

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

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