Being a software engineer at Hemnet

Two of Hemnet’s software engineers - Tobias Palmér and Cristian Contreras - share how it is to work at Hemnet. 

For how long have you been at Hemnet?

Tobias: “I started working at 2018, the same week as our CEO hosted the summer party in her backyard. That was about 16 months ago now.” 

Cristian: “I joined Hemnet after the summer 2018”.  

Tell us a bit about what you do here at Hemnet, Cristian.

C: “I'm part of our Platform team. I focus mainly on the infrastructure that our applications run on, tooling we use for managing and monitoring the applications as well as our CI/CD pipelines. We manage all our infrastructure as code and aim for a high degree of automation”.

How does a normal day at Hemnet look like for you, Tobias?

T: “I work as a fullstack developer in the team focusing on brokers and broker products- Team Agents. On a normal day I usually start by reviewing some code. After that I pick a new task or continuing on one from the day before. 3 days a week I go out running during the lunch together with colleagues. In the afternoon I get back to coding, usually pair programming”.

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What’s most challenging in your job?

 C: “For me it’s the combination of maintaining high availability with a lot of traffic and daily changes in both the applications and infrastructure. I don’t think I’ve been here one single day without a deploy to production, not even klämdagar”.  

T: “I’ve moved from a frontend role to working fullstack, so complex backend problems can still be challenging to me. Luckily there are backend wizards here to help”. 

Why is it fun working at Hemnet?

C: “One thing is that we have a technical environment where we can make continuous changes and improvements. The time from an approved pull request to live in production is about fifteen minutes”.  

C: “Another thing I like is the freedom we have to choose the tools we are working with. I really think we have the best tools for the job and I enjoy working with them”.

T: “I like the relaxed, positive atmosphere and the people working here. And being part of a cross functional team. In our team everyone has a say in what features we develop and how we develop them. I enjoy having that influence. It’s also fun to work with a product that is liked and used by a lot of people”. 

When is it boring working at Hemnet?

T: “When I discover IE related bugs and have to solve them”.

C: “I’m not a big fan with maintenance. But that’s part of the job when you’re working in a platform team as I do”. 

Tell us something about your work process.

C: “We work in an agile way at Hemnet, dividing our work into two weeks sprints. We create common goals during the sprint planning and have demos where we invite everyone to see what’s going on. But exactly how the work is done during the sprints differs a bit and is up to the teams. We like pair programming in my team, and some teams do mob programming on some tasks. You do it pretty often, right”?

T: “Yep, we do. We think it’s good for the code quality but also for knowledge sharing.  Since we are a cross-functional team we’re responsible for the whole development cycle - coming up with or refining an idea, doing the research and obviously the development. We recently swapped the daily stand up to another form of check -in which works better for us. But the rest is the same - planning, grooming and retro”. 

What are you most proud of from your time at Hemnet?

T:  “I’m proud of being a part of starting up Hemnet’s mentoring programme and coaching one of our two junior developers. We hired one math teacher and one house architect with passion for programming, mentored them in web development during 6 months and now they are part of our team as developers”.

T: “I've also been a part of a few product releases. When everything goes just as planned, after all the time you spent on it, and there are no issues or technical errors, then I feel really proud of what I've been a part of”.

C: “I agree, releasing products that you’ve built is fun. I was part of building a product we call Area Pages. That application was built using a serverless architecture which back then was a little bit new to us. It was fun trying out new technology and seeing how that could improve our way of working”. 

How would you describe the culture at Hemnet?

T: “It is like a big friendly, fika loving, family - working, playing table tennis and eating lunch boxes together. A prestigeless culture where everyone is really good at supporting and lifting each other. What I also like is the focus on developing ourselves. We have what we call competence days, hack days and we’re going to conferences, for instance I’m going to Fronteers in Amsterdam this year”. 

C: “I’ve been working in bigger, more stiff organizations. The contrast is big. The autonomy at Hemnet is way stronger, we don’t have policies for every single thing and I need to take responsibility and decisions myself”. 

T: “I also like our transparency - it can be everything from pull requests available for the all teams to give feedback on, to what’s on the agenda for the management team. Discussions around decisions is not taking place behind locked doors”. 

What should one expect when joining your team?

C: “New team members get up to speed quickly. They create a user in AWS by creating a pull request on day one which makes them get a feel of the flow right away”. 

T: “One should expect a warm welcoming. We are a very friendly and helpful team that always help each other”. 

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