by Viktorija Nikoloska

Having a Vice President of Engineering in our company is one of the things that we take pride in. Petar Shokarovski is one of Cosmic Development’s employees who has been with our company for more than five years. His contribution to the company is irreplaceable and his expertise is what makes him a valuable team member. With over 12 years of experience as a web developer, Petar has a lot to say when it comes to building web applications that have thousands of users.

However, the life of Bookmark‘s VP of Engineering can be diverse as well. Petar is not only an expert in his job but also a human being that knows how to get the best of both worlds. Apart from his work responsibilities, he is dedicated to his personal cooking blog and to riding bikes as a recreational activity.

We were curious about his success at Cosmic Development, so we asked him to share his Cosmic journey and both his professional and personal experiences. Moreover, we wanted to discover the way he made his dream come true, what he learned on the way to becoming a Vice President of Engineering and what were some of the key steps in his career. We also wanted to find out more about his personal interests such as riding bicycles and cooking delicious food. Read the interview below if you are also interested in discovering more about Petar’s accomplishments.

You have been part of the Cosmic Development family for a long time. Could you tell us how your Cosmic journey began? 

I have been part of Cosmic Development for more than five years. An excellent proof of being with Cosmic for over five years is the recognition award that I received from the company at the annual team building in Mavrovo in November 2019. My Cosmic journey began in 2014 when a friend of mine who worked at Cosmic asked me if I wanted to join the company. Luckily, the project that I worked on at that time was about to finish and Cosmic was in the need of a web developer for their client Bookmark Inc. The client had a Web Builder Project for which I had enough previous experience. It was a perfect match. My knowledge of creating web builders gave me a push and made me decide to join the team of software developers and to become part of the Cosmic family.

VP of Engineering with his team
Petar Shokarovski with his colleagues working on Bookmark

What was the biggest challenge for you when you started working for Cosmic Development?

Every beginning at a new company is challenging at first. For me, my biggest challenge when I started working at Cosmic Development was to adjust to the company’s culture. I was used to a more relaxed working environment as a result of the culture we had established in the company where I worked previously. When I began working at Cosmic, I perceived the company’s culture as one of a closed type, where the employees only focused on their work assignments without spending time on fun activities.

Maybe this was just a first impression for a newbie like myself at the time. However, this was something that very soon began to change. Both my colleagues and I were responsible for making the atmosphere more relaxed. Nowadays, Cosmic has a totally different culture in the office and it is a real joy to work here because we all motivate each other to have a good work-life balance

You are a VP of Engineering for more than five years. Could you tell us what are your daily work responsibilities?

Every job has a different scope of responsibilities. My main daily work responsibilities as a VP of Engineering for Bookmark consist of managing a diverse team of developers and engineers and making sure that the basic requirements are met while the consistency of user experiences is satisfactory. Moreover, my responsibilities include not only managing and mentoring developers but also collaborating with product managers and improving the company’s standards. In addition to these activities, I also am responsible for ensuring quality end products, recommending technological developments and improvements, and contributing to recruitment activities. 

To avoid bothering you further with my everyday work activities, I will try and present to you my daily work-life responsibilities through code:

while (notDead) {
wakeUp();
goToWork();
doSomeWork();
haveSomeFun();
takeTheKidFromKindergarden();
putTheKidToBed();
sleep()
}

Throughout the years, you probably have encountered some difficult situations. Can you mention one of the biggest challenges as a VP of Engineering and how did you resolve it?

Every job has its own challenges and difficulties. Similarly, becoming a VP of Engineering was also challenging and difficult in its own way. However, I have always managed to deal with challenges in the work. I can say that our biggest difficulty came when we started negotiating with Moneris Solutions to come on board and to become a strategic partner for Bookmark. I consider myself a tech guy and therefore I can say that I do not enjoy long meetings. However, this negotiating situation involved constant meetings that took place every day for a whole year. It was a very demanding job to be present at all meetings and to complete all other tasks on time. Thank God that all that is in the past and now we have our biggest strategic partner Moneris Solutions

What are your favorite “know-how” sources?

There are many useful sources for software development solutions that can be found online. Software developers and other IT pros can easily learn everything they need about the industry by simply googling the problem. Therefore, my favorite “know-how” source is Google. You can always discover some helpful and practical advice on Google. You can also post a question to the community or share your thoughts and ideas on one of the numerous forums that can be found on Google. 

VP of Engineering working with his team member
Petar helping his team member Marko

What is the best piece of advice that you would give to young developers?

When working as a software developer, you can hear many pieces of advice from different colleagues, depending on their personal experience. When I look at younger developers, I cannot but say to them the following: Stay Hungry Stay Foolish! This is a famous quote used by Steve Jobs when he addressed students in one of his speeches. Similarly, I can give younger developers the advice that only by being hungry to try new things and foolish enough to try things that everyone told you is impossible you can make them happen. 

We heard that you also have a cooking blog. How did that happen?

This is actually an interesting story. For a long time I used to lead an unhealthy lifestyle and I ate unhealthy as well. One day, a friend of mine took me to a restaurant with deliciously cooked food. When I tasted the food there, I said to myself that I must learn how to cook like that. This does not mean that I am eating healthy now. I am still eating unhealthy food, but it tastes better. 🙂 

During the process of learning how to cook, I wanted to write down the recipes in a place that will not be lost eventually. I did not want to save the recipes in a notebook that I might lose, or on a laptop that will soon become garbage. Therefore, I decided to start a blog with all the recipes I learned so far. Parts of those blog articles have my own personal notes about the recipe in question so that I can always go back and remember it as a diary.

VP of Engineering with Rubik's cube
Petar resolving the Rubik’s Cube at the office

What are your greatest professional or personal accomplishments until now?

This is the most difficult question for me because I have different accomplishments during my life and I cannot pick only one or two. I can say that I have given my best in each aspect of my life and that is enough of an accomplishment. First of all, I am a professional web developer who became a VP of Engineering. I am also a successful blogger, great cook, and even greater bike rider. Finally, I can say that I am a responsible and proud father. Each of my accomplishments made me what I am today. 

What do you like to do for fun?

When someone mentions fun, the first thing that comes to my mind is my bicycle. I enjoy riding bikes and baking pizza. Recently I discovered the joy of riding mountains with a bike and I am absolutely thrilled by nature and by the whole experience. I am even thinking of starting a biking blog, just like I started the cooking blog years ago. My friends say that ever since I began riding a bike, I have lowered the number of posts about food on Instagram, which was what I used to do before.