I feel like our work as a front-end engineering team might end up making your day or ruining your day. Imagine this: there’s a big difference between waiting in line when it’s hot, everybody’s yelling and you sit in a small and crowded room, and waiting in an organized line, being civilized and even getting a juice or a coffee. What we’re working on is the experience that you have while using the application. And we always aim for the second scenario.”
Vlad Jerca loves metaphors. Both him and his team like to use them when they explain their work. He works as a Principal Software Engineer, and he’s been with UiPath for four years. He’s worked in two offices: Bucharest and Eindhoven. Alin Cadariu, Angelo Altamirano, Ruud Andriessen and Sefer Turan are all front-end engineers working in Vlad’s team. They’ve worked together for more than a year now.
One of the major things they love about working at UiPath is building components. “You normally see this at either open-source projects or really big companies. We always look for opportunities to take what we're building and then share it within other teams. So even though we have a localized responsibility—the major responsibility of what we're doing from a day-to-day basis—we also have this responsibility for our entire practice,” says Vlad. This way of working is something that brings pride and joy to the team. “You can already see some of the things we’ve been working on spreading through the company quite fast,” adds Angelo.
For Sefer, working as a front-end engineer feels special. “There’s a different feeling when the result of your work is visual or tangible. I just think it’s a different kind of coding. It’s also why I took up the visualization direction when I graduated.” Building a product for non-technical users is a great challenge, and the visual side of things has an incredible role to play. That is why every front-end team at UiPath, including the one in Eindhoven, works with UX designers. “For us, working so close with the UX team is literally a game-changer. I think they're very powerful. I remember when I started working for UiPath and there was no UX designer in our team. It was great back then, but as we grew as a company, it was obvious that we needed to add that kind of upgrade. We’re talking about professional who not only have dedicated time to handle these kinds of improvements, but also have amazing skills.”
Ruud likes to think his work implies some psychology knowledge. “It’s one of the main reasons I love front-end. To me, front-end is like a research site of how to make things nicer. That’s the simple way to say it. And if you think about that, you’ll realize it actually involves some psychology. And it’s something you’ll have to learn if you want to be part of this team.”
Learning is another important aspect of this team’s work. The teams are sharing a lot of great content on the Slack channels—things like new technologies, new libraries, events, and everything that might be useful for their peers. For Alin, another way to learn is from the actual work. “If you're encountering a certain issue, you're encouraged to investigate and not always give up or ask somebody right away. I think that’s a great way to learn.”
Business applications, like any of the UiPath products, are very different from web sites when it comes to front-end engineering. A website is mainly static. You get a few buttons, a few links, but essentially there’s not a lot of activity going on. Things get more complex when it comes to apps. It’s what Vlad has been seeing in the last years. “Something that I've noticed throughout time is that people don’t really get the difference between a website and a web application. The difference is colossal. The responsibility of building an application is much larger than building a website. An application is something that you basically might use all day long. The user experience is incredibly important. And that’s why I find our work so creative.”
Apart from working together, the front-end team in Eindhoven is doing a lot of fun activities. Playing board games is by far the most popular. “It's quite common to have board game nights. Before the pandemic, we would stay in the office and play. This was happening every Friday and we had a ton of them on the office.” They also travel together and visit breweries across the country. On special occasions like Christmas, everyone cooks or bakes together and spends time as a team.
Working for UiPath feels different. It’s a really fast-paced environment, a place where people find meaning in their work. Ruud’s words describe this quite well. “I think UiPath is one of the few companies doing some really cool things. It’s pretty exciting to be here. It doesn’t feel like we’re only coding, let’s put it like this. It’s a pretty high level. And we’re having fun doing it.”