Anna started working at Spiral Scout almost 3 years ago as a frontend team lead, but her teammates say it feels like they have known her for much longer. She brought to Spiral Scout a hugging culture, regular frontend meetups, and a ton of experience.
Anna is the first participant of #SpiralScoutTalks where she discusses working on the same team as her husband (Lev is also a lead BE engineer at Spiral Scout), getting her work-life balance correct, and some of the more interesting projects she has completed at Spiral Scout.
What brought you to Spiral Scout?
When I first joined Spiral Scout, I was hired to be a team lead. My main responsibilities were to help the front-end team with any questions where they needed someone with deeper expertise, manage projects more effectively, communicate with the client, and even do a bit of business analysis. It wasn’t long after that I realized leading a team wasn’t really my thing, since I wanted to do more actual coding, so I asked to join the team as just a senior developer.
What did you do before joining Spiral Scout?
I started my career as a back-end developer, but I enjoyed the front-end work since it is closer to the interface, the design, and the interactions within the site. The tasks are a lot interesting, and complex and require a deeper dive, which was creativity I lacked. That is why I picked this direction – so I could hone my creative skills and combine them with programming.
For some time, I worked as a remote freelancer and then got a job at a very popular Moscow development agency and a very ambitious studio called Evil Martians.
Before I joined Spiral Scout, I was becoming very burnt out by the stresses of my job. I was at the very beginning of this “trend,” when everyone started talking about burnout. Evil Martians had a very strong development team. I tried my hardest to make everything perfect and it burned me out. When I decided to leave them, my husband, who was already working at Spiral Scout for some time, suggested I talk to them.
For a while, I was hesitant because I knew I needed a rest and recharge. But then the team at Spiral Scout offered me a compromise: they would help and support me, ensure I wouldn’t be overloaded so that I could recover. In return, and as much as I could, I would help and share my experience with the team to somehow push them in the same direction that I was going in myself.
This direction included more time to develop and hone my front-end skills, a place with less stress to perform, be able to read more again, and experiment with new trends. Fast forward to today, and I can say that everything worked out quite successfully. It took time as my mental health improved, but I began to notice a feeling of comfort and more peace. I was very grateful that they met me halfway and took the time to understand my needs.
What do you value the most?
When the end of the day approaches at Spiral Scout, no one is asking me to stay late and work overtime. I was told: that’s it, go home, we’ll continue solving the challenge in the morning so rest up. In addition, having every other Friday off from work, (we call it Happy Fridays) helped since I knew I had that three-day weekend coming up every two weeks to rest and do whatever I wanted.
I could talk to a lot of people in the company, both the HR team and the co-founder, Anton. Everyone listens and allows me to share the times I need help solving problems. They sympathized, gave me solid advice, and helped me grow.
I understand now that it is more important for the company to make me feel good and help with my mental health. That it is in my interest to rest and in the morning to come back with a clear head, without the fear that someone will yell at you for not doing your work the night before.
By nature, I take on a lot of responsibility so taking away the burden of the emotional responsibility I feel at times, helped me to remove the emotional fatigue I got early in my career.
How does working for Spiral Scout make you feel?
Currently, I feel much more comfortable and no longer feel afraid to try something new or that is trending in development. Previously, for me to start working on a project with new technology was something very scary. I panicked and would work 24 hours a day to try to do everything and make everyone happy.
Recently, one of the Spiral Scout developers asked me if I was interested in a project that was won by our company that was going to be done on a new technology that no one in the company had ever tried. I had only ever heard about this technology at a conference and knew I had some friends who have tried it out so I could ask them. In the past, this experience would have totally stressed me out, but now I like these types of interesting and challenging projects.
Long story short, the project was a success and I was even able to train another female engineer on the technology and she was able to learn it as well. Now I know that I can feel comfortable and prepared enough to face new challenges head-on and they no longer cause panic and anxiety anymore inside of me.
What are you most proud of?
I am proud of all the Spiral Scout projects that I have worked on. Chequeout was my first experience with React Native. We started the project before Covid hit and it was a tool that allowed offline, popup marketplaces to sell physical products via a contactless checkout experience using QR codes. Once Covid hit, the business needed to pivot because they could no longer do popup marketplaces and turned to Zoom to do the selling over conference calling software like what they have in-home shopping networks that you would see on the television. We had to quickly rebuild it with Anton Titov and, on the fly, we were figuring out how to use the application in a Covid world.
Building Coatue’s main website was my first project using Contentful and Gatsby. We made a super high-quality scalable site that was on time and under budget using a new trend in headless CMS architecture. I also kicked off the rebuild for OnTheSnow which is still in development.
I’ve worked on a number of interesting projects that have grown my skills and pushed me to try new things but at the same time, Spiral Scout gave me the space to do this and not pressure me to work.