Having a successful career in Business Intelligence while enjoying the best of two countries (Macedonia and Portugal) is everyday life for Dina Sarovska, a BI Team Lead at Data Masters. As a key member of Data Masters from its inception, she has been instrumental in the company’s expansion, progress, and global outreach.
Our People & Culture
Read her story and learn all about her career development at Data Masters, what it’s like to manage a team remotely, and how she adapted to Portuguese culture and life.
How the story started
You could say that my story with Data Masters began even before the company was founded. Filip Petrovski, the co-founder and CEO, was my mentor at my previous job. We worked for a Portuguese consulting company in Skopje, together with Marta Ivanovska and Martina Naumovska. Eventually, we were allocated to a project in Lisbon and relocated there. In the meantime, I enrolled in my Master’s studies and had to extend my stay past the project’s end date. During that time, Filip founded Data Masters and started the expansion of the Macedonian market. Two years later our paths crossed again and I joined the company. If you ask Filip, he would tell you that we’ve been working together for seven years and not four.
Current role and responsibilities
When I joined Data Masters, I had about four years of experience in Business Intelligence. Initially, I was supposed to work for a Portuguese client on premises, but COVID changed our plans. Instead, I was allocated to a banking project for a Macedonian client. What started as a small proof of concept now evolved to be a rather significant and complex project. I can say that my career growth hasn’t been going “by the book”, in the sense that I have been given challenging responsibilities beyond what might be expected based solely on my age. My current role is a BI Team Lead in the banking department and my job is to not only design the architecture of a solution but also support a team of four people and their professional growth. I find it crucial to always try to pass the knowledge to the people I am working with because, at the end of the day, we all have a common purpose we want to achieve.
Currently, my position is a BI team lead in the banking division. Throughout my career, I have had the opportunity to work on projects from different business domains which I find particularly engaging. In addition to the banking sector, I have gained substantial knowledge in the areas of retail, finance, and aviation. These experiences have enriched my expertise and have enabled me to adapt easily to new projects. Having a solid understanding of the underlying business logic is, in my opinion, an essential component of working in Business Intelligence.
Most significant accomplishments
I always try to give 100% in the work I do and I am proud of all my accomplishments so far. If I really need to point out a particular achievement, it would be the banking project I’m currently working on. It is a very complex and rather challenging project. Aside from this, what fulfills me most is sharing my knowledge and helping other colleagues grow professionally. It gives me great pleasure when I see people who started from zero rise quickly and become more and more autonomous in their daily tasks. I find it rewarding to have received positive feedback about my teaching approach and I consider it one of my biggest achievements. Knowledge sharing is a must in the IT world and is definitely one of the core values we share at Data Masters.
Life in Lisbon
I have been living in Lisbon for the past five years, two of which I’m part of Data Masters. My move to Portugal was a very spontaneous process and quite an interesting experience. Lisbon is a very lively city with warm people and I don’t feel like a foreigner here. The Portuguese are really open to foreign cultures and people from all around the world. The possibility of constantly traveling between Skopje and Lisbon is fun and contrary to popular belief, I love being in Skopje and Macedonia in general. When we talk about Portugal, I must admit life there helped me grow both personally and professionally. Although the Portuguese are similar to us and our cultures have common points, there is an evident cultural difference in the way we are. I always say that diplomacy is engraved in the Portuguese people, and in terms of soft skills, they have an advantage over us. A big part of our job is to be in constant communication with the clients, something that requires a certain set of skills. Their approach is different from ours and it helped me understand how professionals in the West work.
On managing a team remotely
Before the pandemic happened, remote work wasn’t really a standard practice like it is today. The digital transformation the world went through made it possible to work fully remotely without any difficulties. Of course, sometimes it’s easier when you are on-site with the team, but I would say it’s not the biggest challenge doing it remotely. As for Portugal, there is absolutely no discussion about going back to the office on a regular basis, even three years after the pandemic. People work either fully remote or hybrid, that is the norm now.
About living abroad
Living abroad comes with a lot of perks. It opens up new perspectives and opportunities to shape yourself in a way that is not really possible when you are at home, an environment that is familiar. This experience helped me mature and grow quite a lot. I had to adapt to a foreign culture and lifestyle, which was quite challenging at times. On the other hand, it’s not all sunshine and butterflies and there are a lot of things that I miss from home. Mostly the people of course, but also the life dynamic and the ease of just setting up a coffee in 10 minutes, instead of 2 weeks beforehand. 😀
As for my day-to-day life, I really miss my colleagues and the office atmosphere in Skopje, and I’m not just saying this because of the interview 🙂
The Data Masters office in Lisbon
When I heard that Data Masters is opening an office in Lisbon I got really excited because it happened so fast after the founding of the company. Despite working remotely, I generally prefer going to an office. Working with people and being able to socialize helps me perform better. Sometimes you get stuck with some tasks and you need to refresh your mind with a quick lunch or coffee with your colleagues. Aside from the social aspect, having an office in Lisbon opens up new doors to the West and the European Union. Many companies are starting to relocate to the EU due to GDPR compliance. The expansion to Portugal will bring many new possibilities for us as a Macedonian company and I am really glad we now have an official touchpoint between Macedonia and Portugal.
Benefits of doing business in Portugal
There are plenty of benefits of doing business in Portugal, especially for startups. Lisbon has become very attractive to investors and is the unofficial startup hub of Europe. The market is quite versatile if we talk about talent and resources and there are quite a lot of business opportunities. As I mentioned before, people are relatively open to foreigners and English is widely spoken, especially among IT professionals. Additionally, Lisbon has been the host of the biggest tech event on the planet – Web Summit for 10 years now. This event draws the attention of thousands of professionals worldwide and offers the possibility to easily expand your network of people.
On Growing together with the Data Masters Colleagues
Growing together with your work colleagues can be an incredibly fulfilling experience. When you work closely with a team of people who are dedicated to the same goals, you can learn from each other and develop your skills together. I have been blessed to have had the opportunity to grow alongside people like Marta, Filip, and Martina from the very beginning of my career. Since we worked together in our previous company, we developed a solid relationship and have great chemistry working together. We all have a very similar approaches to things, so we complement each other.
The knowledge-sharing mindset between the employees is one of the most important components in the Data Masters growth and success in the past four years.
If you want to work on world-class projects with experienced professionals and you are not afraid to make mistakes (we learn and grow together), you are the perfect fit for us.
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