“Creating long-lasting solutions is a very fulfilling part of my job” | Easy LMS Talks

In our interview series, Easy LMS talks, we ask colleagues to talk about their jobs. What makes their work fun and challenging? This time it is Markus’ turn to talk about back-end software engineering.

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Helena
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What makes being a back-end engineer at Easy LMS unique? Markus, who has been with us for several years, breaks down why he loves his role and the personal, cozy feeling of the company. Do you want to know more about the day-to-day tasks of a back-end engineer at Easy LMS? Read on!

Interviewee profile:

Name: Markus
Work experience: 5 years
Current role: team lead, back-end software engineer

What does a typical day look like for you?

“I start quite early, at around eight in the morning. That’s when I’m awake, so why not start working? I make coffee and read my internal messages and emails when I get to work. Around 10 o’clock, we have a stand-up meeting to check in with the team about the status of the ongoing stories. We talk about when they will be ready to test and when we will be able to deploy them to production. Stand-up is important to align everyone and divide the tasks needed to get to a successful release. After this, we get on with our daily tasks of building awesome features.

I work four days a week, so I regularly check any pull requests or code-related changes the team has made to familiarize myself with what has been done. This also helps me to prepare a couple of questions for the team to see if we are on track. That’s part of my job as a team lead. Back-end software engineers work on similar tasks, like developing part of a story. Or you may focus on something new within the story you’re working on.”

Is work as a software engineer at Easy LMS varied?

“I try to set a structure for myself. That way, at least certain parts of the day are the same. Mornings usually involve the same tasks, but I like that; it helps to have a daily rhythm. Nevertheless, working on features or stories always brings up something new. As a back-end software engineer, I deal with many things, especially in a senior role. This gives me opportunities to grow personally. Work for a back-end engineer includes infrastructure and back-end code; we even do some front-end code if necessary. I would say it’s very varied.

The company allows freedom to explore, so your day is really up to you. Exploration is also an option if you want to know something specific and improve in that area.”

Can you talk about some of the challenges and highlights of being a back-end software engineer?

“I want to start with the challenges because highlights don’t exist without challenges. As a back-end software engineer, you mainly focus on things people don’t witness. Clients rarely see what you have made, even when it’s something amazing. This is something that can be very difficult for a back-end software engineer.

On the flip side, my job comes with so many highlights. For example, the product is scaling up, and more users are joining our platform. As a back-end software engineer, you are involved in scaling the product. If you make something, you are also responsible for checking it runs smoothly. If it does, and no issues are found, it’s satisfying to say, “I have built this particular part of the product.” When I first joined Easy LMS, I had to learn the ins and outs of the product and what you can do with it. I wasn’t very involved in infrastructure at that time. Software engineering is split into many areas; I hadn’t worked in most of them back then. Now, however, I have developed a notification system and even a new authentication system. I led the development of both of these features. Work is always a team effort, though. The notification system, in particular, involved lots of input from my colleagues. Creating long-lasting solutions is a very fulfilling part of my job.

Working on features or stories always brings up something new

In summary, visibility can be a tricky part of the job, and front-end software engineers’ work is more evident to the user. We have a broad structure of back-end engineers because our company is pretty small. No single person is responsible for one part of the product. This adds a lot of variety to your work, but the challenge is that you need to know about many things and wear multiple hats."

Which techniques and frameworks do you use? Which is your favorite?

“As a software company, we get to use a lot of web-related frameworks. Most of our projects consist of HTML, CSS, PHP, Javascript, and Typescript. As for frameworks, we use React, Express, Serverless, Node, ESBuild, and many more. One technique we use is a configuration as code which, in our case, is written with the help of Cloudformation. These are all specific choices we made as a team, so it’s hard to pick my favorite. Currently, I’m a big fan of ESBuild. This bundler is a way of compiling your packages into a bundle you can use in your application. ESBuild is specifically for JavaScript/TypeScript-related stuff.”

What are the benefits of being part of an intimate company?

“The benefit of working for a small company is that there are many opportunities to grow. My decision to work at Easy LMS is well-informed; I have previously worked in medium and large companies. I don’t like hierarchy very much. I am a team lead, but my team members are as crucial to the company as me; I just have a slightly different set of tasks.

It’s really beneficial to work in a small company. At Easy LMS, you are given all the freedom in the world to create as you think best. What we think will bring the best results to the client and us is totally on our shoulders. This gives opportunities to be creative and experiment; I think that’s how you learn the most.”

What’s your favorite thing about Easy LMS as a company?

“One of the great things about our company culture is summarized in our slogan, ‘Keep calm and be proud.’ Working in a calm environment where you can make mistakes is good. It’s a blame-free atmosphere, which I love. Things happen, and humans make mistakes. In this area of work, you are not the only one responsible for building something. If a mistake is made, it’s not only your fault.

There’s so much freedom in the company; I can work from wherever I am, and I have the option to think freely. There’s also flexibility; I start at 8:00 and leave at 16:30. Some people might start at 9:30 and leave at 18:00. It’s entirely up to you! Easy LMS is built on a system of employee trust. We need to take that trust and make something out of it.”

Does this sound like a job for you? Hopefully, Markus’ experience has given you a better idea about the day-to-day work of a back-end software engineer. We are looking for a talented colleague to join our team!

Check out our vacancy