From a secret street dance club to software development!

Paul Tofan
Paul Tofan
25 Oct 2021

Meet Alex. He joined the FXBITS team more than one year ago as a backend developer and has been killing it ever since! He is now an essential teammate with lots of experience in web applications, focused on code quality and cost-efficient solutions for our clients. When he is away from the computer, he enjoys spending time with his girlfriend, vacations near the seaside, and a good BBQ with his friends. Learn more about Alex’s career path from a secret street dance club to software development!

Alex on a break after a successful release

Why did you join FXBITS, and what has kept you here?

Curiosity. Previously I mostly worked for product companies where things usually get comfortable after some time. Since I have previous experience in sales, I kind of missed “the action” and wanted some sort of interaction with clients so I can put my other skills to good use and see how the outsourcing business model works from the inside.

Professionalism. During the recruitment process, I met Paul (the CEO) and I liked his honest and direct approach during the interview. He asked all sorts of questions and lead me to believe that he cares about the company culture and the type of personality you bring in. I liked that.

Experience. During the technical interview, I met very experienced developers in areas I was interested in from which I had a lot to learn afterward. I also loved the assignment and the fact the company hires people on actual proof of code and not just some discussions. It was a nice experience.

Commitment. I like the family-like approach I found here. Everyone is helping each other and it’s a fun environment where you’re always exposed to new challenges.

What is your role at FXBITS?

I’m one of the core backend developers of my client’s project and besides my usually coding tasks, I also wear the hat of a Release Manager and coordinate our team efforts after each sprint to successfully deliver the new functionalities to our end customer.

I’m also responsible for improving our agile and development processes. I’m detail-oriented and I always like things done well. Except for steak. This one should always be medium-rare.

How do you describe your work personality vs. your home life personality?

I don’t think there are two different personalities involved here because my work environment allows me to be me. I believe that this is also true for my colleagues. We often talk about things like family, hobbies, or vacation plans, things that are not necessarily related to work.

Although I work remotely as an integrated part of my client’s team, we have very good communication happening inside our team that allows us that. We’re a nice mix of people coming from different cultures, and I like the fact that we grow stronger together even when we face bigger challenges.

Alex in his “work from home” environment.

How do you define success in life?

I once read somewhere that the worst thing that can happen at the end of your life, would be to meet the person you could have become. With that in mind, I believe a successful life would mean meeting that same person, but in the mirror.

Before working at FXBITS, what was the most unusual or interesting job you had?

Probably the most interesting job I had, begun when I joined a small hip-hop dance class during high school. The initial idea was to form a small group of people and attend all the dance contests in our area for publicity and make some money doing shows for private events. Little did we know where this will take us.

I became good at it and in a couple of months, the instructor asked me if I want to join him and form a non-profit organization. I said yes and for a couple of years, I was one of the lead choreographers and went to all sorts of events and contests.

At our peak, we had close to 100 weekly students in our classes. We even organized the first National High School Street Dance Cup which was a success. We gained a lot of local media attention and drive even more students to us.

What made you choose software development as a profession?

I always had a thing for technology. I liked the idea that you can create almost anything by writing a couple of lines of code. It gives you the power to innovate and create business solutions that can reach and help a lot of people. It’s one of the fewer areas where you have these types of capabilities.

I had a lot of friends in my inner circle that were working as software engineers, and they talked very nicely about the company’s culture that they were part of. It made me curious.

Since I was not fulfilled by my current job and I was convinced I had the brains for it, I said why not.

So, I enrolled in one of my local IT faculties for a 3-year program and gained a spot in one of the subsidiaries of an alternative IT school (42.fr) after a one-month recruitment process.

After 6 months I dropped my role as Marketing Manager at a start-up to keep up with both schools, and 6 months after that I had my first internship. I will never forget the day I got the email that I was accepted. Five years later, here we are. It was all worth it.

Alex going for it, after hours play with colleagues.

How about hobbies, what do you like to do in your free time?

Well, I like spending time with my friends and family. I love to travel wherever there’s a beach and a cold one nearby. Also, you can count me in whenever there’s a BBQ about to happen or if you need someone to cook it.

I also enjoy playing chess, poker and in the summer, you will find me near a basketball court.

If you could meet anyone in the world dead or alive, who would it be and why?

If I were to have this chance, I would like to meet my younger self at 10 years old.

I would tell him that failing at something is not unusual but necessary to become good at something. Sometimes he’ll make the right decisions but sometimes he will learn the hard way. So, I would tell him to fail forward.

I would buy him an HTML&CSS book and pay him to build me an eCommerce store. If I had that experience as a kid, I would probably be far away in my career by now.

Finally, I would tell him to watch out and buy some Bitcoin when the time comes.

What's your motto or personal mantra?

Impossible is just a big word.

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