Let's talk about Back End

Luis tells you more about working in Back End at XING and the people who make it so unique.


To the interview




Hi Luis, tell us ...

…a little bit about yourself.

I just turned 37 years old and grew up in a city 100 km south of Valencia called Dénia. I share my home with my girlfriend and 3 cats. I started programming back in the days when the Internet was not a thing and floppy disks were more than enough for daily purposes. I’ve always liked to break things and repurpose them. Several dismantled calculators, radios, and other small devices are still laying around – just ask my mum. I studied Technical Engineering in Computer Systems. While still studying , I found myself working as a part-time developer.

How much previous experience did you have before applying to us?

I started working full time at NWSE in January 2020. Before that, I was doing freelance work for the Notifications Team for the previous six months. I’ve been working with Ruby for the last 10 years, initially with Sinatra and smaller frameworks, and lately with Rails and bigger projects. During that time, I’ve also worked with python, nodejs, some side projects including frontend and game prototypes (even in 3D), IoT and open-source contributions.

What do you like most about your job as a Back End Software Engineer?

I chose Backend Software Engineering because I like the way it connects all the pieces. It gives you the chance to deliver the most value, no matter what shape it’s eventually rendered into. You don’t have to worry about devices, resolution, or colour depth.

How is your team organised? Do you work a lot by yourself or a lot with others?

I’m currently in the Messenger Team. We’re a cross-discipline team, meaning we have 2 of each: FE, iOS, Android & BE, plus a TL and a PO. We support each other as much as we can. None of us can progress without helping one another. As you can imagine, most tiny features usually require interaction of at least 2 disciplines. We also provide support for integrations with other teams or business units. I tend to pair most of the time.

What do you like about  „Pair programming“?

For me there’s no other option. Pairing is not paying two people to do one person’s job, but having a conversation about what’s being implemented and discovered. By doing so, you’re having your first review while coding and the outcome is more valuable that way. Of course, there are some mechanical tasks which do not require creativity and can be tackled separately.

How would you describe a typical workday?

My day usually starts with reading some e-mails and reviewing my calendar for the following days. If there are no issues, I keep an eye on monitoring the health of the apps our team is responsible for. Then we have our stand-up where we align on expectations and share our blockers for the day. Sometimes we schedule a follow-up from a stand-up, and once decisions are taken, each discipline does its part. From then until lunch, we take turns coding our assignment. Usually, we take short breaks to refocus and discuss what we’ve done and what’s ahead. Once our lunch break is over, we continue with the assignment, reviewing any requests from other teams and providing support, starting with the high-priority tasks. I like to read some tech stuff while on breaks, and every 3 or 4 short breaks I take a longer one to stretch or take a walk to relax my eyes.

How much time do you have to develop your skills?

As a software engineer you always need to meet the new kid on the block: every now and then a new framework, paradigm or even language comes along. Having the time and will to know them opens your mind and can improve your toolset. Of course, you can bring innovative ideas to your daily job and at the end of the day, that makes you work better. Sometimes you start a HackWeek project using these new items, spend a weekend taking a course or watching a set of videos on the subject. Either way, I like to keep myself updated and try to grasp as much as possible. We also have some budget for training so you can attend a conference or take a course you’ve always wanted to.

To what extent do you feel you can contribute with your own ideas and create impact through your work?

Every quarter we have different OKRs. These involve deep dives and are split into real things we can act on. During these sessions, we can propose how to implement them or what could make them more actionable. Moreover, whenever we have some ideas worth sharing, we tell our beloved POTLAC, and they can turn them into something to be developed during upcoming quarters. Not so long ago we introduced a new type of push notification when a company you follow posts an article. I remember leaving work to meet my girlfriend, and suddenly I got a notification on my phone. I looked at it and it was the first ever company posting after we implementing the feature. That made me think: “Oh, I was involved in building that.”

What is it like to work for a platform like XING?

At first, I thought it was huge. Now I think the outcome of making every single piece work, keeping it tuned and up to date, is huge. Every app is responsible for testing and provides an API for the rest to interact with. Maintaining consistency is sometimes tricky because you can forget to spread the knowledge and cause a disaster or an outage.

XING is part of New Work SE, which is why we would be interested to know why working for us is so special for you.

There are several things I value positively at this company. Being able to speak aloud is one of them. You don’t need to juggle everything around to drive your significant other to the doctor. The offices are nice and make you enjoy the time you spend there. You can grow in several directions here, and there was a time when people in Valencia tended to gain 3 kg in their first month. Your managers support you if you want to change your path. There are 2 HackWeeks where you can develop your own ideas and collaborate with people you usually don’t interact with. ...


Open Questions?

Luis is looking forward to your questions!

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