[Get To Know] Zharko Mircheski Senior PHP Developer

With over eight years of experience as a software engineer and senior PHP developer, Zharko Mircheski is not only one of the best programmers in Cosmic Development, but he has been a real family member ever since he joined the company in 2013. Back then, Cosmic Development was a company of approximately 30 employees, and Zharko was perceived as a valuable team player right from the start. 

As a senior PHP developer, Zharko is primarily responsible for code writing and code reviewing, but his scope of work also includes participating in R&D meetings where the implementation of new technologies is discussed, mentoring new associates, helping other colleagues with resolving code implementation issues, etc.

His contribution to projects like MD.com, Bookmark.com, Rumble.com, SomeSpider.com is enormous and most appreciated. That’s one of the main reasons why Zharko was given a recognition award in 2018 for 5 years of outstanding work at our company.

Employee Recognition Awards Ceremony 2018

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

Remembering the names of all new colleagues, but I guess that’s probably the initial challenge everyone gets faced with when starting a new position in an unfamiliar working environment. On a more serious note, I’d say that the biggest challenge was adopting the company culture and procedures. The social aspect is as important as the technical part of a new job.

If you were to offer a piece of advice (as a senior PHP developer) to your less-experienced colleagues, what would it be?

What I think is crucial when starting at a new company regardless of a professional level or industry is to pay attention, ask the right questions to the right people, be proactive and assure other colleagues that they can count on you.

Being a part of a highly productive team is both rewarding and demanding. How do you overcome stressful situations?

It does feel rewarding to be part of so many projects. However, it’s also challenging and sometimes even stressful, especially when you’re aware that some of these projects are actually the backbone of multi-million businesses. What I have learned over the years is that you should always strive to focus on the problem itself and don’t let the thinking of “what ifs” distract you. Every now and then, a situation occurs when I feel like I have tried every possible solution to locate and/or fix a problem but still failed to find the right one. I am sure a lot of you have had the same feeling. 

What do you do then?

When something like that happens, I usually take a short coffee break, go play a game of ping pong with some of my colleagues, or simply go out to get some fresh air. The routine break can do wonders for overcoming obstacles. A good alternative is to ask your colleagues to help you out. The second pair of eyes can spot the “stupid” mistake you can’t see. 😉

Zharko Mircheski, Senior PHP Developer

What’s your favorite “know-how” source?

There are many of them, but I’ll start with books. Nowadays, it is very easy to go online and find what you need to fix a problem, but it is necessary to have a solid base of programming knowledge and skills if you want to be a good programmer. 

There are many excellent books on programming and software, but my favorite ones are Clean Code by Robert C Martin and Design Patterns: Elements of Reusable Object-Oriented Software by Erich Gamma, John Vlissides, Ralph Johnson, and Richard Helm. The first one offers insights for best practices on writing clean, understandable and testable code, while the second one is essential for understanding how the code is structured in object-oriented constructs, how to use them and how to recognize which design pattern to choose for solving a particular problem.

The other aspect is to get familiar with the stack you work on by using the documentation websites of a specific language, but sometimes even “lighter reads” can help catch up with new tech.

Zharko Mircheski in action

What would be the top 5 (or more) websites for PHP developers of your choice?

An excellent place to find almost everything when it comes to PHP is php.net. Depending on the framework, PHP developers also use Laravel.com, Symfony.com, or in case of WordPress WordPress.org

In terms of services, pages like developers.facebook.com (for Facebook APIs) and developers.google.com (for Google APIs)  can also be very helpful. If you need to add online payment, you would want to check developer.paypal.com or stripe.com, and for email campaigns, the place to go to is developer.mailchimp.com. It all depends on the stack and services you use. 

When you get stuck with something (a senior PHP developer does it too) – just google it, and most of the time stackoverflow.com will provide you with the solution. However, please bear in mind to avoid the copy/paste option. 🙂

I can also recommend dev.to because there’s always something new and exciting to read on that web site.

What is your greatest professional accomplishment so far?

I don’t think I can point to one specific thing as I’ve worked on many different projects and gathered valuable experience from all of them. But I can say that I’m really proud of my work for Rumble.com and Bookmark.com.

I guess the most significant accomplishment is that I have grown as a developer and as a professional, and this is an ongoing process.

Zharko Mircheski and Ryan Milnes, CEO

Can you give our readers advice on how to be more productive at work?

That depends on the working environment as much as on a developer him/herself. I found that I am most productive when I know precisely what I need to work on. So I guess it’s a good idea to define your tasks first and then try to clear the list in the timeframe you have set as your target. Preferably before the deadline. 🙂

What do you like to do for fun?

Well, I like ping pong a lot. We play it at work almost every day. We have teams and keep scores of our matches, and from time to time, we even make tournaments.

I also like to go out with my friends, watch good movies, and read books. I love to play games on my PC, but lately, I don’t have much time for that. The best fun I have these days is when I’m playing with my little daughter.

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