An insight into what makes a great developer and an amazing team

Natalia and Franzi — Engineering Managers at the Guardian share their tech journey with us and why they love working at The Guardian.
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In your eyes what makes a brilliant Software Engineer?

Natalia — Somebody who is always looking to learn, never afraid to make mistakes and always wanting to drive and challenge themselves. They must also be collaborative in the way they approach problems; it’s not always about what they know, a lot comes down to somebodies willingness to learn.

Franzi — They must also care about the product they are building, how it will be used and who will be using it — not just how they build it !

What characteristics do you feel need to be present to have a high performing tech team?

Natalia — There are lots of things that come to mind but there are some that I think of straight away. They must be comrades and have a sense of humour. They must all want to work together and actually enjoy each other’s company. It’s important that the team bonds together and actually takes time to take part in non-work related activities.

Franzi — I agree with everything above but would also add that the team must have shared or compatible goals, and it’s the Engineering Manager’s job to make sure these are aligned. It’s crucial that the team have a good blend of experiences and skill sets to create a cross functional team.

What have been your career highlights ?

Natalia — Having not gone to university, and started my professional life building my own fashion business before transitioning into tech roles further down the line, has given me invaluable skills such as client management, stakeholder management and being able to work closely with a variety of people.

It’s also made it easy for me to be able to motivate and drive my team throughout times of turmoil. Joining The Guardian as a Software Engineer and working up to an Engineering Manager is also something I am very proud of.

Franzi — I’m very proud of the fact that I started my own company, whilst it was a “one person” company it was my chance to become independent and manage my own time and career. I also co-founded a tech meet up in London (QueerCode) and within a very short space of time had managed to find 7 sponsors and was creating events that +200 people were attending and am happy to say is still running today.

What are your favourite things about working at The Guardian?

Natalia — Quite simply the people and specifically the drive that the individuals have to create a community and improve as a department together.

Franzi — I love the fact that I can be myself, I can bring my “whole self” to work and my ideas are embraced. I’m not just invited to the table, I am included and more importantly I am actually asked to change things for the better. Being from an underrepresented group, this is really important to me. Oh, and I also get to work with Natalia.

Thanks to Natalia & Franzi for speaking with us! We will be showcasing more stories from our customers & tech community in the coming months! Watch this space..