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  • #8 in Technology
  • 1,000 - 50,000 employees

Mario Sinovcic

Having a group of proteges around me has really made the learning journey comfortable because everyone is always willing to help.

What's your job about?

MYOB is aiming to help small businesses in New Zealand/Australia start, survive and succussed and does so through a feature-rich software platform. As a graduate developer (protege) it my responsibly to put myself in the best position possible in order to make valuable contributions to the MYOB platform.

As a protege, my role is mainly based around furthering my understanding of the software development landscape. Most days consist of me of doing a deep dive into a software development concept, standard or practice and sharing my findings with my mentors and colleges. Each protege is given two mentors who are usually very experience software developers. These mentors help to keep me on track and provide assurance when tasks are hard and coagulations when milestones are achieved. Personally, I spend an hour pair-programming with at least one of my mentors everyday which is an excellent way to directly see how I’m progressing. Other daily rituals including chatting to the other proteges in my cohort during stand-up meetings, going to a group reading session and playing a quick game of pool at lunch. Having a group of proteges around me has really made the learning journey comfortable because everyone is always willing to help.

What's your background?

I was born and grew up in Auckland but since most of my family is from Croatia I moved back and forth quite a bit. That’s one of the main reasons I chose to become a software developer so that I could find work easily where I was in the world. Schooling in New Zealand and Croatia was quite similar but last few years of high school were all in NZ. After releasing my passion for software development, I stayed in Auckland to study Software Engineering at the University of Auckland (from 2017 - 2020). I was lucky enough to make a wonderful group of friends which was quite handy because I found some of the papers quite difficult and I needed all the help I could get.

Throughout university my cohort was very aware of the value of practical experience. As a result, me and my peers would always be looking for internship programs, start-up companies and other opportunities that would help to develop our experience as programmers. I was lucky enough to work at a start-up called Woork who were developing software for real estate agents, build an internal web application for employees at EY and land an internship at MYOB. At the end of my internship at MYOB I was offered a position as a graduate developer in the protege program. I took up the offer immediately because I had heard from others that it was very well structured and great for growing as a developer. After nearly five months at MYOB, I’m quite happy to report that the program has managed to exceed my expectations.

Could someone with a different background do your job?

Yes absolutely! Learning how to code is like every other skill in that it just requires a bit of practice and patience. There’s a lot to learn so trying to do so all at once probably won’t work out but starting at a fundamental level (e.g., learning one language like Java or Python) and then slowly building on top of that can be done regardless of background or experience. In my opinion, I think it’s valuable to have effective interpersonal skills because you’ll end up asking for help a lot and you’ll need to communicate your ideas effectively in a team. Additionally, being open minded is quite advantageous because there are lots of different ways to do the same task in the programming world and it’s important to be able to see the positives and negatives for each solution.

What's the coolest thing about your job?

There are many fundamental aspects of being a developer that I find really engaging. For example, working in teams, sharing ideas, figuring our problems and learning something new every day. The list goes on. One specific attribute I find myself thinking about when I can’t quite seem to find the solution to a problem is that the software development is so expansive that no one knows all the answers. There are so many different frameworks, standards, and languages that it’s impossible to cover it all. This is not only reassuring but also quite motivating. Since there is such an abundance of knowledge to explore, everyday has the potential for you to find some area of software development that clicks with you and could become your next passion project or area of expertise.

What are the limitations of your job?

Due to the recent global pandemic, there has been a cultural shift regarding working from home. Before this working remotely was not uncommon in the software industry however it was not nearly as prevalent as it is now. For a social new employee, it can be quite dis-hearting coming into the office and seeing very few people there which gives you very little opportunity to make new connections or have water-cooler chats. A more general pain point for software developers is getting stuck. Being stuck on problem for multiple days is very frustrating but likely this can often be solved by reaching out to those around you.

3 pieces of advice for yourself when you were a student...

  • Make more connections at your internships. Yes, you did meet some new people, but you never followed up with them or checked how they were. Connections are extremely valuable in this industry and it’s something you should be considering more than you currently do.
  • Learn more than one language earlier. Exploring different languages makes you less rigid in your thinking and understanding the similarities can give you a better understanding of coding at a low level.
  • Finish projects you start. It’s great to explore new tech but why not devote yourself to one project at a time and so you can complete it and show it to people in completed state.