Inside ABOUT YOU — Kirill Checkout team
Get to know our growing family. Follow our Inside ABOUT YOU blog series and catch a brief glimpse of the people behind Germany’s most exciting e-commerce project!
Vol. 5: Kirill — PHP Developer, ABOUT YOU Checkout-Team
Introduce yourself and tell us a little about your team and especially your role at ABOUT YOU.
I’m a PHP developer in the Checkout team. Most of the work I do is not directly visible to the customers. My team is in the middle between customers, products, merchants, payments and accounting. We also participate in a bunch of internal projects. All the involved parties should get what they need:
- customers want their goods, emails about order status and refunds,
- payment providers and accounting should be notified about all the payment operations that we’re doing,
- and internal projects should be able to communicate with the Checkout system through sane and clear APIs.
One could think that my work is pretty standard for any backend developer — participating in development and ensuring that features are done according to specifications.
But what makes my work not so standard, is that we’re dealing with real products, real money and lots of different services at high volume. So the responsibility is much higher, and we’re paying a lot of attention to logging, monitoring and fault tolerance (making everything working even when some services fail).
What have you done before your time with us?
I started to learn programming back in school at the age 14 and then I got my masters in computer engineering at the Kyiv Polytechnic Institute.
While still being a student I started to work as a developer and since then worked on a social platform for collaboration on projects, survey system, chess portal, corporate websites and a bunch of other tasks. In some positions I had to communicate directly with stakeholders, collect requirements and present results.
I also participated in a student program there I had the possibility to work as a pool lifeguard in the United States for a few months. It was always my dream to visit the US and that program gave me the chance to do so. This helped me a lot to improve my english, communication skills in general and become more responsible, because as a lifeguard you’re accountable for the most priceless thing — a human life.
What would you say are the most important qualities for someone with your role?
Always be aware of what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. Test your code, write it in a clear and comprehensible manner, because other people will have to work with it too.
Take into account that changes in the code will affect lots of new and already existing orders, so be careful and responsible.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions about the system and of course be ready to share the knowledge, as we have a big project with a lot of requirements and details.
What do you like most about your work as a developer at ABOUT YOU? Can you describe a typical day at ABOUT YOU for us?
If it is a regular day (not beginning or end of a sprint) we have a stand up in the morning, then sometimes we have a small coffee+cookie break with the team, and then we’re just working on our tasks. Our team management is doing a good job to protect us from external interruptions, so we can simply focus on what we need to achieve according to the defined priorities.
The development process itself is also quite standard — in most cases you’re either working on your task or reviewing someone else’s pull request.
The are no terminators or unicorns walking around, earth is not shaking and no magic is involved :D
But of course only uncle Chuck writes code without issues, so sometimes bugs can hit the fan or some systems start misbehaving and then you need to switch to something more urgent.
Why did you choose ABOUT YOU so far away from your home country Ukraine?
Before I started working at ABOUT YOU I already lived and worked in Germany. When I was switching jobs I chose to work here because the company as a project is very interesting and ambitious. There is a serious funding that gives a feeling of security and confidence to the company. The modern office as well as its location in the middle of Hamburg was also quite convincing to me.
When I joined ABOUT YOU I was the first Ukrainian here and nobody was speaking natively Ukrainian or Russian, but this was not an issue, because people are speaking English very well and are very friendly to each other. Also having a free German class really helps with learning the language.
I wrote a big blog post on the Russian-speaking IT website about my move to Germany: https://habrahabr.ru/post/273673/ — it’s in Russian but feel free to read ;)
ABOUT YOU offers a wide range of opportunities like sport groups (soccer, yoga etc.), and further education options like language courses or special events like the code.talks, meetups or hackathons. Are you taking advantages of any of these?
I visited code.talks twice, and each time I learned something new. It’s really nice to be able to visit such a big conference for free , especially when the organizer of the event is the company where you work.
Also thanks to ABOUT YOU I attended PHP/WebTech conference in Munich.
I believe that it’s necessary to learn the language of the country where you’re living, because it’s easier for you to live in that country, and it also shows that you respect it. And having German classes right in the office really helps with that.
I also participated twice in the company’s hackathon as this is a nice opportunity to work on something completely different with the colleagues from other teams.
Gym discount is another perk that I use as it saves me more than 100€ per year.
Is there even a hoard of amusing anecdotes you do not wish to deny?
One of the first things that comes into my mind is participating in a fix of the production MongoDB on Friday night and seeing it being fixed right before peak customer time on Saturday morning.
The next day my teamlead Anna sent flowers to my home which made me freaked out, since at first I didn’t know who sent them. I even asked my wife to be very careful with the bouquet.
If you want to read more about this day, feel free to check the blogpost from Pedro Nogueria about “The day our MongoDB went down”.
It’s time for your resume: What do you like most about working at ABOUT YOU?
In 2,5 years that I’m working at ABOUT YOU it is good to see that the company expanded so much, not just in terms of the people, but in actual results — we’re now available in multiple foreign countries like Switzerland, Belgium and the Netherlands. The company is well known in the whole DACH-Area and you can see results of your job quite fast.
It’s also very interesting to be in an environment with lots of smart and highly educated people from different corners of our planet — like in the Checkout team where I work. This way you’re not just learning new work-related things, but also get to meet lots of interesting people, see new perspectives and expand the knowledge about the world and different cultures.
This also makes it interesting to solve not so trivial tasks that we have in Checkout team from time to time, because you have bright people around with which you can discuss possible solutions.
What is also very important, is that our team is open for improvements and we constantly evolve by applying learnings from the past, adopting things that worked well and finding ways to enhance our workflow and related processes.
Are you interested in joining our Checkout team?