Four Years of Freedom. An Interview with our Backend Developer, Karol Karpinski
At Naturaily, employees who have been with us for more than 3 years constitute 40% of the whole crew! One of them is Karol Karpinski, on board for 4 years.
Karol is our Backend Developer. He deals with databases, application scaling and performance optimization, as well as creating code that optimally processes data. After work, he enjoys long bike rides, hiking in the mountains and sleeping in a tent in the middle of nowhere.
Karol started working at Naturaily in October 2017, and we asked him about his impressions so far. Enjoy your reading!
Karol, it’s been four years since you joined Naturaily. That’s a lot of time. Why haven’t you changed jobs at all?
Mainly because I feel great here and I have very good working conditions. I like people with whom I can talk about literally everything. I feel a lot of freedom here and, above all, respect for other perspectives. No embarrassment or awkwardness. At work we talk as if we were after work. I have the impression that here we can talk without any fear on topics that in other companies are simply not discussed.
Additionally, I have good earnings or subsidies for training. Out of curiosity I observe job offers in other companies and I know that at this stage I will not find similar conditions, so I do not feel the need to change. But apart from finances – the atmosphere of good camaraderie is of great importance to me, and it has suited me very well since the beginning.
What do you remember from your early days? What were your first weeks working at Naturaily like?
I remember I was very glad, because I came to Naturaily without much programming experience. It’s very rare that software houses choose to take on people like me and train them to develop further.
I got into a commercial project almost right away and that was pivotal. Admittedly, I felt like I was thrown into the deep end, but thanks to that I had the opportunity to learn from the basics. The first six months were very intense – there was a bit of stress, but I received full support from more experienced colleagues. Over time, I gradually gained more freedom and independence.
It wasn’t easy, but from today’s perspective, I think it just made me learn faster – both specific skills and taking responsibility for the project on myself.
It’s good you mentioned projects and development. How do you see these areas?
So far I’ve been involved in engaging, interesting projects. For example, I had the opportunity to develop in the Internet of Things field when we worked with a software provider for electricity grid operators. LV Cloud is now used by several companies in this sector, and for instance one of them delivers electricity to 8 million people every day. Thanks to our team’s work, companies are able to quickly locate faults or threats.
It’s not that I’m free to choose a project, but there’s always room for dialogue. It is important that in a project I am never left alone with the problem – I can rely on experienced people around me who have already faced similar problems a hundred times.
How has Naturaily changed in these 4 years? Do you recall any event or highlight in particular?
The pandemic hit was an important moment. I liked that we made a very smooth transition to remote-first mode. A lot of us were already working remotely, but now it’s just a natural fit for us.
You want to work from home – you work from home. You want to work in Madeira – you work in Madeira. You want to work from the office – you work from the office. There are no shifts, no schedules, no booking of desks in advance. And if there is a need to talk about something face to face, we just make an appointment.
There were certainly a little less of us on board as well. People come and go, but those who remain are those who are comfortable with openness, honesty, looseness, collaboration. And gradually, in a thoughtful way, we grow. Above all, we are a group of good friends who enjoy spending time together, also outside work. Personally, I am lucky to be able to work every day with my childhood friend, whom I also appreciate very much as an IT specialist. Just like the whole Naturaily team who are my good friends, too.
Curiosity makes me ask you: why did you become a developer?
Well, I knew from the age of six that I wanted to be a developer and dedicate my life to it. Nah, I’m kidding. There’s usually a lot of coincidence in these stories. After graduating in food technology, I worked in a lab for a while. I quickly realized it wasn’t satisfying, and since I like solving problems the most, I became interested in the IT industry.
What would you tell someone who is thinking about joining Naturaily?
To think about it seriously. If you like a relaxed, non-stressful atmosphere and prefer to work in small teams, this is the place for you.
Big corporations or outsourcing companies often boast that with them every employee has an impact on a project. In my opinion, this is not true. How can you feel you have influence when there are a dozen or so people involved in the project and a lot of organizational bureaucracy waiting around? There are probably people who feel comfortable in such a place, but I’m not one of them. At Naturaily, no one is a cog in a big machine – we make decisions quickly, a lot depends on us, and we have a real impact on products. I assume It sounds a bit sugary now, and I won’t swear blind I will spend another 4 years here, but who knows?