After five years, many opportunities, learnings, an enviable career development, and a year-long break, we sat down with Lejla Dzananovic to write her Symphony story. Lejla started her professional journey as a junior .NET Developer and switched to Java after only three months at Symphony. Amid her career advancement, she took the most significant role in her life — being a mother! However, that is not all. Coming back, she dived even deeper into her career development and ended up here — telling us her story. "Maybe this should be the story of why it is important to have a true role model and someone who believes in you. Or maybe, the story of how I benefited from my agile skill set," says Lejla at the very beginning of our conversation. We believe it is a story about bravery and seeking opportunities to explore your potential and growth with every step!
What It Takes To Go From Junior Developer to Team Lead
"When I look back on the period from four years ago, back then I thought that everything an engineer needs to know is a programming language and design patterns. I was not aware that being an engineer means so much more. The most important lesson I learned in the meantime was that a strong set of soft skills is crucial for this job," Lejla shared with us. The change of the project and transition from Android development to Java after only three months of her Symphony employment led Lejla to work on an exciting startup that developed into an enterprise project. Looking back, Lejla told us, "What marked that part of my career was the management team's support and the individual development plan they created for me. Conversations, feedback sessions, workshops, and big projects brought significant changes both to me and to Symphony as a company". Just as she began digging into Java's new potential, Lejla went on maternity leave, during which she was absent from work for a year. "I think that going on maternity leave was a crucial moment in my career. It seemed to me that the year was very long and that everyone around me was progressing while I stagnated," Lejla recalled with a smile, adding that she felt she had to make up for all 365 days the moment she returned to work. Fortunately, Symphony's management stepped in and gave Lejla the needed support and multiple opportunities from which she, judging by the results and successes today, got only the best. "Symphony has advised me to continue my journey as a Java developer, but this time with a completely different client. By now, you can already anticipate that the new client was a step out of my comfort zone. This time, expectations from the client were a little bit different than usually. From my side, I was doing a lot of consultancy with third party companies that were included in the project. Soft skills were an especially important factor here, and something I worked hard to improve during my engagement on this project", says Lejla with a smile, adding that regardless, every new client brought additional learning opportunities. "It was an enterprise business based on microservice architecture, and this was much more challenging than anything I had done before. Eight months later, I received my first offer to lead a team of several people". Although I doubted myself and did not know if I was ready for such a step, Symphony recognized and once again pushed my potential beyond anything I considered possible. In parallel with my development, Symphony grew rapidly and increasingly progressed towards much bigger enterprise clients. I love to think I grew and developed together with Symphony and the projects I was working on".
A Person Who Leads The Team Directly Influences People Within The Team
Lejla's potential peaked when she switched to the project she is currently working on since it was the most challenging so far, and her first time participating in the complete project setup. "Over time, I realized that being a team lead means a much wider field of action, starting with delivery and communication with the client — a big part of this contribution was in the technical setup and the ability to offer tools which helped bring high quality and delivery to the project. But, the responsibility of a team lead most often reflects in empowering colleagues. It is essential to think a few steps ahead and be a true leader who recognizes and points out the good things, but is also very aware of what could go wrong — in other words, to have full technical ownership over processes" Although I doubted myself as a team lead, the career development team and my Service Delivery Manager strongly believed in me. The only thing I was sure of was the path I wanted to take. I knew how my mentors influenced me, how much good it brought me, so I tried to create the same impact on my team members." Lejla pointed out that she observed colleagues with years of experience from the beginning of her career to understand their job responsibility — and eventually implement those learnings on her personal development and team!
Different Roles, One Goal
When we asked Lejla how motherhood affected her as a person, she said she wanted to mention the fear that every mother probably feels at least once in her life. "I would like to tell women not to be afraid of maternity leave and understand how a year is not a long period. I didn't stop researching during maternity leave, and I did not want to accept the "take it slowly" approach. It's crucial to know that career development will not stop with the birth of a child. Everything can be compensated," Lejla said, adding with a laugh: "Moreover, this will absolutely perfect your multitasking skills!" "I was shown the power of individual support, and how my voice and wishes are important when spotting development opportunities. I think I have now entered a stage where I can recognize that I have outgrown something and be vocal about it. I am truly the owner of my career, and Symphony is there to provide support and that healthy push you need from time to time. We asked Lejla one final question "Is there anything you would like to add?" She finished this 60-minute meeting concluding: "It is amazing how much a person can develop within one company, of course, with the people around you and their effort and support. Symphony gave me just that; it allowed me to gain more technical and professional experience on different projects, learn from them, and be a part of many success stories. And this is the feeling of support and team effort I value and would recommend to everyone!"