Written by Alexandra GavrilaAug 17, 2020

A new article from the "Ask the Developer" series is here for you. If last week we marked together Romania on the map, to discover Cristian's story... This week we will meet another great member of our community - in this case putting our finger on... Not closer, not further than... Banja Luka - a great city in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

From the moments when Bojan realized that software development is his dream career, to the beautiful adventure we go through together in Upstack, and of course... Hobbies, passions, favorite books... We'll discover Bojan, we'll reach serious points, but we'll also laugh together because - you know - a day without laughter is a day wasted. 

So... Ladies and gents... Please, warmly welcome Bojan Gvozderac

Who is Bojan Gvozderac?

I’m just a dude that got into software development early in my life and now I want to use my (basically) only skill to make the world a happier place by making electronic devices you use every day a lot more useful.

Three interesting things about you?

What was your lightbulb moment? When did it click in your head that you wanted to be a developer?

More or less my entire life. I was around computers since I was 3 years old and I always wanted to create and build stuff so I naturally transitioned to creating “stuff” on computers even tho I didn’t know what it was called back then. If I had to pick a date it was probably around when I was 14 years old that I learned exactly what coding is and that I can have a career in software development.

What was your best software development moment?

I’m one of those people that believes that my best moments in life are yet to come, and with that, my best software development moments are yet to come.

Other than that, and this is something developers will understand better than anyone, the best software development moments are when you delete code! There’s no better feeling than getting the same functionality/results from 25% of the previous code.

Once I cleaned up a chunk of the codebase and went from ~2500 lines of code to ~500 lines of code and to this day I get excited thinking about it.

What’s your favorite productivity hack?

Just relax and take things one step at a time, focus on the task at hand and by the end of your workday, you’ll accomplish way more than you thought you would!

What was something really hard for you to get when you were learning it? What helped it click?

Long story incoming… You asked for this!

I was just getting into software development and I was using C++. I was learning from a tonne of various resources, basically, anything I could get my hands on, and that included looking at complex codebases and taking what I need from them.

I noticed that the really good ones were using interfaces/abstract classes a lot and I thought I needed to know that to become a good developer... So I embarked on a quest to learn their secrets. The problem was that I built up this relatively simple concept in my mind so much that it was impossible to be easy and I spent 2 days banging my head against the wall and putting so much pressure on myself trying to absorb that knowledge.

The funny part is that on the third day I woke up and I just knew how to use abstract classes and I couldn’t believe it took me that much time to understand something so simple.

Now I understand that software development and the many parts it’s comprised of aren’t a “Yes or No” situation, it’s not like you either don’t know anything about a concept OR you’re a complete master of it, but rather it’s a process. Some things you know 100% and some things you know 20% - and the use cases are what determine if that’s good enough.

Maybe your codebase doesn’t benefit from using abstract classes - knowing 0% about abstract classes is actually good enough for that use case!

I see similar things happening today when I’m mentoring junior web developers and trying to explain Redux to them, it’s a really simple concept that, once it clicks, you don’t think about that much but while you’re learning it... I understand how it can seem like an absolute mountain of an obstacle you need to conquer and how incredibly daunting it might appear.

What's your favorite dev tool?

Everything from JetBrains! Quality products... Well worth their price.

What qualities do you think are most important in a developer?

Ouch, tough one.

It’s all about what the dev process needs.

Sometimes you need to bury your head in your laptop and get things done and sometimes it’s 5% writing code and 95% communication.

Hey! Maybe that’s the key, understanding what the dev process needs and being flexible enough to handle every scenario that you might encounter. I like that, let’s go with that!

The best book you read?

“Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less” by Greg McKeown - everyone should read this!

Also, anything and everything from Ryan Holiday. 

Are there any podcasts, books, or inspirations you swear by?

Daily Stoic Email Newsletter helps me put things into perspective and focus only on things that matter. I’d definitely recommend it to everyone!

What's your favorite way to relieve stress?

Easy - basketball! Especially if I had an extremely stressful day, shooting some hoops helps takes the edge off.

What makes Upstack different from other companies?

One thing I noticed is how engaged everyone is with one another and how eagerly everyone helps one another (which is really impressive for a fully remote team!). Looking at this from a client's perspective, hiring a dev through Upstack is like hiring several devs in one - since all that knowledge is openly shared.

Why would other developers join our network?

You can’t know everything about everything, you can only know something about something and in software development, it’s even more complicated since every app is a specific combination of skills that you might or might not have. Joining Upstack helps remedy that since you now have a large pool of talent that you can refer to help solve your specific problem. Nice!

What is the best advice someone has given you?

The best advice I got was from a dev (probably the best dev I know!) while I was working in Amsterdam.

He would do everything and anything that needed to be done for our app, he would pick up a new programming language and in a matter of days he’d be productive with it, when I was commenting on this with him he had this confused look on his face and he asked me “Are you a software developer?” I’d say “Yeah.” to which he replied “Then develop software!”, this made me realize that everything in life is about your attitude and how you approach things!

And it kinda sounds like the famous quote from Henry Ford: “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right”

What's your favorite joke?

Ooooh, let’s not go there… I’m a fan of dark humor and I don’t want to ruin a perfectly good article... But not to be a spoilsport - I’ll leave you with this:

You seem like such an awesome guy and we want us to hang and we’d act chill when we’re hanging, but we’d totally stalk you online… How do we do that?

A good start would be to go to my website - you can learn a lot about me there and there’s literally nothing I can do to stop you! You’ll also find my blog there where I write mostly about technical stuff or if you just want to reach out and say “Hi!” you’re more than welcome!

Until next time...

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