Andrej Kaňuch: An onboarding checklist enables a smooth kick-off
As of May, Andrej has switched jobs and joined Sudolabs. In a recent conversation, we discussed his impressions after the first few months and took a closer look at the onboarding process. Known for being the adventurous type we could not leave out a few questions about his lifestyle.
1. 11. 2022
How did you end up working at Sudolabs?
Actually, by accident. Žaneta from the HR department reached out to me via LinkedIn regarding a software engineer job offer. A few messages later, I was invited for an intro interview, followed by an interview in the technical round, and then the final interview. Also, I kind of wanted a change and remote job so the offer landed at the right moment.
How long have you been programming for?
It's difficult to say, I knew some basics before I started university, but I wasn't sure what kind of career I wanted. But I guess the last year at university became a turning point, so it’s been about 4 years. My degree was in business informatics, but it has little to do with the programming I do these days. Shoutout to my former roommate Marek from the dormitory who showed me learn2code.
What was Sudolabs in your head before your started? How would you describe the company and culture from what you heard / saw?
It seemed crazy good. From some of the articles on Refresher, I saw it as some kind of startup where young, smart people are united. Then I skimmed the website a bit and it truly looked like a cool company that develops products that I can imagine myself working on.
For how long have you been part of Sudolabs?
Since May, so only about 6 months.
Can you still remember your first day?
Yeah, sure. As far as the first day goes, it was pretty great. Initially, I was introduced to Sudolabs as a whole company. Later on Jozef (CEO) and Pavol (CTO) were able to introduce us to Sudolabs in the form of a welcome presentation. During this call, he explained to us the history of Sudolabs and development over the years, what direction Sudolabs is headed, what values they are upholding, what they do, and who their primary customers are.
In the course of my conversation with Richard (engineering manager) following the meeting, I gained a greater understanding of some of the internal processes within the company. Afterward, I received a document (it was kind of a checklist) that outlined the onboarding process. As a new team member, I found the document to be very useful since it contained all the information which I would need as a newcomer.
So what does such an onboarding checklist include?
From the basic information, through engineering information, in what style projects are created, to time tracking information, there are several sections in that document. In essence, it was a more comprehensive document that helped me gain a better understanding of what is going on in the company. Not gonna lie, it took a lot of reading, but it wasn't unimportant and the fact that I am still able to access the document is also a plus for me. It often happened that rather than asking someone for the answer, I looked back at the document and found it for myself. The onboarding checklist is simply a must for smooth kick-off.
In general, do you think we take onboarding in a slow manner, or do we deep dive right into coding?
I would say in a very slow and relaxed manner, or at least I didn't feel pressured or anything. At first, I got to know the company's projects and gradually (I think it took about a week) I was assigned to a project — The Expert. I received a detailed description of the project, what technologies are being used, and a general idea of what to expect.
Up until then, I worked on onboarding, absorbed information, and learned more about the technologies used in the project I will be working on. At least some level of familiarity with the tech stack was important to me.
The Expert is our biggest project and I can imagine it can be overwhelming to jump right in as a newcomer. Was it difficult?
The fact that I began as a junior and had never worked with some technologies made it a bit difficult. I encountered some of them for the very first time. But there was one more challenge I had to hop on as a front-end dev only. The idea behind the Expert project is that a person is not only working on a front-end, but also a back-end. It was basically a hands-on learning process for me. However, thanks to having the learning days and the team by my side at all times, the onboarding becomes easier.
Throughout the entire onboarding process, were there any unclear tasks/areas you had to overcome?
There were definitely some unclear things (about tech stuff), but that was only because I didn't have the necessary knowledge. In either case, there was always someone who could answer my questions, whether it was another dev or a tech lead.
Before starting at Sudolabs you had an intro interview — we talked about the company culture, knowledge sharing, career growth, learning days, workation, and so on. After being part of it for a couple of months, did we deliver on your expectations?
Delivered beyond expectations. I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to work at Sudolabs. The team is great, and so are the people. The colleagues that I work with are already good friends of mine, with whom I hope to spend more time in the future.
The atmosphere is just cool, with no corporate or impersonal interactions. Retreat or workation — if you ask me, these are exceptionally fun things to do. Because we are spread across Slovakia, you can meet colleagues you might not otherwise encounter. Everything is top-notch, whether it's the culture or the benefits.
Regarding workation, what's it like living with your colleagues?
It’s fantastic, I love it. As some of us work remotely, we do not have the chance to get to know each other well. It was great to have the opportunity to spend a couple of weeks with my team.
Having mentioned learning days earlier, could you tell us what are you currently focusing on?
Well, because I still have a few gaps or lack enough knowledge to make 100% use of the technologies we use, I spend most of my learning days devoted to this. Learning helps me improve in everything I do on a daily basis. So right now it’s some back-end stuff, typescript, databases and end-to-end testing. Prior to Sudolabs I haven't had any experience with end-to-end tests, not even with databases.
How does it work with learning materials; do you get them from Sudolabs or do you look for them by yourself?
Sudolabs offers a wide variety of courses to choose from — so that’s often my choice. In case I like to try something different, usually, there is no problem and the company covers that too.
Taking a look at your lifestyle, it is pretty obvious that you love adventures and traveling. Do you find it possible to catch up with this lifestyle while working at Sudolabs?
Absolutely! Every process has been set up for remote people to make it possible for us to work from wherever we want. Physical presence at the office is also not required at all, that’s something many of us appreciate at a high level.
Do you have any tips and tricks on how to stay focused on work while traveling? Isn't it too tempting to be in some exotic country and work at the same time?
Headphones with noise canceling. Oh, and 3 liters of coffee.
During the course of your travels, what does your work schedule look like?
Whenever possible, I try to get up earlier and start working right away. In this way, I am able to enjoy some exploring in the afternoon. To maximize my productivity, my phone is usually tucked away in a drawer, so I can focus fully on my work.
Although it was quite challenging to keep up with these habits during workation. In Lanzarote, the sun rose just at 7.30 am — I mean, there is nothing worse than waking up in the middle of the night, is there?
Talking about traveling, what is your best memory?
Bivouacking in Slovak mountains. As it was wintertime, there were no people around, only silence and a mesmerizing night sky. Although it was -8 degrees Celsius, there are hardly any words to describe how amazing the entire experience was.
If there was one thing you had to choose to be the best about Sudolabs, what would it be?
The possibility of working remotely, and the people of course.
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