While schools help us build a foundation of knowledge, the industry asks for very specific sets of skills.
Building a career is a continuous process of improvement and learning new skills and throughout my entire life, I have been focusing on developing 2 sides of myself as a professional: the leader and the expert. Along the way, I also gained some expertise in several areas for which I did not have a formal education.
Time is the most important resource we have.
I like to use specialized time management tools for each of my personal and professional activities – they help me reduce the stress of memorizing or remembering unnecessary things and also help me be more relaxed and present in my personal time.
Of course, I would not say that “time management” is a skill that developed on its own, but more as a consequence of organizing a lot of events, studying many organizations and shaping my mind as a programmer (which by definition anticipate events and variables).
The tools I use daily:
- Jira, for detail planning job-related projects, creating backlogs, adding estimates and generating timelines
- Google Calendar is the main calendar I use when it comes to scheduling events throughout my day. Apart from this, I also use specialized calendars associated with all my email addresses, but I like GCal because I can also create my own sub-calendars dedicated to each project/company I am working on. One of the main advantages of GCal is that I can also aggregate all the calendars from all email sources in one single place and have Google Tasks and Reminders linked to it.
- Google Tasks, for planning simple daily tasks and reminders for my work/personal tasks. These are mostly tasks that are not part of any professional/personal project, also separated into multiple categories.
- ATracker, for keeping track of my daily activities. Using ATracker I have split all my activities into 4 big categories: Work, Personal, Health and Overhead, with the purpose of better understanding how I spend my time and how I can reduce the level of Overhead.
- Apple Watch (but it works with any smartwatch), helps me greatly to remember when to take breaks or set quick reminders for the coming hours.
As part of time management, there is also an important aspect of storing and organizing documents and ideas. For these, I use the following tools:
- Google Drive & Confluence – to store documents and ideas
- Keep & Notion – to store lists and journals
- a tailor-made database designed by me, for my own life management
Apart from these tools, I always test any tool I can find, some of which I can recommend: Asana, Trello, Monday, Wrike.
Usually, planning most activities is associated with lack of spontaneity and the belief that life will no longer surprise you if you plan in too much detail. But life also comes with a lot of “tasks” we cannot avoid, in order to simply live or to integrate into society.
Personally, I enjoy living and I always wish to maximize the amount of free time I have, to let life surprise me, and to make space for spontaneity. This is the reason why I always use a lot of time management tools, to optimize my schedule and to make it as efficient as possible to separate life’s tasks and what society calls “free time”.
Also, time management is not only a necessity for me, it is also part of a more complex passion. Throughout my life, I’ve been developing tools and frameworks for time management, to the point where my engineering diploma project is related to planning time. Nowadays I am running a startup that helps groups to travel and plan itineraries and timelines together. (See my project Voyah.)
When it comes to social skills, developing organizational cultures is my favourite and probably the skill I sanded the most.
It is my calling to be a Co-Founder and I do so with a good sense of team & time management. I had been working for 10 years in an NGO (LSE) and had contributed to cultural development by
- adapting the organizational structure several times so that it is always aligned to current views
- creating internal procedures and regulations and automating processes
- creating traditions
- founding 2 departments
- founding more than 10 projects and events which involved hundreds of volunteers each year and thousands of participants (not only from Romania)
- gathering partners and collaborators
- mentoring junior members
I was also in charge of the organizational development in two startups (TC, Questo), one international event (MobilPRO) and one national event (Alearga Pentru Viata).
As a student, I was constantly involved in leadership activities, as the class representative or the representative student in the council of the ETTI faculty or the university senate.
Simultaneously, as part of my job, I was constantly involved in recruiting and developing new team members while also being the employee representative of the IT department of Orange.
Most of the people around me would say I look detached when talking in public, but the truth is this really depends on the context to me. Even if I had worked on developing this skill for many years and studied my own behaviour in multiple contexts, I do not consider myself a public speaker who is capable of capturing the attention of an audience in any given situation. On the contrary, I experienced stage fright in situations when I had to assume the role of an entertainer.
On the other hand, I am quite skilled when it comes to (more) technical presentations: lectures, product presentations, roadmaps or planning.
My first experience of speaking publicly was when I was 7 at the church in my village when I began to recite prayers. I did that for 10 years without even thinking about it as public speaking.
The point when I realised how much it mattered to me was when I started university studies and joined the first NGO. I quickly began to admire the leaders who led the meetings and in a short time, I managed to rise to a leadership position as well. That position came with a lot of opportunities to speak in front of the members of my team and for another 10 more years I led hundreds of meetings, probably counting a few thousand distinct attendees in the audience during this time
Later on, mostly after graduation, I held lectures to hundreds of university students, people in companies I worked for or for a private academy on many technical topics during conferences and workshops.
As time went on, I realized that communication is a very important aspect of an engineer’s life and most of my career growth relied on public speaking. Due to this, I understood that the more you make an idea public, the more it becomes yours. What is more, publicly presenting ideas or passing on your knowledge helps you to meet more people who share the same interests as you. All this motivated me to co-found a public speaking club in our university (Toastmasters UPB) to support students in developing their public speaking skills.
I am a native developer and everything I do is related to this.
I started as a self-taught programmer at 15 with small HTML and PHP projects and ever since I have been challenging myself to further develop this skill by working at any scale, large and small: NGO, startup, enterprise, R&D.
I am fluent in Java, Python, Js, Shell, PL/SQL with a deep understanding of procedural, object-oriented and functional programming paradigms. I recently got my Blockchain Expert and AI developer certificates and I am currently pursuing projects exclusively in this area.
I see programming as a discipline that sits between maths, natural sciences and human sciences. Being a good programmer requires a good understanding of both real and abstract worlds. And that also works in reverse – programming greatly shapes your mind and creates completely new receptors of subjectivity and objectivity.
My favourite type of project when it comes to using my programming skills is designing frameworks. Ever since I started my professional career as a software engineer, I created multiple frameworks for the telecom, aerospace, travel and booking industries.
During this time, I developed my expertise in cloud computing, parallel and distributed processing and got a deep understanding of the most common architectural styles/patterns (especially Microservices, Layered, CBD, Client-server, Master-slave, Pipe-filter, P2P, Event-bus, MVC and REST) and database types (relational, K-V, wide-column, document-oriented, graph, FTS).
Each software project in my portfolio is described by focusing on the architectural models and database types I worked with. Please check specific details on my software projects here.
I was trained as an engineer in telecommunications after graduating from the Telecommunications Systems and Technologies university department followed by the Advanced Software Technologies for Telecommunications master. As a student, I have studied curricula that included topics such as:
- Information theory: processing, decisions, estimations
- Signals, systems, circuits – analysis, synthesis and measurements
- Digital and analogic communications
- Networks and services architecture
- Microwaves, radio, television, mobile technologies, antennas, propagation
- Information security, Software engineering for communications
- Real-time and distributed operating systems
- Internet programming techniques, Software defined networks, Databases
It is also the industry I worked in the most during my career, counting 7 years in total. During this time, I became experienced in developing software for event processing, roaming, risk management, revenue assurance and cross-platform integrity analysis. As a professional, I worked on projects that cover areas such as:
- 2G and 3G technologies, systems integration and upgrade for 4G
- events processing – highly scalable frameworks and databases that accommodate and prepare the coming of 5G (multi-SIM and IoT related projects) (check my projects codename:GULA, History Events Database, Event List API)
- roaming groups of experts (IREG, TADIG)
- fraud management – I developed algorithms and patterns for fraud analysis and detection (check my project Fraud Management System)
- revenue assurance and integrity – I designed, integrated and developed systems for network traffic analysis (check my projects: RAID, Test Call Generator, Platform Integrity)
Working in the telecom industry was a great opportunity for me to combine my university specialization with my passion for programming (check more details about my professional activity in telco working at Orange). This was also the reason why I chose a “software+telecom” master program.
I believe that both experiences gave me the opportunity to use this magical tool called software and to have a more insightful view of the mysterious physics of wave concepts that are applied in the real world through telecommunications.
Studying the baffling real world using its own replica – the virtual world. What could be more fascinating than that?
Working as a developer in telco within the Billing Department provided me with a great opportunity to learn many financial concepts.
I gained experience with billing, rating, charging and invoicing platforms, concepts such as balances, increments, resources, bundles, transactions, rating plans, mobile window, charging zones and I had the opportunity to work hands-on on projects related to real-time events and queue processing. In this context, I had the chance to learn many financial and digital payment concepts (check more details about my professional activity working at Orange).
One of the most important systems I was responsible for was the anti-fraud system for which I developed algorithms and patterns for fraud analysis and detection (check my project Fraud Management System).
These experiences in the billing department and on the anti-fraud system paved the way for a major fintech project I worked on: Orange Money.
This was one of the first mobile app money services launched in Romania for which I integrated and developed modules on the Anti Money Laundering system (check my project Anti Money Laundering).
I am proud to be part of the first team that designed and developed this project for Orange and Romania.
Further on, working on fintech platforms and being in contact with experts in the banking system aroused my interest in blockchain technology and starting from that point I have studied this subject and even coordinated a bachelor’s engineering diploma project on an electronic wallet system.
Working on many database-related projects and being concerned about security and anti-fraud solutions in Orange/Orange Money, I always kept myself up to date with the newest trends in this area.
At some point, I worked in a small team for a while in order to implement some PoC projects on distributed databases and at that time we decided to choose Cassandra while also exploring other options. This is how I had my first contact with blockchain technology – it may be a bit surprising that it did not come to me through the famous bitcoin, but I first discovered the technology in that particular context, after which I researched it and found the implementations (namely cryptocurrencies and others).
From that point on, I started learning about this, creating my own PoC for educational purposes, as well as teaching about it in university.
I have recently started working professionally with blockchain technology as a Solution Architect Consultant for supply-chain production projects. (Check my work in CN Group.)
I have also studied for a certification program at Blockchain Council and became a Certified Blockchain Expert. Following this, I wrote a whitepaper and am now looking forward to gathering a team and launching a web platform that allows users to safely create immutable predictions based on blockchain technology (check my project Predictions App).
“If you want to master something, teach it.” – Richard Feynman
After I reached a certain level of confidence when it comes to mastering the theoretical knowledge, I suggested blockchain topics to 2 of the students I was mentoring at the time as part of their bachelor engineering diploma projects, so we ended up working together on both research and implementation for the entirety of the university year (check the diploma projects I coordinated in ETTI).
In order to get a deeper understanding of the technical concepts and how they are/all of this is changing the game, we kept juggling with security, privacy and storing data and I started publishing technical articles on the subject. Preparing an article makes you research the subject in-depth, takes time and attention and it is also a good way of learning new things. I have written an article on Medium on this topic which I republished on CN Group’s website as a series of smaller articles as well as several others on Neuroaugmentare.ro (please check the full list of articles on my Publications page).
I have also started challenging myself by publicly presenting these articles on CN’s Java meetup in Prague (Sept 2021) and giving lectures on Cyber security topics among the ETTI faculty students (Nov 2021 – Jan 2022).
AI is by far the hottest topic among all trends and the most famous cutting edge technology lately and it will probably continue to be so for the next decades.
And it is by far the most interesting technical subject I have been studying for the past years. As I have already described my interests & hobbies, I like studying how the Universe and human thinking work, especially using software tools, and I think the AI paradigm is the perfect tool to do that – which is particularly why I am so thrilled. I am also very grateful that I had the chance to study at a university that pointed me in the right direction in order to follow this path and that everything I do brings me joy on a daily basis.
Further building on that, I co-founded together with my good friend, Dr. Cosmin Dugan, the first publication platform in Romania that simultaneously explores topics in neuroscience and AI, where I act as lead editor for AI topics (check my articles on Neuroaugmentare.ro).
I have recently studied for a certification program at Global Tech Council and became a Certified Artificial Intelligence Developer.
I already had some hands-on experience in developing machine learning algorithms for fraud detection engines & an event processing framework in telco (check my projects FMS and codename:GULA), search engines in aerospace (check my project Predictive Search), and group profiling on my own startup in travel (check my project Voyah).
I am currently pursuing a career path on Blockchain & AI projects as well as writing technical and academic articles on these topics (check the full list of articles on my Publications page).
After a long career in the field of telecommunications, I switched to Aerospace – which is not as different as it may sound.
I have gathered more than 2 years of experience in leading software projects in the industry, designing and implementing software for a knowledge management framework that serves:
- Fleet management
- Manufacturers technologies
- Airlines content management
- Technical publishing
- Aviation & defence maintenance and flight operations
Check more details about my professional activity in aerospace working at Flatirons Solutions.
Booking platforms are tightly related to one of my favourite hobbies of organizing event, while electronic payments are related to my activity as a software engineer in the Billing department at Orange.
Organizing events is like programming in real life. Booking, payments, check-ins and gathering feedback are all part of core planning.
Ever since I started programming, one of the first activities I engaged in was to create forms, and at one point during studency I even was even nicknamed “the form-maker“.
So I refined this skill and gained experience and knowledge on what it takes to create an optimized form by creating hundreds (if not more than a thousand) of booking, survey and feedback forms, mostly for NGOs (LSE and EFdeN) but also for a startup as well (check my project Questo).
The most notable projects where I implemented forms are:
- TEDxUPB – local TEDx event held on the grounds of the University Politehnica of Bucharest
- MobilPRO – international software competition organized by LSE & ETTI faculty
- Cuibul Artistilor – private theatre club that handled more than 240 bookings per day (the platform reached 60k active users in almost 4 years)
Organizing events is also one of the most refined non-technical skills I have. I have been practising that as a hobby for a lifetime, passing through 3 major phases (ceremonies, sports & professional events, talks) and gained a profound understanding of time and people management aspects.
Check more specific details below in the Time management and in the Organizing events sections.
Immediately after I finished my engineering studies and obtained my bachelor’s diploma, I started applying for jobs. Back in 2012, Linkedin was not as popular as it is now and everything was controlled in an old fashioned way – candidates were applying on the employer’s website or using other local platforms (Best Jobs and eJobs were the most popular at the time).
Then at some point, I noticed that 2 major things were missing:
- A place where I can apply for a job and compete with other candidates with a similar profile to mine (as I competed with +1k candidates for some of the jobs, of which a few did not possess any engineering experience)
- A good portfolio or at least some guidance to create one.
That was what initiated the idea of entering the recruiting industry.
I initially started a project (with some colleagues and my bachelor coordinator) called CareerTeam, as part of the NGO I was part of at the time, with the purpose of organising events including/involving university alumni that can give students some insight on “what happens after graduation”, how to do a CV, portfolio etc.
Just a few months later, at the initiative of one of our university teachers, we started a mobile app contest (MobilPRO) with the purpose of supporting students in initiating their startups. Although it was not my idea, it came at the right time. I thought it would be a great opportunity to co-found a project that supports students in improving their portfolios and as I was the Head of the IT department at LSE, I had the chance to join this project from the very beginning.
Things escalated quickly with both CareerTeam and MobilPRO and as I was the executive coordinator of both I did not miss the chance to build a strong relationship between the 2 teams.
Afterwards, in less than a year, we launched an Opportunity Web Platform (jobs, master programs, startups, internships etc) and a Technical Training Center (in collaboration with the SAIM Lab of the ETTI faculty) and in these particular contexts, I had the chance to personally meet most (if not all) of the big player leaders in the IT field in Romania. A great occasion to expand the professional community, to bring these companies as partners/sponsors for the 2 projects and to have an impact on the way students are hired after graduating from the ETTI faculty.
Within these 2 projects, we organised countless conferences, workshops and open days for at least 6 years (the period of time during which I was involved in everything that was happening at the time) and at its peak, we got to organize assessment centres in the faculty’s hall, summer internships and hackathons.
During this time, I had the opportunity to directly negotiate with all major recruiting and outsourcing companies in Bucharest and to greatly learn from them.
To this day I still use that knowledge to recruit partners and colleagues for my personal or TC projects (check the details on Work with me page) or to support the expansion of CN Group‘s Bucharest branch.
While I was the coordinator of CareerTeam, I initiated an internal program to create the ETTI Alumni Community; there were some other opportunities at that moment as well, and that community is still only a Facebook group, but I instead chose to co-found the UPB Alumni Community together with my good friend Diana, which is a platform that is still up & running to this day, with my company TC as its pro-bono tech partner. The platform is like an internal Linkedin, that provides community support for graduates.
As I consider travelling a lifestyle, organizing group travel is my favorite free time activity. I specifically like this type of traveling because it comes with some interesting challenges: it’s like organizing a series of events, but in a different place, where people cannot just go home whenever they want. These factors involve a lot more complexity and potential rewards and at the same time, major risks.
I believe it is widely accepted that traveling in groups is not a good idea and a lot of people avoid doing this. However, almost anyone has traveled with a group at least once and in many cases traveling in a group is a necessity (whether we talk about family events, friends spending New Year’s Eve in a different place, or business travel).
I tried experiencing as many types of group travelling as I could and analyzed whether it went well or bad (which meant asking for other participants’ feedback as well):
- university/youth exchanges – most of them went very well, with amazing experiences and lifelong friendships
- group trips, organized by agencies – some of them went great, others not so great, but I did not make any friends
- group trips, with friends and friends of friends, organized by someone from the group – all of them went bad
- group trips organized with friends of colleagues – most of them went well or great
- short tours organized by professional guides, for ad-hoc groups – most of them went amazingly well; at one point I was so impressed that after an experience like this I even co-founded a small travel agency in the Philippines/Palawan (check my project Layag Grand Tour)
I believe one of the most important purposes of travelling is to meet new people and learn from our differences. As a personal conclusion, in most cases I have studied up to now, when a trip went bad was because of the lack of communication between participants and the lack of experience/skill of the organizer.
In this regard, I am currently working (along with 2 other co-founders) on one of the most complex and beloved projects of my life – Voyah, our purpose being to create new tools that optimize communication, planning and payments in a group.
I am also the co-founder of an educational club for adults (iConnect Club) which aims (among other things) to organize group trips from which participants can return as a better version of themselves.
Taking care of our own bodies is the biggest project of our lives. In 2022 I decided to educate myself more in nutrition and become a professional nutritionist consultant. It is a skill that I am currently working on. I enrolled myself on a 1500-hour class for one year. See my evolution in my blog articles on this topic.
University POLITEHNICA of Bucharest
- Master’s Degree
- Faculty of Electronics, Telecommunications and Information Technology
- Advanced Software Technologies for Telecommunications (TSAC)
- Period: 2012 – 2014
- Diploma Thesis: Architecture of sensory system and cloud application for real-time home monitoring and automation (Arhitecturi de sisteme senzoriale și aplicații cloud pentru monitorizarea în timp real și automatizarea spațiilor de locuit). Prof. Scientific Coordinator: Eduard Popovici. See more details here.
- Courses: Distributed databases systems, Centralized and distributed operating systems, Service-oriented software architectures, Information & communication networks security, Distributed real-time systems, Java SE/EE, SQL/NoSQL databases
- Main skills developed: Distributed systems, parallel processing, cybersecurity
University POLITEHNICA of Bucharest
- Engineer’s Degree
- Faculty of Electronics, Telecommunications and Information Technology
- Telecommunications Systems and Technologies (TST)
- Period: 2008 – 2012
- Diploma Thesis: Multiplatform cloud solution for personal resources management (Sistem software multiplaforma pentru gestionarea resurselor personal). Prof. Scientific Coordinator: Eduard Popovici. See more details here.
- Courses: Digital signal processing, Analog and digital integrated circuits, Communications circuits, Radio communication systems and equipments, Analog and digital communications, Mobile communication, Optical communication, Signal compression algorithms, Object-oriented programming, Analysis and synthesis of the circuits, Antennas and propagation, Microwaves circuits, Relational database management systems
- Main skills developed: Quantum and relativistic mechanics, Theory of information, Electronics, Telecommunications
Grigore Moisil Highschool, Tulcea
- Baccalaureate Diploma
- Profile: Mathematics – Informatics
- Period: 2004 – 2008
- Main skills developed: Mathematical thinking, Programming, Physics
Primary and Gymnasium School, Agighiol
- Period: 1996 – 2004
COURSES AND CERTIFICATIONS
Global Tech Council
- Certified AI Developer
- Issued July 2022 · No Expiration Date
- Certificate ID: 31571038
- Credential: URL here | PDF
- Curricula: Intelligent Agent’s Architecture, Problem Solving, Searching Algorithms, Knowledge Representation and Planning, Probabilistic Reasoning (Markov and HMM, Dimensionality Reduction, Feature Selection and Extraction), Machine Learning (Clustering, Classification, Decision Tree, Regression, SVM, Supervised/Unsupervised, Semi-Supervised and Reinforcement learning), Natural Language Processing & Understanding (Lexical, Syntactic, Semantic, Disclosure, Pragmatic analyses), Perception (Image processing, Object Recognition), Neural Networks, Perceptrons and Biological Neurons, Deep Learning, Data Mining
- Certified Blockchain Expert
- Issued April 2021 · No Expiration Date
- Certificate ID: 31571038
- Credential: URL here | PDF
- Curricula: P2P Networks, Types of Blockchain, Blockchain Technologies, Tokens, Ecosystem, Merkle Tree and Hashing, Blocks, Wallets and Addresses, Cryptographic Algorithms, Blockchain Architecture, Mining, Smart Contracts, Consensus Algorithms