#WeAreModex series of interviews with the tech team continues with Emil Mihaescu, Head of Delivery. The topics of our discussion ranged from digital transformation through innovative technologies and how to better stay connected during the pandemic to the need for developers and the future of the blockchain and fintech industries.  

With a Master in Project Management, Emil’s career is mainly linked to banking software. After graduating from University, Emil has been selected for a banking project in Italy, in the beautiful city of Verona. “I worked there for three years and I learnt a lot about banking software, about strictness in development, and about testing. I even had my first touch in managing a team when they gave me a team of three.” 

Emil then worked in telecom software, tracking and tracing products, but the most comprehensive experience he had remains in banking, with one of the most successful banking software companies in the world. “I started there as a member of the programmers team, we were two, and went up to leading multiple teams, multiple projects on different countries and continents.”

Programming and chess have a lot in common

We were curious to find out how Emil’s passion for technology started. “My father had the biggest merit here”, recalls Emil. “He used to be one of the best programmers in my home town. My passion for technology came from the moments when I went to my father’s office. Back then, computers were like refrigerators today. When I was going to his work place, I needed to have a sweater with me, even if outside there were 30+ degrees.” 

“Later on, my dad showed me one of the first x286 computers in the country. Probably that was the moment when somewhere deep inside me I knew this would be my future. Those computers allowed me to play a new kind of games. On the other hand, I’ve always considered that programming is like playing chess: you constantly need to have your mind up to speed, to pay attention, to anticipate the next steps, and have a vision on things, a clear overview. And I like playing chess!”

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Modex – a new professional challenge for Emil

An important chapter in Emil’s career is represented by Modex. “I used to work with several people from Modex, many of them are also from my home town. The opportunity to join Modex came after a friendly ad-hoc discussion with Alin Iftemi, when I told him I needed a new challenge, a new beginning in my career. A couple of hours later he called me, asking: ‘When can you join our team? We have so many upcoming projects, and we need people.'”

Joining Modex was a smooth process. “Although I’ve joined Modex this spring, during the country’s first lockdown, I had a smooth introduction. After reading all the procedures, documents, and workflows during the first days, I had one-on-one meetings with the people from the team. I then took over a few tasks for Moneymailme – a money transfer and chat app developed by Modex’s founders – and another application. When I joined Modex, Moneymailme was already a stable, grown-up project, so I’ve only dealt with the certification for PCI-DSS that we need to maintain on a monthly basis.

Not long after that we started two important custom development projects for some American customers – tailored implementations for clients who have already chosen Modex’s business solutions – and since then my main focus has been on these projects. I have to manage multiple teams of business analysts, developers, designers, and testers for both projects. Also, I’m in charge of handling customer relationship and, of course deliver as per the promise, in time and in good quality.”

How would Emil describe Modex for someone who doesn’t know the company? “I believe I can describe Modex in two words: smart and new. At Modex I’ve met top level people, top level technology guys, smart, and always willing to get the job done. All the solutions which Modex proposes are next level technologies.” Emil also shared his thoughts on the working environment at Modex. “As I was saying, I joined the company in the first days of the spring lockdown, so I’ve met in person only several people. However, I can firmly say that my colleagues are knowledgeable, professionals and I can always rely on them. I believe these are a few characteristics for a successful team!”

The most enjoyable parts of the tech career

Looking back at the various stages of his professional evolution, Emil pinpoints the most pleasant ones. “I have many parts of my career that I can choose. I enjoyed a lot being a programmer, and sometimes I miss this. I will never say no if there will be a need for my skills in this area. Also, the experience in running multiple teams, running multiple projects, strategic thinking, organizing, taking out the best of the people, put them to work in the area when they can maximize their input – all these have been points where I enjoy working a lot. To see a project starting from scratch with a few lines of requirements, building it stone by stone, and turning it into a real platform, with real customers, surpass all the challenges from people, estimations, deliveries, and technical issues – this is the job. It always keeps you plugged into your work.”

How will the need for developers evolve?

“This pandemic that hit the whole world unexpectedly has revealed that humanity is not digitalized enough. The world should not stop if a pandemic strikes again. We must be able to go on with our lives and the impact should be as small as possible. I believe that our world will definitely change in the near future and the need for automation, digitization, and possibility to do things remotely will increase dramatically. Of course, all these things will only be possible with more and more field specialists, as challenges will be bigger and bigger.”

The future of blockchain and fintech industries

What can we expect from the blockchain and fintech industries in the next five years? “As I was saying earlier, the world will change, and it will change in the near future, there is no time to wait. We will do many things in a different way than we were used until now. All these changes will bring the need of more integration between humanity and technology, between what people do and how people do things. Blockchain is the technology that will help all this integration, will help security, will help at building trust among people.”

After telling us his thoughts on how the blockchain industry will evolve in the near future, Emil moves on to the fintech industry and shares his views: “It can’t have a different path. The old banking methods, and old financial services will have to adapt to the new world. Evolution is everywhere. Why do I need cash if I can pay by card? Why do I have a physical card if I have a phone? Do I really need to go to a bank to open an account, or should I enjoy a walk in the park with my kids whilst I am opening the account? All these are just a few questions that will give us the answer when we speak about how the fintech industry will evolve.

Be passionate and make a difference in the tech world

At the end of our pleasant chat we’ve asked Emil what’s his advice for someone who wants to have a career in the tech industry. “I’ve always said that many people can have a career in the tech industry, but if you’re not passionate enough, you won’t make a difference. If you don’t wake up in the middle of the night with the solution to the problem you need to solve the next day, if you aren’t looking forward to the coming day, on the professional level, then you will only be a regular programmer, you will only be the person that executes what he is told to do. Moreover, you need to continue learning at any given moment. Technology does not stop, it evolves continuously, and you must be eager to find out new things every single day!”

About Emil Mihaescu

With more than 12 years experience in project management and team leadership and over 15 years experience in software architecture and design, development, deployment and maintenance, Emil has collaborated with renowned banks such as HSBC, CITI, BARCLAYS, ABN AMRO, ALLY Bank, CITCO, Australian and New Zealand Bank. With 10 years experience in Financial/Banking applications under his belt and experienced in Big Data, Emil is well familiarized with Design Patterns and OOP concepts using Java and C++, and is skilled at algorithm design and implementation.