We have conducted a few interviews with our .NET developers to introduce you to our company culture, ongoing projects, and get the feeling of being the part of inspiring Amsterdam Standard team.
Currently, we have several ongoing projects using .NET technology with expanding teams and multiple projects are awaiting their specialists to get the ball rolling. Our first interviewer, Kamil, is currently working for 2 projects - Zanders (3 days/week) and ShirtbyHand (2 days/week). Previously, he was busy with Equistor and GoPhoto projects. For GoPhoto he has developed two modules: service for printing photos and app for managing cameras from a tablet. Presently, he sometimes supports these projects by adding small changes to existing modules when needed.
For both present projects, Kamil started as an only developer in a small team of two, partnering with a Project Manager. In 2 years, the team for ShirtbyHand has grown to 5 specialists: 2 backend developers, 2 front-end developers, and a project manager. And there is a chance that the team will extend further.
ShirtbyHand makes personal shirts for everyone who values style, convenience, and quality. Their webshop is available in several countries such as the Netherlands, Scotland, Portugal, Ireland, United Arab Emirates, Germany, and Sweden.
The first task for the Amsterdam Standard team was just to maintain an existing project of a web-shop. Then a decision was made to create a new system from scratch in one of modern Content Management Systems. The project is still in process. The team is finishing the implementation of minor features and moving the system for most of the countries to the new version. And they are getting ready for their biggest challenge - migration of Dutch customer database and order list from the old version to the new one.
The team for Zanders in March this year grew to 3 specialists, one more .NET developer - Marek has joined the team. Sometimes the team also uses the help of our in-house front-end developers. Kamil is a team leader for this project.
Zanders is the partner of choice in treasury, risk, and finance.
Kamil and his team are building the website for Zanders’ customers. Their assignment is to enable the execution of some complex calculations such as prediction for the loan and deposit interest rates right on the website. Customers are able to calculate data online instead of excel using templates practiced before by the Zanders’ team for different calculations. The project is already far in the process. The website is deployed and available for customers’ use. Currently, Kamil’s team is working on several elements such as combining multiple technologies and migrating backend parts to the client's API.
Regarding technologies, Kamil said that his team is not different from other .Net developers, so they use .NetFramework and .NetCore technologies for backend modules. Vue.js and jQuery are used on front-end parts.
“On my projects, I use several types of databases like MSSQL, MySQL, PostgreSQL, and Redis. Other interesting technologies which we use are Azure Cloud and TeamCity’,- added Kamil.
For both projects, our teams are working using Agile principles, which wasn’t common for the clients’ side. On the question: was it hard to implement it to the working process? - Kamil replied:” For both companies, we work as stand-alone teams and don't have to interact with other developers. At the beginning of the projects, we shared our work perspective with clients, and they adapted to it. It was easy, as we mostly interact with one person - Product Owner on the clients' side”.
Talking about Kamil, our main question to him was: “Isn’t it difficult to work on 2 projects at the same time?”. On that, he replied: “Yes, I think it’s more difficult than work just on one project, as you need to fully switch the context there and back, and it may slightly influence the efficiency of your work. But, at the same time, it’s more interesting and exciting. You never stuck on doing monotonic work and you are learning more. You get better not just in development skills, but also in time-management and prioritizing tasks”.
- So, you have mentioned that you have learned a lot in Amsterdam Standard, can you specify it?
- There is a good sentence that you can see what progress you made by looking at your old code and seeing changes which you would like to make. And that's true, I'm glad I have the same when I look back to my code from the first month of working for these projects. It means I made progress. Also, I’ve developed as a person. Business trips and meetings with international people taught me how to look at our life from different perspectives and how to be a better person.
During 4 years of work in Amsterdam Standard, Kamil traveled 7 times to Amsterdam. One of these trips was for Zanders and two of them for ShirtbyHand.
“Actually, the last business trip was for both of them”,- added he.
Kamil says that he is happy that he doesn’t need to fly over to clients often, as on-line communication works very good for them. For both projects, they have weekly planning and two dev-calls per week.
Do you feel like a part of their team?
- For sure. It is a great feeling when you see that something that you build or just participate in grows and creates value for other people.
Also, I’m very happy to be a part of the Amsterdam Standard team. It is good to have people in the office who you can rely on. Sometimes it is necessary to take a 5 minutes break to refresh your mind and chill-out with your peers. I'm happy that we have this atmosphere in our office, as I don't want to be like many other people who wake up every morning and think: "that will be the next horrible day at my work".
- I have heard that before you were working for a corporation. Why have you switched for Amsterdam Standard and what is the main difference in the way of work?
- Yes, that’s correct. It was time for me to change as there were more discussions than actual work. I have resigned from there and through the friend got to know about an open .NET developer position in Amsterdam Standard. The biggest difference, in my opinion, is the lack of unnecessary management levels and respectively more flexibility in making decisions, using technologies to work with, direct contact with clients, and creating an actual difference!
Another attractive thing for me was that I could participate in creating a new company. When I started we were just with 3 people in the Rzeszow office and now our staff grew to almost 20. And we have space and projects to expand further so we are happy to welcome new colleagues!
The next .NET developer we have talked with is Maciek. He is a part of Amsterdam Standard team for more than a year and all this time he is working for the project he was originally hired for - FOYS.
The selection process went very easy for him. Maciek applied to an open .Net position and was invited to the interview. In one day, he had screening and technical interviews for the above-mentioned position and project and in two days he got a reply that he is hired! That how the work on the project has started.
In the beginning, the team for the FOYS project consisted of 4 specialists: Maciek for the backend development, 1 iOS, 1 Android developer and a Project manager. Since two months ago 2 more backend developers have joined the team.
FOYS is an integrated membership information system for federations and clubs. All relevant information is distributed through simple web-based software to mobile applications.
FOYS had a base for the system which was purchased from the third-party company, so the Amsterdam Standard team has picked up the project from that point. The system is already available for the clients’ use. Currently, the team is working on adjusting it even more to the users’ needs and making it possible to synchronize with former systems used by clients. They are planning to migrate to ASP.NET CORE within the next few months. The technologies used for this project are ASP.NET MVC 5 framework (C# 7)and Entity Framework 6. Everything in the FOYS project is hosted on the Azure Platform.
Maciek finds it interesting to work on this project as it’s a real-life one, so he can focus more on the system being functional and user-friendly instead of understanding abstract, complicated product logic like, for example, in some banking systems. One of the biggest advantages of working on this project for Maciek is direct contact with the client. The same thing is one of the main challenges to work on it. This challenge is mostly related to the terminology. It took time to settle the vocabulary which everyone in the project will use and interpret correctly. Another challenge for Maciek was to board a new member of the team. It was his first experience of introducing a new member to the project and showing what and how is already done and what still needs to be done.
And, as we all know, the learning curve always goes through the challenges.
“You learn something valuable from all of the significant events and people, but you never touch your true potential until you challenge yourself to go beyond imposed limitations.”
― Roy T. Bennett
Maciek mentioned that during this project he has improved not just his code skills, but also communication skills. He gained experience in problem-solving, finding solutions, making planning, prioritizing his work to not to block the process for other developers, and meeting clients’ expectations. One more important skill he obtained is the administration skill: keeping the servers up and running and optimizing them.
Maciek is very happy to work on this project. He said that he certainly feels like the part of the FOYS team and treats the digital product as his own. He hasn’t met with the client face-to-face yet, but they are holding daily communication and once a week the team has a planning call. He finds this way of communication comfortable and efficient.
Besides being satisfied with the project Maciek is delighted to be part of Amsterdam Standard team or Amsterdam Standard family, as he named it. One of the qualities he noticed and found important is that for hiring new employees management takes into account not just their coding skills, but also communication skills and eagerness to develop.
Maciek continues: “The company gives a lot of benefits: the office itself, pizza Fridays, fruits and snacks in the office, and the office dog! There are no strict rules and procedures, but everything at the same time is regulated in the best way possible! And one of the most important things for me is that our bosses treat us as their friends. I recommend to everybody who would like to experience it to join Amsterdam Standard”!