We sat down to speak with Full-Stack Developer at eduMe, Kasia Dutch, to find out more about her path into the role, a day in the life as an engineer at eduMe, and what she looks out for when interviewing candidates.
If you’re looking for a new role and you’re interested in what eduMe has to offer, head over to our careers page to see our open engineering roles and learn more about our team.
What’s your role at eduMe and what does a typical day look like for you?
Most days begin with a squad stand-up which helps keep everyone on the same page for the variety of projects going on at any one time. The Growth tribe is responsible for helping to grow our customer base through new sales (Land) and account expansion (Expand). I sit in the Expand squad where our ultimate goal is to add as much value to customers as possible to help drive account expansion and retention. I’m likely to have one or two other meetings during the day which vary week to week, such as project planning, department- and company-wide huddles, or retrospectives.
In between those sessions, most of my “free” work time is spent coding. A lot of this is solo work, for example bug-fixing or working on a ticket within a feature, but we also value paired programming and mob programming at eduMe. I review a lot of code too, which helps keeps our code clean, but also gives me a chance to broaden my knowledge of the codebase and learn from others in the engineering team. I’m going to be the lead developer on an upcoming project so at the moment, I’m also doing things to prepare for that, such as a technical discovery, ticketing on Linear and liaising with other squads working on similar areas of the code.
Importantly, we always find a bit of time to socialise. When in the office, we might go for lunch together or do something after work, like a board game night or pub quiz. We also have online coffee breaks, which are a nice way to break up the day when working from home and a good opportunity to chat with colleagues you wouldn’t normally get a chance to. Even on the busiest days, I can still feel connected with my coworkers via Slack channels like #wordle where the competition is high or #pets to get a dose of cute 🐶
How did you get into Software Engineering?
I didn’t take the traditional path into software engineering and I had actually never considered it as a path I could take before I retrained; it didn’t feel like a world I had access to, since we didn’t have much in the way of IT lessons at school and I wasn’t very STEM-oriented. (Not to mention the lack of female representation in the tech world.) I have always been passionate about learning languages and humanities, so I studied Russian and Chinese at university, but I didn’t really know what I wanted to do as a job.
After graduating I worked in Human Resources and Project Management. During the pandemic, I was feeling a bit directionless career-wise but I came across a software engineering grad scheme and started making the connection to my background in languages. From the first time I tried coding in preparation for my application and interviews, I fell in love with it. I don’t think I’ll ever get over how cool it is that I can use languages to create something right before my eyes. It’s also such an adrenaline rush to find solutions to bugs and larger questions. In hindsight, along my squiggly path into tech, what has always motivated me in my previous roles was the daily opportunities to problem solve, so going into software engineering seems like a no-brainer now!
Why did you join eduMe?
What first attracted me to eduMe was the company’s five values and its mission. The focus on having a drive to self-improve, acting with transparency and respect, and creating a product that positively impacts people’s lives was incredibly appealing. It’s a people-first company in all senses and it’s important to me that my work has value and that my workplace values me, both boxes that eduMe ticks ✅
During the interview process I met positive people who were passionate about what they do and the company they work for and that was naturally very inviting. I also really liked that there wasn’t a hierarchical structure in the traditional sense, because everyone’s opinion and contribution is valued equally, whether you’re a senior with years of experience under your belt or a junior in your first role.
How do you keep up with technology?
Since making the switch into tech, I followed different channels and accounts online that make content about software development, as well as joining a few different developer communities, so that’s how I keep up with trends in the industry (as well as getting a healthy amount of coding memes).
As a dev, it’s really important to keep brushing up my skills, so one of the things I value most about eduMe is the company’s commitment to our learning and development. eduMe’s mission revolves around “workforce success” and that is reflected internally too. We get an annual allowance to spend on up-skilling, which can be spent on any thing that enables you to be more successful in your work, such as books, courses, certifications and conferences, and we also have some time for learning during the week.
What’s been your favourite moment at eduMe so far?
Work-wise, it was when we got our first joint customer with Beekeeper, who we have an integration partnership with. Building the integration was the first project I worked on when I joined eduMe. I was thrown into the deep end (in the most positive sense of the phrase), even taking on a new coding language to build the widget. It was a really indispensable experience as my first professional project, so I felt a huge sense of pride when the work we’d done began to deliver results for eduMe, Beekeeper, and our customer too!
Work-aside? It’s obviously got to be our trip to Tuscany in May 2022! It was such an unforgettable trip and it was awesome to have the UK and US office together in one place for the first time. It goes without saying that the Italian countryside is the perfect setting for team bonding and workshopping!
What do you love most about working at eduMe and why should someone consider joining the engineering team?
When I joined in January, eduMe had just raised $20 million in Series B funding, making it a really exciting time to be a part of the company. The environment is fast-paced and every day brings new opportunities and challenges. Even in the 5 months I’ve been here, eduMe has evolved so much and so many lovely new faces have walked through the door. Simply put, there’s a never a dull day!
What keeps the work so enjoyable is definitely the people. When we’re hiring, we look for people who can add to the eduMe culture, meaning everyone you’re working with is helpful, ambitious, and friendly. I love how motivated everyone is to work together to deliver a great product and achieve results. Within the Product department, we work in cross-functional teams and it’s really rewarding to work in such a collaborative environment. In the engineering team, we also value sharing knowledge; whether that’s posting an article or video we’ve found in Slack, doing a lightning talk on an area of tech we find interesting, or simply everyone’s innate willingness to answer any question you have.
What advice can you give to applicants?
You’ll be a good fit for eduMe if you’re curious, collaborative and conscientious, so offer up some examples of moments in your career where you’ve demonstrated those traits.
Equally, don’t be afraid to be open about what you don’t know. eduMe is a learning platform after all and having the drive to learn more and self-improve is more important than already having an understanding of every technology under the sun.
Lastly, as the age old adage goes, be yourself 🙂 We’d like to know what you’re passionate about, how you work at your best and what you want from your next job. Feel free to ask as many questions as you like - interviews are a chance for you to get to know us too!
If you’ve enjoyed reading about Kasia's experience at eduMe, why not have a look at our open engineering roles?