Spotlight on... Mladen S.

Spotlight on... Mladen S.

Senior Backend Developer

You’re a developer, but please do tell us about your other close personal connection with computers.

So... my most boring computer activity—that is, to others, not to me—is gaming. That’s how my love for computers and programming started, which sounds like such a cliché. It was a big part of my life in my teens. I remember having logged over 1,700 hours in World of Warcraft 😊. Today, I use gaming mostly in the after-hours, as a tool for decompression before going to bed. To me, playing a game with a good storytelling is like reading a good book.

There must be other ways that you relax, the one other people might find more interesting.

Recently, I’ve rediscovered hiking. It’s like a newfound personal passion. My parents were avid hikers when I was younger, and they used to bring me with them on their trips — even when I was a baby. If my mom’s memory is serving her well, my first steps were up on the slopes of Stara Planina, in the Serbian part of the Balkan mountain range.

Eastern Serbia is gorgeous!

It really is. This year I went on the Highlander trail in Stara Planina with a couple of my friends. We enjoyed it so much and we are already planning next year’s hike, along a more challenging route. We're seriously considering buying advanced equipment too.

But... you’re also a beach person!

To be honest, I’m not that much of a beach person... During the last couple of years, I found out how much I love the feeling of weightlessness and silence of the sea. I became a scuba diver back in 2018, and I logged around 100 dives in different locations around the world already, with a couple of trips in the planning. It affected me so much that my retirement plans changed; I’m focusing my retirement on buying a boat that I can use to travel the seas, and dive freely in different locations.

The seas have their ways of charming you, don’t they?

Diving is wonderful, but during my dives I encountered trash and coral bleaching and seeing it from up close, it really kills the mood. When I become obscenely rich that’s were my money will go — into preserving the seas as we have them now. Until then, unfortunately, all I can do is pick up some trash around corals. I also try to document everything by capturing as much footage as possible.

What did you do before joining SB22?

I love mentoring people, and as a matter of fact—before working in sports betting—for a short period of time I was an undergraduate teaching associate. The subject was “Intro to Programming”, done in Java.  What I most like about mentoring is passing the knowledge, especially when I find something that amuses me about some aspect of technology, and I have this urge to share the knowledge with as many people that I can. I also wrote articles about Java on, which is the number one site for how-to guides in Java. However, my membership there is frozen now. My current job is much more demanding than the previous one was 😅.

How do you see yourself in the future?

The next five years are a bit of a short term, to be honest. But I would like to see how much impact SB22 will make to the industry, and how much I would be able to contribute as a part of the team. As an insight for my long-term plans... I read a book called “The 4-Hour Workweek” by Timothy Ferriss during the COVID-19 lockdown. I didn’t like it, but it helped me formulate a plan to retire by when I turn 45 or so. I’m looking forward to bringing my retirement plan—my boat, and diving alongside it—to life.

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