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Marius, Software Architect, on Sharing Knowledge and Helping Others Grow

Marius Cristescu has been with Fortech for 10 years and one pandemic. He worked on 10+ projects and grew his passion for mentoring his teammates and teaching young tech enthusiasts.

Read about Marius’ career path and the project from the Automotive industry he is currently working on. Get a glimpse #BehindTheCode and catch some words of wisdom from our dear bunicu’. Spoiler: his nickname is not necessarily related to his age. 😊

Marius Cristescu - Software Architect

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

I studied Computer Science at the University of Craiova and got my master’s degree in Artificial Intelligence and Data Mining at the same college.

In 2010, I decided to move to Cluj-Napoca. It was an unknown city for me, which offered very attractive opportunities. In the same year, I joined Fortech as a Java Developer. I am a very sociable person, and I can easily embrace change and adapt to new places, circumstances, and people. Adaptability is key; that’s why the relocation was very smooth for me.

In my spare time, I like to play football, ping-pong, and I like to ski. Together with my friends, we go to the Alps each winter for an outstanding skiing experience. At the office, we used to organize ping-pong tournaments. I really miss those matches during the lunch breaks, when I managed to break a lot of balls 😊

Another activity I enjoy is the Fortech Moving Challenge, a 6-month internal program. Its main goal is to encourage us to log off, go outside and practice biking, running, walking, and swimming. All this in a gamified context – with points to collect, levels to achieve, and prizes to win. My target is to walk at least 5 km daily, to stay fit and keep a place on the program’s podium, alongside my younger competitors.

What do you do at Fortech? Please describe your career journey and your current role.

As I use to say, I’ve been with Fortech for 10 years and one pandemic 😊 When I joined Fortech, we were a small team of around 80 people. I remember that in the selection process I met Daniel, VP of Software Engineering, and Călin, CEO. I felt an instant click with their mindset. Coming from Craiova, I was used to the agitated style that people from Oltenia have. Surprisingly, I discovered at Fortech a very different style, focused on respect and teamwork. I found a people-oriented approach, where your soft skills were evaluated at the same level as the technical capabilities.

My current dual role is Java Software Architect and Team Leader. During my over 10-years journey at Fortech, I worked in many teams. But I can surely state that all the people I worked with were great. Even if we don’t all think and work alike, we share the same strong passion for technology and our craft – the projects we develop. Beyond that, we are driven by the same values – we respect each other, and we know there is always someone who will have your back, who will listen and inspire you to strive in what you do. And we know how to have fun and spend quality time together. By going to lunch at the famous “cantina” from the Technical University, enjoying the well-known tori tempura at Nobori, playing ping-pong, going to team buildings, joking, or simply sharing memories together.

Over time, I discovered the passion for guiding young tech enthusiasts in their careers in IT. You know the saying, give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. I enjoy teaching young talents “how to fish” in IT.

I have been a trainer in 6 out of the 12 editions of Fortech’s Java Pre-Employment Training in the last four years. This is a 6-week program for students, fresh graduates, and people aiming for a professional reconversion. The participants learn Java Standard Edition and Java Enterprise Edition through practical sessions.
I am also part of a mentoring program at Babes-Bolyai University. This one-semester course helps 3rd-year students get familiar with working on a software project as a team.

This year, I also joined the Discover Your Call in IT program and I’m mentoring a team of high school students. It’s a program that Fortech has been sponsoring for the past six years, and I am happy to share my knowledge with young enthusiasts.

Marius and his colleagues at the opening of Java Pre-Employment Training.

Marius and his colleagues at the opening of Java Pre-Employment Training.

Your colleagues call you “bunicu”. What’s the story behind the nickname?

Around five years ago, I worked on a project where we managed to scale up the team from 2 to 8 people in a short period of time. As we used a niche framework, smartGWT, the newcomers needed a lot of support and guidance to get on track with the project. As I was a key member of the project and worked on it from its beginning, I oversaw the onboarding process.

During the knowledge-sharing sessions with new colleagues, I gave them advice and shared stories from my professional experience. I also used proverbs, aphorisms and “words of wisdom”, as my teammates called them. Just like a wise old man. Once, before an important release, one of my colleagues was very stressed and smoked a lot. I told him to take it slowly if he doesn’t want to die young. He replied that I remind him of his grandfather, who also uses many proverbs and wise advice and takes care of his health. And somehow, he started to call me “bunicu’” – grandpa. My teammates loved the new nickname, and it rapidly stuck to me.

I consider the nickname a proof of appreciation and respect from the younger colleagues (and not only). By the way, I’m not that old. I just turned 40 😊

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

I currently work on a project for the automotive industry. The application is an integrated management system supporting all business cases for the used truck business. It is used in 13 different countries, each with its own features and characteristics. It is a back-end application used by truck dealers for the entire resell process of a truck, from registering it to a truck store until the final sale. The features of the application include adding truck details, getting technical details from different services and storing them, sending offers to clients, printing invoices, sending invoices to different accounting systems.

What’s the project’s tech stack like?

It is a legacy project, for which we use a lot of frameworks. We have the old application that contains old functionalities, based on Java 8, JSP, Struts, Hibernate and the DB2 database. Two years ago, we built a new application using microservices architecture for the new requirements, using Rest Services and a new PostgreSQL database.

What are your favorite and most challenging things about this project?

Even if the implementation of the project started somewhere in the ‘90s, our client wants to migrate it to a new technology stack. Currently I’m working to change the build and deployment mechanisms.

The application is used in 13 countries, some of them with more than one market. Now the deployment is complicated as we have one Tomcat instance for every market. I work to change this. We want to migrate from Tomcat to Wildfly and keep only one WildFly instance for all the countries. Thus, the deployment will be simple, faster, and cheaper for our client.

Tell us more about your team.

As I previously said, during my journey at Fortech, I was fortunate enough to meet only amazing colleagues. I had a strong bond with all the project teams I was part of. We shared both good and difficult moments on the projects. You know, good times become good memories, bad times become good lessons.

I call most of my trainees, mentees, and teammates „nepoți” – grandsons. I think now I have a large family of around 100 „nepoți”, currently growing with „strănepoți” – great-grandsons.

I have so many nice memories from our team lunches and the going outs after successful releases. Or our collective Black Friday shopping when we ended up buying stuff that we barely needed. Or our tradition to bring goodies after each client visit. We took a break, ate goodies and talked about the adventures we had while traveling. But most of all, I like to remember stories from the office. Like when someone said “Bunicule, I found a bug. Wait, never mind, it’s not a bug.” And I replied with “Stop it, you know I’m old and have heart issues.”

I’ll share with you one of the popular pandemic jokes in our team. Iliescu: “it’s great I still have antibodies after the Spanish flu from 1918”. Bunicu’ has too.

Marius and his team.

Nepoții waiting for bunicu’s return from holiday.

What’s next in your career journey?

I continue focusing on coaching and mentoring. I enjoy helping new colleagues roll up their sleeves and explore new #perspectives in their careers. I also want to develop my knowledge and grow on the DevOps side.

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

If I, a simple „bunic” continue hanging out with Fortech after 10 years and one pandemic, it is sure one of the best places to work. I joined the company with a certain fear of the unknown, and there was no time to regret the choice I made.

Here you will see that your work is appreciated. You are encouraged to grow professionally, share your opinion, make mistakes, and learn from them. The atmosphere you’ll find within the teams is what makes the difference. This team bonding emerges into the high-quality software we work on and are proud of. Choose Fortech and you will not regret it. For myself, “bunicu’” hopes to retire from Fortech 😁

What’s Your Story?

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

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