Working remotely in the oldest town in Europe with Ivan Maričić, June’s Star of the Month

July 27, 2021

Ivan Maričić is June’s Star of the Month! As a Systems Developer from Croatia, Ivan works on lots of different projects that touch nearly every team at OntheGoSystems. Keep reading for more about Ivan’s typical day working remotely, how he started at OTGS 6 years ago, and how he spends his time in the oldest town in Europe.

Tell us a bit about yourself, your family, and your hobbies.

I live in Croatia with my wife Ana and 3-year-old daughter Ella. Before getting married, I lived in a few different cities around Croatia, but 4 years ago we bought a house in Vinkovci and hopefully we are going to stay here.

An interesting fact about Vinkovci is that it’s considered one of the oldest towns in Europe and the birthplace of Valens, a Roman Emperor.

My wife Ana, Ella and I

The main reason we decided to move into a house instead of an apartment was because we all enjoy outdoor activities. My wife has a really huge garden with vegetables and fruits, and I enjoy building things with wood and metal, from a backyard fence to a coffee table for the terrace. 

In my free time, I usually spend time playing with my daughter or playing guitar. 

BBQ Time :)

How did you start at OntheGoSystems, and what were you doing before that?

Before joining OTGS, I was working for a marketing company as a programmer for 6 years. Mostly, I was working on different kinds of tools related to SEO. After so many years I wanted something more challenging, and I heard from Dario that OTGS was looking for a developer.

I already had some WordPress experience since back then I was also maintaining a few of my own WP plugins. I applied, and here I’m almost 6 years later. I started on the Toolset development team, but after a few years moved to the Systems team.

What is it like to work on the Systems team?

Working on the Systems team is interesting, as we handle many things and every day is different.

One big advantage is that we don’t have many limitations like when you are developing plugins for clients. For example, we can use the latest PHP version without any issues. As long as it’s tested and our websites are stable, we are fine. In the backend of our websites, we run different things, from node.js and socket.io for our chat support to React for different modules around the websites.

The great thing about that is that we are constantly learning new things and expanding our knowledge.

Picnic with Ella in the forest

Which other teams do you work with in your role?

When it comes to working with people from other teams, in Systems we have contact with practically everyone.

We are in constant communication with the support team since we are maintaining the entire support system. Also we need to cooperate with the Toolset and WPML teams because we are testing release candidates and running those plugins on our websites, so everything needs to be compatible.

One interesting cooperation that we had recently was with the Account Management System/Advanced Translation Editor team, working on integration with their API to make it possible to buy and manage WPML automatic translation credits from our website interface.

What’s the most challenging part of being on the Systems team?

I would say that the most challenging part of our work is having many different things under control and making sure that everything works as expected. That actually requires a deep understanding of how things are done, and how some changes can affect things that maybe don’t look connected at first glance. It takes some time to get familiar with the entire infrastructure, but it is worth it.

Plitvice Lakes National Park

What’s a typical day like for you?

My typical day starts with coffee, YouTrack (OntheGoSystems’s ticketing system), and GitLab :)

I usually try to do bureaucracy before I start writing code. Usually, I spend the first hour of the day adding my feedback where necessary, checking if there is some code that needs my review, checking emails, etc. After that, I try to focus on actually doing the development work.

I always try to be in contact with the QA team as much as possible, especially when a project is in the testing phase, so we don’t lose too much time exchanging messages in YouTrack. If we have some issues during testing, we try to resolve them directly on Zoom calls, which saves us a lot of time. 

What are the most challenging and best parts of working remotely for you?

When working remotely, for me, the biggest challenge is to separate private life from work. The office is always a few steps away, so after working hours it’s hard to forget about the job until tomorrow. There is always something to check “quickly”.

Also, when working on something interesting often ends up finishing the day way too late. It happens also the other way around, something not related to work can easily take your attention. But over the years I believe I found a way to keep that balanced.

The level of stress when working remotely is really low. You can always change location, work from outside or a coffee shop. After years of working remotely, I can’t imagine commuting again and working from the office 8 hours every day.

Ice Cream time for Ella :)

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