Job title: Head of the Software Development Department
Employer: Inetec – Institute for Nuclear Technology Ltd.
Year of graduation: 2014
Supervisor: Igor Čavrak
Study profile: Software Engineering and Information Systems
My name is Davor Brunović and I’ve been working at INETEC for 7 years. I graduated from the vocational school in Samobor, a profile computer technician, and enrolled at FER. Originally, I wanted to expand my knowledge more in the direction of electronics development, so I decided to make a guitar amplifier for my final project in high school. Even though the thing ended up working, it firmly convinced me that software was the right direction for me. My hobbies include cycling, playing guitar, freerunning, and playing online, VR, and board games.
What are your tasks in your current job, what do you do?
I’m responsible for implementing the strategy, plan, and budget in the area of software development. Simply put, my main goals are to deliver projects on time and within budget, to improve the quality and efficiency of products and processes, and, most importantly – to keep the people in the department happy. Coding is still a part of my day, it’s just that the ratio of activities depends on my main tasks. Programming covers various areas such as web applications for preparing and performing nuclear power plant tests, processing ultrasonic and EddyCurrent signals, developing robot drivers ranging from simple manipulator movements to algorithms for optimal positioning, collision avoidance, positioning based on camera images, and so on. A good example for those interested in our Forerunner robot for steam generator testing.
What does your typical working day like?
Every day starts with a coffee and a conversation with colleagues about the tasks at hand. Then it’s on to reviewing and preparing for meetings and organizing the time in between. This usually means that I take care of administrative work such as status reports and project plans, supporting the sales department, reorganizing resources according to priority projects, etc. The rest of the time I program on priority projects and help colleagues with their projects.
What are some of the challenges you face in the workplace?
The biggest challenges are organizing time and people while maintaining high morale and satisfaction. Technical challenges are always solved, regardless of their complexity, because as engineers we all love a good challenge and a solution that we can see in action at the end. One of them for me is finding a balanced workload for colleagues in the department.
How did you find your first job after FER and how did you get to your current position? What was your career path look like?
In my final year of study in 2014, I was contacted by a colleague who’d graduated a year before me with the proposal to jointly develop a project for INETEC. So, while I was preparing my diploma thesis, I started working on this project through the student service. The company was happy with the results, and I was hired the day after I graduated. After 6 months, I was hired permanently and got my current job in 2020.
When did you become interested in the field you are currently working in?
I was lucky that my father has always been interested in computers, so I had the opportunity to play with NES, Amiga 500, 1200, and then PC from a young age. He also always came up with his solutions to various everyday problems. This sparked in me an interest in software and problem solving in general, which led me to a technical profession. In high school, I still wasn’t sure if I wanted to work in programming or electronics, but luckily participation in a somewhat serious electronics project steered me in the right direction. My mother, whose example helped me shape the right attitude and respect for people, is responsible for the lead part of my job, which is now just as important to me as technical knowledge.
Thinking about your experience at FER, what helped you prepare for your career?
FER taught me to think for myself and solve problems that way, rather than looking for solutions based on existing patterns. Of course, I gained a solid foundation in programming, but personally, the work habits I acquired helped me the most. I wasn’t a student who understood everything straight away. To be well prepared and pass the exams, I’d to be very committed – working through the nights and missing the freshers’ parties and similar events. This commitment has led to my current attitude towards business, which I believe is one of the most important factors for success.
What advice would you give to students who want to pursue a career in your field?
Approach, work habits, perseverance, and mindset are just as important as the technical knowledge I gained at the Faculty. Techniques and languages change, but if you understand how things work in object-oriented programming, for example, it won’t be a problem to learn the syntax of C#, Java, or Python. In my opinion, the most important thing you can learn at FER is to think. This has also been confirmed in my job because new solutions for which there are no templates are constantly being developed, and creative thinking is the basis for improving products. And the transition from the initial headache of reading requests you’ve no idea how to solve to watching a system in action in a nuclear power plant is simply – priceless.