Natasha Lazarova moved from Macedonia to Sweden in 2014 as an exchange student. Little did she know that she would lead some of Detectify’s most important development projects within one short year. Her broad technical skillset covers everything from Microservices, Go and Java to Docker, and was recently highlighted by TechWorld Sweden that placed her as #21 on the list of Sweden’s best developers.
How it all started
It was in high school in her hometown of Strumica, Macedonia, that Natasha decided to start a career in programming. She was choosing between computer science, medical school and psychology. “I decided to go for computer science, since computers are more deterministic and do whatever they are told to do – unlike people,” Natasha smiles. Well, can’t argue with that! Soon after, Natasha moved to Skopje to start a degree in Computer Science and Engineering at Ss Cyril and Methodius University, Macedonia’s largest university.
Moving to Sweden
Natasha wanted to spend an exchange year abroad during her studies and was trying to decide between Sweden, the Netherlands and Germany. She ended up picking the most unexpected option; Sweden. “The other countries were more popular in my circle and probably places I would visit at some other point”. Once her luggage had made its way across Europe, the student town of Västerås welcomed Natasha with rain and neat streets. Natasha lived there for a year and it was in Västerås that she met her future Detectify colleague Martina.
Meeting Detectify’s CEO
When she only had a few months of her bachelor’s degree left, Natasha went to Stockholm with some master’s students to attend SUP46’s Startup Day in Stockholm. When she was there, she met Rickard Carlsson, Detectify’s CEO, who had clearly done a great job pitching the company to her. “It felt like Rickard really believed in the idea. Many other startups were more careful and unsure of their own business ideas, but Rickard made me feel like Detectify was building a service that really creates value for the user.” One CV, one interview and one phone call later, the job as a Detectify developer was hers.
From student to an award-winning developer
When asked about her first day at Detectify, Natasha laughs: “It was scary!” It was her very first day at her first full-time job, in a new country, a new city with new people from different parts of the world. However, it didn’t take long until Natasha got up to speed with the product. Her repertoire of technologies grew by leaps and bounds in a very short time and she now uses Go, .NET, Python, Java and Microservices on a daily basis. “The most important thing I’ve learnt,” Natasha says, “is problem-solving; finding the right tool for the right task.
The high level of the sophisticated technical projects she is working on has been highlighted by TechWorld Sweden, a publication that lists Sweden’s 50 best developers every year. As a newcomer to the list, Natasha was featured as #21.
The perks of working at a startup
Working at a small company where all the employees have an insight into both product development and strategy suits Natasha. She emphasizes how important it is to her that the team does not work in silos. Being able to overhear others’ conversations (“the marketing team often bring out the spirit”) combined with transparent management gives her an insight into what it’s like to build a company from scratch.
“I like the fact that I’m part of something bigger, not just supporting logistics. Detectify is not just a project that you start and finish, we’re a part of creating a product that’s constantly changing and improving. Another thing I like about the job is that it’s more actual coding than planning and meetings.”
Many of Natasha’s projects have been part of rebuilding Detectify’s core, for example, the crawler. “It’s probably the project that has stood out the most since it has brought most value”.
The future of Detectify
Natasha sees a bright future for Detectify and trusts the organisation and the management’s way to balance resources, customer requests and long-term strategy. “That’s a huge factor, knowing when to go full speed and when to step back and look at the big picture” She believes that in a few years’ time, Detectify will have achieved a whole lot – increased staff capacity, plenty of new features and new technologies thanks to Detectify Crowdsource.
“We have the potential to be leading in the field of web security since we’re doing something totally different.”
Q&A with Natasha
iPhone or Android?
So far I’m an Android person, I’ve never had a Iphone but you never know in the future.
Mac or PC?
Favorite programming language?
I don’t have one. Pick the right one for the right problem.
#1 security advice?
Mind your corner cases! Try to think of any possible way that code can break or crash.
Favorite source for security?
Our internal Telegram chat!
Do you want to know more about Natasha and what her days at Detectify look like? Follow her on Twitter: @definicija.