February 6, 2018

Career Path: Boris Jeremic, Product Engineer at SHYFT Analytics

What does the career path and day in the life look for the Product Engineer at SHYFT Analytics?

We interviewed Boris Jeremic to find out.

Career Path

Where did you grow up?  What did you parents do for work?  What was your very first job?

I grew up in Rijeka, Croatia, where I lived until I was seventeen. I first came to the US to attend The Masters School, which is a boarding school located in Dobbs Ferry, NY. Between then and graduating college, I had several temporary/part-time jobs ranging from fast food cook to administrative assistant.  After graduating college, I worked as a PR intern at Racepoint Global, but my first full-time position was as a Business Intelligence developer at SHYFT Analytics. My father was a fire protection engineer, and my mother worked in sales.

Why did you decide to attend Connecticut College and study psychology?  Anything that you’d like to highlight from your experience there - it looks like you played basketball and were on the track and field team too?

My goal was to be challenged academically while being able to pursue athletics and other interests. I was an athlete my entire student life, and basketball was my passion. In combination with academics, it was my ticket to getting to the U.S. and completing my education here. I did track and field my junior year primarily for the sake of challenging myself.

I have always been interested in human behavior, the factors that influence our decision making, as well as why we prefer certain things and not others. I intended to be an economics major and a psychology minor. But I realized tailoring my academic experience around psychology was better aligned with my goals, so I flipped the two. During my time at Connecticut College, I had the chance to design and implement several empirical studies. This satisfied my desire to be creative while gaining exposure to data exploration and analytics. I believe that the skills I learned in school provided a good foundation for skill development in a professional environment.

Boris Jeremic at the Lego Store

Your career originally started out in PR.  What prompted you to switch directions into software engineering and how were you able to successfully make that transition?

I worked in PR as an intern for a few months. It would not be proper to say that I built any kind of a career in that field; however, it is appropriate to say that my career started in Business Intelligence.

Upon graduating I aimed to go into market research. An in-depth job research indicated that the positions I was interested required skills that I did not necessarily have. Among these skills was knowledge of SQL. In order to increase my chances of getting hired in a position that interested me, I started teaching myself SQL and HTML, mainly through online resources. Being proactive paid off because I was able to land an entry-level position at SHYFT. I started as a Business Intelligence Developer, thinking that I would ultimately transition into a Business Analyst role. However, the more exposed I was to software engineering, the more I wanted to get into it for myself.

My initial position at SHYFT required a lot of SQL and some HTML/CSS. As I learned more about web development and technologies behind it, I realized that I had to add Javascript to my arsenal. In my spare time, I started reading books and going through online tutorials to make this happen. I have witnessed a lot of growth in the company, and there were several examples of people changing departments and career paths internally, so I set up a goal for myself to be one of the people who would get transitioned into a product engineering role. I was lucky to have a manager who encouraged me to pursue this path.

My first product engineering tasks were front-end heavy, and I spent most of my time developing in Ember.js. As I gained more experience in software development, I set a new goal to be a full-stack engineer. In my spare time, I started learning C++ through Arduino projects, as well as getting familiarized with ASP.NET. As soon as an opportunity presented itself at work, I took on API responsibilities. Now, my goal is to strengthen my skills and knowledge as a full-stack engineer.

Can you share the high-level responsibilities of your current position at SHYFT Analytics as a Product Engineer?

Currently, I am a full-stack software engineer, working on an application that enables users to view and interact with data organized in a series of meaningful visualizations.

How do you keep your engineering skills up to date?

I try to pick up as much as I can from my colleagues; I think that everyone can teach you something, and I am fortunate to be surrounded by knowledgeable and intelligent people. In addition to that, the Internet is always a good source. There is no shortage of good articles, blog posts, and Stack Overflow threads.

Day in the Life

Coffee, tea, or nothing?

Coffee. I start my day with a glass of water, breakfast, and coffee.

What time do you get into the office?

In general around 9 AM.

Every day is different, but can you outline what a typical day looks like for you?

Morning: Pick up coding efforts where I left off. Review peers’ coding. Scrum daily team meeting.

Afternoon: Coding. Sometimes meetings.

Evening: More coding.

What time do you head out of the office?

Depends on how busy I am. Generally, between 6 and 7.

Do you log back in at night or do you shut it down completely?  

If I have a tough or interesting problem I can’t shut it down until it’s solved.

Any productivity hacks?

Drink water and take breaks.

What are the three apps that you can’t live without?

Couldn’t live without is an overstatement, but my top three are:

1. Viber

2. Waze

3. Google Chrome

What professional accomplishment are you proudest of?

That I’m in a position that challenges me and fulfills me, and I made it happen despite not having a degree in that field.

Who do you admire or call upon for professional advice?

My loved ones and trusted coworkers.

Keith Cline is the Founder of VentureFizz.  Follow him on Twitter: @kcline6.

Images courtesy of Boris Jeremic and SHYFT Analytics.