After a whopping 8 years working at funda, our Platform Engineer Mobile Rajat is leaving the mothership. What were his most important lessons and what does he look back on with pride?
‘My first day of walking into the funda office was also coincidentally when a hackathon was going on. I saw a bunch of engineers and designers jacked up on Red Bull and listening to loud techno music. I thought: well, I guess this is what I signed up for?
Search for identity
Back then, funda was a company that was searching for its own identity. Engineering was trying to understand what direction they wanted to go in, as we were facing challenges of scaling, of building new features and bringing new services to users searching for a house. You could see and feel there was a struggle within Engineering to accelerate building features. It had a skunkworks vibe to it: we were all trying to figure out how to solve the problem while experimenting a lot.
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Not much has changed since then, culturally. But on the organizational side, a lot has changed. Funda is better organized than ever and that is an incredibly positive development. These organizational changes have had a massive impact, with teams now having very clearly defined responsibilities. It took a while to get to the point of not just coming up with new teams, but also defining the boundaries of teams and letting engineers, testers, designers and product owners all work together, adding value to the customer journey.
Flutter to the rescue
When I started at funda, I started at Team Mobiel, which later became Team Apps. As a team, we struggled with a catch-up game with the website, as funda is a web-based company. Users want and should have the same experience on their desktop PC and on their phone, when they are on the move. Services like SoundCloud, Spotify and Netflix offer perfect integration between web and native apps and so should we. We wanted to go live with features on mobile phones and the website at the same time. That's when I proposed to embrace Flutter to achieve the parenting link which was missing between mobile and web.
This idea led to a fundamental transformation in how we build new features. We have since built two major features on Flutter, which have been used by users for a while. For me, closing the gap between web and mobile apps is a big accomplishment. It was not a one-man job; I could not have done it without Eduardo and the team. This challenge that funda faced is a well-known one. NS, Bol.com and Ahold are all going through similar challenges. I am extremely glad funda took the leap and that the company moved forward.
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Grew a beard, lost a beard and decided to move on
What I really learned throughout my career at funda is to think objectively. We do not build features because they are awesome; data drives our decisions. The second biggest learning is more on the personal side. Over the years, I grew in empathy and learned to be more empathic towards people, trying to walk into every meeting or discussion with an open mind. That is something that has to do with funda’s culture – the company understands the importance of empathy in the workplace. I started as a junior Java developer and ended up being a platform engineer for mobile apps. I don't think that would have happened without funda really guiding me with my personal development.
Meanwhile, I grew a beard, lost a beard, bought a house, got married, had two kids, travelled a lot and made great friends at funda. And these are friends that I will keep seeing – I have already got a trip planned with two of them. These have been eight great years, but it's time for me to move forward. It's not the end, but part of a new relationship. I will definitely stay in touch with my funda friends, and I will be closely looking at all the new features that are being built. Funda is something I have admired and adored for eight years, so I don’t think I can just let it go tomorrow!’