People of Symphony starring Ratko Dodevski: The journey from QA to DevOps, one challenge at a time

People of Symphony starring Ratko Dodevski: The journey from QA to DevOps, one challenge at a time

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August 8th, 2022

We bring you the story of Ratko Dodevski, Staff DevOps Engineer at the Skopje engineering hub. His impressive 11-year-long path of discovering different fields and roles resides in his one true passion - technology. Ratko is known among his friends and colleagues as the go-to person for quality checks on technology, hardware, software, and various gadgets, so it is no surprise to see the career switches that led him to the fully DevOps-centered role. Check out Ratko’s story, his Symphony experience, and what the future holds in terms of his professional and personal development.

It all starts with passion

Ratko’s love for virtualization and technology evolved during his university years when he started working on large computing systems and data centers for telecom operators and banks. “I began working in a corporate environment as a Network and Systems Engineer, and after 6 years in this role, I switched to a completely different field. I became a QA Engineer in a startup, which allowed me to combine my network and security knowledge with my analytical skills. Moving to a smaller environment was definitely the right move at the time.” - Ratko emphasized.

Joining Symphony was a longer process for him, due to the onset of the pandemic and the fact that the Skopje office was just forming at the time. Nonetheless, his motivation never subsided, and now, after almost a year and a half, he never regretted taking on the DevOps role in Symphony. As Ratko pointed out - “After some time working as a QA, I realized I craved systems, servers, and AWS, which I worked on before. That is when I came across Symphony’s DevOps job ad. Symphony was a game changer in the market since it tackled new technologies and innovative solutions, which I was initially drawn to. Later on, the people and the amazing work atmosphere kept me anchored here.”

At first, Ratko felt he might not be the best fit due to his QA-focused role, but he was extremely motivated to fully dedicate himself to DevOps and build the foundations of that role in Symphony.

Switching from QA to DevOps

Before coming to Symphony, Ratko worked as a full-time QA Engineer but still found time to build his skill set in senior cloud operations, AWS, and processes which prepared him for his DevOps journey. The main factors that hugely impacted this journey were the support he gained from his colleagues, especially through cross-hub collaboration on his first project. “I cannot emphasize enough the support I’ve received from the whole community, especially Edin Zagora and Goran Vrbaski, who were DevOps Engineers at the time. It was a challenge, but they made it feel like a pleasant ride from day one, and I have to thank them for that.” - Ratko added.

Ratko believes the combined knowledge and background with testing and servers gave him a unique advantage. “As a QA, you pay attention to details and have a better grip on the whole system. When you start tackling many different platforms as a DevOps, this skill comes in handy because you can have the big picture in mind and automate processes more efficiently.”

Recently, Ratko was promoted to Staff DevOps Engineer, taking on more responsibilities, and opening new opportunities to grow both his technical and people skills. As Ratko said - “Exploring new things is in my blood, so I was thrilled to be recognized for this new role. Symphony is an environment that nourishes your affinities and provides you with everything you need to reach your set goals and go beyond that.

The push forward

When asked what his main driving force is, Ratko said - an adaptable engineering mindset and an insatiable curiosity. As he shared with us - “You should never stop learning. Taking your previous knowledge with newly-acquired skills will always give you a fresh perspective on things and help deepen your understanding.”

Besides learning, Ratko enjoys sharing knowledge, and everyone in the community has recognized his dedication to helping others. Recently, he started working on a Rasberry Pi project which would allow DevOps Engineers, developers, and enthusiasts in Symphony a chance to develop and deploy apps in containers and try out configurations without using AWS. “This device forms a cluster with Kubernetes installed on it, and anyone interested can use it, explore, and play around because, in the end, it’s all about having fun while learning and building something new.”

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