Inside ABOUT YOU — Mehrdad Backbone Unit

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. 6: Mehrdad — PHP Developer, ABOUT YOU BABO Unit

Introduce yourself and tell us a little about your team and especially your role at ABOUT YOU.

Mehrad — PHP Developer Backbone Unit

Hello, I’m Mehrdad. I am a part of the ProjectX team, also known as Backbone Unit (BABO Unit). Internally we prefer ProjectX as it sounds cooler. I work as a PHP Developer and joined ABOUT YOU around 7 months ago. Essentially, ProjectX is one of the central tech systems of ABOUT YOU.

The team is responsible for handling and integrating merchants, managing products, stocks, orders, cancellations and shipments. This includes the daily activities of processing getting product and stock information every minute to ensure accurate product availabilities and to process shipment information. The information is then consumed by other teams in the company such as our Desktop, Checkout and Mobile teams, to name just a few. We also have a specialized interface for handling the products called Product Control Interface (PCI), which is used internally to create and edit products for our shop.

Here in the PX team we don’t have concrete and hard defined roles. We all collaborate within our team to ensure the system is running flawlessly, whilst also extending the features and merchants we currently have. The company gives us the freedom and mobility to work efficient in an agile environment within our specifically designed MOVE concept.

What would you say are the most important qualities for someone in your role?

In my opinion, it’s very important to be humble as a software developer and leave your ego behind the door when you come in. I think it is good to understand that someone younger or with less experience than you can come up with a better solution. This is why you should also be open to criticism and new ideas. This will really help you come out of your comfort zone and try new approaches or ideas. Lastly I would say you need to have good communication skills, when being part of the complex ProjectX team. This means you need to be in touch with other teams as our work is codependent on each other.

Can you describe a typical day at ABOUT YOU for us?

My day typically starts at 10am. I read my emails in the morning and check the system logs for any abnormalities. We have a daily standup routine at 10:15am where we review the team’s scrum board and discuss the tickets on the board and their progress and prioritize the tasks for the day. We also discuss any problems we might be having work related or personal. Afterwards we all start to work on the different challenges we were assigned to during the standup. At around 12.30 we usually go for to lunch in groups of 4–5. This break we take to fill up our batteries and take some food from the nice restaurants located near to our office. The day ends when some rest is needed.

What have you done before starting to work here?

Before joining ABOUT YOU I was mostly working in the startup scene in Malaysia. Due to a high demand and usually challenging and fresh ideas, working in startups had been fun, which also necessitated learning new technologies and coming out of your comfort zone.

You came all the way from Malaysia to work at ABOUT YOU. Which obstacles did you have to overcome and how did ABOUT YOU support you with the re-location to Hamburg, Germany?

Moving to a new country and trying to fit your life into a suitcase is always difficult and a big step. There were a few obstacles along my journey here such as obtaining my work permit and all of the necessary paperwork required, finding a place to call home once I reached Hamburg, opening bank accounts, registering in the welcome center to name a few. I can honestly say without the hard work and the support of the ABOUT YOU HR team, this journey would have been impossible. Already before arriving in Germany, I had close contact with the HR team to ensure a smooth transition . I was also supported immensely with finding and renting accommodation.

Why did you choose ABOUT YOU so far away from your home country Iran?

Somehow I feel like I have been a nomad most of my adult life. ;)

Apart from my home country of Iran, now Germany is the third country I call home. Living far and away from your birth place is hard, but has its own merits.

One of my best friends started at ABOUT YOU a year before I joined and he recommended me to the company. After hearing more about the skilled individuals in the team, the challenging work they were doing (e.g. large amount of sensitive data), and tools (free laracasts accounts and choice of IDEs etc.) they were using, I became very interested in joining as well.

Furthermore, ABOUT YOU is still very young and has an extremely high potential of growth and recognition, and the idea of being a small cog in ABOUT YOU’s big machine feels very intriguing for me.

After 6 months with us it’s time for your resume: What do you like most about working at ABOUT YOU?

What I like most about working at ABOUT YOU is that since day 1, everyone has been extremely friendly and nice. As the day starts you are greeted with smiles until it is time to go home. ABOUT YOU puts a lot of trust and confidence in all of its employees and it feels great to work here.

There is also a good balance of work and play here as well. We have team events and company events on a regular basis. Each of the teams have their own internal events like small barbecues and beers on the terrace. Over all ABOUT YOU is a fairly large company with a young and passionate workforce and it’s an honor to be working here.

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