A Tale of Two Brothers: The Road to Leadership
Relationships form a major part of almost everyone’s working life. Workplace relationships are equally important as personal- that’s why we place great emphasis on the overall atmosphere (and culture) in our offices. Most of the companies’ statements about family-like culture are just metaphorical. At GoHealth Slovakia we take it to another level because apart from having many ex-colleagues from previous jobs, acquaintances, or close friends in the company, we have many members who are actually related! Let it be siblings, cousins, even couples! :)
Meet Lubo and Jano — both are part of the company from the very beginning, both are Tech Leads and most of all — they are brothers.
If you want to know more about the roles of Software Engineer, Lead Software Engineer, or Software Engineer in QA Automation, we’re currently looking for people for (not only) these very positions! Check out our Career page here.
What was your first job position at GoHealth and how your current role differs?
Lubo: I was already in Creatix for a couple of years when we started to work for GoHealth. My first position was a Software Engineer (without any particular level assigned). I was working mainly on our marketplace platform where US insurance companies sell their insurance plans.
When I was a developer, I was mainly concerned about my individual contribution while now that I’m a Tech Lead, my role is to make sure that the whole team works efficiently and produces work with a certain quality level. I no longer write code every day. I spend most of my time on technical grooming of upcoming projects, writing tech documents, making code reviews, and in meetings.
Jano: Well, this one is not easy to answer, as we didn’t have any official levels for Software Engineers back then, too. But if I were asked to evaluate my skills I would say I was a Junior/Mid Engineer. I had few years of experience with Android development but didn’t work on enterprise applications before.
I had to learn a lot so I spent the next years mostly writing code, studying the platform, and learning from more senior colleagues. My main goal was to deal with the tasks I was given the most efficient way.
I think this has changed the most. As a Tech Lead, you need to think about what’s the best way to finish the tasks as a team. In order to do that, you need to come up with a good architecture design for the features about to be developed, be able to efficiently assign tasks to your team to complete features according to the timeline, while keeping an eye on the code quality. This takes the majority of my time, so I don’t have a lot of time to spare to write code by myself.
What do you think GoHealth does particularly well?
Lubo: If you look at the picture where we celebrated moving into our new office from a few years ago, you will see that most of the original team is still there. I hope we will be able to keep this “family” culture when we return to our offices after the pandemic ends.
Jano: I think we are quite successful in finding skilled people with a good potential that fit our team chemistry and company culture. That’s really important because you can’t keep the team happy if they don’t get along with each other.
Now to some brother-on-brother revelations, are you ready?
What do you admire the most about your brother (work-wise) and, on the contrary, what do you disapprove of the most? Don’t be ashamed to spill the tea!
Lubo: I always admired how easy-going and how good he is with people. He was always the connecting element in our team.
On the contrary, if we are only speaking about work, I would say that he is sometimes clinging too much to what he knows very well and sometimes shies away from unknown technologies.
Jano: Lubo never got scared of anything that was thrown at him… frontend, backend, mobile development… he mastered all of that stuff. He is always looking for new areas for improvement to become a better engineer.
What do I disapprove of? Hard to say… but thanks to our flexible hours you may not be able to get an immediate response from him as he is probably out somewhere doing some sport :)
What do you prefer? Home office or office?
Lubo: It depends on how I feel and what type of work I need to do. Sometimes I prefer being in the office where it is more social, but when I need to focus and not be disturbed, I rather stay at home.
Jano: With three kids, two of them newborn twins, I have to say office.
The last couple of months have been especially tough on everyone. We wanted to know how Lubo and Jano are keeping up with the home office and how they care for their mental well-being.
How are you maintaining your mental and physical balance during remote working?
Lubo: Luckily, individual sports in the exterior and hiking were never forbidden, so I spent quite a lot of time outside of home even during pandemics. But of course, I miss going out for a beer with friends. However, I’m optimistic and I believe we will return to normal soon.
Jano: I’m trying to spend as much time with my family as possible. That’s when you can turn off and think about something else than work and of course — sport (but I have to say that with the twins, the last months were kind of crazy, so I don’t have as much time for sport as I used to).
Where do you acquire new information and skills needed at your work, or where do you follow new trends? Give us a tip!
Lubo: I’m thankful that I always had an opportunity to work on many different technologies in my career. So, I had no other choice than to never stop studying. I usually look for relevant sources, I start with the original documentation and then try to find example use cases, blog posts, etc.
Jano: We have many experienced engineers with great ideas in our company. I learned a lot from them and I think they are the reason I made it to a Tech Lead. But sure, they can show you the way, the rest is up to you. I don’t think there’s a better place to get the most up-to-date information than the internet. It always starts with some searching and then analysis, since you can’t trust everything :)
What piece of advice would you give to Software Engineers who aspire to become Tech Leads?
Lubo: I believe they should never stop working on improving themselves. Both tech and soft skills. Also, try to reach for challenging tasks where you have an opportunity to learn something new and push yourself. And last but not least, try to find a good mentor and learn from them.
Be patient, take your time and always look for the best solution to the problems you face. Don’t be satisfied with the first solution you come up with, there’s always a way for improvement (cleaner and more efficient code).
Keep on learning. You need to be able to make tough decisions and it’s not possible to make good decisions without an adequate knowledge base.
Don’t forget that engineers are also people. So treat them well… their happiness is the way to go.
We’re extremely grateful that our employees have been staying with us for a significant period of time. Their loyalty is something that we do not take for granted and it’s also a signal they do trust our company and our values. We believe that our constant improvement and progress are the key to success — for gaining new team members and, equally important, their trust.
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