Most people have had at least one job where the only thing they’ve learned is the key code to the front door. Sadly, it’s common to see employee education and development treated as a by-product of other company goals or a mandatory box-ticking exercise (often literally!).
What are companies that make a serious commitment to encouraging their employees to learn and grow are relatively rare? It’s more complicated than it looks and it’s surprisingly difficult to get right. To create a working environment that truly encourages the development of skills and knowledge, that philosophy must be applied to every aspect of the business. Luckily for those who succeed, the potential positive impact is also much greater than it might first appear.
The benefits of this holistic approach really shone through when I spoke to Kristina Kupreeva about her experience working as a back-end developer for Talon.One.
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The days of asking how many golf balls can fit in a school bus may be over but fielding irrelevant questions is still very much a reality when it comes to job interviews. This is especially true for developers, who often end up tasked with challenges that don’t reflect their expertise, the role they’re applying for or even that Effective Googling is an important skill.
Thankfully when a recruiter contacted Kristina to interview for the position of back End developer at Talon.One, this wasn’t the case. Taking the expertise of an experienced candidate seriously during the interview process helps to create a clear picture of their skills and what they can teach others.
"The interview process was a little bit different for me. The coding challenge task I received was close to the real work. It wasn't an algorithmic problem, it was more about services and APIs. It was very cool because I haven’t done that type of coding challenge before."
Encouraged by this positive interview experience, Kristina moved from Moscow to Berlin to work for Talon.One. That's a long way. Moving internationally in 2021 had recently become even more complicated post-pandemic. Luckily Talon.One made this journey as painless as possible.
“After I came, Talon.One helped me a lot with getting the residence permit. It’s very hard to find an appointment at the immigration office so their help was really, really great. ”
During her early weeks at Talon.One, Kristina noticed a culture built around giving useful and positive feedback. This was especially fortunate as she immediately began working on a complex project right away. While this might seem daunting to many people (me, for instance), Kristina relishes development challenges like this and immediately began learning a lot about the people and the technology of Talon.One.
“Yes, I’ve learned a lot. It’s very different in terms of working culture. Here, the working atmosphere is very friendly. People are used to praising their colleagues when something goes well and is successful. That’s really great because it really impacts the working atmosphere. It’s very friendly… I don’t want to speak badly about my previous jobs but usually, that’s different...”
Kristina splits her time between working from home and occasional visits to the office. This is a good balance for a developer, she gets to chat with colleagues in person while also getting plenty of the focused time necessary to code.
Of course, there are many ways to learn. Kristina explained that even though Talon.One emphasizes collaboration and mutual support, those aren’t the only way employees are encouraged to develop their skills and knowledge.
“There’s an educational budget. It’s great, you can go to conferences or buy a book or a course. I’m planning to go to GopherCon Europe, the biggest conference about Golang, That will be in Berlin at the end of July. I’m looking forward to it!”
The focus of Kristina's work is third-party integrations, covering how Talon.One works with other services.
Talon.One’s partnership program is crucial to the business. By ensuring smooth integration with other best-in-breed API-first microservices, customers can harness this power to create the best promotions possible. This is reflected by Talon.One’s membership of the MACH Alliance.
A focus on integrating with other systems means that Kristina gets to collaborate with developers working for other industry leaders. This is a great source of fresh insight, as businesses and teams with totally different specialties work together towards a common goal.
“It’s really a very great opportunity to work with other companies. At the end of March we finished the new Segment integration. It was a really deep integration. I like business tasks a lot. To create this integration we not only had to do the work on our side but the partner side too, making pull requests to the Segment repository so their developers can review our code. It’s cool that you can communicate with people from other companies, it makes the project exciting for me.”
The Talon.One headcount has increased considerably since Kristina joined in late 2021 and she’s definitely noticed the change, especially on the third-party integration team. Fortunately, this change has been positive.
“Everything is good, people are still friendly and helpful. Now that we have three developers I feel more confident when we’re fixing something. Now we can help each other, before it was only me!”
Sometimes as companies grow, departments become more siloed and hierarchies develop. It’s a testament both to Talon.One and employees like Kristina that there’s a real excitement about new people because that means more collaboration and more perspectives.
Talon.One put a serious focus on ensuring all customers feel heard and receive any support necessary to make sure they’re getting the most out of the product. Their commitment to making sure employees also get the most out of Talon.One is equally important. When everyone is happy to listen, learn and collaborate, the future is very bright indeed.
If you’re interested in joining Talon.One, check out our careers page.
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