Kostadin: an iOS developer with a knack for lindy hop swing & cats

On where he comes from

I was born in Smolyan and I’ve been living in Sofia for 15 years. After high school, I studied Telecommunications at Sofia Tech University and I’m a telecommunications engineer as per my diploma, but even then, I had an interest in programming. When I finished the first year in university I started an internship at a small IT company and I made my first steps in Mac OS and iOS development. The rest, as they say, is history.

On his journey in Scalefocus

At Scalefocus I fill the shoes of a Principal Developer in the iOS team. I’ve been with the company for four years. I started at the company after working at the same place for eight years. I already had a significant background in coding and learning new technologies. I started working right away with one of the biggest projects in Scalefocus and looking back, I can see how this very project (and client) has helped me on the road to becoming a better professional and developer, even a person.

On why he likes his team

We are a small team working on a specific project for one of the biggest American photography, photography products, and image sharing companies. Our team is small and each man is a one-man-army, responsible for the full development of their platform, in service with dozens of functionalities. Working with such good specialists motivates me to grow myself and always be in tune with the latest technologies in my area of work.

On dealing with moments of doubt

When I have a moment of hardship or lack of inspiration, what helps me is clearing my thoughts with a training or by finding something funny to laugh at. After that, I usually find out the problem was not as big as I had thought. Also, cats help in every situation.

On the biggest risk

One of the biggest risks I’ve taken is leaving a job I was at for eight years and starting at Scalefocus. It was a big change for me, to leave a small company where everyone felt like family and go into a big corporation where I didn’t know anybody. Now, four years later, I feel awesome here.

On his technology stack and favorite past project

On the project I work in, I mainly use the iOS tech stack – Core Data, Push notifications, App Extension, and others. Because the application we support is older, a lot of it is written in Objective-C. For new add-ons, I use Swift.

One of my favorite projects from my past is the first app I’ve ever worked on – Plants. It was the first time I felt the thrill of creating something that works great.

On his inspirations and mentors

I am most inspired when the job is well done.

I still remember the first mentor that helped me at the beginning of my career – he was the one to ignite my love for Apple and virtually shaped my future as an iOS developer.

On his daily routine, work, and challenges

My day usually starts around 5 in the morning when my cats wake me up with tapping paws on my head. After I feed them I continue sleeping until at least 8 so that I can be a functioning human being. I check for emergency tasks and then I get to the planned ones.

What is always a challenge in the project I work on is the older code on which the app we mainly support is built, and it’s written in Apple-Objective-C. We are currently using Swift, but due to the huge database of the project, it cannot be entirely rewritten. It is now a unique mix of old and new technologies. Something I have an advantage in since I have experience with the older Apple coding language.

What makes coding for iOS so interesting is that you have to learn the latest trends each summer – between WWDC (Apple’s annual conference where they introduce new things in their next operating systems) and September, when they release new things for consumers. During this 3 month period, each iOS programmer must prepare their application for the new operating system.

A little known secret about me is that I’m only the frontman and the actual coding is done by my two cats. In exchange, they take care of my mental health, especially now in the COVID-19 situation – they remain the major reasons for me to keep my good mood and disposition. And they also spot bugs in the code with the same precision they find fallen pieces of ham on the floor.

On relaxation

I like to finish the day with dance training: right now I’m dancing lindy hop swing and bachata, 4 nights a week. It’s a great way to transform the stress from each day and start the next one on a clean slate.

On advice for young iOS developers

Always stay open to new challenges, ideas and suggestions, even made by people with smaller experience from you.

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