Tell us about yourself..
My name is Ana-Maria, I am a Front-End Developer with almost 4 years of experience and a huge passion for interviewing Software Developers. Besides my tech career, I also have a master degree in Management. During my studies, I learned a lot of stuff about communication and leadership that I apply in my day to day job at Gousto.
How did you get into software development?
This is a nice story. When I was in college I thought I wanted to teach Maths, but my Computer Science teacher was always telling me how good I was at learning code. She convinced me that I can do whatever I want, if I go into Software Development. Here I am now, being a Software Developer because she believed in me. Isn’t it weird how you can achieve anything if someone believes in you?
What do you like best about working for Gousto?
The best thing is being part of a big family who loves working together to understand what people need and give them exactly that. Gousto is about helping you and your family to have the best dinner or lunch, with the least effort. It’s amazing to be able to input my ideas and see our customers, including myself, using the technology to order the best meal kit.
What's something you are passionate about?
I love to discover people’s powers. Back in the days when I was a junior developer at IBM, I was working on a project for a big client. At the beginning, it was just myself and two other colleagues involved, taking part in lots of meetings to understand what we needed to build. Once we did the first part of the project we expanded the team. Every time new tasks came for the area of the project I worked on, I always took those tasks, or if someone else got them, I would explain to them what to do.
Now looking back I know that was bad. My thoughts were, “what if they don’t know what is about?” “what if they will break something there?”. This was until one day, one of my colleagues senior to me, gave me a task for a part of the project he worked on and let me implement it my way. At the end, he told me I had done a great job, and I had improved that part of the code.
This made me think I was wrong the whole time. Nowadays, I constantly try to give everyone a chance to show me what skills they have that I don’t, and I am always surprised at how much I learn. For example, in my current role, I was working with a junior developer. I let her lead our pair programming group several times and she suggested to whiteboard the problem first. That was super helpful for both to agree on the solution, and implement it much faster than usual.
How do you think that can help yourself, or others, to do a better job?
I think the best thing is to be listened to. I’ve got this at Gousto. But there are many companies out there who don’t do this. At Gousto, Software Engineers, no matter what level, are part of choosing what we want to work on, and deciding what is most important for our customers. In many cases, we are customers ourselves. One thing Gousto is doing great, and that is how they actually convinced me to move to London, is transparency.
If you know who you are working for and what the company values the most, then you can do a better job. At Gousto, we value everyone’s opinion.
What advice would you give to someone who is interested in a leadership role?
I would suggest they listen. People need leaders all the time. When you are behaving as a leader, it’s much easier to get a leadership position. It’s true that leadership is not only about listening, but also making the right decision.
I would also always advise someone to smile. This is a technique I’ve learned from one of my teachers and it always works. People listen to you when you are smiling.
If someone asked to be your apprentice, and learn all that you know, what would you teach them?There are so many things but I will start by telling them that the only way to learn and progress is to always ask questions. If you want to make an impact you need to ask people around you what they know. They might know something different from you and that helps you to see the big picture. As a future leader (we all are future leaders) you need to see the full picture in order to make the right decisions.