Mario Rajchikj
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People of Symphony starring Mario Rajchikj: True Power of Mentorship

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Symphony
March 22nd, 2021

Mario's story is a true example of how knowledge, vivid character, and unique perspective on things can make a difference. He is currently working as a software engineer in our development center in Skopje. "I think I was six or seven years old when I realized how amazed I am by the computer-user dynamic and all the software that comes with it,โ€ Mario started. "Reading the code is a form of entertainment for me. In my free time, I read coding challenges instead of newspapers or media outlets. Over time, it became a routine.ย Being in the loop with the latest trends really gives you an edge, both in the clients' needs and flexibility to embrace something new.ย That's a condensed version of who I am and what am I doing,`` Mario said with a shy smile when told he can start his story by telling us something about himself.

From Mentee to Mentor โ€“ Growing Together with Symphony

A little more than three years ago, Mario started his professional career as an IT person for a marketing company. Soon after, he went down the rabbit hole of reading and learning JavaScript. "JavaScript was my betting horse because it could be applied to web development, backend, frontend, mobile, etc. Soon after that, I applied for a job position in a company looking for a senior engineer and got a job.ย โ€œI guess they were just very fond of my character," he jokingly added.ย 

As someone very dedicated and interested in learning, he quickly picked up knowledge because he had a great mentor. "I believe that mentorship is key to success for any engineer. Learning doesn't have to be a long process. All you need is a supportive team and an open mind to learn from your own and other people's mistakes. That's the easiest and least painful way to learn, in my opinion."

When he outgrew the company where he was previously working, Mario found out about Symphony, and in his own words, he feels at home right now. When asked about his favorite experience at Symphony, he instantly said a broad spectrum of choices, which means that Symphony gives each person opportunities to unleash their potentials. "My voice is heard, and I feel that I have a lot more impact than I used to. Previously I had a great mentor, and I was led and inspired by him. Here at Symphony, I've taken upon my responsibility to swap the roles and be the mentor myself.ย I genuinely enjoy explaining things that I learned because learning something IT-related can be super abstract even for an engineer, especially when it is unknown and unexplored. I'm trying to have a metaphor for everything code-related, and I even explain things with machines, or cars, because it's essential to have that simplified way of understanding something. Symphony-wise, I'm trying to be the person it taught me to be.ย โ€œI see and feel support from the Symphony community, and at this moment in my career, I see that the team believes in me, which gives me the strength to move forward and give my best.โ€

Navigate the Open Sea of Choices - How to engage the audience to think

A few months ago, Mario presented and shared his knowledge on frontend technologies with all the potential it holds during his first online Meetup. The Meetup was titled "Bulletproof React & Redux: Navigate the Open Sea of Choicesโ€. Marioโ€™s Meetup was about striking a balance between being specific in something that solves an engineer's problems and being generalistic and flexible enough to solve a clientโ€™s problems. He explained the topic in detail: "It's really a daily battle with these choices. You have to think whether you should go with something general that can be applied to 80% of the cases or go with something a bit more niche and tailored to that particular use case. The whole point behind my Meetup was to engage the audience to think and find the answer because things are never black and white. And yeah, it turned out very philosophical even though the title was a bit naive, and I'm aware of that," explained Mario.ย 

Embracing the Chaos of Frontend

For Mario, one thing is clearly visible as a trend. "Backend and frontend weren't considered separate a long time ago. That was all called web development, where the backend was serving web pages as a complete server-generated approach. Things got a bit messy with decoupling these things, so the backend ended up serving only JSON formatted files while frontend consuming them. The trend lately is going back to the roots of server-sided generated web pages from the backend. However, this time in a more serious full-fledged framework, with contenders such as Next.js utilizing both Express from Node.js and React. It's really similar to what we used to be doing but more powerful. For React itself and frontend frameworks in general, there have been a few changes lately. Svelte by Rich Harris is an upcoming library, and it's a hot topic in frontend communities because it's cutting off the step of shipping the framework library itself. They call themselves the disappearing frameworks because the framework is built into your own code.โ€

Even though Mario doesnโ€™t have a specific topic in mind for his next Meetup, he said he would definitely be going down the same road of inspiring people to find different solutions. โ€œI think it may be a blessing in disguise to have the community unsettled by strict and particular ways of finding solutions. If that is the current state of the frontend world, that means an open door for us to innovate, see the next big thing, and at least provide a solution even if it's not the best one because it may inspire others to incorporate it to their paradigms.ย I'm embracing the chaos of the frontend because it allows me to be creative. I know many people are afraid of the frontend because of its chaotic state, but I always sayย it's essential to take the pros that come with it and be aware of the things you don't know.โ€