Today, we decided to call another colleague to help us by showing you the other side of our platform: the back side of things. Welcome to the Back end world!
First of all: what is Back end?
The Back end is the part of the website or app that the user doesn’t see but that allows them to access the program they desire. While the front end is the interface you are seeing at the moment, the back end is responsible for allowing you to navigate through our website and actually get to read this blog post!
Why is a back end developer important in our team?
A back end developer’s work is of high importance. According to Coursera, they are the ones responsible for a variety of things:
1. Writing code and adjusting it to make the website faster and more efficient;
2. Using several tools and frameworks that will allow the website to be as user-friendly as possible (we will cover these technologies below);
3. Fixing and making changes, when needed, to a specific software program;
4. Performing QA tests (quality assurance) to make sure the user’s experience is as best as possible;
5. Fixing the bugs and solving any issues that appear, and articulating with the other teams.
Now that you have been introduced to the Back end, let’s dive into the experience of someone that has been working at Advertio for almost two years. We present you João Cabral, our mid-back end developer!
How is the average day here at Advertio?
According to João, first, he checks his e-mail and the tasks he has to fulfil on Jira. In his particular case, he checks the progress on his current tasks as well as the time estimate and scheduling of everything he’s doing during the day.
Just like the rest of the team members, he checks any bugs or tickets (a request to solve an issue or get information, from another advertio team or from a client) that might have been opened overnight and, if something urgent appears throughout the day, he also addresses it.
Besides that, he focuses on other tasks that were assigned to him by the product team and the management team at the company and participates in some meetings, namely the Back end team daily stand-up. Just like in the Front end Team’s case, this is the moment where the developers talk about their tasks’ status: understanding if there are any inconveniences, if anything is blocking them from performing their tasks and if someone needs help.
How is the team organised?
On the programmer’s side there are two main functions: the first one is to work on new features for the app — since Advertio is a single app company, the team works on the same app and tries to improve it and build on it. The other part is more focused on maintenance, bug fixing, and handling tickets.
The team is composed of six people. António Maltsev, the tech lead, handles backend work but also collaborates and makes the connection between the other teams, like front end and support.
Then there’s João himself, the mid-developer. Hierarchy speaking, he has the most responsibility out of the rest of his colleagues: since he has the most access to the infrastructure of Advertio, he can solve more problems, investigate and see information that other people can’t. Also, together with Maltsev, he is in charge of some of the recruitment parts of the company, such as handling and preparing job interviews for the back end team. In addition, you have the rest of the team — Dorothy, Puppe, Paulo, and Pierre, who are also developers and they program and do other daily tasks. There is also Nesbitt, theCTO, who oversees the tech team.
What technologies do you use?
There are three main technologies that the back end team uses: Python, a programming language, Django, a framework used mostly for database interaction and database handling; and GraphQL, used as a bridge between the front end and the back end.
What are your biggest challenges?
The biggest challenge João highlights is having the ability to adapt and learn specifically when there is a great amount of code already written.
Advertio is a five-year-old app company so navigating through all the code, and learning the specifics takes a long time and experience. Since there are a lot of names and specific things that you need to be aware of — and it’s very easy to forget what some stuff actually means — João gives you some advice: make sure you write down everything!
However, no need to panic: the back end team is very happy to help and they understand that it takes some time to get used to it.
Which characteristics does a back end developer need to have to work at Advertio?
João mentions adaptability, organisation, and being a communicative and nice person.
Regarding the first one, he stresses the importance for a back-ender to be able to adapt to new situations and be a very dynamic person in the way they see things because they will be handling a lot of different subjects and will have to handle them in very different ways.
Keeping up with the times is also a crucial characteristic: the developer has to be able to want to invest in better and easier ways to work, so it’s important to know what’s happening in this field, especially when it comes to adapting to the new technology — which, as we all know, is constantly evolving!
Also, João points out the ability to learn from the mistakes related to being organised, namely when you are trying to document everything: “If I make a mistake and someone tells me “this is the correct way to do it”, I’m gonna make sure I write that down and keep it somewhere so in the future if I see a similar thing, I know how to do it.”
Why do you like to work at Advertio?
Working asynchronously, remotely, the benefits, compensation, and the (nice) people are the main factors João points out as very relevant to enjoy working at Advertio.
In a more detailed way, he feels the personal life-work balance is pretty good. There are always some meetings to attend because people work in a team, but most of the time it’s possible to do your own time management. For example, you can choose to go to the doctor in the middle of the day and work at night.
When it comes to the place to work, Advertio is a remote company (even though we have two offices in Portugal) so João is one of the majority that works in a place of his choice — in his case, from home.
Working remotely and asynchronously, he told us, allows him to have more flexibility to fit other activities into his day and also to have extra free time for himself.
“I don’t really have to think of my life as work and then non-work. (…) There’s no after work: there’s the time that you are working and the time you are not working.”
But does everything go smoothly working this way? Yes, it does! In almost two years at the company, João told us no one has ever bothered him about work hours or schedule and that the people and operations run in a great way: “I think everybody works really well and usually is very motivated most of the time and I think that’s a testament of how well the schedule, meetings and workflow work together at our company. It’s a big big plus.”
Are you a Back end developer and would you like a new challenge in your career? Then Advertio is looking for you! Join our team here.