Hi Alexandra! To start, can you share a bit of your background and how you got to know GitGuardian?
Hi! Actually, I'm freshly graduated from CentraleSupélec (French engineering school) and my final internship was done here at GitGuardian. I've been offered a permanent contract which I accepted!
I come from a scientific background, I've been programming since high school although I didn't know this would end up being my full-time job!
Centrale offers a very general curriculum but I was doing software programming as often as possible: during my second year, I joined a specialization program called the “Digital Tech Year”. This gave me the opportunity to work on 7-weeks-MVPs for various companies and with small teams of students, and eventually helped me confirm my choice of software engineering as a specialty.
After two internships in the start-up world, I finally discovered GitGuardian at the school forum.
What drew you to the company?
Since the first interview, I could feel that my wishes were heard and that my desire to work on a product was going to be fulfilled. I'm convinced that understanding your client's needs and what's at stake for them can profoundly impact your technical conception and reflection. And reciprocally, technical choices will have an impact on their satisfaction in the end. That's how I envision my job.
What was it about the internship that convinced you that you would want to stay on?
During my internship, I really liked the autonomy of a small dedicated team. As I went along, I could enjoy more and more varied missions, and take the necessary time to achieve them. We try to avoid rushing because quality is paramount in our team. We don't feel urged to ship features, yet we manage to deploy at least once a week!
I work on the Public Monitoring product exclusively, and because I love front-end engineering, I'm specializing in that (I love optimization, especially squeezing those rendering time!). That doesn't stop me from doing backend work from time to time also. We try to share the transversal tasks like bug solving and documentation.
During these months, I could sense that I was getting more and more autonomous on certain things: for instance our internal frontend library documentation, made with Storybook, needed to be improved. As it was a subject I found challenging, I eventually took ownership of it. Autonomy is very important for us because everyone is free to allocate their time between the sprint planning tickets and their own needs, according to the team's priorities of course.
What about cybersecurity? Did you know this field before joining?
Not at all! I mean, I had studied the basics in class but I didn’t know any company in this field nor what working in cybersecurity really meant. What's funny is that for most students in my school, cybersecurity equals boring corporate auditing. The reality is that it's so vast it can get quite obscure for most people. I like to think that what we do here is simply trying to solve a very real problem, which is becoming every day more evident with all the breaches and hacks we see in the news. I like to know that I'm contributing to making coding safer for developers.
What challenges did you encounter while working at GitGuardian?
We've had some long conversations with my Lead about architecting components, and sometimes a lot of time goes into reflection before we agree on the best solution to a given problem. To me, it's akin to an enigma that must be solved. What's funny is that after thinking so hard about a problem, implementation is usually a breeze!
What would you say about the atmosphere in general in the company?
I love having the time to train on projects that interest me and focus on quality rather than thinking about immediate needs. This is what gives a sense of progress, and it's pretty rare in start-ups.
I've been an improvisation performer since I'm 12, and that helps a great deal in understanding the social dimension of a company - it's so interesting to be able to get team dynamics, in the end, all social groups are composed of the same kind of personalities!
Besides that, I have a lot of other activities (sports, etc..) that keep my head busy when I'm not in the office.
How do you envision your career as a software developer?
My two areas of improvement are management and technique, they go hand in hand in leading a technical team. But I'll take the time I need!
Thank you very much for your time!