How he has come such a long way in such a short time? Find out below.
You came across Metapack thanks to the Summer Academy. How did you find out about this possibility?
It’s hard not to hear about Metapack or Summer Academy when you’re a student in Zielona Góra. Posters at the university were everywhere. In my case, everything turned out in a really unexpected way. At the moment when I started looking for student internships, the spots at the Summer Academy were already taken and it didn’t surprise me at all – there were only eight spots in the edition I participated in, and there were many more applicants. Nevertheless, just before the Summer Academy started one of the participants quit and then Wiktor called me. Time was running out, because there was less than a week to start, so we completed the entire recruitment process by phone. I was able to answer all the technical questions and had a short conversation about American Football in English, and finally won my place at the Summer Academy.
How do you remember Summer Academy and the tasks you had to do? Did you learn something new, something that wasn’t in college?
Compared to the internships that I did during my studies at the technical college, the difference is huge. Summer Academy not only shows what working as a software engineer looks like, but also gives an overview of how the entire IT ‘ecosystem’ in such a large company works. Most of us were obviously programming oriented and that was what the first part of the academy program was devoted to. It didn’t stop there, in the following parts we also discussed testing, databases, basic AWS support, including infrastructure, machine scalability and Terraform scripting. This is a really large dose of knowledge, but it stays in your head, because at every step there is a practical task waiting for you to use the knowledge. To this day, at work, I use this knowledge when talking, for example, about AWS.
Summer Academy made you think of Metapack as a company you could work for? Or was it too early for that?
In junior high school, during one of the competitions, a little dream woke up in me to go towards programming. This small dream turned into a bigger one and eventually I chose a computer science technical college and then studies in the same direction. For me getting to the academy was a great opportunity to make this dream come true. During the Summer Academy itself, I only confirmed that this is really what I want to do in the future. A huge amount of knowledge to gain, great opportunities to specialize and an amazing, friendly atmosphere appealed to me at every step.
What was your recruitment process like? Did you have to submit any documents or did you have other procedures as an Academy participant?
During the Academy, together with my good friend, Patryk, we did everything to show ourselves from the best possible side, working in a group of two. We tried to solve all kinds of problems on our own, and at the same time maintain communication with the mentor and other participants. There was a lot of willingness and commitment, and thanks to this, we both permanently found our place as developers at Metapack.
The first stage of recruitment involved an interview with the leaders of the Summer Academy, who then exchanged opinions about each of the participants in private. The second stage was an interview with the head of the department, Leszek and Kasia from HR. The conversation was very nice, they calmly presented their decision and proposal, and I, stressed and really serious, agreed. But here my seriousness ended and a huge smile hit my face.
Summer Academy was in 2019, then you immediately came to work as a Software Engineer. You’ve been part of Metapack ever since. How has the team welcome you?
As I said, I started together with Patryk, we joined a very young, just emerging team. Along with Zuzia and Damian, who were also starting their adventure in Metapack. Mateusz, a developer with several years of experience, has joined us all well. So we made a fresh team, yet without even a name of its own. Ultimately, we called ourselves the Vikings. I believe we got along perfectly. We all started at the same stage and I think it could have had an impact as well, everyone showed their true self and together we turned out to be a great team.
What was it like to work in such a fresh team? Did you have someone who taught you, any trainings that helped you get to know your duties?
Yes, there were trainings and it was very important. When I came to Metapack, I had knowledge mainly of another programming language – Java. Currently I am writing in C#, very similar in syntax, but also with a lot of differences. The knowledge of the previously used language was very useful, it taught me the way of thinking that is needed by a programmer. But not only the experience was important, the onboarding process was also valueable. It was carried out by people in various positions, thanks to which we broadened our view of the way the company operates. We were guided through the most important aspects such as testing, the business context and the programming itself, and after each part of the onboarding we had a task to do. The whole process was prepared in such a way that we first acquired knowledge about the product being created, and then we did tasks which effectively encrypted the knowledge in our heads.
What surprised you the most after joining the company?
First of all, a homely atmosphere, completely different from my previous workplace. Everyday communication was not influenced by the internship or the position held. This is definitely something special when you pass the founder of the company in the hallway and he says ‘hello’ to you and asks you how your day is going. Something that I have not encountered in previous companies.
The second thing is, as I have already mentioned, the scope of my duties, which surprised and excited me. I treated it as a challenge, a chance to prove myself. For the first month, a mentor was with me at every step, I didn’t have to worry about anything, because he was so knowledgeable and dispelled all doubts. The first quarter was an injection of knowledge that allowed me to quickly become independent in my tasks.
What other challenges did you face at the very beginning? How do you remember your first weeks in your new job?
We are a fairly large company, now the main owner is Stamps, which means that we have to integrate efficiently with various platforms, not only with our application, which we write in Zielona Góra. The upside is that with so many challenges, many platforms, each of us can specialize in something and prove ourselves in a chosen way.
You are just being promoted to Team Leader. Have you thought about it before?
I have always wanted to develop in two directions: programming and management. I did some interesting reading on the subject of team management, I watched others. I always tried to observe the activities of my superiors during work and, if possible, help in a task or project. My leader’s approach wa also a surprising. Whenever possible, I was able to join meetings where decisions were discussed and made, everything was also clear and transparent. The atmosphere she has built, the way she works and the absolute honesty and professionalism have become in a sense an inspiration for me, for what kind of leader I want to be.
Do you already know what your responsibilities will be? Will you be more of a Team Leader or an engineer, or maybe you will combine these functions?
I will combine both functions. Some time ago, the leader was a person who was approached with literally everything. Now that has changed a bit. A leader is rather responsible for managing a team and tasks. It also gives him the opportunity to carry out his own tasks as part of the work assigned to the team. I think you need to find a balance, think about how much time you want to spend on management and how much on our own work. Team Leader is able to advise team members on how to manage their projects more efficiently. Thanks to this, he gains more time, and the others have a chance to become independent.
Is there a set date when you start being Team Leader, or is it a longer process? The company is preparing you for this position?
At the moment, I have already had two introductory meetings where we talked mainly about the nature of this work. I am also watching what it looks like today. There is still some time until May, so there will be more of those for sure. I know I will not be left alone with this and will have the opportunity to train myself even more.
How did your team react to all this? Promotion means you will have to leave the Vikings.
They are very positive people. There were no negative emotions in the reactions, they also guessed it a bit – I think I dind’t hide my aspirations too well (laughs). I am very grateful to them for the kind words right after the official information. On the other hand, of course, it’s hard to say goodbye, because we were a tight-knit team, not only at work. When it was still possible, we organized joint meetings and integrations. Metapack supports such initiatives, a well-coordinated team is a productive team and there’s much more motivation to get up in the morning – to talk and work in a nice atmosphere. However, I am taking one Viking with me, we will continue to work and build a new team together. We don’t rule out that we will organize many events together and we will continue to maintain friends, I keep my fingers crossed.
Besides promotion opportunities, as is your case, what else makes Metapack a fun place to work?
Certainly, you are never left alone, as I said at the beginning. It’s not impossible to change your approach, programming language or department. We give ourselves such opportunities and suggest what we should learn. Second, our commitment is noticed and rewarded. It’s a very good thing that surprised me positively that you do something naturally, on your own initiative, and the next day you get a few nice words and more. It’s very motivating.
In the pandemic you work remotely. Are you afraid that this form of work will affect your new function? You will not meet new team members and you will have to prepare them to work.
When the pandemic broke out, we all worked remotely. Later, when things had settled down a bit, we switched to a hybrid mode. We have prepared positions in accordance with sanitary standards. I think that after all this time of working remotely, we have already developed solutions that help us find ourselves in the new reality.
So I’m not really worried about the work itself, but of course sometimes I feel sorry that we don’t see each other in person, we cannot go out for a coffee or meet outdoors. We did, however, got used to it, and we drew conclusions from previous experiences. We know how to conduct online meetings, when we need fifteen minutes or an hour to discuss an issue, how to work productively and how to exchange information.
Thank you for the interview.