Netcetera is a place for an individual to grow professionally and personally, and we bring closer our fellow Netceterian's journeys by sharing their personal views on the professional experience. For this round of interviews, we have Ramona Beck and Nathanael Sommer-Koch - two of our Software Engineers from Switzerland.
Netcetera is big on culture, and it’s something we take a lot of pride in. How would you describe the culture in your development team?
Nate: Since I'm currently building up a new project with no development team, I'll answer this question regarding my former project. In this team, humor is the basis of our collaboration. When the atmosphere of a team is relaxed and humorous, it's easier to tackle rough times together as a unit. It's important to us to have a culture of speaking our mind if there's an issue, rather than beating around the bush. The core of this team exists for more than 4 years, with small changes throughout all this time. The team is a bit like a family where you can feel at home. This can also be felt when looking at the team chat, which is used extensively.
Ramona: In my current development team, we place great emphasis on respect, trust, teamwork, and continuous improvement. All developers work independently and bring their strengths to the team. We regularly take time for joint code reviews, which allows us to continuously improve through exchange and discussion. Even in moments when the team is under a lot of pressure, we treat each other with respect despite sometimes heated discussions and always reach a point that the whole team can get behind. This strong teamwork is also evident on stressful days, such as before the end of a sprint or before a significant deployment because often it's not just individual developers who try to get everything done on time, but the complete team together. Our strong communication within the team certainly contributes to this. Thanks to the Daily in the morning as well as an additional synchronization every afternoon, we actively promote the exchange of information and thus have the opportunity to properly distribute the upcoming work and address potential problems early on. Newly emerging ambiguities or issues, such as new bugs or unresolved technical and functional questions, are not left unresolved for long but are proactively addressed.
While writing code, which moments make you think: I love my work?
Nate: As a developer with an affinity for UI development, I always flourish when there's a demanding UI to be implemented. For instance, I am the responsible developer for our time tracking software, and I recently introduced a weekly calendar, which should be as intuitive as possible to create your entries and at the same time have a good overview of what you've worked on. This brings a lot of complexity on many layers: from integrating Outlook to the extensive frontend logic and then finally the styling. The moment I released this week calendar feature for the entire company, surely was one of these moments.
Ramona: Recently there was another moment like that when, after weeks of intensive work, we were able to complete a new technical feature and make it available to users for testing. Knowing that your work has a direct added value for someone brings great satisfaction. But it's not just these big events that show me that I love my work. The daily technical and professional challenges, the moments when you find a neat solution to a problem, drinking coffee together, and exchanging ideas in the team make every day exciting and contribute just as much to the fact that I love my work.
How does Netcetera help in taking your skills to a higher level?
Ramona: From the beginning, Netcetera has helped me to take my skills to a higher level. When I started at Netcetera almost exactly three years ago, I was still in the middle of my master’s degree and, therefore, only worked part-time. Nevertheless, I was part of a technically very demanding project right from the start and was able to learn thanks to the dedicated development team and project manager. In general, thanks to the feedback culture, which has become even more important recently, I have often received constructive feedback from my team and project leaders, which has shown me concrete ways to improve. In addition, Netcetera offers a wide range of internal courses regularly and also enables participation in external courses and conferences, whereby each employee can use his or her training budget freely according to personal interests. By participating in an intensive Spring Core course, some other technical training, and a leadership course, I have been able to develop my skills in both technical and non-technical areas.
What advice would you give someone with Java skills looking to join Netcetera?
Ramona: In addition to good Java knowledge, it is certainly an advantage to have further knowledge of the most common frameworks. However, gaps in technical know-how can be filled through a large range of internal training courses. From my standpoint, it is also very significant to know that you will be part of a company with a strong culture and community. In my opinion, anyone who wants to join Netcetera should be willing to take advantage of Netcetera's versatile offer (be it the courses and training offered, team events, presentations, etc.) and to actively participate in it, as well as to live Netcetera's culture on a professional as well as on a personal level.