Sep 24, 2021
Kristian’s journey from junior engineer to competence lead at Wolt
Hello, who are you? 👋🏻
My name is Kristian: I’m a software engineer from a small beautiful place called the Faroe Islands, now living in Helsinki and working at Wolt. In my spare time I like taking advantage of the opportunities that the Faroese weather never permitted; biking, running, camping, and boffering (if you know what that is, hit me up!)
Would you share a few words about your background?
I decided I wanted to do frontend especially and when I moved to Finland around four years ago, my first job was a frontend gig in a consultancy.
How did you end up in Wolt?
I got hired as an engineer to the Courier team responsible for the courier application nowadays used by our great 110 000+ courier partners. At that time I was pretty junior and at the early stage of my career with around a year of full-time experience, but I was eagerly looking forward to learning more.
I knew Wolt already as I ordered food on Fridays. I wanted to work with a product that I use myself. I applied for two slightly different types of frontend roles, and another of those was a React Native opportunity and I ended up in that project. I have loved every minute – and there has been so much potential. I love React Native – It’s a cool framework. With React Native, you can access so many different tools that are not available for the web to make the user experience nice. I like to spend that extra energy thinking about how to make the user experience as smooth as possible.
My tech stack has rather been deep, which personally has suited me well. I enjoy diving deep into things, and I have mostly worked with React Native writing Typescript. At Wolt, the primary frontend technology across different teams is React (Typescript), and in some teams, we also use Rescript. On the mobile side, we use Kotlin on Android, Swift on iOS, and React Native and Flutter as well.
How has your journey been at Wolt?
When I joined the Courier partner app team, there was already an excellent foundation to build on top. The whole time I have had a relatively small cross-functional team around me. What I have especially enjoyed is that I have been building the application for super users who are using the application a lot! Even a tiny change gets noticed by the users – I get the feeling that we are building something that really matters. I much enjoyed working with the courier partners.
My passion has always been engineering. A year ago, I got an excellent opportunity to put on a new hat at Wolt as I took the role of competence lead on the frontend side. This role’s primary mission has been to drive towards stable and modern engineering. As part of my role as frontend competence lead, I have driven competence groups, helped codifying best practices, coached and mentored others, and reviewed a lot of code. To sum it up, I have helped others to grow! This has been a side responsibility alongside working in the courier team.
Right now I have a new chapter ahead at Wolt. My next big thing is to join the brand new Support Comms team to make the support experience even better for our customers and support associates. I’m very excited about this challenge and am especially looking forward to working with all of the different users of our product – from end users, couriers, and merchant partners to our support associates. This is one of the more technically ambitious projects we have going on at Wolt and it opens up a lot of personal growth potential for everyone involved.
What’s the most interesting technological challenge you have encountered at Wolt?
We face interesting issues and challenges regularly, and at this point, I’m starting to lose track of what was the most interesting. Lately, I’ve been very interested in maintainable and predictable state management. Some time ago I also had the chance to re-implement the logic for our app’s bottom sheet. It includes rather complicated gesture handling and animations, and the new solution was implemented with Reanimated and React Native Gesture Handler.
Although there are always individual interesting topics that come up, the most interesting task, to me, is the never-ending process of writing code intended for long-term maintainability. The Wolt Courier app recently had its 5th birthday, which by frontend standards would almost make it a legacy app. Throughout the years of development, we have always considered the long-term ramifications of each change. Instead of just asking “will this solve the immediate problem”, we also ask “will this still make sense and work as expected in 2 years?”. Our best tools to solve these problems are testing and a strong technical foundation.
Do you have tips for someone earlier stage in their career who wants to learn? And how to gain experience?
It might sound like a cliché to say, but it’s very important not to forget to ask questions – on the other hand, one of the best ways to learn is to dive in and try things you don’t have expertise in yet.
Also, try cool things – I learned a lot by just doing things on my own. If I could have a mentor – it would have been very beneficial. If you have an opportunity to have a mentor – use that chance!
How do you keep learning?
I mostly learn by doing. If we need a new feature – I learn on the go by doing and trying things out. There are smart people around the web to follow, and I also learn a lot from my fellow frontend developers at Wolt. We, for example, have a monthly frontend competence meetup – In those meetings, frontend engineers share cool things that they have worked on or played around with. It’s an excellent way to get inspired. There are so many frontend engineers (crazy +70 already!) – This is also a great opportunity to know what everybody else is working on. We also have similar meetings for different competence areas like mobile and backend.
If you should describe Wolt’s engineering culture in a few words, what would you say?
There are many ways to describe it as there is a lot of fascinating stuff. One of my colleagues simply stated: We do things fast but with high quality! I think this was a very nice description of our way of working. The culture is also very humble. We are growing fast, and if something goes wrong, we are here together to solve the problem.