Taking Nikita to coffee

Photo of Zane Poca nad Nikita having a video call sharing a conversation

Meet Nikita, Lead Developer at Emergn. He’s been with the company for 6 years and always strives to fill the gaps inside the team, which ultimately has led him to interesting career path development aligned to his interests. In this coffee chat, you’ll learn what his challenges as a tech lead are and how he recharges his energy levels after work.

What’s your role at Emergn, and how long have you been with the company?

My current role in Emergn is Lead Developer and I’ve been with the company for 6 years. I’m a proud member of the .NET practice, working to improve internal processes and collaboration between its members. I’m also working on one of the customer projects as a Software Architect, mostly on a platform level finding ways to improve it.

I think it’s very important nowadays to be a T-shaped professional, being an expert at your knowledge area, but also develop other skills. I’ve always tried to fill the gaps in the team and help where I can. And eventually, it has led me to very natural career development aligned to my interests.

Tell us a bit about your backstory and how you got started

I’ve always been a geeky kid, interested in technology and electronics. But I truly realized I wanted to study IT when I was on a school trip to university. I was amazed by the looks and atmosphere of the campus, and funnily it was one of the reasons I decided that one day I’ll be a student there. And it came true.

My first job was an early startup, which created tools to convert media. I was lucky enough to join the company at its early stages with the core team working to launch a new product. I had to do and learn so many different things, which helped me to realize that strict boundaries on your knowledge area and role doesn’t help anyone – you or the company that you work for.

What’s the most exciting challenge for you as a Lead Developer?

While I was a developer, it was all about writing a good code, there’s even one piece that I’m still willing to put on my wall. However, currently, as a Lead Developer, I’m facing different challenges, mostly connected with being a leader. For me, it’s very important to allow my team to think independently and be able to make their own decisions, and understand the ways of working to reach the goal we’ve set. Many times, that means being together with the team, knowing the right answer, but allowing them to understand how to solve the problem themselves. It requires a lot of patience, but eventually pays off, as with each case the team grows and advances their skillset.

What makes a good leader?

I think it’s very simple, a good leader is a person who can lead by example. Being with the team, helping them to find the right solutions, but not telling exactly what has to be accomplished. Instead showing the approach, communication style, and attitude towards work, to set the bar and showcase what good work looks like.

Do VFQ ways of working plays a role in your daily work? How?

VFQ principles and our mission statement, “Improve the way people and companies work. Forever,” are naturally aligned with my own views. For me, it wasn’t something groundbreaking or new, it was more about reinforcing my point of view and realizing it’s being supported within the company.

Outside of work, what’s one thing people should know about you?

There are a couple of hobbies that I entertain myself with, but the one worth mentioning I think is my smart home infrastructure project. At first, when I started to test different smart home systems, I realized they don’t work that well. So, I started to look for ways to improve them and ended up with an ecosystem that runs well. In case it’s needed, I’m able to improve it myself while using my coding skills and a little bit of soldering. There are sensors on my water tap, my lights switch on when I come into the room because of motion sensors and many other features that make my home more convenient.

I love to learn by doing and that’s how I feed my curiosity day-to-day.

What would you recommend to anyone who wants to step up the career ladders or switch roles?

There are a few questions that I think need to be clarified to successfully step up in your career or change roles. First, why do you want it? Different goals require different actions to achieve them and changing roles may not be what you actually need.

Second, are you ready to start doing new things? Any change in your career requires you to do something differently, so you should be ready to start doing new things.

And lastly, are you ready to stop doing what you do now? Old habits die hard. You should be ready to leave them behind. Answering these questions might help you to understand which direction you want to take as growth can take different paths – you can try a different role; you can climb up the career ladder with a promotion or deepen your knowledge and specialize in something.