Job title: Chief Operating Officer
Employer: Ars Futura
Year of Graduation: 2016
Mentor: Prof. Vedran Podobnik, PhD
Study profile: Telecommunications and Informatics
Hello everybody, my name is Luka Drezga and during my study at FER I went through at least three existential crises, wondering if I made the wrong choice of faculty and if this was the right place for me. Looking back at it today, as a FER graduate who has been successfully working in the IT industry for a while, I am pleased with the decision to conquer FER. Or myself.
What are your responsibilities at your current job, what do you do?
At the moment, I work as the Chief Operating Officer. That means that it is my job to look after the employee satisfaction and to monitor the individual development of employees and separate teams in the company. I am also in charge of onboarding new colleagues, employer branding and generally a healthy development of our agency. Since Ars Futura is still a relatively small company (there are currently 26 of us), I also help lead the design team.
What was your career path like?
FER graduate and yet a product designer – weird, right? With every sleepless night spent doing Information Theory laboratory work and with every new fail of the electronics exam, there was always one question going through my mind – have I made the wrong choice of faculty? If you had asked me that back in 2013, I would have almost certainly said – yes. I was never expressing my creativity through code and algorithms. During my third year of study I got a job as a Community Manager (and later as a Product Marketing Assistant) at Degordian, and I almost switched from FER to the Faculty of Economics & Business. Luckily that didn’t happen and very soon I replaced marketing with product design and eventually found myself in IT. After Degordian, I got a job at Ars Futura, which at the time had 5 employees. Five years and a ton of projects later, staying at FER proved to be a very good decision.
When you think about your experience at FER, what helped you prepare for your career?
When you graduate from FER, your career can go in a billion different directions. As I am mainly familiar with computer science, here I would put the emphasis on furthering your focus on science and software development. If you decide to pursue science, FER prepares you quite well for that. If, on the other hand, you decide on software development, be prepared for a lot of learning and adjusting, especially if you decide to work for an agency. No matter which path in life you choose, what FER undeniably gives you is an engineering approach to problem solving. It teaches you how to think and how to cope with any situation you encounter as a developer. It teaches you how to quickly learn and adapt. It teaches you the skill to jump from one technology to another, and the rest comes with experience. Regardless of the direction in which you want to develop, FER definitely prepares you well for future challenges.
What experiences have helped you understand that you are on the right track and that you are doing what you want?
For me, it was primarily my first student job. Through it, I discovered a lot about myself and learned what I wanted to pursue as a career.
IT is currently one of the most sought-after industries and there is a great demand for developers, so think carefully what you want to do after graduation. If you are interested in science and want to tackle some hard-core things, dedicate yourself to faculty. If you want to start discovering new technologies as soon as possible, learn from mentors with a ton of knowledge and improve your skills as a web and mobile application developer, start looking for a company which will enable you that, because once you leave FER, you will be the one dictating the terms of your next employment. You will not be just a FER graduate but also an experienced developer.
What advice would give to students who are thinking about a career in your field?
I am sure that there are some among you who are working and some who are thinking about getting a student job. You probably already know that you are in demand. I am sure that any one of you could immediately find a job and that companies would be very eager to hire you, shape you and make true masters out of you. Don’t be afraid of challenges, there is no universal formula for success. Build relationships, never stop learning and developing, be inquisitive, explore, create and most importantly – be what you are, future engineers.