Meet Matej Lazarević, spot-on fronted software engineer at Barrage

Larisa Šomođi
Larisa Šomođi
Published: 28.04.2021

Let’s walk in the shoes of Matej for a day, a fronted software engineer at Barrage. Matej is that one colleague who is always ready to jump in, help others, and step up the game.

In your opinion, what are the hallmark traits of a great frontend engineer?

Curiosity, compassion, empathy. These are, in my opinion, the hallmarks of any great developer or even employee. Curiosity will always push you forward to acquire new knowledge and new skills, and it can be like rocket fuel that will lead you to your passions and achievements.

Compassion and empathy often go hand in hand, but they have their differences. It is important to empathize with others and remember that “we’ve all been there”. Some people need more time to learn, some of them have different ways of learning, and none of us have the same tempo.

On the other hand, compassion creates emotional distance from the situation but creates the desire to help others. We can empathize with our coworkers in times when they are having difficulties with a task or deadline, but the compassion gives us a clear-eyed view of the situation so that we can find the best way to help them. These skills can make the difference between a decent developer and a great one.

Matej keeping himself busy in our office in Osijek

What’s been the most memorable experience during your tenure so far at the company?

A few colleagues and I have attended one of the biggest Frontend conferences in the world. Everyone was excited because none of us had experienced this in person, only on Youtube. It was kind of funny to see how every single person, including every one of us, displayed many stereotypes regarding developers (that you can find online).

The most interesting thing was that you could see this genuine emotion on people’s faces and the excitement when they found out or learned something new, including the faces of my colleagues and my own. I was never embarrassed about being a computer nerd, but that day I found out that I should be proud of being one.

Matej and his team at Vuejs conference, Amsterdam

What have you gained from working at Barrage?

I found out that I like to learn and share knowledge with others, especially with someone who shares the same values and interests. It is inspiring and motivating to work with people who value knowledge, understand the benefits of self-improvement, seek learning opportunities, and support learning.

The need for all kinds of improvement is at the core of every living being, and I’ve embraced it and learned how to love it. We live in a world that is rapidly changing, and we can not standstill.

What is the favorite part about working for Barrage?

While I was in college, I had an irrational fear that I'd end up oversaturated with the very same repetitive tasks, on the same projects, developing almost the same features and “moving boxes” on the screen. In Barrage, I have the opportunity to expand my field of work in nearly anything; CI/CD, AppSec, infrastructure as code, etc.

I’ve been fascinated by some security-related topics like cryptography since college, and that’s probably the main reason for taking an interest in application security and SDLC. That being said, I’m not just another guy mashing and smashing the keyboard and writing code; I have my freedom in Barrage to choose the fields and topics that make me happy.

What do you like to do on your days off?

I cannot hide the fact that I mostly watch Netflix and Youtube while waiting for warmer weather when I’ll be able to enjoy the sun and ride my bike.

Aside from that, I’m trying to improve my knowledge of planting chili seeds. It all started as a hobby—making my barbecue and chili sauce. After that, I tried growing my own chili varieties, and I found out that I like gifting plants because most of my friends like them, but nobody expects that as a random gift.

As usual, Matej taking advantage of a sunny weekend for outdoor activities (and hiding from his running team)

How do you balance your career at Barrage and friends & family?

Every now and then, I try to unplug everything and go fully offline to recover and recharge physically and mentally. Hanging out with people that are dear to me improves my mood every time.

A few months ago, a dear friend of mine introduced me to board games and I’ve been playing them and investigating them ever since. Catan and Azul are my favorite ones so far, and I think people seem to genuinely enjoy them. You can easily tell that when nobody touches their phone for 2-3 hours.

I feel that board game evenings with homemade pulled pork are adding years to my life.

What technology do you consider to be the most promising in the future?

I think that the real power of Blockchain has the potential to revolutionize and change the world and the economy. We still have to wait a few years before the clients come to us and say, “Hey, can you realize this blockchain idea that I have?” We live in times where the synonym for blockchain is bitcoin and trying to earn easy money because it seems like many people are somehow earning it, but that will most certainly change in the future.

What is your hidden talent?

I can always put the USB-C in the right way on the first try.

What's your favorite Youtube channel?

For the last year or so, I’ve been actively following this charismatic guy from Great Britain called Bald And Bankrupt. He mainly visits eastern European ex-soviet countries and places nobody else goes to while avoiding capital cities and visiting non-touristy parts of countries, smaller towns, random villages, abandoned places, and often hanging out with locals in their houses talking about life and other stuff.

Apart from Mr. Bald, I feel like I owe at least a pint of beer and cevapcici to The Net Ninja, who taught me almost everything I know about my job. I have great respect for every single person on the internet who posts educational videos and tutorials, and because of that, he is worth mentioning.

Any random facts you could share with us?

One horse has around 15 horsepower.

What's your motto or personal mantra?

“Do no harm, but take no s***.” We’ve all been on the receiving end of someone’s bad day or stressful situation and we’ve all had difficult days and challenging life events. And that’s fine. Rude and unkind people are often the ones who need kindness the most, but their behavior is the reason they won’t be getting it.

It is important that we focus on being mindful, kind, and chill towards others, but it is also important to set out personal boundaries and protect ourselves. Most of the time this is easier said than done and it’s difficult to implement that mindset in real life.

What is one thing you cannot resist?

Eating a Kinder chocolate and thumping a watermelon.

Get to know Matej and the rest of the team at Barrage!

We’re extremely proud to have Matej as a part of our team as he is a reflection of the personalities we attract at our company and can be a role model for every current and future employee. If you’d like to know more about Matej on his duties as a frontend software engineer, get in touch with us.

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