In this blog post, our guest is one of our experienced developers, Ivan Jakab. He was one of the faces of our employer branding campaign this summer, and what is so special about him is the fact that he is our vegan developer! As November, a vegan month passed, we asked Ivan to write us a recipe for one of his favorite dishes! And not only that – see what’s going on in the life of one senior developer in Serengeti.
Hello Ivan. You're someone with years of experience at Serengeti. From a relatively small enterprise to the current company with an excellent reputation and a three-digit number of colleagues and offices across the region. How do you see the company's organic growth?
Overall, growth offers companies new opportunities to thrive, new possibilities, new challenges, new horizons. But growth can also mean a loss of connection between employees and management, a loss of focus on real values and prioritizing short-term solutions to maintain growth itself over long-term efforts to achieve employee satisfaction.
Apart from Serengeti, how was your growth and DEVELOPMENT as a dev? As a senior, you have followed countless trends, transient and permanent, the technologies of tomorrow and the technologies that belong to museums. How do you see the world of development today?
My first steps in programming started in elementary school, sometime during the fourth grade. These were ancient times when personal computers in these Balkan areas were just taking root. I was lucky to be surrounded by older people, engineers, who were computer enthusiasts and, in a situation, where they could afford one of those computers in their own home. They introduced me to the first "secrets"...
Since then, as you said yourself, a lot of technologies and trends in the world of software development have varied and changed. But it seems to me that one thing remains unchanged. Few people outside of software development have a real idea of what software development is and what the natural course of software development is as a process.
For people who have no ties to any technical profession, software development can seem almost like some dark magic. The managers, in turn, try to mold software development into a walk in the park, so that they can apply some metric like "the number of lines of code per hour" or something similar. In reality, software development is a mixture of the process of creating an idea for solving a problem and the process of applying experience and knowledge about program methodologies and is by no means a linear process. I would say it's a process similar to writing a book... Sometimes you can spend days figuring it out and thinking it over before you get to the first line of code. In today's era of performance capitalism, where there is constant time pressure, financial goals, various Excel tables with estimates and predictions that "need" to be met, this kind of misunderstanding is the source of very great pressure on developers...
What project are you working on right now, could give us a little sneak-peek?
Since my arrival in Serengeti in 2019, I have worked for Fronius, a mega-company world-renowned for its batteries (e.g., for cars), welding and solar power systems.
I participate in the development and maintenance of system software for solar power systems, namely inverters, devices that convert direct current at the output of solar panels into alternating current, suitable for common household use or return to the electricity grid. Inverters also have the function of an information center, enabling the viewing of various parameters of the solar power system of which it is part and the function of a control center, enabling the user to define, select and change various modes.
I am currently working on removing a communication mechanism between individual processes, in order to consolidate the code and preserve the performance of the system itself. Since solar power systems have limited hardware support, which cannot be changed during the life cycle of the device, and they are expected to run for many years undisturbed, the software support on them must be optimized, both in terms of memory space and use of processor time. Therefore, regular maintenance of the code is a constant, common, and unavoidable process
You were part of our Employer Branding campaign! What was that like, modeling in front of a lens? Also, how does it feel to see yourself on a billboard?
I think it's funny. I'm not the kind of guy who likes to expose himself like that... For a long time, I did a lot of photography primarily, so I didn't have to be in front of the camera. But in this case, I participated out of some curiosity. Fortunately, "my" billboard was nowhere near me, so I didn't have to look at myself...
You're one of our company's vegan influencers! How long has your trip to veganism been going on, how did it start?
Influencer? I wish...
I've been some kind of vegan for a few years. I was inspired by my daughter, Nika, who was a vegetarian for a long time, and then a vegan. Namely, I love animals very much, and she encouraged me to think about the conditions in which animals live on breeding farms and the way people treat these animals. The knowledge and conclusions I came to hit me hard. There was no particular decision about veganism, but I'm just not comfortable being a part of that. It doesn't seem fair.
Let's hear it, give us a recipe!
I can recommend a light recipe for Tofugneze, a Bolognese made out of crushed tofu for 2 people.
The preparation of this recipe should be approached with love. Good company and a glass of your favorite drink are also welcome.
The following ingredients should be prepared:
- 1 medium onion (I usually use the yellow ones, but choose according to your own taste)
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 0.5 kg cherry tomatoes
- 200 g crushed tofu
- 1 L vegetable stock (I usually use vegetable stock cubes, because they contain other spices that suit me, and I don't have to add almost any spice later)
- Pasta (I recommend penne, fusilli or tagliatelle)
- Parmigiano Reggiano
As far as tools are concerned, we need 2 hotplates, a 3-liter pot, a large pot for the pasta, as large a pan as possible (I use one 32 cm in diameter), a spatula for mixing, a strainer, some kind of mashing device
- Finely chop the onion and garlic.
- Detach the stems from the cherry tomatoes.
- Remove the tofu from its packaging and break or cut it into smaller pieces.
- Turn on the hotplate at medium power or even slightly above (I use one of those "stone" pans and the 6/9 power setting – for stainless steel pans the 5/9 power setting will be more appropriate).
- Add oil to the pan, so that it covers the bottom (even a little more oil will not hurt, especially if it is a finer olive oil).
- Turn on the second hotplate at maximum power and place a pot with 1 L of water on it.
- Add 2 cubes of vegetable stock and all cherry tomatoes to that water.
- Add onions and garlic to the heated oil in the pan and let them "relax" (they should not be burnt, so mix them occasionally, also reduce the heat if this part seems to be going too fast).
- When the onion becomes transparent (do not wait for it to brown), add the minced tofu to the pan and stir a little.
- As the tofu heats up, it will crumble on its own, and you can help it a little by pressing it against the bottom of the pan with a spatula.
- Tofu doesn't need to be heat-treated for long, but I let it become golden.
- While the tofu is "relaxing" in the pan, monitor the bouillon and cherry tomatoes in the pot – reduce the temperature when the bouillon starts to boil.
- When the tofu starts to "dry out", pour the bouillon over it little by little.
- When the tomatoes soften and the outer membrane begins to peel, remove them from the water and let them cool down a little.
- When you spend the last amount of stock on the tofu, you can rinse the cooled cherry tomatoes.
- Put a large pot with enough water for the pasta on the hotplate where the bouillon was and turn it up to maximum power.
- Salt the water so that it has the salinity of the Adriatic Sea.
- When the tofu dries out again, add the mashed tomatoes and stir.
- Let this mixture connect and reduce a little.
- At this point, you can add any desired spices (I do not season).
- In case the pasta is not ready yet, you can add some pasta cooking water to the mixture, so that it does not get too thick.
- Cook the pasta for 1-2 minutes less than that indicated on the instructions.
- Strain the pasta then add it to the sauce mixture in the pan.
- Turn off the heat to the pan.
- Mix well and remove from the hotplate.
- Serve immediately.
- Grate the Parmesan.
Serve on deep plates, with freshly grated Parmesan cheese. A glass of Chianti will sit nicely with this dish. Bon Appetit!