Architect turned developer — Irnes Duran

In today’s world, career shifts are more frequent than ever. One such example is our colleague Irnes Duran, an architect turned developer! Why, and how did Irnes decide to pursue a career in frontend development after being involved in architecture for so long? How did the change happen, and what was required to succeed in it?

Well, we found out in an interview with the man himself, so go ahead and read all about it!

Can you give us a short preview of your career?

After graduating from the Faculty of Architecture of the University of Sarajevo back in 2009. I devoted myself to working in the Architectural and Civil Engineering industry. It was exactly as you would expect from the profession — spending time on construction sites, architectural bureaus, and even working in a locksmith’s company, where I worked on the production of iron constructions.

If I would go back to the start of my career, the one thing that attracted me the most about architecture was the combination of creativity and engineering, and I would say that I was quite happy with my choice of profession and the experience gathered.

But here I am, today, working as a Frontend Developer, which I laugh about saying that it all happened by accident.

How did the change come about?

The turning point of my career happened back in 2014. when I got hired at Walter, where I was working on BIM content development and BIM projects in general… When dealing with BIM content development, data is assigned to geometries through some basic loops, AND or IF conditionals, and that would turn out to be my first introduction to some basic IT concepts.

While working at Walter, the team that I was assigned to started with 3 members. Not long after, it counted 22 people, and I ended up being promoted to team lead, which proved quite useful since I got a lot of soft-skill knowledge through it.

At the time, thanks to my position, I decided to experiment with the development of some Revit add-ins, which would allow for our processes to be more efficient and of higher quality. I developed the add-ins using C# and Revit API and was quite intrigued by the process.

That was, in a way, the second step to my career shift.

In the end, after creating a couple of those Revit add-ins, I had to distribute them to my team somehow, and I ended up making a simple, static website, where I uploaded the plugins. Doing that, I realized that I quite enjoy coding and that the IT industry might be interesting, perhaps more interesting than architecture!

What came next?

After making the decision that I would like to make a career change, I started with small steps. Researching what was most sought after at the time, and figuring out which part of IT would allow me to transfer, was my starting point.

I figured that Frontend Development had the most in common with my skills and expertise at the time, as a lot of similar design tools are used, with attention to detail and a feeling for proportion playing an important role, as well. Furthermore, React developers were shown to be most in-demand, which is still the case.

The most difficult part of the switch was the fact that I had to learn a lot, and I had to do it after work, at night, which could be quite exhausting at times. Consistency proved to be the key, and I soon found myself feeling much more comfortable within the IT world. At a certain point, when I felt pleased with my progress and knowledge obtained, I was lucky enough to be offered a chance at Walter Code, a sister company to the one I was previously working in, Walter AEC.

So, what are you doing now?

Architecture is perceived as quite a “creative” profession. However, what keeps me satisfied and happy in my current position, is the basic concept of programming which I find extremely creative, identifying the problems and finding the appropriate solution, structuring the solution, and the thrill of finally solving the task, and releasing the product. Currently, I work as a Frontend Developer, and Team Lead at Walter Code.

What would you like to say to others looking to make a change in their career?

From my own experience, the things that I considered rules to succeeding in the IT industry were continuity in education and research of new technologies, since IT changes and adapts frequently, and quickly.

In principle, the most difficult step is the first one. The “core”, or grasping the basic concepts of IT, is the trickiest part, and that is where many will break. But from the moment you grasp the basics, everything else comes a lot more easily, so if you’re looking to make a change, don’t give up on those first challenges, and don’t think that problems are unsolvable.

Push forward, and you’ll succeed.

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