Aleksandar Atanasovski has grown a lot in his first two years at Zühlke.
You can see that in the projects he’s worked on, the skills he’s developed, and his progression from Senior Software Engineer, to People Lead to Principal Consultant.
But he’s helped Zühlke grow too – playing an instrumental role in launching the company’s first hub in Serbia outside of its Belgrade office, in his hometown city, Niš.
“The decision to join Zühlke as a Senior Software Engineer was easy – I knew I’d get to work on bigger projects for more interesting clients and learn from talented people. But I didn’t expect so much support to grow both my technical skills and my leadership skills in setting up a new workspace,” Aleksandar said.
Below, we dive into how Aleksandar’s first two years at Zühlke have been a mutually-enriching experience.
Growing with Zühlke
Aleksandar’s progression at Zühlke has been fast. “I think it comes down to two things: generous mentorship and transparent feedback.”
“Feedback can make or break a working culture. Too much criticism and people get discouraged. Too much support and people don’t improve. Zühlke gets the blend exactly right – I feel like my efforts are recognised, but I also know exactly what I need to do to keep progressing.”
Crucially, Zühlke combines this balanced approach to feedback with opportunities to develop new skills outside of your technical discipline. Which is exactly how Aleksandar came to play a central role in setting up a new working hub in his hometown.
Jumping into new opportunities
Before the pandemic, Zühlke’s only physical presence in Serbia was its office in Belgrade. But when the pandemic forced jobs to become fully remote, Zühlke supported its employees to work more flexibly, in whatever location suited them.
Naturally, this broadened Zühlke’s Serbian talent pool. And while Zühlke continued to support flexible, hybrid work after the pandemic, some employees beyond commuting distance to Belgrade still wanted to collaborate with coworkers in person.
That’s when Zühlke decided to set up a working hub in Niš – and when Aleksandar stepped in to lead the project.
“I had a vision that we could build a really unique working space to bring the best of Zühlke’s culture to my city. And in return we’d open up new opportunities for the thriving talent market here,” Aleksandar said.
“Very quickly, I had support from senior leadership and the Belgrade office to figure out how this hub would work in harmony with our flagship offices. It was a great opportunity to build my planning, communication and leadership skills – and I wanted to use the hub to provide the same opportunities to the people of Niš.”
Bringing mentorship to all
For Aleksandar, having senior leadership in his corner has been the determining factor in his success. Now he’s paying that support forward, by giving younger, less experienced employees access to the same support that unlocked his development.
“There are a lot of talented people in the company, and I want to ensure everyone has access to the guidance and support they need to grow. This hub helps drive that.”
At the Niš hub, junior employees have a designated space where they can expect to have more facetime with senior staff, giving them visibility into how the company operates on a day-to-day basis.
Aleksandar hopes this transparency and proximity to Zühlke’s processes is inspiring for more junior employees. “This is a unique company – there aren’t many businesses with our heritage, technical expertise and client relationships. We’re mature enough to recognise what helps people do their best work – and the more we can expose new joiners to our approach, the faster they’ll grow.”
Exploring next steps
The whole project at Niš has revealed new areas of improvement for Aleksandar.
“I’m focused on learning more, especially my communication and leadership skills.” Aleksandar plans to target those areas of his skill set in upcoming projects and will count on his colleagues to help him make progress along the way.
For Zühlke in Serbia, its next steps are directly influenced by Aleksandar’s journey. The success of the hub in Niš has expanded their horizons and made way for the company to set up similar spaces in Novi Pazar in southwestern Serbia and additionally in Novi Sad in northern Serbia.
It’ll mean that many more gifted people—like software architects, data scientists, and security consultants—will have the opportunity to work for an industry leader like Zühlke. And they, too, can have the career defining experiences that Aleksandar has had so far.
Aleksandar’s top tip for them: “Trust the process. It’s good to come in with a lot of passion but everything is in place for a reason. Even if you don’t see the value immediately, it will come.”
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