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How Does Passion Drive Action and Influence a Career Journey?

Learn More From This Interview With Daniel Boncioagă, Head of Java Engineering at EPAM Romania.

Daniel Boncioagă is both a Lead Software Engineer and a Resource Manager at EPAM in Romania and has a passion for software development and people growth. In this interview, Daniel walks us through his career journey and touches on the opportunities and development culture at EPAM. Continue reading to get to know him better and learn from his experience.

To start with, can you tell us about your passion for the IT world?

Ever since I was a little kid, software development has been my passion. I still remember sitting in front of an HC90 (home computer) "coding" in BASIC small programs. It was almost magic, being able to get the computer to do whatever I wanted just by typing a small piece of code. Throughout middle and high school, I discovered Turbo Pascal, C, C++, and Borland Delphi. 

Now, even with 14 years in the industry, this passion remains in me. There's certainly still more to learn, more problems to solve, and even more to build. Working in the constantly evolving field of technology is an exciting opportunity and one I am grateful to be a part of.

What drove you into the Java world?

I started my career at Pirelli Tyres Romania in 2007, where I was first introduced to Java programming.  I was working in the Internet & New Media Department where we built web applications for Pirelli worldwide.

As is typical in working with web applications, the first things that I learned were Java Servlets and JSP (Java server page), some HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Pretty quickly I needed to interact with databases and so I had to learn JDBC.

After gaining more experience, I started to look for ways to be more efficient and that is when I discovered Java frameworks like Apache Struts and Hibernate.

The entire experience was exciting and new to me—a new job, a new programming language (Java), and even my first time working on a team. As days went by, I was learning so much and the world of Java was opening up to me.

How did your career at EPAM begin? Walk us through your career path with EPAM. 

I started in November 2020 as a Lead Developer at EPAM Romania, working on a project in the medical area using Java, Golang and AWS Cloud. Three months later, I had the opportunity to take the Resource Manager role to help grow their experience with Java.

As a Resource Manager, my responsibilities cover some core areas like people management, participation in project coordination and supervision, organizational (unit) development and participation in the company’s strategic management.

If you could describe your role using three technologies or platforms, what would you choose?

My role is in production as the Lead Software Engineer. I have 14 years of experience in Java, so I would start with Java and some common Java frameworks that we are using, which are SpringBoot and Micronaut.

Since most of our projects are in Cloud, Amazon Web Services (AWS) is the next platform that comes to mind. For the last project I was involved in, I had the opportunity to work with many services from AWS like S3, Lambda, Step Functions, Event Bridge, SQS, EC2, EKS, Glue, API Gateway and Cloud Watch. As far as Cloud for serverless implementation, we used Golang.

What is the most exciting part of your work?

One of the most exciting things about being a resource manager is the chance to support people's lives. As a manager, I have plenty of opportunities to develop, inspire and mentor my team members. Whether it’s through regular one-on-ones or through my own attitude, communication style, and work ethic, I can encourage engineers to become better professionals and perhaps leaders one day.

Could you describe the development culture within your team?

At EPAM you’ll find a dynamic and inclusive culture that helps to deliver the most creative and cutting-edge solutions and ideas. Our Learning & Development department offers access to an internal learning platform with really valuable content that is continuously updated to support our needs and advance our expertise. Besides this learning platform, we also have access to various training and global programs through internal schools like the Solution Architect School and Delivery Management School. Inside EPAM you can find a lot of opportunities to gain knowledge and grow your skills such as these and many others:

  • mentoring programs
  • innovation labs (our EPAM Garage)
  • We Are Community – it’s a platform that hosts all EPAM communities, where we can build networks, share knowledge and collaborate with other experts and communities.

What is the most valuable piece of advice you’ve ever received?

The best advice that I received was to “Learn to say NO”! It is hard to say “no” because we want to be nice and help others, foster dialogue, and encourage people to use their voice. While it’s tempting to try to please everyone and say yes to everything, it’s a futile effort. A word like “no” is like a double-edged sword in the hands of a leader. With one strike it will help you and your team but may also hurt the person on the receiving end or have a harmful impact. That’s why I think leaders must learn to say no when it is necessary.

Given your experience managing remote teams, what is your best advice to someone who is collaborating remotely with their colleagues?

Working remotely is something many of us have become accustomed to over this past year. When I joined EPAM, I was really surprised at the company's ability to perform remote operations. I realized that although I joined the team during the pandemic, EPAM's remote work culture has always been a part of the organization's way of working.

Here's my best advice on how to collaborate remotely:

  • Define proper communication channels (email, chat, text, video) and rules on how to use those and avoid notification overload.
  • Don't be camera-shy; turn on your webcam. Video builds trust, helps you engage, makes you memorable, and promotes team chemistry.
  • It's very important to stay focused without interruptions. Discuss within your team about having ‘Free Meeting’ days and clean up your calendar by cancelling meetings that don't add value.
  • When you set up a call, try to keep it short as possible (15-30 mins) and with a small audience—usually with no more than four participants. Also, send the meeting agenda in advance so only people that are interested in the topic need to join.
  • Ultimately, it is important to continue evolving our communication and work styles to improve our way of working.

What advice would you give someone with Java skills looking to join EPAM?

EPAM offers variety in the projects we work on, training you can participate in, or internal initiatives you can get involved in. At the same time, you will have access to a global network of highly skilled people, so you’ll be learning from industry leaders.

If you want to perform in the IT industry and grow professionally every day, EPAM is one of the best places to do that.

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