From Developer to Entrepreneur and Digital Nomad
04 Dec 2017

From Developer to Entrepreneur and Digital Nomad

04 Dec 2017

Back this year we organised the Hackathon Google I/O where one of the participants was Simeon Bugarija who won the third place on Hackathon. Here you can read an interview with Simeon and everything that happened after the Google I/O Hackathon.

Interview with Simeon Bugarija

Q: Simeon, tell us something about yourself. What is your background?

Well, I was born and raised in Switzerland and lived there until my 10th birthday. Shortly, I’ve finished high school in Zadar and graduated Computer Science on Technical Polytechnic in Zagreb as a Software engineer.

After graduation, I’ve started working at Financial Agency in Zagreb also known as FINA in the IT sector – department for application development. Five years of work in FINA was a great opportunity to extend and master my knowledge in JAVA, work on big and complex projects and improve my programming skills and techniques. During that period I had a chance to participate in conferences, attend courses and get certificated.

After almost 10 years in Zagreb I’ve moved back to Zadar and worked few years in private IT companies on more commercial projects, but this year was a changing year where I decided to start my own IT company -> Aspekt.

Q: We heard that you are going on Thailand and you plan to become a digital nomad, can you tell us something about that?

Thailand fascinates me for a long time, not only because of its beautiful nature but also because of its rich culture, tradition, religion and sports. That is why I went on a one month vacation there last year. On my travels I’ve met a lot of people who were working and travelling, also known as digital nomads … and I found out that Thailand and the rest of the Southeast Asia is a digital nomad hub.

Well, it happened that at the end of my trip I had to do some of the work, of course, I didn’t take my laptop (I was on vacation, kinda wanted a move away from the laptop) but …nope. Of course, I needed to find how I’m gonna do the work, so I worked on really bad computers in the hostels and internet cafes.

After that experience, I realized that it’s possible to spend few hours per day working and still enjoy new places and have fun.

So, this time I’m going on a 5 month trip with my girlfriend Kristina. We are planning to visit several countries in Southeast Asia. Besides Thailand, we will visit also Cambodia, Vietnam, Philippines and Indonesia and try to live as a Digital Nomads.


Q: What is your prefered programming language?

I prefer strictly typed and object-oriented programming language, but the technology which will be used for a specific project mostly depends on the requirements. For simple web projects, I use PHP and Laravel Framework, for more complex projects I use JAVA and Spring Framework.

Q: You participated in the Google I/O Extended in Zadar, how did you hear about this event and why you decided to participate in the Hackathon?

I saw a promotional flyer in COIN coworking Zadar and was surprised that something like this is happening in Zadar. So I got very curious about the conference and thought that this could be a good opportunity to hear something new about trends in technology etc. and the reason why I participated at the Hackathon was to get a new experience, learn a new framework and get used to a new situation like presenting your product etc.


Q: What was the most challenging part of this Hackathon?

The most challenging part was to get the app up and running. That was my first time I was developing hybrid mobile apps, so I lost a lot of time on setting up the development environment. In the end, I decided to develop a web application instead which was at least fully functional.

Q: Do you have experience in other Hackathons before?

This was my first appearance in a Hackathon and it was really instructive. Later I realized the mistakes I made, so now I know what I have to do to improve myself.

Q: What happened after the Google I/O Hackathon? Did you found the support and interest that you expected or wished for?

After the Hackathon, I didn’t have plans to continue developing the application and continued working on other personal project and developing products for my own company. A few months later, in COIN coworking Zadar, a series of Meetups were organized by Impaddo, with the focus on supporting projects which have value for the local community. I liked the idea and decided to continue with the project and develop the mobile app which was planned for the Hackathon.

Q: What do you think about Zadar’s IT scene?

Zadar’s IT scene has a good looking future, the University of Zadar just started a new IT study, so students don’t have to go to Zagreb or Split anymore to study technical science. The problem here is that many have no financial means to afford to study in another city and those who leave their homes they usually don’t come back. The result is a lack of high-quality workforce which is a prerequisite for any development. In a few years, the university will be the generator of the workforce that will be the bearer of development.

Q: What do you think could improve the development of the IT scene here in Zadar?

I think Zadar needs bigger IT companies where young developers could learn from and work on more complex projects.

Q: What do you think about MeetUp in Zadar?

MeetUps are a good way to stay tuned for the latest updates and trends from the IT branch. Besides gaining new knowledge on MeetUps you can actually find out about people who are involved in IT in Zadar and make new potential partners and friends.

Q: Tell us more about this Hackathon idea and Supported Evolve Project “Clean City”

Clean City is a mobile and web application that should encourage the community to take care of the environment, report and track environmental issues and provide all helpful information. It is for every individual that cares about the environment and what this city to be Clean City.

Q: Whom would you recommend to come to this MeetUp?

This MeetUp is not only intended for developers. I think this is a good opportunity for associations related to every field get to know how IT can contribute to their goals.

Thanks a lot, Simeon. In our opinion, Zadar needs more people like you and we are happy to support you on your way!

And see you on 06.12.2017 at 17:00 at the COIN on the Evolve MeetUp #4! 😉

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