Greetings and salutations, dear DevriX blog readers!
Last time we presented our recruiter/HR assistant, and this time around we are talking with one of our backend developers.
What does a backend developer do? What describes best their role and the day-to-day work dynamic?
Today, we meet one of the backend developers of DevriX – Emil Docev. In our conversation, we cover topics like how he started working at the company as an intern, what he’s been through for the past 4+ years, why he defines himself as an adrenaline junkie, and much more.
A Day in the Life of a Backend Developer
Hello, Emo! Thank you for accepting my invitation for this interview. To start our conversation, could you please share something about yourself – what are your hobbies, where did you study, etc.?
I’ve been doing computer programming at DevriX for more than 4 years. I studied in TUES (Technological School Electronic Systems), which is actually the school that brought me here, before I had even graduated.
I also have plenty of hobbies. I’m involved in music, as you can guess from my hair, I play a lot of instruments – guitar, bass guitar, I’m trying to play percussion as much as I can. Apart from that, I’m also quite a nature-lover – I like being outdoors, and I would describe myself as an adrenaline junkie.
Quite often, I’m involved in “stupid” things that could literally cost me an arm or a leg. In the winter, I do a lot of snowboarding, and in the summer I replace the snowboard with all kinds of other boards, including surf, windsurf, wake board, longboard, etc. except skateboarding. I didn’t bother with learning to ride it, because it was too mainstream for me.
Speaking of extreme experiences, what was the last extreme activity you did?
The latest, most extreme activity was last week. I tried reaching the Romanian border on a surfboard. It wasn’t successful, because the undercurrent was too strong.
Aha, in that case, I’m extra happy we can do this interview right now, and you’re still in one piece. In general, since you mentioned you love nature and being outdoors, what are your favorite activities, and do you have any preferred places, where you like to go often?
Probably my favorite of all places is the Bezbog Hut, and more specifically the highest tourist room of Bezbog Hut, the bed at the bottom right, because there’s a majestic view of the valley between Rila and Pirin, as well as, Dobrinishte – the village below. It’s really a hell of a sight. That’s where we go snowboarding in the winter, and we usually stay there for four-five days. It’s awesome, I definitely recommend it.
Okay. That sounds really interesting, especially the specific bed part. (laughing)
Yeah. (laughing) It’s just really beautiful in the morning, you can see the sunrise from there.
Something else you mentioned, which I just have to ask about – is your music. You said you play a couple of instruments. What type of music do you like playing, and what do you like listening to, and is there any difference between both?
I’ve been playing music since I was 15, however, in the last 3-4 years not that actively, unfortunately, due to a lack of time, and a lack of people to jam with. I’ve played with a lot of bands from various genres, from britpunk to covers of famous Bulgarian punk bands. Our group been through more hardcore waves, and classical metal, which I couldn’t bare for too long. I’m typically more attracted to the heavier genres in both listening, and playing, but I’m also a big fan of more melancholic genres like blues, and jazz. It depends on my mood.
Did you ever dream of turning music into something professional, or is it more like a hobby?
From the beginning I felt it was going to be a hobby, and I didn’t want to take that route professionally. Music was something that helped me relax and socialize, since most of my friends were into music, bands, events, concerts, festivals, and so on.
You mentioned earlier that you’ve been with the company for more than 4 years now. Undoubtedly, you’ve been through a lot during this timeframe, however, taking into account one of our core values, I would like to ask you, from your own perspective, how do you think you’ve evolved and adapted during your time at DevriX?
I began working here as an intern, before I had even graduated from high school. I started with pretty basic tasks and responsibilities, on a very flexible working schedule. Then, when I graduated from high school, I started getting more work responsibilities, and receiving more challenging assignments. The big turning point was around a year and a half ago, when I adopted the role of a Project Owner, which is a relatively unique role at DevriX, and very interesting. However, it is a lot more responsibility, too, compared to simply programming. At the moment, that’s where my focus is at, and I still write code, whenever I can, because that’s my passion.
So, for the moment, that’s been your primary goal – taking more responsibility?
Yes. I also wouldn’t say that it was that big of a transition for me. The only big change for me was when I went from being a regular backend developer to becoming a PO, there the responsibilities are greater.
Would you say that this is burdensome for you in any way?
Well, no. As more responsibilities come in, the more intriguing it becomes. Your curiosity grows, you start learning a lot more new things, and develop new skills you didn’t even know existed before. Or that’s how it was for me.
Sounds fascinating, really. Following this line of thought, could you take us on a journey and help us visualize – what a day in the life of a backend developer looks like, along with your other responsibilities, of course?
My working day begins once I get out of bed. The first thing I do, which has become a habit, is to check my emails. If everything is okay, like it is most of the time, I go through Slack, and Asana to get a better understanding of what my priorities are for the day.
Eventually, I get myself ready, and I go to the office. Once I get there, I go through my emails and lines of communication again, this time more in depth. I try to unblock whatever tasks I can, in correspondence with my projects – if there’s another team member waiting for me, any questions, etc. In other words, I start with the administrative tasks, scanning everything first, getting the simpler tasks out of the way, before I begin focusing on individual ones, according to their priority.
Luckily, the project management team takes care of prioritizing tasks, so I always know what I have to do, and by when. I start task-by-task, sometimes I write code, sometimes an unexpected task occurs throughout the middle of the day. There have been instances where clients contact us at 8:30 PM, just before leaving, because there’s an issue, and we have to handle it. Still, in general, it’s not something too hard for me, I really enjoy it.
Would you say that you prefer an organized or structured work day, or do you prefer deciding, on a daily basis, which tasks take priority?
Well, we work with weekly sprints, so trying to judge things day-by-day is a bit pointless, because if you do a proper weekly sprint, it’s expected that you would know the priorities for the entire week. Of course, there are always things that pop-up at the last moment, priorities can always shift, especially when we’re working on multiple projects, but that’s just part of the job. It’s hard until you get used to it, eventually you adjust to the workflow, and you learn to handle things.
You are one of many people in the company who have graduated from TUES. Your profession is, more or less, connected to your education, do you feel that this was your destiny, to begin working at DevriX?
Getting into TUES, at the tender age of 14, your road is, more or less, predefined. There are very few people that graduated from TUES, and don’t work in something computer-related. So, I knew from the 9th, 10th grade what I wanted to do job-wise. Regarding DevriX, it was quite incidental, I did my mandatory internships here.
Absolutely every student from TUES has a mandatory internship, these take place at the beginning of the summer, for two weeks. Everyone gathers in a big room, and different companies start introducing themselves. Mario was there, he presented DevriX, I remember that Mario appealed to me as an interesting person, and somehow grabbed my attention.
I hadn’t heard much about DevriX until then, although I had a vague idea of how WordPress worked as a platform. In general, I wanted to work in web development – there were other companies there that day, but they had nothing interesting to offer, for myself personally. So, yeah, it was coincidental, I mean, I had a choice between DevriX and 50 other companies. I just liked Mario as a person from the beginning, then we chatted, we sent some emails, and I even remember that Mario had heard one of our songs then, from my band. That was our first conversation, actually, I asked Mario if I can be an intern, he said sure, and by the way, really cool song, and the rest is history.
Awesome! In reality, Mario influenced your decision to start with DevriX?
Well, yeah. Definitely, yes. It was love at first sight.
It started as love at first sight, and now it’s been 4+ years. I’m sure you’ve achieved a lot at the company during this period, on both a personal and professional level. However, I’m sure you’ve set some goals for yourself, regarding what you want to achieve at the company – further developing some skills, or acquiring new knowledge?
I like to joke that I spent my childhood here. (laughing) I’ve never exactly sat down to think what I want to achieve in my life or career, things have always happened to me gradually. When you work hard, and give your full attention to something, there’s no way you won’t achieve it.
My short term goals are to develop myself, and start working with projects that are harder and even more challenging than the ones I’m currently working on. Respectively, harder in terms of both ownership and management, and from a technical perspective. I would be happy to take on more technical work, more coding on projects. That’s how I see my development, I’m confident that I can handle something heavier, and more difficult, and more interesting, correspondingly.
Cool. I have one final question: if you could go back in time, 4 years, when you were starting here, would you change something, and would you want to say something to the younger version of yourself, which would have saved you some headaches?
Well, if I don’t change anything, it would be pointless to go back in time, so I definitely would. Maybe I would tell myself to push more on education. Not learning academically in school, but more like new knowledge. You can never know too much, and in our field, in particular, the only way you can stand out and develop, is knowledge. So, I would tell myself to spend more time on programming, soft skills, personal development, and so on. That’s about it… otherwise, I’m perfect, so… (laughing).
That’s a good final. Thank you very much for your time!
Do you wish you could go back in time, and create a better website for your business? It’s not too late. Just contact us, and we will help.
What Is It Like to Work With Emo?
“Working with Emo is truly a joy. Despite looking like a scary metalhead, he’s a very friendly and nice guy. He’s always ready to help, make you laugh, or act like a 5-year-old together with you. Also, we can’t ignore the fact that he has the most luscious hair in the office.”
“Emo is a really fun and cool colleague, who’s always ready to help. He’s a professional with lots of know-how, and I know I can always rely on him for whatever task.”
“He’s an interesting person. You can talk on various topics, and he always manages to look on the bright side of things. Whether it’s work-related, or when we’re chilling, I know Emo is always someone you want to hang out with.”