IT Labs Teambuilding 2022

IT Labs Teambuilding 2022


Getting away with your colleagues on a team-building is not just about having a big party, mingling, singing songs, and participating in activities. All these, while important, need to be led by something more meaningful – getting to know each other on a different, deeper level, while also looking back at how has everything changed and how people have grown and developed.
It’s been three years since our last team-building event (we all know what happened in between), and the first thing that came to mind was that we’re bigger, better, and have changed for the better.
On June 17th, 100+ of us from our offices around the world gathered together in Ohrid and Struga to have a good time and to bond face to face.
The results? Two amazing days filled with activities, camaraderie, and good vibes.
Here’s how it went.

On a Hunt

We started off by going on a treasure hunt – with clues and puzzles hidden around Ohrid, all leading to one place – the grand prize. Nine teams, all mixed up, raced to the finish line, picking up clues and moving on to the next location for the next clue, all the way to the finish line.

Kickin’ It Up a Gear

We all huffed and puffed, move here – move there, it might be here, it might be there – but it wasn’t just about speed, we had to use our brains to figure it out as well. And the yellow team beat all the other teams to the punch – deserved winners.

Lakeside Feast


Oh, that prize? A hearty meal over which our teams got to talk, joke, and tease – and see the winning team get their well-deserved praise.

A Speech Because Of Course

Can you even call something a team building without a speech from your execs?
Not really.
We got one that was all about perspective – on all the things we’ve achieved so far, how we’ve grown, and where we’re heading. The present is good, but the future is glimmering.

Late Night Extravaganza

We capped off the first day with a Hollywood-themed party in Hotel Izgrev that went until…we’re not sure. But it had all the makings of a great night: great music, happy people, and some dance moves (no, no one did the robot, stop asking pls).

Teamwork: Tested

The mornings after a party are usually slow, chill, and just for relaxing, right?
Wrong. Those bad people from the organization committee got us doing some stuff that we loved and enjoyed. Every second of it.
We built self-standing bridges with sticks, cannons that we then used to shoot down cans with, picked fruit and vegg, built aquaducts – it was a game of survivor.

A Happy Meal

What’s the best food? The one you cook together with loads of cool people, and then sit down to enjoy it. We got cooking in the Via Ignatia Restaurant in Vevcani, divided into sections, each with their own roles, after which we got to enjoy the fruits of our labors.

Takeaway?


Behind all the processes, methods, keystrokes, ads, online platforms for meetings, emails, reactions on social media – we’re still regular people. We have regular needs, we are open to new experiences and learning, and we understand that cooperation and understanding among us is the key to achieving success.
And we got all of this and much more – as we said, describing what we did as a ‘teambuidling’ doesn’t cover it, but all the happy faces do.
Until next year <3

P.S. – Want to come along on the next one and get the full experience? We got open positions!


The IT Labs Internship Experience

The IT Labs Internship Experience

From the first time we opened our doors to interns around 15 years ago, we knew that their time with us and our tech professionals is about something much more than just honing their tech skills.

It was about getting first-hand experience at working on real projects, getting a feel of the potential issues that may arise during the development process, learning how to rely on other teams and team members, and above all – getting a feel of the company culture we’ve established, the one we’re so proud of.

Helping young and aspiring techies cut their teeth in the tech world is part of our mission – to share knowledge and to help people grow. As we’ve grown as a company, our internship program has changed – thanks to the feedback from our alumni – and we decided to take a look back at what we’ve achieved so far, and learn more about how we can do even better in the years to come.

The numbers and facts below speak for themselves.

From the first time we opened our doors to interns around 15 years ago, we knew that their time with us and our tech professionals is about something much more than just honing their tech skills.

It was about getting first-hand experience at working on real projects, getting a feel of the potential issues that may arise during the development process, learning how to rely on other teams and team members, and above all – getting a feel of the company culture we’ve established, the one we’re so proud of.

Helping young and aspiring techies cut their teeth in the tech world is part of our mission – to share knowledge and to help people grow. As we’ve grown as a company, our internship program has changed – thanks to the feedback from our alumni – and we decided to take a look back at what we’ve achieved so far, and learn more about how we can do even better in the years to come.

The numbers and facts below speak for themselves.

90% of those enlisted have finished the internship and were employed by IT Labs

We have our way of working, but we’re also aware that some people have their way of learning and doing things, and we adapt to that. This adaptability has been crucial to our high success rate.

Out of the current talent, 48 started out as interns

We believe that nurturing talent is the key to success and progress – give people the chance and tools to express, learn, and develop, and they’ll do so.

Our Head of Technology started out as an intern and has been around for 12 years!

That’s right! Kostadin Kadiev came in as an intern, and is now our Head of Tech – and you can read more about his journey here at IT Labs in the following days!

A wide variety of stacks and streams

We’ve got a Full-stack stream consisting of .NET + React, and Angular + React, a Front-end stack for Angular or React, Backend for .NET or Java, Python, DevOps, Business Analytics, and QA – all led by mentors who are proven tech professionals with years of experience.

11 out of the 48 who started out as interns have been with IT Labs for 5+ years and have reached senior or tech lead positions

Learning doesn’t stop when interns gain employment. Our People department creates a career growth plan for each of our employees, setting them up for continuous development and allowing them to reach their full potential.

90% of those enlisted have finished the internship and were employed by IT Labs

We have our way of working, but we’re also aware that some people have their way of learning and doing things, and we adapt to that. This adaptability has been crucial to our high success rate.

A wide variety of stacks and streams

We’ve got a Full-stack stream consisting of .NET + React, and Angular + React, a Front-end stack for Angular or React, Backend for .NET or Java, Python, DevOps, Business Analytics, and QA – all led by mentors who are proven tech professionals with years of experience.

Out of the current talent, 48 started out as interns

We believe that nurturing talent is the key to success and progress – give people the chance and tools to express, learn, and develop, and they’ll do so.

11 out of the 48 who started out as interns have been with IT Labs for 5+ years and have reached senior or tech lead positions

Learning doesn’t stop when interns gain employment. Our People department creates a career growth plan for each of our employees, setting them up for continuous development and allowing them to reach their full potential.

Our Head of Technology started out as an intern and has been around for 12 years!

That’s right! Kostadin Kadiev came in as an intern, and is now our Head of Tech – and you can read more about his journey here at IT Labs in the following days!

Our internship programs run twice a year, so stay tuned for the new Internship program this fall.


STEM IT Like A Girl: The Importance of Breaking The Stereotypes That Hold Women Back

STEM IT Like A Girl


The Importance of Breaking The Stereotypes That Hold Women Back

STEM IT Like A Girl


The Importance of Breaking The Stereotypes That Hold Women Back

Fact: the position of women in society has improved significantly in the past century.

Also a fact: there is still much work to be done – such as addressing the issues that prevent young women from choosing education and/or a profession in a STEM field.

We present you Macedonia 2025’s project – ‘STEM IT Like A Girl ‘– meant to promote careers in a STEM field to young women. As part of the project, there were organized lectures for young women in primary schools, at which women working in STEM shared their experiences – why they chose a career in STEM, how they got to where they were, and how they overcame the obstacles along the way. The project was developed to provide a platform through which young women will be introduced to the possibilities of a job in STEM and break the stereotypes surrounding women’s participation and contribution in the field.

IT Labs supports initiatives that bring science and tech closer to young people, so of course, we participated. Our Aleksandra Glavinova and Ilina Pejoska Zaturoski shared their journeys in two such lectures.

Here are their stories:

Don’t let all the stereotypes and misconceptions hold you back and prevent you from chasing your dreams. Every woman can show that she’s just as good and as skilled – all it takes is persistence and hard work.

Aleksandra’s Story


A few years ago, fresh out of high school, Aleksandra was contemplating her next move – she wanted to pursue a degree in electrical engineering and a career in the tech industry, but as soon as she shared her plans, the feedback she received was full of stereotypes.

People were telling her how the tech industry is a “man’s world,” how she’d struggle to push her way through and be overlooked, and how her fundamental rights won’t be respected in a private company as they would in the public sector. Still, her unwavering determination to pursue her dreams and break down the barriers pushed her to go for it.

Today, Aleksandra has a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and Engineering from the Faculty of Computer Science and Engineering in Skopje, she’s working as a Front-end Engineer at IT Labs, and is on course to get her MSc in the same field.

Don’t let all the stereotypes and misconceptions hold you back and prevent you from chasing your dreams. Every woman can show that she’s just as good and as skilled – all it takes is persistence and hard work.

Ilina’s Story


Ilina’s journey is filled with both ups and downs. Still, it all resulted in her being where she is today – a skilled UX/UI designer at IT Labs, an owner of a successful small business, and a mother. She says the support from close people is paramount and that we need to surround ourselves with people who can help us on our path to fulfilling our dreams.

In her opinion, the long road she traveled is something the younger generation can do without, which is why she’s focused on sharing her experience and knowledge with anyone interested in pursuing a career in the IT industry in her spare time.

Don’t be afraid to be more, because we’re all capable of it. If you know that you deserve more – be it a salary, your own business, or anything else – go for it! Nothing is impossible!

Takeaway


The idea that women should stay away from male-dominated industries is not just an outdated one – it’s also harmful. And the only way to break these stereotypes is to do just what our IT Labs’ girls did – work hard for their dreams, surround themselves with like-minded and supportive people, and don’t let anything prevent them from reaching the top!


From Interns to IT Pros: Martin Trajkov

From Interns to IT Pros: Martin Trajkov

The dedication to progress, learning, and development is one of the pillars upon which IT Labs was founded and built. Skills, structures, rules, methods – all of these were and are interchangeable parts of how we function as a company, but the focus was always on people.
From day one, we were dedicated to helping people learn, grow, and develop with us, giving them the opportunity to cut their teeth in the tech industry and express themselves – starting out as interns, and then working their way up. Some of these interns have been with us for years, and one of them is Martin Trajkov.
We caught up with him for a short chat, to see how far along he’s come in his journey with us.

So, Martin, first things first - how did you end up with us? 

That is actually a funny story, I applied for an internship, and I was called to do an interview with one of the mentors, but it turned out that they thought I was applying for 1 month internship with no option for employment after finishing but at the interview one of the mentors, Miki Jovanovski, started firing the questions, which I answered and in the end he went ‘why are you applying for a 1-month internship and not the one that is 3 months with an option for employment?’, I was confused but said that I would prefer that one, and Ana Georgieva, the recruiter back then told me that those places are already filled. Guess what, the next day, I got a call, and they said we want you! Bottom line, the lesson from this would be there is always space for good prospects!! 

What was your experience in the internship program? With the mentors? 

I honestly started the internship without any prior experience, and I was kind of lost at the beginning but with hard work, great guidance and help from the best mentors Aleksandra Vinokikj and Miki Jovanovski to whom I will be forever thankful I managed to finish the internship with solid experience to start and succeed in my career!

What do you see yourself doing in the future? The only way is up, so where exactly is that?

It might be a bit bold and overconfident, but my answer would be – at the top 😀. Perhaps start with leading my own team and then continue to the top.  

What does your average day look like?  

Writing code, solving challenges, reading as much as I can on new technology, and of course joking and laughing with IT-Labers. 

You got a favorite quote? Something that’s sort of like a mantra? 

 " It is not how you start but rather how you finish "  


We Did the Olympics – IT Labs Style

We Did the Olympics – IT Labs Style


For more than 2000 years, the Olympics have been one of the main, if not the main sports events competition at which various athletes have displayed their skills and competed against one another in teams and/or individually. So, we decided to give our employees the chance to do the same, albeit in a bit different format, and in different competitions.

The result? Two action-filled weeks at which we now know who’s in certain “sports” and competitions.

The competitions? As listed:

DARTS

TABLE TENNIS

OFFICE TRIVIA

MUG MARATHON

PS4 FIFA

LUDO

TABLE FOOTBALL

CODING GAME

All requiring a different set of skills, and all posing a challenge – and enabling randomly picked teams to work together to get to that revered gold medal. All in all? We now have champions who have their gold medals and bragging rights, and a little something to look forward to – the next IT Labs Olympics!

Photos of how it all went down? Right on below.

 


IT Labs Internship - a successful round-up of the latest program

IT Labs Internship - a successful round-up of the latest program

This week, our first batch of interns for 2022 finished their training, and 8 of them will continue their journey with us as full-time team members!
Last year, we called out for all the aspiring and driven young techies that want to make their first steps in the world of technology to come on over and do it with us. In the past three months, the interns had the chance to work on real projects, face a variety of challenges, and learn the tricks of the trade from seasoned professionals. For this one, we had four streams that we focused on:

  • Full-stack (.NET & React)
  • Full-stack (Java & React)
  • QA
  • Python

As a company dedicated to developing talent and enabling young techies on their journey through the tech world, we know and understand the importance of the first steps people make in their careers, and how it can help them to grow and develop continuously.

We have another call for interns open – you interested?


Check the available intern positions on the following links


IT Labs partners up with the School of Electrical Engineering at the University of Nis

IT Labs partners up with the School of Electrical Engineering at the University of Nis


April, 2022

A long-term agreement for collaboration was signed between IT Labs and the School of Electronic Engineering at the University of Nis, as the first step towards joint work in innovation, development, and the introduction of new technologies.

IT Labs’ General Manager, Kostandina Zafirovska, and Ilija Mishov, Co-founder, visited the University of Nis last week, meeting with Prof. Boban Veselic PhD, Vice-Dean at Faculty for Electronic Engineering, to discuss the current dynamics in the IT community and the potential to work together towards innovation, setting the foundations of the collaboration, and then signing the agreement.

The collaboration is expected to boost the number of students that have hands-on experience with modern tech and software, as well as provide them with valuable working experience with IT Labs, as professional practical work (internship), as part of the agreement.

Work experience can prove invaluable to students who are yet to conclude their studies, and also help them find fields in which they can then improve and specialize in.

Hands-on work experience is crucial during studying, as it helps students see how far they’ve come along, learn new things, and get real-life experience in a work environment and finding solutions”

– Kostandina Zafirovska
General Manager at It Labs

“The best way to become skilled at something is a combination of both theory and practice, and working a company, on real projects, is definitely one of the best ways for students to gain invaluable experience and put their skills to the test.”

– Prof. Boban Veselic PhD,
Vice-Dean at Faculty for Electronic Engineering


IT Labs Entered Into a Collaboration with the School of Electrical Engineering at the University of Belgrade

IT Labs Entered Into a Collaboration with the School of Electrical Engineering at the University of Belgrade


March, 2022

IT Labs and the School of Electrical Engineering (SEE) at the University of Belgrade have signed an agreement for collaboration, with the purpose of joining forces in innovation, development, and introduction of new technologies, with IT Labs becoming a Grand Partner of SEE (School of Electrical Engineering).

IT Labs’ General Manager, Kostandina Zafirovska, and Ilija Mishov, Co-founder at IT Labs, paid a visit to the University last week to sign the collaboration and lay the foundations of the cooperation, meeting with Ass. Professor Mileta Zarkovic, PhD, Professor Bosko Nikolic, PhD, and Professor Milos Cvetanovic.

Primarily, this collaboration consists of defining and setting up topics for projects, BSc and master’s theses, as well as going deeper in modernizing and improving the curricula and syllabi, and practical training and potential employment for students from various degrees programs.

Closer collaboration and cooperation among IT Companies and academic institutions will help in providing better education to younger people, helping them secure their future, and spur innovation and invention.

Collaborations like this one is the first step towards ensuring our academic institutions are not just cradles of knowledge, but also innovation.”

– Kostandina Zafirovska
General Manager at It Labs

“By collaborating, we can help young people enter the labor market more prepared and enable them a hands-on experience with modern technology, which in turn makes them better equipped to succeed.”

– Ass. Professor Mileta Žarković, PhD
School of Electrical Engineering at the University of Belgrade


Marking the International Women's Day 2022

Marking the International Women's Day 2022

The role of women in society has changed over the years, but has their position changed? Has there been progress? Questions like these and many others were asked, debated, and answered yesterday, March 7th, during the discussion of our IT Lab women with Ljupka Trajanovska, an experienced activist with a demonstrated history of working in the civic and social organization industry. The topic of the discussion was “Women’s Role in Society: 2022” at which a brief overview of the history of women’s movements was covered, together with how the movement has changed over the years, and how women have gone lengths in their search for equal treatment. 

And March 8th – the International Women’s Day – is the day on which we raise awareness to all the obstacles women have pushed through, the barriers they have torn down, and the things they have achieved that contributed to making the world a better place. 

Women’s Roles and Standing in Society – an Overview: 

With all the effort already put into improving the position of women in society, there is still much to be done, as some of the stats in North Macedonia show that: 

  • less than half of all the women of age are employed 
  • less than 30% of all real-estate owners are women 
  • on average, they earn about 15-20% less than men 
  • over 220,000 women that are counted on as housewives are not considered to be workers, and are not compensated for their efforts 

This imbalance is a clear sign that not all women have the same opportunities nor the same support when it comes to their professional lives, and more often than not, they end up depending on their partners. 

What Can be Done 

From that first march for Women’s Rights back 1910, many will say that that’s history – but it’s history that we’re living right now, and there’s lot of work still to be done. So here and now, what can we all do? How do we ensure that women get to the position in society, in business, in tech – that they deserve? 

At IT Labs, 50% of our workforce consists of women, and this extends to management and executive positions as well, and we’ve achieved this by empowering women and giving them the same opportunities that men enjoy and providing them with a platform to grow and develop. 

We are guided by the concept of meritocracy, a concept which has proved, time and again, that given the opportunity, women will reach the same heights as men – and some will even go above it! 

Happy International Women’s Day!
 


Month of Giving Back

Month of Giving Back

This past month came and went almost in an instant, mainly because we all had a lot of things to do, and a lot of things to cherish and enjoy, like the forthcoming holiday season for example. But one cannot simply enjoy the festive season knowing the local and community’s challenges ahead. Think about the less fortunate, the ones who struggle to make ends meet – now more than ever, they need all the help they can get.

We, at IT Labs, have decided that November will be our Month of Giving Back, a month in which we focus on helping out the ones in need and spread solidarity and generosity.

Some of our colleagues decided to make the days of others better by sharing their heart-warming stories of when they helped someone in need. Others focused on the present and bought coffee or chocolate for colleagues and shared motivational and inspiring quotes to shine some light into their days.

And then there are those who used their cooking skills to cook something for the less fortunate. Meals cooked with love and compassion, with the hope that it will help someone have a tasty and nutritional meal. And on top of that? We donated some extra food supplies and clothes!

At the end of the day, we all played our role in making the world a bit better, a bit brighter, and a bit warmer. And what did it take? Just a few hours, a couple of ingredients and multiple warm hearts.