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Working in Serengeti for 5 Years – A Story from Lead Developer

Lucija Babić, Content and Communications Specialist

In times when developers are most in demand and employee turnover is generally high, many of our employees have been with us for 5 or even 10 years. In addition to domain knowledge, we are recognizable by our unique culture that we have nurtured since our foundation in 2007, and which we have successfully transferred to all development centers.

For all those curious about why developers stay in Serengeti, we spoke with Lead developer, Boris Pavlović, who this year celebrates a 5-year work anniversary.

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Boris Pavlović

Boris, please introduce yourself to our readers.

I have 21 years of experience as an Oracle developer, primarily PL/SQL, Forms, Reports, in the financial industry where I started to work after graduating from FOI (Faculty of Organization and Informatics) in 2002, majoring in Information Systems, and completing the military service in 2003. I spent 10 years with my first employer where I started as an intern in the development department. During those 10 years, I went through all the stages of application development in the banking sector, as well as through the financial part of the business - foreign exchange applications, reporting to the CNB, applications for branch offices, card transactions, etc. I spent the next 5 years in another large bank where I worked in the field of credit operations and treasury applications.

I have been in Serengeti for the last 5 years, and currently I am holding the position of Lead developer engaged in a project for one of the largest banks in Croatia. For me, it natural to stay in the financial sector all these years. Today I can say that I really like working with databases. Colleagues looking for complex projects, i.e., projects where they can learn a lot, need look no further than the bank. Here we face challenges every day, and if you are willing to learn, you can really learn a lot. Having a job like this, the so-called work-life balance is extremely important. As a father of two children and a lover of sports and nature, that is something extremely important to me because it is the best way to recharge my batteries for each new working day.

I have to admit that during my career I went through almost the entire banking business and learned a lot, and I consider it a great achievement. To conclude my story and perhaps give a piece of advice to my colleagues: when you feel that something is good and makes sense, don't change it, stay where you are, not necessarily in the same company, but in the same field, because it will pay off many times over in the years to come.

When did you come to the Serengeti? What attracted you to this company?

I came to Serengeti in the mid-2018 when I saw that it was time for a change. I was also motivated by the opportunity to learn something new, and to try my hand at a new company and in the environment which is my area of expertise. Before that, I was part of a system where IT can be described with the well-known saying "necessary evil". Today, 5 years later, I'm sure it was a good decision and the change I needed to discover my additional talents and skills. Also, I knew some of my current colleagues from before, so I could get first-hand information about everything I wanted to know about the company and the projects.

What kept you in Serengeti for 5 years?

Apart from the working conditions, which are constantly evolving in line with the needs of the market, I stayed because of the people, that is, the culture and spirit of the company. I wasn't even aware that 5 years had already passed until you reminded me of it with this interview. In good company, time passes quickly.

The people I have met during these 5 years, as well as those with whom I have worked before and still working, are excellent persons, but also excellent experts in their field. However, these are the types of people with whom you have a friendly relationship, you talk about work when things are going smoothly, but also when everything is a little more difficult, you also talk about things not related to work, various hobbies and other personal topics. The team is always ready to help, I would say "to step in when needed" and without any complaints. The atmosphere is great, but of course, I also like the projects I am involved in. Besides that, I like the fact that Serengeti is a stable company and therefore provides a certain security.

Describe your career path in Serengeti.

I have spent my entire working life working with databases, including in Serengeti. I am currently a Lead Developer on a project for one of the largest banks in Croatia. The technology I have been working on since day one is PL/SQL. I have also worked with Oracle tools Forms and Reports. The complexity of the projects I have worked on varies from totally simple to super complex and demanding. For example, I participated in a super complex project of refactoring the core banking system, then conversion to Euro, shutting down one credit card and introducing a new one, etc.

The size of the teams I have worked in also varied throughout my career. At the beginning of my career, there were only 5 of us in the entire development department, so I was in charge of a bunch of different jobs. In some other cases, I was a part of smaller teams that were part of a larger entity that numbered several tens or even hundreds of people. In my 20-year career, I have been through a lot, from 'one man army' to various smaller and/or larger teams. I can't say what was better or worse, harder or easier, every situation had its charms and its challenges.

Anyway, considering that the concept of working with databases in large systems such as a bank is very challenging, I can say that every day is an opportunity to learn something new. Each team, as well as each project, is an opportunity to learn something new, both in the technical aspect (because each person has its own way of working and solving problems) and in the social aspect because you collaborate with people of various profiles, and thus develop both social and communication skills.

How much has the company changed, and how much the environment in which you work?

From my perspective, I would say that a lot has changed, of course, for the better. In addition to the fact that the company grew in terms of the number of employees and development centers, we also moved to larger premises, acquired domain knowledge in new industries and started cooperation with new clients. In addition, employee care has also evolved, the culture is such that no one is just a number on paper. I feel like I'm part of a big family.

In these 5 years, I would single out the pandemic as a major turning point because it initiated numerous changes in life in general, including work. Of course, this was also influenced by my engagements, that is, the projects I worked on, that is, I am working on. Before the pandemic, you had clients who insisted on a physical presence in their offices because they were distrustful of remote work, and today it's completely normal. There are always good days and bad days, but we learned how to deal with difficult times, and I can say that we came out better and smarter. As one would say, there is a little good in all evil.

What does Serengeti offer employees to stay so long?

First of all, it offers security, especially after we all faced some new challenges during the recent pandemic. But the most important thing is that all of us, both employees and employers, practically in all industries, have learned some new things, that is, how to behave and how to manage certain things in crisis situations.

It also offers engagements in a spectrum of industries where domain knowledge has been built, and with it the possibility of specialization for each individual. I personally chose the financial industry, so all my engagements are in the field that interests me the most.

Certainly, there are a number of benefits that have become standard and there is no need to list them. But what I want to emphasize once again is that the best and most that it offers are great people who are really fun to spend time with and work with. I would especially single out the office in Bjelovar where I have been working for the last 3 years and where the atmosphere and working conditions are really t

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