#ForTheLoveOfProgramming | From the first HC to the first application, from junior developer to Tech Lead & Business Partner interview with Razvan Veliscu (Managing Partner @Roweb)

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Razvan Veliscu interview

The Roweb story goes on with a new interview: Razvan Veliscu, Managing Partner and Tech Lead @Roweb.

From the first HC to the first application, from junior developer to Tech Lead & Business Partner, and after 20 years, the border between job and passion remained imperceptible for him.

 

20 years ago, most of our generation focused on Law, Finance-Banking, International Relations, etc. IT was an industry that was supposed to be “the future,” but, in reality, not much was known. So what drew you in this direction?

As Viorel has already told us, he was our teacher and basically instilled in us the desire to learn more and develop projects in IT. But my passion for this field came before I met him.

I started programming in the 6th grade. At first, I didn’t really know anything. Then, my parents bought me a computer (an HC). I took the instruction book and started reading it, trying to understand the programs it presented.

At that time, in bookstores, you couldn’t find anything about programming, so my only learning resource was, initially, that technical computer book 🙂

These were my beginnings in the world of programming.

But, it was incredible when I discovered the subject called Informatics in the 9th grade. I found it fascinating, and the fact that I had someone to consult with greatly benefited me. I was happy that I managed to find people to exchange opinions with.

 

So Viorel was your teacher from the 9th grade…

Yes, he was our teacher. He instilled in us a passion for programming.

Being in the Intensive Informatics profile class, I had a whole day of classes with Viorel. We, the passionate students, stayed from morning to night. I also remember that we used to go to the IT classes of other groups of students from other high schools.

Because we liked Informatics and there weren’t enough computers to practice our knowledge, we took advantage of every opportunity.

 

And how did you get back in touch and even work together?

I met him again in the first year of college just by chance. And we started to discuss. He was then a teacher elsewhere. 

He told me that he worked as a teacher. I told him that I had not had time for two years to do anything related to my passion – IT. There was no one left to intrigue me. I had completely disconnected.

Among other things, I told him about my uncle from the USA, who knew about my passion and launched a challenge: to make an application (he was very concerned about this emerging IT market). It’s just that I didn’t really have anything to do with the field anymore. Thus, it didn’t really appeal to me anymore. And Viorel said, “let’s take a look at the project.”

And so we started working together after 3-4 years. I was in my first year of university, in the year 2000. So we began to study, to understand the web part and what can be done with this passion in a new industry context.

 

In this way, you went from theory to practice together, starting to work on concrete projects for a market in total development.

That’s right. Viorel tested, tried, and discovered new things that could be done after his teaching program. I was studying after my courses at the Faculty.

(And, so you can see how far I had moved away from IT, as a Faculty, I studied International Relations. I had nothing to do with IT and the web development industry.)

In parallel with the project we were collaborating on with my uncle, we started to develop other solutions/web applications together with a company from Pitesti. So that’s how I got the experience. 

Then, the company started to grow. Gabi (Rosu) and Mirel (Ionescu) came soon. (I kept in touch with them even after finishing high school). We were all passionate about IT, so it didn’t take long until they decided to join us.

 

How did the first successful projects that helped increase company expertise come about?

We were developing a multi-level marketing web application for my uncle. 

The first projects that had a real impact were two marketplace-type bursapc.ro (for the Romanian market, a project considered at that time in the top 5 projects in the country) and ITTradeonline.com for the international market, which helped companies that sold hardware to trade IT equipment, regardless of the distance.

The following projects were in the eCommerce area for a client from Taiwan and our partner, who was selling hardware equipment in Romania.

From all these collaborations, I learned the international market trends at the concept and technology levels.

 

For which industries do you develop solutions in particular?

I have had clients from many industries in the more than 20 years since I have been with the company. Currently, I am focusing on two of them: finance and the hospitality industry. For each project, we have to ensure a series of roles in the team – for example, for an ERP that we are developing now, we have allocated a group of 7-8 software developers.

I also manage the Angular team. I have done this since I adopted the technology in the company. So, I have my .NET + Angular teams. In addition, I am involved in the training program, offer people support, and am involved in the mentoring part.

 

What are the biggest challenges at the team level, and how different are they compared to the ones you faced at the beginning of the journey?

I think the biggest challenge comes from the fact that you have to help everyone find their place in the team and help them choose what suits them best.

And this is in a much-changed context. I started by coordinating a team with two people, and today I have 25 developers I work with.

 

And in terms of working with clients and project responsibility?

Each client comes with its own challenges. However, each client has a personality and their own way of managing the project. Therefore, everyone is different, even if the industry/type of application is the same. Some clients have a solid technical background and know very clearly what they expect, but also, clients need consulting to correctly define their development needs.

Of course, it is easiest for us to work with those with technical knowledge, but the challenge of offering consultancy to those who need guidance is exciting.

 

We talked a lot about team and project management. But, in reality, your activity in the company also means the administration of the security infrastructure, automation, involvement in the technical stages of recruitment…

That’s right. Team and project management is only part of what I do now.

As you said, I also manage the security infrastructure, and I like to spend time looking for solutions to all security-related problems that inevitably arise in any business.

Also, among the activities I deal with – and in which I get involved with pleasure – are those related to recruiting new talents and developers with potential who can bring added value to our projects. Therefore, I like to be actively involved in recruitment projects – from interviews to the association of the new employee with the project and client. 

And I also offer support for people who want to learn new technologies or those they haven’t used before (.Net, Angular, SQL, Microservices, Azure, etc.). 

In addition, I constantly do the technical consulting part for clients + offer solutions for the automation and computerization of their business processes.

 

Do you take your passion for IT outside of business?

Yes, of course. Even when I’m not coordinating the development of projects for Roweb clients, you can still find me involved in something similar. More precisely, I am passionate about everything related to digitization and automation. 

I started this 3-4 years ago when I bought the external blinds for my house. And I was thinking about how to start automating them. And from there, a kind of passion started. I got to the point where today I also monitor the mailbox 🙂

It has an ultrasonic sensor and registers when I receive a new envelope. Thus, it sends a notification to my phone, and I know when I receive correspondence.

The lights and sockets from my house are also automated, based on sensors. So I turned my house into a modern, smart one. Even the speakers are intelligent and communicate in Romanian.

I have automatic monitoring on cars as well. A home dashboard that tells me precisely what autonomy the vehicles have. Everything is done based on sensors I programmed through a custom system. 

The configuration and implementation take longer than a regular one you can find on the market, but the results are not comparable.

As the next step in business, I would also like to do this at work.

 

I have to ask you: are you also part of the motorbikers’ community in Roweb?

You can also say that 🙂 I also had a motorbike until I broke my leg. And I gave it up for about 7 years. But it was a hobby for a few years.

We rode the motorbikes in the forest (off-road), on the roads between the hills and mountains around Pitesti. I had a group of friends with whom I went to competitions. 

After the children came, I took a 3-4 year break from this passion. Then, I started again, but I had an accident, so I decided to give up.

I have learned to get my share of adrenaline from other activities now. I ride a bike, and I go kayaking. I swim and run. I also practice rock climbing. I often go to the mountains because it’s the kind of place where I feel perfectly at ease.

Razvan Veliscu interview

Roweb @MWC Las Vegas 2022

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