Case study

Co-founder and chief technology officer — Vlad Cealicu

After completing a Masters in computing Vlad worked as a project manager and application analyst. Recently he has set up his own company, which he hopes to grow

How did you get your job?

I am passionate about cryptography and distributed networks and so working in the cryptocurrency space made sense. I was approached by a friend, while I was working as an application analyst, and between us we managed to raise the investment to start our own company. We were successful because we had a solid business plan, had the required skillset and showed passion for what we were doing.

What’s a typical day like?

As chief technology officer (CTO) and co-founder at CryptoCompare.com I use experience from all my previous positions. I have to manage my team, develop and implement fast services that scale to thousands of requests per second and convince my partners that we are going in the right direction.

I would have never got the job had it not been for my proven track record of analysing, developing and implementing various applications.

What do you enjoy about your job?

I love that I get to collaborate with different people. I have a lot of freedom when it comes to architecture decisions and it feels great when we get an email or a phone call from a satisfied user.

It's very rewarding to know we are making a big impact in of one the frontiers of privacy and finance. As an analyst I work on fixing issues that people are currently having and I get to come up with software solutions fit for the future.

I achieve a great satisfaction when we overcome a difficult problem. I also love that a big part of the community is working open-source and we get to improve and build on each other's work.

What are the challenges?

When it comes to application analysis, one of the most important qualities is patience and persistence. Usually you need to fix obscure bugs that are not immediately obvious and sometimes on clients' demand you need to add features, which you may not think will make any difference.

You should have good interpersonal skills and work well as part of a team.

In what way is your degree relevant?

My degree in computing is very relevant; not only did I study most of the computing languages that I use on a daily basis, but I also learned the best practices for software project management.

The presentation skills I gained during my degree have always been useful. If my presentation skills were second rate I would have struggled to get funding for my start-up.

How has your role developed?

My role has developed from project manager to software developer/application analyst to CTO and co-founder.

Through my jobs I have developed my existing skills and acquired new ones such as:

  • decision making and analysis of clients' needs in order to provide a valuable service
  • resolving technical issues promptly
  • negotiation skills i.e. my ability to persuade when I not only come up with a feasible technical solution, but also need to convince management of the benefits of my suggested implementation.

I am generally happy with my career progression so far and my biggest ambition is to grow my company and the cryptocurrency space.

What advice can you give to others?

If you strive to be a successful application analyst, try volunteering for a charity or local business during your degree. You'll get exposure to real problems and you'll have to come up with solutions for issues you never even thought existed.

You will have to continuously learn new programming languages and software development paradigms to stay up to date with the industry by doing online courses even after you graduate, try to read publications and, if possible, attend as many events in your area of IT as possible.

When troubleshooting and suggesting possible solutions, don't just look at the problems you are trying to solve from a developer's perspective, but put yourself in your clients shoes as well. Also remember that not everyone you are taking to is as IT savvy as you, try to not use a lot of industry jargon when describing your solutions.

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