Engineer in focus: Lukasz Chrystowicz

Today we’re spotlighting one of SadaPay’s engineers and recent hires, Lukasz Chrystowicz. We wanted to chat with him about what compelled him to join us, what he feels is unique about our Engineering and what the recruitment process for this department looks like!  

Lukasz works remotely from Poland and initially joined SadaPay as a part-time contractor. We expected it would stay that way given that he had been working for his previous company, Empirica, for 8 years. To our delight, we were the first company during these 8 years who managed to convince him to leave Empirica! By the end of his first year as a contractor with us, he had agreed to join us full-time from Poland and we couldn’t have been happier.

We wanted to chat with him about what compelled him to join us, what he feels is unique about our Engineering and what the recruitment process for this department looks like!

Tell us a little about your position at SadaPay?

I am a Senior Software Developer here at SadaPay. We have separate squads that are responsible for separate domains, and the squad I work in is the Money Squad. This includes handling the functionalities behind consuming and crediting money, as well as communicating with external teams such as Mastercard and Covalent.

What has been your favourite thing about working in the engineering department so far?

A big part of our development process is encouraging us to pair. This allows us to learn from one another and not just develop within our own silos. We’re actually encouraged to do cross-role pairing and participate in multi-squad meetings, so although I’m primarily a backend developer, I have the opportunity to learn from front end developers and dev-ops because I can pair with people who are experts in that field and they can tell me how I can follow the best practices. By giving our engineers space to try multiple processes in our squad, we allow for quicker and more holistic learning.

Another thing that’s great about engineering at SadaPay is the emphasis we put on quality. Instead of releasing a bunch of buggy features every month, we provide a fewer amount of high-quality features per month. By focusing on functionality, ensuring our code is of great quality and having dedicated QA’s for our squads, we make sure we’re focused on quality instead of quantity.

What distinguishes SadaPay’s engineering practises from those of your previous workspaces?

In the past, I’ve had employers keep me within my own specialty and give me tasks relating to my specific area only. Although that’s great in helping me specialize within that area, I feel confined when it comes to my professional growth. As a result of this, the overall learning curve becomes quite slow. At SadaPay, that’s not the case at all. We’re encouraged to explore areas outside of our specialty all the time.

This is also the first company where I’ve seen engineers properly follow the test-driven development (TDD) process. During my time here, I’ve realized how valuable this process is, because your production is a result of your systematic testing. This process is one of the reasons I believe we have great quality code. Because of our excellent implementation of TDD, I can go into any squad, read their tests and understand how their functionality works. The reason other companies aren’t able to use TDD as much is that it’s a tough process to follow, and I’ve noticed other companies (particularly external engineering teams), don’t pay the same amount of attention to quality. This is the first time in my whole career that I’ve seen such focus on testing.

I also find SadaPay’s development process to be extremely unique. Discussing features in detail before implementation and focusing on quantity rather than quality is not common in the engineering space. During my career, I’ve been involved in projects where we would be constantly pumping out new features for users without a lot of research or a lot of emphasis on quality. In the end, we would see people not even using these features which ends up being frustrating and demotivating for the engineers.

How does your manager’s leadership style help you excel at your job?

I have monthly 1:1’s with my manager, Eli Mydlarz, who is also the Head of Engineering here. During these meetings, we don’t just limit our discussions to technical things. We have dedicated meetings on what’s going well in our squad and what can be done better, which I really appreciate. Eli’s feedback is always focused on improvement and he’s very hands-on with us. I truly believe my manager will be instrumental in helping me grow my career.

Who is your best friend in your department?

My best friend in my department would have to be our Senior Product Manager, Jan e Ali Nabi. We have random chit chat during the work week and a similar sense of humour. We’ve even played Call of Duty a couple of times, which has been great!

To someone looking to join the Engineering team, what can they expect?

Quality, quality and more quality. I can’t emphasise that enough. Some suggestions I’d give to future candidates is that for us, it’s not that important that you have extensive prior experience, rather, we want to see excellent quality tests that are safe to deploy. It’s worth looking at your tests and asking yourself: What makes their functionality good? How am I making sure the things I’m producing are of great quality?

You’ve been a part of the recruitment process for engineering. What elements about SadaPay’s engineering recruitment process stand out to you the most?

Becoming a part of our team is really tough. Through all the applicants we get, I’ve only seen about 2% of them pass, which is both good and bad. Good, because it means we’re hiring the best people and bad because it results in a lack of engineers!

The recruiting process is also long with multiple steps and multiple people involved. This makes us confident that we’re hiring the best people in the market.

What else do you think is different about SadaPay?

The Facebook Community we have with SadaPay users is extremely special. Since our product is both currently in production and also being used by real people, I love logging onto the community from time to time and seeing the feedback that people have in real time. It’s particularly helpful during my Product calls to be able to refer back to a post made in the Community about something we need to improve or a feature they really want to see. Thanks to the openness from the Community, I feel like we’re better able to achieve our goals and build our product not just for the user, but with the user.

It’s extremely meaningful to me that we’re building a product that’s changing people’s everyday lives. I live in a country where card payments are everywhere and I’ve seen how people’s financial lives are easier and payments are made simpler. Although it’s challenging having to work remotely, I can’t wait to visit Pakistan sometime soon and I really believe what we’re delivering to the Pakistani market will make a great difference. I’m proud to be a part of this team!