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Ioana, Team Leader, on Crafting Software and Growing Together with Her Team

Ioana Nistor’s journey with Fortech started six years ago. Since then, she dedicated herself to crafting her professional path in software development while helping her teammates grow.

Get a glimpse #BehindTheCode. Read about Ioana’s career, the suite of projects she is currently working on, and get to know the team she’s leading.
Ioana, Team Leader, on Crafting Software and Growing Together with Her Team

Can you please tell us a bit about yourself? Your studies, hobbies, passions.

I graduated from the Computer Science department of the Babes-Bolyai University in Cluj-Napoca. I am passionate about reading, and I am currently hooked on Agatha Christie’s books. I also enjoy playing video games and drawing. My other hobby is sketching. My current personal goal is to learn how to draw animals. It’s a self-learning project with lots of trials and errors, and of course lots of tutorials to watch.

Tell us a bit about your journey at Fortech. How it started, what you enjoy most?

I joined Fortech in 2015 as a Junior Java Developer and, after a training period, I started working on my current project. I remember my first task like it was yesterday. It was an Excel file with around 200 test cases for which I needed to write tests. It took quite a while, but it really helped me understand the project.

In the beginning, working on the project was a real challenge for me, as we used a few technologies with which I have never worked with before. But my team members were very open and helpful. Every time I had a question or needed further clarifications, they wouldn’t hesitate to help me. It’s a great feeling to know there is always someone who will have your back when you need help.

The first big challenge we encountered on the project was when our client asked us to create a UI. We had a bit of experience in the team with Angular, but we are foremost Java back-end developers. During this time, I found out how challenging and rewarding it is to create a UI. I found out how hard it is to make everything look as requested and to find which libraries you should use when you have a lot of possibilities. But, most of all, I found out how well a close team can work when we are under pressure and how rewarding it is to know that the last part of the code was merged and built and that the first version of the UI can GO LIVE.

My team leader decided last year to take a one-year break and I was selected to replace him. I must admit that I was worried that I would not do well, but I quickly settled into the new role with support from my team and unit manager.

Tell us about one of the projects you’re working on.

I’m currently working on four projects for the automotive industry. One of them collects and enriches vehicle data and offers some APIs for the clients to search for vehicles, or data from vehicles, using different criteria. Two others are UIs used by the client to display and search for vehicles. The fourth project is used to manage translations for different countries.

What’s the project’s tech stack like?

In the first project, we use ElasticSearch, Spring, Java 8 and 13, RabbitMq, MongoDB, Angular 9, Strapi, Git. For the two UIs, we use Strapi, Spring, Angular 10, GIT, Doker. And for the last one: MySQL, Angular 8, Spring, Doker.

What’s your favorite thing about this project?

Besides the amazing team I’m working with, I have the opportunity to learn new things continuously. When I joined the project, I had never worked with most of the technology stacks we are using. I had the opportunity to discover and learn a lot of new technologies. I learned how hard it is to switch technologies and projects, and to work on multiple projects. It is challenging but also rewarding.

What are the most challenging aspects of this project?

Switching between technologies and projects, for sure. The projects are pretty big, and while working on one of them, there might be changes in the others. Besides, we are currently upgrading to newer versions of the technology stacks, which always come with new challenges and unexpected issues. I’m looking forward to discovering them.

How about the team? What traditions do you have?

Currently, my team counts six members, including me. Most of my teammates joined the project at the beginning of their careers when they were junior developers. It is amazing to see how much they have grown. I think this is one of the best parts of being a team leader.

As I mentioned before, my team is fantastic. They will always put a smile on your face if you have a bad day. I’ll share with you a few of the team rituals we have:

  • While we were at the office we used to host brainstorming sessions. If somebody faced a technical challenge, they wrote it on the whiteboard. Everybody would pay attention and throw some suggestions. That’s how our ad-hoc brainstorming sessions worked when we were at the office. I’m looking forward to working on-site again.
  • We use to speak only English in the office, even when working from home. While none of us has problems writing and reading in English, speaking can be challenging for a few of my colleagues. That’s why we decided to speak only in English on certain pre-established days of the week or during time intervals set aside on such days.
  • We have a favorite restaurant for client visits. When we visited the client in Germany, we always had dinner at the Greek restaurant that we found during one of the first visits. I miss client visits and a good souvlaki from that restaurant.
  • Colleagues from the office building often sought out my former team leader: they would check through the door window to see if he was at the office or ask one of us if we knew where he was. One of my teammates said that it would be funny to create a cut-out of him and put it on his spot when he would leave. Although the idea seemed funny, in the end, we decided not to do that. But the cut-out idea remained in our minds. After a lot of discussions, planning, and a session of voting, we ended up with a cut-out of Deadpool in our office. Deadpool gets the open tickets that nobody wants. He’s always eager to be assigned to any ticket that we don’t find interesting.

Ioana, her team, and Deadpool “Who gets the open tickets that nobody wants”

Ioana, her team, and Deadpool “Who gets the open tickets that nobody wants”. 

What’s next in your career journey?

I want to become more involved with the architecture design of the project. I found this perspective very attractive for my career development. I’m also always eager to learn and work with new technologies.

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

At Fortech, you will find a close community vibe. It’s not only between team members but also between different project teams. You will find people who are passionate about what they do and eager to learn new things. Here you will find people who want to help you grow alongside them. For sure, I don’t regret choosing Fortech when I started my career.