Meet the Team: Software Engineer Viktória Markovičová
By Petra Trubinska
Viktória is a member of our Engagement Engineering team, and has been with Bloomreach for three years now. We spent some time chatting with her about her experience with the company to give prospective candidates a chance to better understand what it’s like to be a part of our engineering team.
When and how did you realize that you would like to work in tech/engineering?
It was the second to last year of high school. I had to choose two subjects (other than the mandatory Slovak and English languages) that I would like to focus on and take the final exams for. My first choice was math, as it was one of my favorite subjects and I have always been pretty good at it, if I may say so myself. The second subject was a bit more of a question for me as there were two subjects that went well with math - economics or IT. I chose IT because I was interested in new technologies and wanted to go into a field where I could use my problem solving skills and creativity. And I’d also heard the salary wasn’t bad (don’t judge me, I was 17).
Why did you decide to become a back-end software engineer specifically?
I started out as a tester, but switched to a back-end software engineer soon after. The first development team I was a part of took care of the application as a whole, working on features that affected multiple teams. After a while, my team was dissolved, with its responsibilities split between the other existing teams. I was able to choose a different team to become a part of and decided to go for the Campaign team, because it develops features that have more visibility (for example SMS & emails sent) than the features developed by other teams (such as Platform or Data pipeline) whose work is more hidden in the background.
How did you find out about Bloomreach?
I actually started at Exponea, a company that was acquired by Bloomreach a year ago. I heard about it from multiple of my friends who were working there and they spoke very enthusiastically about it. Also, Exponea was often present at job fairs organized at the university I studied at and it had the most exciting booths.
Walk us through a day in the life of a Software Engineer at Bloomreach.
My team focuses on automated marketing campaigns (such as emails and SMS) sent through our Engagement pillar. It’s difficult to describe a typical day as it strongly depends on the phase of the development cycle we are in. A development cycle is a six week period of time divided into: a specification week, four development weeks and a cool down week. During the specification week, we cooperate with the product team on finalizing a specification for features we want to develop within that cycle, and prepare a technical breakdown of the tasks. The development weeks are, as the name suggests, dedicated to development. This entails developing the feature, either by yourself or with other teammates, doing code reviews and testing the feature together with our QA team. The cooldown week is the time to slow down a bit and breathe before the next cycle. During this time, we focus on personal development and maintenance of our codebase. We also use these weeks for our holidays, it's not easy to leave for holidays in the middle of the development cycle.
What education/experience does a person need to become a Software Engineer?
An IT university education is definitely a big plus, but I wouldn’t say it’s a dealbreaker. An ability to continuously learn and adapt to changes is the most important skill, as the technology evolves incredibly fast and what was considered the best practice yesterday may not be one tomorrow. I'd say it can be easy for math or physics students to learn the principles quickly, too. If you don't have an education focused on IT or a related field, I'd suggest at least taking an engineering course to find out whether you'd like the job at all (you can find many for example on Udemy or O'Reilly).
What is the most rewarding part of your role?
The most rewarding part of the role is seeing that the features I have worked on bring value to our customers and help them make an impact. Often when I receive some marketing communication (such as an email) from companies, I pause to think whether they are our client and if I have helped them deliver it.
What do you consider the most challenging part of your role?
The most challenging part about the job is finding the right balance between bringing new features to our customers and ensuring technical maintenance of our codebase. A company's business needs are not always in alignment with the state of the technology. Our engineering team cooperates closely with the product team to ensure balance between these two elements so that everyone is happy.
What is your favorite part of the work you do in Bloomreach?
Even though my job is never boring, developing new features is the most fun for me. It’s very satisfying when all the hard work comes together and everything works the way it is supposed to. Also, what I really like about Bloomreach is that we provide space to learn and flourish to young talents. For example, my second unofficial role is being a team lead of the campaign team of six engineers and I love that I was given an opportunity to do this even at my young age.
What's the first thing that comes to your mind when I say “the funniest story involving your team”?
During the pandemic, we started holding regular Zoom beers every two weeks as a form of team building. We usually play some online games that are very easy to learn in under five minutes as the pool of attendants often changes. Some of our favorites include Drawful, Skribble, Gartic Phone, Carcassonne, and Code Names. There’s always a lot of laughs and fun vibes.
In three words, how would you describe the culture at Bloomreach?
Free, friendly, and fun. The words even start with the same letter, what a coincidence!
We used to have a motto that said “responsible freedom”. That is, in my opinion, still applicable to working in Bloomreach. It means that if you deliver the work on time and of high quality, it doesn't matter when and how you work on it. Flexible work time is what “free” means to me. We don't have many strict rules, so you can work as creatively as you please. Our work is a lot about people. Bloomreachers are friendly and always ready to help — no matter what job titles they have. For me, fun means working on something I really like with people I like working with.
How do you learn new things applicable to your role? (within the team, outside work)
There are many ways in which I extend my knowledge. The ones I use most frequently are books on coding languages or various principles, and online courses that can be found on educational platforms such as Udemy or O’Reilly. We have an education budget at Bloomreach which is a great opportunity for personal development in both hard and soft skills. I also learn a lot from my teammates everyday and we often have knowledge sharing sessions, where someone from the team shares their knowledge about an area they had looked into.
Outside of Bloomreach, what are you passionate about?
I love to travel and have visited many European countries such as France, Germany, Italy, Sweden, or Denmark. I'd also really love to see Australia and Japan. It’s interesting to discover new places and see what each country has to offer. I often use extended weekends for traveling as 3-4 four days is the ideal amount of time to explore a bigger city. The DisConnect Days we have at Bloomreach (Friday off four times a year) are a great opportunity for this.