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Working at AND: Life as a software engineer

You’re probably bored of hearing businesses describe themselves as ‘truly unique places to work’. Ping pong tables and free kombucha have gone from being signifiers of a forward-thinking culture to tired cliches.

However, AND really is unique. This isn’t because of office perks (although they’re pretty good), but rather because of the nature of the work we do and the way we’re set up to do it. As a consultancy that prides itself on its ability to build a lasting legacy for the clients we work with, working at AND a place where diversity - of people, jobs, and challenges - is part and parcel of day-to-day life. With new offices opening all the time, and one opening in Leeds in September, we're eager to show people exactly what it's like to work here.

We know we can’t easily communicate this in a glossy video made by HR. So instead, we thought a better way would be to let members of the team talk about their experience themselves.

In this Q&A, front end engineer Norbert Nagy talks about his experience at AND, and what he really values about working here.

Describing your role

Hi Norbert! Who are you and what do you do at AND?

I’m a principal front end engineer based in London. I joined back in 2015 when the company was around 80 people, whereas now we are at more than 1000 employees!

Could you describe your work? How do you describe it to your family?

I am a front end engineer with a passion for great UI/UX on a mission to make the web performant, robust, and accessible to everyone AND I am a consultant eager to share my knowledge and experience from various projects with any team member, whether that’s a fellow ANDi (that’s what we call our colleagues) or a client.

On a day-to-day basis I architect, design, and build web products for various industries that are being used by millions of users. I help drive teams to success and make sure the experience we deliver is all-inclusive.

Working with clients

What sort of clients do you work with? What kinds of work have you done for them?

My experience has been incredibly diverse. It has ranged from booking websites for hospitality, eCommerce websites for the automotive and retail industries, all the way to reusable white-label quote engines for B2B companies. I’ve also worked with exciting startups developing the new web alongside the one and only sir Tim Berners Lee.

Each project is different with its own set of challenges, but no matter what the task is and what level you are, there are always new things to learn or teach others while we are building amazing things.

What are the biggest challenges working with clients?

As a consultant there are a few key challenges. When joining a team which is already established and has predefined ways of working, we often come in and identify things that can be done better thanks to our vast experience seeing other teams work. Communicating these ideas to the new team and getting buy-in as an external person often takes some time and effort.

This makes it really important to build relationships first before getting stuck into making adjustments and helping the team see the value in it. So, in a way, even if I am a software engineer, most of the time my work also includes motivating the team and making slight changes in the way the team functions to make it more performant.
With time, you gain skills in this role that you wouldn’t easily get as a developer in a single team.

Career development and learning new skills at AND

What makes a project really rewarding and interesting?

This really depends on a couple of factors. First of all, it depends on the skill set required and whether it’s aligned with my skills or career path. While coming in as an expert to help build a better product without knowing what to expect can be a challenge, it’s also one you get better at with time - so that’s really rewarding.

The interesting bit is simply just working with various people of various cultures and backgrounds. There’s so much I learn from every single team and project that makes it both interesting and rewarding.

What’s it like working at AND? What do you like best about working at the company?

I joined AND in 2015 as a mid-level developer keen to learn and expand my horizons. AND allowed me to connect with new people time and time again, learn new things, and share what I learned. The knowledge is just passed around so naturally.

Learning is highly encouraged, and there’s no fear of asking the wrong questions. Every single person I met in AND was welcoming and ready to teach or be taught by the vast community we have across the company.

What have you learned while at AND? What new skills have you developed?

The list is long! But to select a few, I’ll give some context first. I joined as a former web designer and UI-focused developer. Although I had a good understanding of programming principles, I didn’t really consider myself an engineer. However, throughout the years I learned more and more about low-level programming paradigms, and gained greater knowledge around performance and accessibility and the importance of inclusivity in all that we do.

I also learned how to work better with people and how to better translate my technical knowledge - using less jargon and more down-to-earth language - so I can get my ideas through to people in various businesses. So yes, I’ve gained a lot of skills that I’ll no doubt be able to apply on projects with clients, but they’ve also been invaluable outside of work in my daily life.

We're growing quickly. Find your next role at AND.