We asked him a few questions regarding his journey, and Gjorgji answered promptly and directly, laying it all out for everyone to see – from how he developed his love for tech, how he put that love to work and learning, all the way to what drives him, who are his heroes, and his one piece of advice worth its weight in gold for all aspiring techies!

Furthermore, this interview is just a prep for what’s to come!

We’ll have Gjorgji as part of our Re:Imagine Sessions, which is due to be held on 02/23/2023 from 07:00 CET, and his session will be titled ‘Scaling Engineering Organizations for Success’! 

Interested in the session? 

Register Now!

Read on for the whole scoop! 

Gjorgji, your journey so far has been nothing short of spectacular - care to give us a short intro on how you got to where you are today? 

I have to say that I have been fortunate enough for multiple things to align and open the gates at various crossroads of my life. Here are a few of the pivotal points in my career: 

  1. Getting a scholarship from SOROS and affiliated organizations to attend Deerfield Academy high school in the US. This experience exposed me to a society where success is solely dependent on you. It served as a jumping board to my education and helped me eventually get accepted at Yale University. 
  2. Starting my professional career at Microsoft. Such large tech companies focus on growing junior engineers, enabling them to not only develop their technical skills, but also learn how to operate across teams and organizations effectively.  
  3. Joining Snowflake at the right time. Snowflake was on my radar for a number of years. As they started to scale exponentially, I felt that my experience and interests were quite aligned with what they wanted to do, and I wanted to help with this growth, all the while learning on the go.  

What got you into technology? 

I got my first computer as a gift from my aunt in my early teens. That initially got me into video games, followed by discovering the internet. That connected me to other young people who were passionate about computers and technology. I learned programming in BASIC and Pascal, which eventually led to me participating in various local and international programming competition

We all have our heroes - people that we look up to, who drive us to do better every day - who’s your hero? Or heroes? Do you have any?

My father Slobodan was always a role model for me. He taught me how to be happy about the things I have, but never be satisfied. To be hungry and foolish is something I think is very important, and I was inspired to be like this from a speech by Steve Jobs. My father passed away back in 2011, but at every point of success, I look back and thank him.  

Learning lasts a lifetime, right? What feeds your hunger to learn and do more?

I spent most of my youth swimming competitively, and swimming is a sport in which you often compete against yourself. I used to spend up to 5 hours per day working out, swimming between two walls back and forth. Every stroke I took was an opportunity to learn and improve – a chance to do better and be better, and I was racing against myself to improve my best time. This striving later on transferred in my professional life – every chance given, is a chance to improve and achieve more.  There will be mistakes, there will be setbacks, however, as the old quote by Alexander the Great goes – “there is nothing impossible to him who will try” 

What’s the one thing that you wish you knew before you started your journey in the world of tech? Something you can share with young techies that are making their first steps?

Focus on experiences, not skills. Knowing a specific programming language or having a certificate for knowing a particular product will acknowledge you have gained appropriate skills. However, if you are not able to adjust those skills and transfer them to the appropriate situation or need, they are as good as not having them at all. For example, if you become an expert for C#, but your new job requires Java, you will need to start from scratch. On the other hand, doing a deep dive into designing and building distributed systems will help you in any related project, regardless of whether you are using C#, Java, C++, or just pseudo-code on the whiteboard.   

What’s in store for the future? Where will data take the world?

Cloud Computing, ML/AI, Augmented Reality, Cybersecurity, e-Health, FinTech are some of the top technology trends developing in the past decade. Data is in the middle of all of them. They all generate, use, and manipulate data to the point where we are completely drowning in data. If we figure out how to store, transform, and access that data effectively, additional insights will open up inspiring new technological forefronts. Data is the new gold and it will become even more important. 

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