Stefan Nicolae: “What I appreciate most about the Roweb team is my freedom, the possibility to grow and flexibility”

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A new #ForTheLoveOfProgramming interview brings Stefan Nicolae, part of the Roweb team since 2004, into the spotlight.

For those who do not know yet, Stefan is the Custom Open Source Development department coordinator in Pitesti and Head of eCommerce.

For family and friends – an active man who likes challenges and has many exciting hobbies.

For those who have known him for a very long time – the man with a great sense of humor and many stories.

Curious to find more? Read more details about his career over the 19 years since he has been at Roweb.


#ForTheLoveOfProgramming – The Tech Perspective

How many years have you been part of the Roweb team?

Stefan Nicolae: My career at Roweb started in the fall of 2004. Initially, I worked for a company that offered internet services. However, this was only a starting activity – it was not exactly what I wanted to do in the long term.

I came across an announcement that Roweb was searching for their first PHP programmer (previously, the company’s portfolio only contained projects based on Microsoft technologies).

Thus, I met Viorel Costea (CEO of Roweb) and Gabriel Rosu (Managing Partner – whom I had known since high school), so I integrated quickly.

What do you like most about Roweb?

Stefan Nicolae: My freedom, the possibility to grow and flexibility. I had the opportunity to achieve my goals by establishing the Open Source development team, mentoring students from the very beginning of their internships, and training junior employees. Working with people brings me a sense of fulfillment and helps me grow professionally.

Tell us a memory from the first years in the company that nothing will be able to erase from your memory.

Stefan Nicholae: Throughout my time with the company, I have gathered countless memories. One such memory that stands out is the frequent trips to the mountains we took together.

I also recall being responsible for barbecue sessions (you can say that these sessions were the beginning of team building), where we used to enjoy good food and company.

The Roweb as it was when you joined the company vs. the Roweb of today. What do you think has changed? What remained the same?

Stefan Nicolae: I saw the company when it had five employees, then 15, then 50 and now over 130. It was a continuous evolution. In the beginning, the relations between the people at Roweb were very close – we all knew each other very well.

We were few people, and the whole team fit at one table, went on trips together, and participated in all the events – birthdays, weddings or parties. It is more challenging to do this now when the company has grown.

Despite everything, the passion for programming and the aspiration for personal development stayed consistent.

What made you choose IT?

Stefan Nicole: Ever since high school, I wanted to become a programmer. I also studied Computer Science in high school and joined the Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science. In college, I liked programming in PHP – a language I learned on my own – and wanted a career in this industry.

Who can you tell us about the first projects?

Stefan Nicolae: Initially, the team consisted of two or three individuals. Currently, the Open Source department comprises more than 50 people. From the onset, my focus was on eCommerce projects. We created two distinct custom CMS platforms and various eCommerce platforms. Presently, we utilize recognized Open Source platforms.

What projects are you currently working on?

Stefan Nicolae: I am currently the Head of eCommerce and coordinate the Custom Open Source development team in Pitesti. I have several ongoing projects, including eCommerce platforms for banking and finance, real estate, Horeca clothing, and automotive industries. Additionally, I am responsible for coordinating the team that develops and maintains one of the largest publishing houses in the country.

What are the challenges in your projects?

Stefan Nicolae: I faced numerous challenges, but the most significant was expanding and enhancing our eCommerce department. Our current situation is constantly changing, and the digitalization of everything, including eCommerce, is fascinating. Thankfully, the Roweb team is adapting and growing in this dynamic industry.

How did you evolve from a professional point of view in the company? (job position, projects, etc.)?

Stefan Nicolae: I began my journey in the world of coding with PHP and eventually progressed to leading the eCommerce teams and representing Roweb at various events. I was also part of the development of the company’s website. I still recall how Mirel Ionescu, the Managing Partner, wrote the initial articles, and I developed the first versions of the CMS platform that powered the site.

Some insights about the atmosphere in the current team.

Stefan Nicolae: I appreciate that my team members are proactive and capable of completing their tasks without constant supervision. While coordination is necessary, they are responsible individuals who understand their roles and responsibilities.

What advice would you have for a person coming to work at Roweb?

Stefan Nicolae: Just be willing to learn. They should be open-minded and try to assimilate as much as possible from colleagues, each project, and any tutorial.


#ForTheLoveOfProgramming – The Human Perspective

If you hadn’t worked in IT, you would most likely have been:

Stefan Nicolae: Beekeeper… or carpenter.

Your asset in the team is:

Stefan Nicolae: I am a communicative and friendly person and can relate quite easily with different people (clients or colleagues). Also,I quickly notice patterns (I understand what the clients want and structure so that the programmers can understand and develop quickly).

If Roweb were a friend, his leading quality would be:

Stefan Nicolae: Roweb is friendly and very, very intelligent.

If Roweb were a friend, his main flaw would be:

Stefan Nicolae: People. People are both the quality and the defect.

When you are not at the office, we can find you most often:

Stefan Nicolae: Preparing something good. Or at the barbecue. Or crafting something in the yard. Or by printing on a 3D printer.

If the team you are a part of were a quick key combination, then it would be:

Stefan Nicolae: I can’t choose just one key combination because all keys are essential.

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