Life at Ataccama
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Life at Ataccama

Life of a Software Engineer: Zdenek

It goes without saying, but our daily lives would be massively different without software engineers. Chances are you know someone with this title, or maybe it even describes what you do in your working hours every day. With an entire world of possibilities open to talented software engineers, how do you choose the best (and most rewarding) direction to apply your valuable skills?

As Ataccama continues to grow and evolve we’re asking ourselves the same questions. We had a chance to talk with Zdenek Obst, a software engineer and manager at Ataccama, about his work with us and glean some insights into how we know when we’ve met a dream colleague.

How did you get started at Ataccama?

I started here last spring because I knew Roman Pichlik through a podcast that’s well-known in the Czech Republic within technical circles. We were talking and at the time I was looking for a job. Even though I had one foot in a completely different company, I ended up joining Ataccama.

Roman working here was obviously a reason I wanted to join. But I also read an interview from Ataccama about product vision and I wanted to switch from a project company to a product company. I’ve worked in a product company before, and generally for engineering I think it’s more pleasant to work on a product because there’s more long-term thinking rather than just delivering a project and then being done with it.

What’s an average day like for a Software Engineer at Ataccama?

Our teams usually don’t have many meetings so for most of the day there’s this working flow where we can focus on engineering, like implementing new features, fixing bugs, or whatever is needed. The flow became even more protected after our SpaceUP reorganization that Ataccama went through recently, as the core idea of Missions is mainly built around a focused goal without distractions.

We started using Huddle in Slack which is an ongoing voice call that’s pretty similar to Discord, and you feel like you’re sitting in the office with your team. Everyone is muted and when you want to talk you just say something and get an answer. The discussions are half work-related, and half non-work stuff. It’s great for team building and we can joke around and feel connected.

How is leading a team remotely?

I was leading remote teams even a few years before the pandemic started, so for me not much changed. Usually the problem is that people are working more rather than less at home, so you have to make sure you help them keep a reasonable work-life balance.

It was actually one of the reasons I joined Ataccama, because not all companies allow remote work, even during the pandemic. An important difference between working together in person and remotely is of course communication, not only spoken but written. So it really changed how I see people and what’s really needed to work in this environment.

From the team’s perspective, one difference is I’m not seeing them as much as I’d like, and I’m not doing as much engineering as I want to. I still really enjoy the technical side of things. But on the other hand, this has helped me see what’s most important to get done.

What are some of the biggest challenges for software engineers at Ataccama?

“The company culture is one of the most welcoming that I’ve seen. I’ve worked in similar places but this one is really unique.”

It can’t be generalized and it depends on the Spaceport– which is like a smaller department. But for us, onboarding can be hard. It’s time consuming and sometimes it’s tough to absorb all the information, but once you get over this it gets a lot better.

And if you get into the rhythm of working with a team remotely, it’s great. The company culture is one of the most welcoming that I’ve seen. I’ve worked in similar places but this one is really unique. From this perspective it’s pretty easy to get used to working here.

From the technical perspective, learning everything is a challenge because you need someone to explain it to you and in some areas there’s not much documentation to help you but it’s improving slowly.

How is your team organized?

Originally, we were a small team of about five software engineers. But it changed after the SpaceUP reorganization in some ways. In our Spaceport, we try to achieve a balance between supportive and new-stuff work. So, for example, for the first few weeks I was leading the Ground Crew (supportive team) of 3–4 software engineers and now I’m developing the core of a new product in a 8-week Mission with 3 other engineers. I appreciate the possibility to switch from mostly managerial work to a fully technical one.

In Ataccama and as well as our Spaceport, we are now slowly changing to combining the engineering approach, meaning that all the technical people are software engineers with the idea of the ownership of things from quality to operations. Of course there are some people who are more into the backend and people who are more into frontend, quality or operations. But we’re generally trying to build empowered Spaceports that are able to do all of it from the beginning to the end. Not only on the engineering level but also with UX designers, product managers, documentation that are part of each Spaceport as well.

Who would enjoy working as a software engineer at Ataccama?

The best part of working here is the people. Everyone is open minded and wants to help you. So I’d recommend this role to anyone who values not only the technical side of things, which is important, but also the team and the people they work with.

How was the hiring process?

We had a regular interview, then brought in all members of the former team. The last interview was with the whole team. For me, it’s really important to work with good people. It was helpful to see who I’d be working with before joining. It’s not common in interviews to meet the whole team and then talk with everyone individually, and have the chance for everyone to ask each other questions. But that has to change after reorganization as the Spaceports are just bigger than former teams and you don’t want to speak with 30 people in one call.

Did your expectations match actually working here? Any surprises?

I would say my expectations were met. On the one hand, there were some unpleasant surprises, like one key member leaving after I joined, and going through the technical onboarding. On the other, in some ways it was even better than I expected, especially the welcoming culture and the people here.

What do you do for challenging fun outside of work?

The most challenging thing is having kids, especially during the pandemic. I’ve also played football for about 25 years. I stopped playing “regular” football and started playing the “small” version, because after the age of 30 you get injured more easily, and this version isn’t as intense. I also love board games, fantasy and stuff but that is quite common for IT people. :-)

Do you do anything in the software community outside of work?

For six or seven years I was one of the core organizers of BarCamp, which is a multi-genre conference with growth IT and other topics. But the pandemic has really slowed things down and we haven’t been able to do it for two years now.

I also used to organize meetups and was quite active but during the pandemic it nearly stopped. I hope it will start again soon.

What positions are your team hiring for?

Mainly technical software engineers, which from a technological point of view can be anything on JVM, if it’s Java, Kotlin, or even the front end, stuff like React or JavaScript and TypeScript and so on. Anything that’s commonly used for development.

Who’s your ideal candidate?

Even though technical competencies are important, good communication usually makes a difference. I’d like to hire someone who’s friendly and can communicate and is open to trying different technologies if needed. From a technology point of view, it doesn’t matter if it’s Java, Kotlin, TypeScript or something else. We’re mostly looking for someone we would enjoy working with every day.

Does Zdenek’s team sound like a perfect match for you? Want to take on #ChallengingFun every day with enthusiastic and like-minded colleagues?

You’re in luck–he’s hiring! Take a look at all of our open positions over on our job portal and see where you could fit into the Ataccama team.




We are a growing, international software company developing an AI-powered platform to help our customers process, manage, and monitor (big) data. We like #ChallengingFun. Do you?

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Content writer at Ataccama.

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