Penta People: Meet Branko Radicevic, Principal Engineer
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When Penta’s founders set out to create an entirely new business banking experience, they knew it had to be different from the solutions that existed at the time. One of the basic principles to this day is that Penta is a technology company first, providing business banking solutions – not the other way around.
This is also where Branko took his first steps at Penta, when he was one of the first employees of the company. Not only did he write the first lines of code for Penta together with two other colleagues, but he also helped build a business banking platform from scratch to more than 30,000 customers. Today, he oversees a team of 50 engineers at Penta as a Principal engineer.
Branko, what made you join Penta back in the days?
When I met Penta’s founders for the first time I immediately felt their crazy energy, boldness and ambition. That is what I liked the most and what attracted me to join them. The first thing I heard them saying was “Today’s Business banking sucks” and I liked that boldness.
What did your path to Penta look like? What background do you have?
My background is mostly in backend development, architecture and leading engineering teams. I worked in different industries, and different technologies mainly on enterprise B2B solutions. One of my achievements, I’m proud of – apart from Penta of course :D – is the SAP CPQ solution, where I worked for about seven years, which is still one of the best tools on the global market for offering complex product configurations.
I’ve joined Penta to help the team in building the application and to establish a development team in Belgrade. So I started as a developer lead with the primary focus on the web app. Together with two of my friends, who joined shortly after me, we built the first version of the app. Some of that code is still running and serving our customers even today. When we started scaling the team, my primary role shifted to supporting the scaling engineering team and architecture.
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What exciting things have you already experienced in your professional life?
That would be our hyper growth from about ten to thirty engineers in less than 6 months. It was a really exciting experience. Tripling the size of the team and trying to keep the same level of engagement and happiness, with different sub cultures across different countries, was something completely new and quite challenging for me. If you ask me how we did it (:D), well we didn’t, it’s continual work in trying to get better, and dealing with new challenges all the time, like Corona, which of course affected not only Penta but everybody around the globe.
Now, tell us a bit more about your role at Penta
I have a leadership role, in my nature I’m a change agent and I foster changes across tech organizations to improve engineering practices by adopting DevOps. I’m working closely with our tech leads and product owners to drive a part of our tech strategy across the board.
What are your favourite projects you worked on?
Definitely the transformation and decoupling of our technical architecture from a monolith to microservices. When Penta started growing fast we came across the issue of an increased communication complexity. This started taking a toll on our overall productivity and ability to deliver customer value. To achieve the desired architecture, we used the principle of Inverse Conway Maneuver, and a domain driven design. We organized our teams around different domains and streamlined interactions between the teams to reduce any communication complexity. We had two milestones in this transformation.
The first one was moving to a Modular Monolith, where the biggest challenge was to split domains and agree about domain boundaries and to map them to independent modules inside the monolith. And the second stage was to decouple these modules outside of the monolith into shiny new microservices. Here we had a lot of tech challenges to tackle, like new infrastructure, testing, deployments, monitoring, etc. This was a big learning curve for us, and what is the most exciting, it’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to learning and improving our engineering practices. I really look forward to seeing how Penta will evolve in the future.
How is working in the Tech Team at Penta, actually?
Challenging, I would say. From early days we challenge the status quo and look for new opportunities in identifying and resolving customers’ problems. We, as many of our competitors, try to leverage the latest technology and practices to drive innovations and move industry forward. As I mentioned earlier, we have small teams organized around different domains, with a strong focus on customers. Keeping the startup mentality with a fast feedback loop, while building secure and reliable products and services is what we are aiming for and the only acceptable way of working.
Any fun stories from the team you would like to share with us?
There are a lot of funny stories, especially from pre Covid times. I’d rather share them once we meet in person with a couple of beers. So, come and join us, let’s have some new funny moments together, while we are building awesome products and resolving the customers’ problems. I can guarantee you one thing: You will meet a lot of amazing people at Penta.
Lastly: Why should software developers and tech enthusiasts join our Tech department?
If you want to make a difference in business banking and challenge the status quo, grow and learn with us, join our mission in becoming number one business banking service provider.
Would you like to join us on our mission to make business banking simple and digital? Then take a look at our open positions. We also give you an insight into our culture at Penta on our careers page.