Rohith is a Backend Engineer who moved from India to Germany and currently works in Hamburg for our Passenger Tribe. He reflects on his time from day one at FREE NOW and offers tips on how to make the most of a new start in a new city.
Why did you want to join FREE NOW?
Mobility had always been on my bucket list so when a friend who was working at FREE NOW referred me, I jumped at the chance to join FREE NOW!
I always wanted to be part of something bigger, revolutionary. And of course, as a programmer, you always want to be around new technologies and great minds. In addition, FREE NOW had been acquired as part of a joint venture from BMW and Daimler, which reaffirmed that the company would be going from strength to strength.
What has been the most surprising thing about joining FREE NOW?
The colleagues! I am super happy that I am among the FREE NOW family. People are so nice, talented, super motivated and always greet you with a smile. I was also surprised when I heard that there are over 68 nationalities here- it’s kind of crazy that one company can bring people from all over the world together.
What has been your highlight so far?
I can proudly say that I belong to the Passenger tribe ( in my opinion, the best team at FREE NOW) and we work on a customer-facing app, which means our work impacts the experience of millions of users every day. I love working in this tribe, especially as the tasks challenge me so I know that I am improving my Kotlin skills every day. The ‘constantly learning’ mindset was introduced at Onboarding with my new team and continued on from my first few weeks. For example, my first pull request had fifteen comments. I was new to this language, so this showed me that my team was committed to helping me to master Kotlin and would do anything to make sure I got it right. It was hard but the constant support along the way really helped.
What motivates you?
It motivates me that the work that we do on the product today will be seen by our customers the next day. It’s also quite cool to know that your work can improve the user experience of people who use your app on a day to day basis. For example, my wife uses a few apps on her phone and one of them is FREE NOW. Any feature updates on the app can make an impact on her daily life. Again, when friends come to visit from India, they also use the app when they are traveling in Europe. Any enhancements to the app increase how much they enjoy their visit with us.
What do you like the most about working in Hamburg?
The city is beautiful and so green. The city is very international and transportation is really convenient and efficient. My favorite spot is Landungsbrücken: directly next to the Elbphilarmonie and on the harbor, it has such a positive vibe and so much energy. If you get hungry, there are lots of great restaurants in the Portugiesenviertel, where you can try amazing tapas and fresh fish. Another cool thing you can do is to use your HVV card (a public transport card which FREE NOW subsidizes) to hop on the ferry from Landungsbrücken to Fischmarkt and show off the office, which has an enviable panorama view of Hamburg.
What unique skill do you bring to FREE NOW?
As well as being very easy going, I am also a team player. I don’t believe in working as a single man army. Humour is also very important at work: I try to keep the team motivated and entertained with my silly jokes, which hopefully creates a bond throughout the tough times. I am also a fully focused engineer who tries to keep the code standards high.
How have you grown at FREE NOW?
I joined as a Java developer and now I can say that I have mastered Kotlin.
Kotlin is similar to Java: everyone can write it, but it is how you write it that matters. This is important because we are scaling- new people join the team every two weeks so it is really important that what is written is maintainable and clean. How do you know if your code is clean? If you explain the code to a newbie and they don’t understand, the code is most likely not clean or scaleable.
You have been working for FREE NOW for six months: what would you recommend to newbies starting out?
When I relocated to Hamburg from Bamberg (I initially moved from India to Bamberg), I spent a lot of time finding an apartment and getting settled. I would recommend that you prioritize getting settled, as once you start properly programming, you will need to focus.
What is the culture at FREE NOW like for you?
Be nice to everyone. This is one of the values that I bring with my personality.
I also like the way the company is open to adapt to changes. The
All Hands meetings are a good example of how the company regularly presents and reflects on past results and unifies the company on what we want to achieve in the coming months.
What do you hope the future at FREE NOW holds for you?
The future looks bright at FREE NOW: I would like to be a part of all of the good things that are happening in the company. One of my main targets is that I also want to grow professionally by learning and adapting fast to new or existing tech stacks used in FREE NOW.
Considering a move into the mobility sector? We have opportunities available across our offices in Europe- check them out here.