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On Keyless Cars, Empowerment & Growth with Alina, Senior Java Developer

The rapid career growth perspectives are why Alina Bolindu, now Senior Java Developer decided to choose Fortech over a multinational company.

Two years into her experience working from our Brasov office, she is finishing a significant mobility innovation project and working towards her Oracle Certified Professional Java SE 8 certification.

Meet Alina, #BehindTheCode. Read about the “keyless cars” project she worked on, the team she’s mentoring, and where she’s headed.

Alina Bolindu - Senior Java Developer Fortech

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

Fortech is my third job out of college. I did my bachelor’s & master’s degrees in automatics and computer science at the Transylvania University of Brasov.

During my college years, I worked at two multinational tech companies. One of the projects was a fuel management software solution that streamlines fuel supply for airlines. The other was web-based management software that enables engineering departments to leverage the value of large data volumes.

After being recommended by a friend, I decided to come in for an interview with Fortech. And the rest is history. I wasn’t planning to change jobs, but the discussion with the technical team convinced me to join. I felt there would be many growth #perspectives for me here, and I wasn’t wrong about it.

On a personal note, I am a sitcom fan, with my favorites being “The Office”, “How I Met Your Mother”, and “FRIENDS”. Besides, if the weather is perfect for cycling or snowboarding, you’ll find me out and about on the streets and slopes near Brasov. I have a needy cat called Ed who requires my constant attention and affection.

One of my biggest passions is figuring out how things are built and how they work. I am a builder and crafter to my core. Whether at work or with my friends, I’m reliable and consistent with the decisions I make.

Pair programming with Ed.

Pair programming with Ed.

Tell us about your career path at Fortech so far.

I joined the Fortech Brasov team two years ago as a Mid Java Software Developer working on the backend. It feels like I’ve been here for ages, but in a good way. Since day one, my experience has been filled with learning opportunities: on the project, from my colleagues and through formal training.

Talking about training, I recently got my OCA (Oracle Certified Associate) Java SE 8 credential, which Fortech fully sponsored. Also, I had a lot of support from my coach, Emil, throughout the whole certification process. Funny story: I was nervous about my initial test results, so he offered to pay for the course himself if I did not pass the exam. 😊

After a year of hard work and lots of support from my colleagues, I got promoted to Senior Java Software Developer, position that came with additional responsibilities such as training and onboarding new colleagues on the team. It’s gratifying to teach and be able to learn at the same time.
On that note, I’m currently mentoring a team of high school students in the “Discover Your Call in IT” program. It’s a program that Fortech has been sponsoring for the past six years, and I’ve been happy to tune in for the second time in a row, mentoring teams from Brasov.

Last year, we developed BAC – Advanced Compiler, a mobile app that compiles code written on paper. The application interprets the text generated from the photo of the code with optical character recognition. I was pleasantly surprised by how easily the students understood subjects like “artificial neural networks” or the project’s business plan.

Alina and the BAC team from the 2020

Alina and the BAC team from the 2020 “Discover Your Call in IT” program.

This year, we are working on a volunteering platform with the CTR + Alt + Elite team. The scope of the project is to connect students with companies looking for volunteers.

What software project are you working on?

The project is a Keyless Vehicle Access Systems used in the automotive industry. It allows drivers to start, lock, and unlock their cars with their smartphones.

Both passive vehicle access and start are controlled by a digital car key directly via an app in the user’s smartphone. When the driver approaches the car, the digital key-management software connects the smartphone to the sensors built into the vehicle via the cloud. The great part about the system is that drivers don’t need to do anything on their phones to unlock their cars.

As information travels through the cloud, the sensors read the digital key even if the phone is in the user’s pocket, purse, or backpack. Additionally, the system gives drivers the flexibility to grant access to other users to their vehicle. The future of mobility is here, and I’m thrilled to be contributing to this level of innovation.

What’s the project’s tech stack like?

We built the architecture on microservices, and we use Java, Spring and Spring Boot, Microsoft SQL Server, Azure, Docker, and Kubernetes as our main technologies.

The project incorporates a lot of interesting tech advancements like adding cryptography. I got to dive deep into the tech behind generating digital certificates, cross-signing them, knowing the different algorithms for key pairing.

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

We started the project from scratch, so we could choose most of the technologies we are using. It’s been a fantastic way to learn new things. For example, how to solve all kinds of unexpected errors when you configure your service’s security level using Spring Security or configuring the logging aggregator like Prometheus with Grafana.

We also got to train our brains to see the big picture among the many details. We have an “All Dev Hands” meeting whenever someone from the team finds an improvement topic or something interesting to add to the project.

Unfortunately, all things must come to an end. The project has reached maturity, and I’m currently in the process of moving to another project. I’m a bit nostalgic but eager and ready to experience new challenges.

How about the team?

There’s a growth-focused mindset here that’s quite special. We have a relaxed but responsible way of working together. I am constantly learning from my colleagues, and I can always count on their help when I need it. There’s also a lot of emphasis on empowering each one of us. I can test and try my ideas, suggest improvements and have the proper autonomy and trust to make decisions.

We work from Brasov and Berlin and luckily managed to meet in person last year, just before the lockdown. But we kept the great vibe working from home, too, with some Happy Friday games like Fibbage.

A day in Brasov with the whole team, before lockdown.

A day in Brasov with the whole team, before lockdown.

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

Fortech is a company that genuinely values its employees and puts their professional growth first.

This year, we are switching to a new performance management approach called iGrow. The program promotes the idea that professional success is not just the skillset that one has today but the ability to learn and grow professionally continuously. It comes with a mindset shift, as well as regular coaching and dedicated learning time. It also encourages us to be the drivers of our growth by embracing challenges, making mistakes, learning from them, and improving our skillset.

But don’t take my word for granted. Give it a try and convince yourself.😊

What’s next in your career journey?

My main objective is to become a Software Architect. So, I’m doing my best to improve myself every day and staying in tune with new technologies. I’m currently working towards getting my OCP (Oracle Certified Professional) Java SE 8 certification. After that, I will start a certification process in Spring as well. I know the destination, so I am focused on enjoying the journey.

What’s Your Story?

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

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