Zello

I am bad at naming things. I can’t think of a better title for this post! At Zalando, most of the names begin with a ‘Z’. Hence the title 😛

Copying these lines from my previous post:

Meanwhile, I had applied for Zalando in October 2015. After visiting Berlin for the first time in September 2015 (diversity scholarship recipient for JSConfEU), I had made up my mind to take up a job in Berlin (I badly wanted to be in this city, I wanted a job here, Berlin is so beautiful. It seemed just perfect to be living here). The week before flying to Singapore, I had completed all my technical interviews for Zalando through Skype. The results were expected when I was in Singapore. My joy knew no bounds when I received the much awaited positive response from Zalando. The whole process was so well organized, from the interviews to the relocation assitance, everybody involved did a commendable job. Presently, I am “onboarded” at Zalando, and I am loving every single day. #ILikeMyNewJob

So let me start about Zalando & me, from Day#1.

Here is the newsletter which I received from Women Who Code on 15.10.2015. Zalando’s advertisement in the ’employment opportunities’ section caught my attention.

Join Zalando — Europe’s largest online fashion platform — as a Backend Engineer. Code Java, Python, or Scala in Berlin, Dublin, or Helsinki!

Upon browsing through the various job openings at Zalando, I found it suitable to apply for this position. The ‘What you can expect from us’ section was of special interest to me and I found this to be a really cool job ad :). Relocation assistance, personal branding, hack weeks, tech talks etc, this job ad, according to me, was a match made in heaven and I was few steps away grabbing my dream job.

Most importantly, Zalando’s work culture was ideal. The concept of radical agility (purpose, autonomous and mastery) was the driving factor while submitting my job application.

I had my first interview with Diana Caamano Serna (Tech Recruiter Specialist) followed by a tech screening interview, after a couple days and lastly, a detailed 3 hour technical interview (with a break of 5-7 minutes in between). Diana was always there to answer all my queries. Also, thanks to Isabelle Mettler and team (Town house management) for always being kind to offer help and respond to my mails well on time. The interviews and the relocation assistance were well-organised.

Currently, I am being “onboarded” (a 4-week mentoring program to all the newbies at Zalando). Every day has been exciting, the onboarding crew is at its best. All the newbies work on a project (each one gets to pick an interesting project) and at the end of 4 weeks, share our learnings with the others. The goal is to have learnt something new and interesting in these 4 weeks and to have fun and enjoy Zalando’s work culture – “Purpose, Autonomy and Mastery“. The project which I will be working on has a noble cause. I would be starting with React.js. As of today, I am done setting my new Mac (yes, employees get to choose their work stations here) with all the installations required for this new project and done running a ‘Hello World React’.

My interests are “Perceptual Computing”, “D3.js”, “Teaching/ Speaking at conferences / Conducting workshops”, “IOT” and “JAVASCRIPT”! What’s exciting to me is that I have already found out to be doing all these things at my new work-place. How cool is that?!

I will be speaking on “Natural user interfaces using JavaScript” at JSConfBP, Budapest 2016. The “Employer Branding” team at Zalando is dedicated to encourage and offer support for such work. I spoke to the “Tech Innovation Lab” team today and enquired about getting to work with some of the hardware devices. The reply was affirmative plus they asked me for my interests in conducting workshops and I said a ‘YES’. I am looking forward for some great knowledge sharing through the internal “Tech Academy”. More work on this might happen shortly in the coming days.

One of my main goals for this year is to build my open-source reputation. Zalando has a bunch of open-source projects, and I am looking forward to be an active contributor.

Starting next week, I am selected to be a mentor for Learn IT Girl. I would help a girl learn a programming language and do an awesome project, during my free time, for the next 12 weeks. This would be a great start towards achieving my above goal.

Learning German, is my next goal. Looking forward to the classes starting next month at Zalando.

To be an active blogger is also this year’s goal. I hope I am able to contribute to the tech community by documenting my new learnings at Zalando.

I have a great track record when it comes to multi tasking, so please don’t sit and wonder if I can manage these many things.

With all the goals in place, I am looking forward to exchange knowledge, have a great learning and a fun work place. My new colleagues come from various parts of the world, hoping to eat some tasty tasty international cuisine too ;). I am a total foodie.

It’s 12:36 am, as I am ending this post. Let me sleep before I show myself in the office in few hours.

#ILikeMyNewJob

 

 

2016’s Hello World

Writing my first blog post from beautiful Berlin for the year 2016. I managed to achieve quite a bit in 2015. One goal for 2015 was to start talking at technical events/conferences; which was achieved. The other goal was to win a hackathon; which was partly achieved. Another goal was to do Coursera’s Machine Learning course seriously; which never happened!

Here’s a summary of what happened in the year 2015: read more

Few updates to what happened at JSConfAsia, Singapore 2015 and how I achieved my goal of winning a hackathon partially.

On the morning of 19th November, 2015, I was all set to deliver my talk as an international speaker. I was both nervous and excited. Few days back I had volunteered myself to play JSPardy, a Jeopardy like game, but with JavaScript.

(“Jeopardy!” is a classic game show — with a twist. The answers are given first, and the contestants supply the questions. )wiki

The previous morning (18.11.2015), I got a mail from the conference organisers saying I was one of those 3 contestants to be playing this unique JS game show. It doubled my excitement, but little did I know that this game was a part of the inaugural ceremony of JSConfAsia 2015. I was done with my registration for the conference on 19th morning and I was looking for Thomas Gorissen (conference organiser) to know and understand the rules for the game. Once done explaining, he asked me to occupy the front-row seats so that it would be easy to walk up to the stage without any delays.

I can still recall my nervousness on getting to know that the game was to be played before my talk (my talk was scheduled for 10:00 am and the inauguration was at 9:00 am). Following is the excerpt of our conversation –

Me: “What? Is it really going to be before my talk? I don’t think I am ready for this at all”

Thomas: “Well, it is a fun game show. Just enjoy”

Me: “Will I make fun out of myself if I am unable to answer any questions?” (I was nervous, I was all blank about JS, about my talk. All I wanted to do was, leave the place and run away)

Thomas: “I am sure you will have fun”

The game started, and rest was history :). Well, all this while I didn’t mention about the grand prize. The winner would get the all new IPAD Pro and I ended up winning this game with the audience’s support.

This is how I achieved my goal partially (because it wasn’t a hackathon). I was the happiest person on earth. My talk went well, got positive feedback and was applauded by web evangelists.

JSPardy at JSConfAsia

Video of my presentation

The next talk was at Grace Hopper Conference India, 2015. It took place at the Taj Vivanta, Yeshwantpur (Bangalore). My video starts at the 13th minute here

Meanwhile, I had applied for Zalando in October 2015. After visiting Berlin for the first time in September 2015 (diversity scholarship recipient for JSConfEU), I had made up my mind to take up a job in Berlin (I badly wanted to be in this city, I wanted a job here, Berlin is so beautiful. It seemed just perfect to be living here). The week before flying to Singapore, I had completed all my technical interviews for Zalando through Skype. The results were expected when I was in Singapore. My joy knew no bounds when I received the much awaited positive response from Zalando. The whole process was so well organized, from the interviews to the relocation assitance, everybody involved did a commendable job. Presently, I am “onboarded” at Zalando, and I am loving every single day. #ILikeMyNewJob

“Dream is not that you see in sleep, dream is something which doesn’t let you sleep” – A P J Adbul Kalam

These were the best things that took place in 2015. There were few things which didn’t happen too:

The theme which we (me and Navya) opted for the hackathon was ‘Super Workplaces’, and we chose to build a ‘Moods App’: to record moods of employees, use smart ways to detect if anybody’s unhappy and wants to leave the company. There is lot of scope for this project. I will write another blog post to talk more on this idea.

Source code can be found here. We built a simple web-based interface to capture moods. The fun part is, using gestures, nodding head – left/right, one can log moods. Demo

There were positive things from this hackathon:

  • I found a new friend – Navya B Raju. She’s a crazy, loving girl. Our trip to Delhi for the hackathon was indeed successful ;).
  • The joy of staying awake the whole night and coding forth something meaningful, the joy of completing the hackathon is exceptional. The 48 hour sleepless night (I winked my eyes just for 15 minutes during this whole duration) was worthy. We did get lot of appreciation for the project!

I had also enrolled as a volunteer for DataKind’s Bangalore Chapter. So, for me, 2015 ended with a DataDive #Data4Good. All my weekends (second half of 2015) were super productive, being with this amazing community of data good-doers.

With all the positive energy and learnings from 2015, I am all geared up for 2016. New place, new job, new people. It feels good. Gives me a sense of accomplishment 🙂

#DreamBig #HappyCoding