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Jovan Blažek: Code reviews helped me to move forward at an amazing pace

Jovan started at Sudolabs as an intern, nowadays he is working his way up towards becoming a mid-level engineer. If you're curious about how does the entire internship process look like and what tasks are included then scroll down to read an interview with one of our first interns at Sudolabs.

4. 1. 2022

Michaela Zubarova

Jovan's programming journey started only when he was 12 years old. As a kid, he would play computer games for hours. Throughout these years his dad noticed the interest and decided to buy him a book about HTML and CSS. Later on, he also arranged a private teacher coming in bi-weekly. Once Jovan got into high school the real fun began.

These days you're still a student, could you tell us a little more about your studies?

I used to study computer science on technical lyceum and I'm very glad I did so. The school offered quite a wide coverage of networks, webs, and databases, and it provided a solid base for work and higher education. I can certainly say, that lyceum taught me significantly more than the university where I currently study computer science without a specific focus.

One question purely out of curiosity, but how did you get acquainted with Sudolabs?

It was actually through one of my classmates. At that time he was already employed at Sudolabs when he asked if I would like to come for an interview as there were quite many open positions. Once he presented all the benefits to me I immediately knew this is the job I want to get.

You started as an intern, could you describe how did the entire process look like?

Pavol (CTO) introduced me to the entire concept of the internship and afterward, I underwent admissions for about 2 or 3 weeks. The entire process consisted of three different tasks. Firstly, I had a screening with Pavol. This included introduction of the company and I had to talk a bit about myself. The second stage was already leaning towards my technical abilities - I was given several tasks and questions to solve, plus 15 minutes of programming (so Pavol could assess how do I think) and a code review. The last stage was the most extensive one, it was a home assignment for one week. Once I handed in the assignment I got a review from Pavol and Michal (one of our tech leads). Afterward, I had to correct my mistakes in order to prove my ability to do it by myself.

What happened once you were admitted, were you assigned to any project immediately?

Yes, I was. My very first assignment was to re-do and finalise the web of Sudo Academy. There wasn't too much to screw up as I only needed to adjust easy tasks and create a couple of new components. At the same time, I learned a lot primarily from code reviews given by Sebastian (our supervisor) and other team members.

Afterward, I worked on our company web. This project was more clear and easy to work with as I didn't have to work with the old code. The entire internship lasted three months in total until I moved onto the junior position. However, that's quite individual and depends on your ability to learn.

If you could pick one reason why would you recommend the internship to other people, what would it be?

Code reviews, 100%. I would recommend the entire company based on that. It helped me to move forward at an amazing pace.

"It is insane how much clearer code I write these days."

The code is simple, nice, and easily written. It is quite pleasant to come back after a month and understand its structure straightaway. Also, if Sebastian is writing a code, it's super easy for me to understand his lines as we write in regards to documentation, simply correct.

Considering the fact you're still a student, is it easy for you to balance school and work?

Pretty much. The school annoys me because of the demands, and what we learn is far from worth how much time I devote to it. I'm just dissatisfied with the content we are learning, it takes much more time than I'm willing to give up. Regardless, I manage to work 100-110 hours a month, plus have enough spare time.

As we previously mentioned, firstly you worked on two internal projects, but could you tell us what was your first real project?

It was a project for our german client, which is quite unusual considering the fact that most of our clients are from the US. Streichfix is a web application for painters that allows orders and consultations with them. It's a complex form that can be filled out by a customer. The chosen painter sees the request and subsequently can set up a call via zoom. Once an agreement is reached, the painter visits the customer and provides his service. In the team we were four engineers and one product manager, I was mainly focusing on frontend development.

How did you like working with your supervisor Sebastian throughout your internship?

Really great, he would always recommend to me what should I watch or what kind of courses to go through. Before working on a project, I had to watch specific courses until I fully understood them. Then the work on a project went much smoother as I didn't have many questions to ask. The collaboration was really without any problems and I enjoyed it a lot - I can only recommend it!

Have you managed to utilize any knowledge from your studies during your internship?

Definitely, I've learned a lot but as I've already said - most of it is from high school.

It's been some time since you joined Sudolabs, what do you like most about the company?

Besides code reviews, it is most likely learning hours. It's an amazing benefit, that motivates me to learn while I'm paid for it. We have access to a great number of courses. Currently, I'm learning how Javascript works in-depth to have a great understanding and move further in my career path.

When it comes to your work habits, can you sense any influence since you started at Sudolabs?

Certainly yes. Before working at Sudolabs, I was working fully remote and even though I had plenty of time as a student I wasn't able to push myself to work more than 40 hours a month. This has rapidly changed since I got here. Sudolabs motivated me to such an extent, that these days I'm able to work from home about 100-110 hours per month without a single problem. It is about team mentality, motivation, and many other factors.

You had some minor jobs prior to your career with us, what changes do you see compare to your old job?

Well, for me it was entirely new working in a team as until then I was working solely individually. I haven't had any planning, estimating, task division, grooming, and similar. This was all new to me, despite the fact I believe I've adapted quickly. Sebastian was there for me all the time in case of not understanding, possibly we practiced pair programming. Other than that, the company also organizes great events and offers various benefits. Yet, the main improvement compare to my old job is the ability to ask colleagues for help in case something is not working. Previously I could rely only on Google.

Moving onto your personal life, do you have any guilty pleasure?

I have to admit I have never been a fan of Apple products, this has changed when I started at Sudolabs.

Studying and working is not an ideal combination, how do you handle work/life balance?

In general, I try to divide my week. Workdays are meant for work and weekends for school stuff. Of course, I have some mandatory lectures which I need to attend during the weekdays but other than that I focus purely on work tasks. This method proved to be helpful in order to avoid feeling overwhelmed.

Lessons learned?

I found out I didn’t know much before I came to Sudolabs. Working with the team, planning, estimating, reviews, all really moved me forward.

"It is quite motivating when you ship a feature you have been working on and see the impact it - you have - made."

In the upcoming months, we will continue publishing interviews on different topics. We will talk about our people, projects, and processes. Stay tuned and follow our social media updates!


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