An interview with our Warsaw Site Lead
How long have you been working in Privitar? What did you do before?
I joined Privitar in December 2017 in London. It seemed like an exciting opportunity, and it has turned out to be exactly that.
I started as a Software Engineer and later became a Tech Lead. In March 2020 we started the Warsaw office and I was promoted to Site Lead.
Before Privitar I worked as a Software Engineer in the energy industry and completed an internship in Google’s New York Office. I’m a University of Warsaw (MiMUW) Alumnus.
Where did the idea of creating the Warsaw site come from?
Privitar almost doubles its engineering team every year. We decided to take advantage of Warsaw’s deep talent pool and vibrant engineering environment in order to support that growth.
What is the size and composition of the team right now and what are the longer term plans?
At the beginning of 2020 it was just myself working remotely. We now have 7 devs in Warsaw and we are on target to have 10, in two different teams, by the end of the year. We’ll continue to hire next year as well.
What were the main challenges in establishing a new engineering hub?
To replicate the healthy engineering culture of our London headquarters in a new location and forge strong connections between both, whilst maintaining a level of autonomy. We’ve also had to make sure we attract the best local talent against stiff competition with bigger brand names.
We have done this by ensuring that Engineering at Privitar is seen as one team, and that the work undertaken in Warsaw is at the forefront of privacy enhancing technologies and integral to the Privitar Platform. We own delivery of what we do, but are regularly in touch with the London teams to receive feedback, provide context and maintain alignment.
What is the Warsaw team responsible for?
Automated Safe Data Provisioning, or, in short, Automation. Configuring various privacy enhancing technologies that Privitar Platform offers might be a complex or cumbersome task, especially at scale of hundreds or thousands of datasets. The team’s mission is to make this process as frictionless and automatic as possible to enable massive scale deployments.
We work on full feature verticals, but most of the work is backend.
How did the pandemic influenced plans for Warsaw hub?
It didn’t change the decision – Privitar closed a series C funding of over $80 million just before pandemic and used that to continue growth according to the pre-pandemic engineering plan.
To seed the engineering culture, ease collaboration and onboarding, we hoped for the office to be a physical one and not just remote, and for teams from both sites to visit regularly. But we seem to be successfully growing even in full remote mode, and London/Warsaw still feels like one office, which is great. So, if you’re interested in finding out more, please do get in touch!
What We Build
Our customers are businesses that have highly valuable data from which they want to derive patterns, while respecting and preserving the privacy of their users. We create software products that transform data at scale and enable safe, privacy-preserving access.
Our Interviews – What We Look for and Why:
We think hard about how we interview, and iterate on the process to ensure a smooth and fair experience. We try to ask interesting technical questions and many candidates remark that they enjoy them. Interviewing is a two way thing – we like candidates to meet quite a few team members, enabling candidates to get a good sense of the team and culture and if it is a place they want to be a part of. For developers, we don’t test specific tool experience, or filter for a highly specific background – instead we look for great problem solving skills and a good ability to articulate this in code. Wanting to be part of a hugely collaborative team environment is also an important culture aspect.
Hiring during COVID-19
The Privitar team is working from home at this time, and our interviews across all roles have been adapted to operate fully remotely. As a result we’ve hired and onboarded more than 40 people virtually since the pandemic began. We have developed our ways of working to make sure new joiners feel part of our team straight away. No matter which office location, this includes virtual socials, monthly virtual company all hands, bi-weekly virtual lunches and cooking clubs. We’d love to hear from you to tell you more.