Meet the Team: Emre Kahraman, Softensity Team Lead and Software Architect
Emre Kahraman always knew he would grow up to be a problem solver. An avid history buff, his true passion has always been technology. But Emre’s software development career has been full of twists and turns.
After four years and two degrees in research and development engineering, he moved to a smaller city in Turkey and struggled to find a role in his field. Emre leaned on his knowledge of the Microsoft technology stack to make a career pivot and work on enterprise-level solutions.
Emre rose to the challenge and took on a team lead role after only three years in software engineering. Three years ago, a friend referred Emre to Softensity’s Turkish team, and he’s been thriving as a team leader and software architect ever since.
Why did you choose to work in the tech industry?
Starting in primary school, all of my teachers encouraged me to look into engineering because I was good at math and problem solving, and passionate about learning new things. With my teachers’ guidance, engineering seemed to be the natural path for me, but I didn’t always know that I would be working in IT. In middle school, I thought I wanted to be an aerospace engineer and work on planes, but one day my family bought me a computer, and my fate was sealed. I got interested in computers, electronics, and all of that nerdy stuff which led me to choose computer engineering.
What does it mean to be a team leader and a software architect?
I’ve worked as Team Lead and Architect for various Softensity projects. In my current project, I’m leading an international development team at one of the Big 4 accounting firms. To me being a team leader is less about actually writing code and more about guiding your team through the implementation process and being there to troubleshoot any problems they have.
As an architect, my role is to work closely with clients to understand their problems and make big decisions about how Softensity will solve them. This includes choosing which technology to use and major design decisions, mainly just thinking big picture about the entire application.
What are your areas of expertise? And which is your favorite?
I’m really comfortable using mostly the Microsoft technology stack: .NET, MS SQL Server, Azure Cloud, and Angular. I prefer .NET because it’s the resource I use the most at Softensity. I’ve been keeping up with my team member Gabriel’s Tips for .NET blog series, which I think is beneficial for anyone who’s interested in learning more about developing with .NET
What is the IT industry like in Turkey?
I went to university at a time when software engineering was becoming very popular, so only the top 5-10% of students that applied for the program were accepted. Even with the growing IT labor force, the IT industry here was still pretty small when I graduated from university and started my career in 2011.
There were many companies, mostly located in Istanbul — the financial capital of Turkey, but most of them were developing relatively smaller applications for domestic use only. Over time, all of that changed. The Turkish government made a big push towards digital transformation policies which really opened the door for big multinational companies to open up operations in almost every city. Many startups were created with funds from angel investors and a few of them managed to reach the Unicorn level recently.
What are some of the best parts of working for Softensity?
Softensity has allowed me to work with many different team members from all around the world. It is a perfect opportunity to meet great people from other cultures and work on the same goal together as a team. Before joining Softensity, I would have never dreamed of discussing software architecture with guys from three different continents in a meeting. I really appreciate that Softensity helps me to widen my worldview both professionally and personally.
Also, I feel like I’m growing as a developer here. At Softensity, we have so many talented people, with many areas of expertise that you can go to for support when needed. When I’m learning a new technology or about to make an architectural decision, I can always find a good mentor in the Softensity community to take a look with a fresh set of eyes. This kind of knowledge sharing among different people is very important and valuable for everyone’s growth.
What advice would you give to anyone who's looking to get into the IT industry?
IT is the most welcoming industry of the modern world, I believe. You don’t need to have a college degree or pass expensive certificate exams to get into IT. Anyone, regardless of how old they are, can start developing software just by getting a laptop and internet connection. If you are hardworking and passionate about coding — and you don’t give up after spending hours to fix a semicolon in your program — eventually you will be successful at it.
Trust the power of practice and knowledge sharing. Thankfully our community is very generous about it, and you can easily find a lot of good content to consume for free. Don’t be afraid to reach out to more experienced developers for advice, training, or even just help troubleshooting. Because we developers learn so much from mentors and team members, I feel like it’s our duty to pass on knowledge to newcomers. If you’ve benefited from having a mentor, you should jump at every opportunity to help a budding developer.
Hi, my name is Emre and I've been working as a software developer for 10+ years, leading teams for 6 years, and being a full-time dad for 2 years. I used to be an image processing R&D developer (before it was cool) with an M.Sc. degree, but now I'm fully focused on enterprise-level applications with .Net and Azure. I'm a fast learner, easily can adapt to changes, and always open to new challenges. I like solving complex problems and mentoring young developers.