Our next Vinted Academy is just around the corner, and to find out more about the experience, and the career prospects for the alumni that participated, we sat down with two of them – Backend Engineer Viktorija Kondratjevaitė, and Frontend Developer Armandas Vaičikauskas. Viktorija and Armandas graduated from the Vinted Academy and are now fully-fledged Vinted team members, working full-time from their home offices.
Hi Viktorija and Armandas! Can you introduce yourselves and tell us a little bit more about what you do at Vinted?
Viktorija: I’m a fourth-year software engineering student at Vilnius University. At Vinted, I work as a Backend Engineer - I joined team Autobahn not too long ago and now work in the Trust domain. So far, I’m happy to be part of this team - and to be working towards making Vinted as safe and secure as possible!
Armandas: I’ve been a part of the Vinted family for almost five months already. I spent most of this time building the front-end side of Forum 2.0. My day-to-day tasks include letting other developers judge my logic by reviewing my code - and refurbishing the long-forgotten forum.
Viktorija, what has been the most important thing you learned during the Vinted Academy internship?
V: It’s hard to choose just one! But if I had to, I would say that the internship has taught me a lot about teamwork. We had to collaborate on many things, and not all of those collaborations were easy. For example, we worked in a team of twelve people in order to design a database. That’s a lot of different opinions and backgrounds of knowledge! However, those two weeks were incredibly helpful to learn more about each other, and find out my preferred role in a team. On top of that, the Academy perfectly replicates the way in which you have to collaborate with people in your guild or team, so you learn a lot about what it feels like to be a part of a few different teams.
You experienced that participating at the Academy is similar to working at Vinted in terms of collaboration. What about a typical workday? What is it like at the Academy, and is it similar to a regular day in your current role?
V: A typical day at Vinted Academy almost always starts with a daily meeting with your colleagues. Then, it’s time to complete the tasks you’ve chosen for the day - programming, working with other people from your guild, discussing issues with your mentor, and reviewing your colleagues’ code. There are also a few more meetings during the day to discuss the product that you’re creating. Because of all this, the day goes by quickly. The Vinted Academy teaches you how to work according to Agile’s Scrum methodology, and the entire company operates with this framework. Being a part of this is a great way to walk in the shoes of someone who works at Vinted full-time.
Armandas, what should anyone applying to Vinted Academy know beforehand?
A: It’s an experience that you have to have. For a short period of only two months, you can learn a substantial amount of information, meet exceptional people, even have casual weekly (Zoom) lunches with them, and discuss tons of interesting discussions. All of this has happened to me. The question is - are you going to be next?
Did you expect all of this before joining Vinted? What was your impression of the company?
A: During my studies in London, I set up a mission to create a feed of positive Lithuanian news that would keep me motivated to come back. Once, I found myself reading Vinted’s mission statement and thought, “someone in Lithuania finally gets it”. The mission “second-hand first choice worldwide” is a bold one that requires enormous investment, and a group of people who strongly believe it is possible. By the time I finished university, Vinted had both - and for me, the cherry on top was the invitation to participate in the Vinted Academy. Overall, the company surpassed my initial expectations.
Viktorija, has the mentorship that you received during the Vinted Academy boosted your career?
V: The Vinted Academy mentorship is the main source of all the knowledge and skills required in your future position. Mentors in the Academy dedicate a lot of attention and time to help you grow. I am very thankful to my mentor Audronė, because she pushed me in the right directions and was always there to answer my questions. At the Academy, you also have help from the others - they review your code and help to deepen your technical skills. Without mentorship, I wouldn’t have grown so fast in that time.
How much time at work do you spend learning new things now?
A: Most of it. The majority of days come with a challenge that requires you to cultivate your mind and search for novel solutions, whether it’s a bug that needs a fix - or a more complex problem. There are also Vinted-run events that motivate you to understand the business side of the company, where there is a lot to learn too.
What about learning directly from your colleagues? Are brainstorming sessions a regular part of your daily routines?
A: To solve bugs, issues or problems, we usually organise meetings a few times a week. If the query is urgent, your colleagues are keen on helping you to understand what’s missing, or to advise on a relevant solution. Sharing both the mission and the knowledge is core to both individual and collective success. I also have to mention the immense aid from my mentor Edas, who is an exceptional teacher even as a still-young professional.
It seems that collaboration is essential in your roles. Viktorija, are there any unsung heroes that help you in your work?
V: Now that I am a part of Vinted’s production team, I really appreciate my ex-colleagues from the Academy. Our Backend guild still has its own channel where we can always pour our hearts out, and we still manage to organise some remote syncs to talk about how we’re doing in our new teams. My new team is also hugely supportive and helpful! It is fantastic to know that you are surrounded by people who have your back when you’re in need. Once we return to the office, we’ll be able to make new connections, and have even more people to ask for advice from.
Let’s talk about your roles a little bit more. Armandas, what is meaningful work for you? How important is it for you to contribute to building products that accelerate sustainability trends in fashion?
A: Having an idea you deem greater than yourself, and making progress towards fulfilling it makes the work meaningful. And I’m here for it! Any contribution aimed at accelerating sustainability is crucial, especially in the times we live in. Fortunately, I am surrounded by the brightest people, who personally support my growth as a developer. This kind of environment encourages co-workers to give back, and in my view, this is both fascinating and essential. It is inspiring to be among engineers with whom our values are aligned.
Viktorija, what is the favourite aspect of your job? Are there any parts of being a backend engineer that other developers should be jealous of?
V: I love that backend development is such a vast area of programming. You get introduced to new technologies and tools every day, so you’re constantly growing technology-wise. It is also fun that your code is important – there is a lot of logic written in there, and many things depend on it. However, all types of development are unique, and there is plenty to learn about each one, so I don’t believe that other developers should feel that they have to compete. Except maybe with the amount of backend engineers in our team - we always have someone to discuss things with.
Viktorija has mentioned that constant technological improvement is key in engineering. Armandas, what is your way of keeping up to date with all the new technologies?
Lastly, the most intriguing question. What career path can people expect in your position?
V: The possibilities are endless. There is plenty of room to grow as a developer, and you are also free to learn new technical skills, or change your position. You can progress both in technical and people management directions – from a Team Lead to the Head of Engineering, and so on. If you have enough motivation, you can grow infinitely, and choose whichever career path you want to. I am positive that this is a company that helps you achieve your goals.