People of Symphony Starring Elena Kjaeva: Java as a Community, not Only a Technology

People of Symphony Starring Elena Kjaeva: Java as a Community, not Only a Technology

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July 23rd, 2020

Meet Elena and read her inspiring story on how she manages to successfully balance a successful engineering career and achieve planned personal milestones. As a true early bird and a ‘super mama,’ we have scheduled an early morning talk over coffee. At this point, Elena has already done all of her usual rituals and started our coffee date with a big smile.

When asked about her dynamic daily routines, Elena says that her days are super busy and full of activities that result in happiness, productivity, and effectiveness both at work and at home. She starts the day by preparing healthy smoothies for the family and looking for the first available “conference room” (conference room equals a free bedroom at home nowadays). Her daily work routine incorporates frequent changes of rooms - much like it did when we were working from our office in Soravia building. No insinuations here, but we noticed some resemblances with our in-hub routines with the smoothie ritual and hunt for free conference rooms.

Strive for Creativity as a Career Choice

Speaking about her career path, she says that by the end of her high school days she knew that engineering would be her choice for sure. As a young girl, she would open and reconstruct many things around the house. Her drive to create and be able to see the outcomes resulted in her choice of education in software engineering because of the “wide spectrum of opportunities”. In the beginning, she loved C++ and found herself in object-oriented programming. No surprise she pursued a career as a Java developer later on. In her own words, “I have found an opportunity to create something, and that feeling was and still is indescribable”. 

She joined Symphony’s hub in Skopje just a few months ago, bringing over a decade long engineering experience from a local IT company with her. However, her career path did not start in the software and IT industry right away. Believe it or not, her first job was at the Ministry of Transport & Communications in Macedonia.

The Reawakening of the True Inspiration in Engineering

She says that “Symphony seemed refreshing and quite different” and has caught her eye right after entering the Macedonian market. “I got the impression that it is not only a software development company, but that at Symphony they actually care about the community. Quite different from anything else here on the market”. She did thorough market research and decided to enter the selection process. She says about her selection process: “People were actually nice, and I got a feeling that I am in a different world”. She has met the community members through the experience-based interviews that have confirmed her initial perception about the Symphony.

When asked how she decided to continue her professional development at Symphony, she says: “I have chosen Symphony because of the need for a challenge and because I saw Symphony as a great place to reawaken my true inspiration in engineering. These days, I am even more sure that I made the right decision as everything that I have heard throughout the selection process turned out to be true. At the end of the day, that keeps me motivated and happy”. 

The Environment that Stimulates Growth, even During the Remote Work

“I feel like I am learning a lot every week”, she says. “That is a part of my personality, I am a life-long learner and I have a feeling that I will be like that until my retirement. I am very detail-oriented, I ask a lot of questions along the way and I learn a lot from my colleagues as well”. Her next milestones are oriented towards solution architecture and application security, she continues “I am also strengthening my frontend skills, and I use every opportunity during our daily talks and code reviews we do together to learn from my frontend teammates. The whole community is open to sharing the know-how, and I am eager to acquire that knowledge”.

Shortly after joining Symphony, Elena and the rest of the Symphony community started working 100% remote at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. “I realized the magic of our community - people are accepting and easygoing which results in achieving mutual goals and excellent team spirit”, she says and describes the Symphony community as “open-minded, caring and helpful”.

Community Where Employees’ Opinions Matter

“Everyone is so welcoming, they make you feel like you already know them. I was really impressed by that. I still remember my first day, how my colleagues prepared my first coffee, taught me how to use the coffee machine, and helped me fully set my workstation - those moments were simply great”.

Elena emphasized how she stands for team efforts and a joint approach. When you have a team working like that you see how people are motivated to give more. She nurtures this team spirit at home as well. Her ‘home team of three musketeers’ - aged 9, 4, and 2, are also following her steps and she tries to always have time for both work challenges and fun activities with her family.

Java as a Community, not Only a Technology

When speaking about her main tech stack, she interestingly connects it with the community that stimulates you to learn and grow. She mentions that she would never change her main stack, as Java offers continuous challenges and options for learning. New versions are coming, and she strives to excel in the latest texts that offer better possibilities for solutions. Of course, she mentions the open-source aspect and cheaper hostings for clients when we talk about Java, but she emphasizes the opportunity to join a worldwide community of engineers where you can learn, share experiences and even contribute towards extending libraries and frameworks. That gives you an opportunity to create a fast, high-quality solution that will last for years.

When asked about possible career advice she could give, she mentions today's availability of everything and advised that you should focus on more in-depth analysis and how things work in the background. Elena also advises taking into consideration the entire community behind a framework because that will help create optimal solutions.

Her final words to us, “Everything can be achieved and once you have accomplished your goal - that is the real satisfaction.”

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