At Reward Gateway, our Engineering team are responsible for developing and shipping huge, feature-rich products and tools for our platform; scalable technical solutions enabling thousands of companies to engage over five million employees daily. In this series, we sit down with a few of our superstar Engineers - from RG Newbies to Developers who have been with us for over a decade - to find out what it's like to work at Reward Gateway, what inspires them as Engineers and what up-and-coming Engineers need to know to score a fantastic career and make their own world a better place to work.
Clifford tells us about why he joined Reward Gateway, how his team thrive and collaborates cross-borders, and how his role engages him and makes his world a better place to work.
Hey Clifford! Tell us a bit about your background — how long have you been at Reward Gateway?
I joined RG back in September 2021. Previously I’d been working with a bank in Hong Kong to help set up a team of developers. Last year, my wife and I decided to move back to London, so I chose RG.
Cool! What made you want to make the jump to RG?
I had a look through the materials RG sent me and I was very interested. It’s really different from what I’d been doing. I’d spent roughly 12 years in the Finance industry until then, so of course, RG was a totally different opportunity.
So how was that? Were there any surprises making such a big career move?
Reward Gateway didn’t exactly surprise me, but it was more complex than I expected. It has lots of components and products that we get to work on. Day-to-day, I’m one of the lead engineers, and my team focuses on Rewards & Recognition. These are products in Reward Gateway that allow employees to credit each other, send e-cards and points that can be exchanged for vouchers, etc.
I’ve spoken to a few of the team who told me that they’ve enjoyed opportunities to progress within their career too. Is that true for you? Has RG been an environment where you can actually learn as you go?
Yes, definitely. Recently we’ve introduced Pluralsight, a very good platform that lets people learn in a way that’s more than just reading and watching videos. It picks up what you need to learn and improve on, and provides relevant information to help you grow. There’ll always be work to do at RG, but plenty of things to learn as well.
I’ve heard from lots of devs that your biggest challenge right now is scaling the software behind the scenes at RG. What’s that like?
I think that’s an inherent problem of most systems and products in the industry, but yes, especially in our team. We have a lot of legacy stuff paired with newer team members, which means we’ve had a knowledge gap to overcome. But that’s also given us the opportunity to slow down, develop properly and have lots of discussions. It’s taken a while, but it’s helped us get to a place where everyone can focus on what they’re good at.
Others have told me there’s a lot of alignment between the engineering and the product team. Is that something you’ve found? Is it easy to work across those different disciplines, even when you’ve got lots of teams?
Yes. You can often end up in this situation where a team isn’t aware of the product they’re working on, or they don’t invest the time to understand how their products bring value to their clients.
If you have a very engaged team (like we do!), you get a lot more ideas. It means we can be the ones going to senior management with our ideas and suggestions, rather than it being a ‘top down’ culture of being told what to do. So by being proactive, we get to suggest and work on things we genuinely know will benefit RG and our clients.
Finally, let’s go back to a classic. If you were interviewing someone to join your team at RG tomorrow, what would you want them to know? What should they bring to the table?
I guess that curiosity is the most important thing to me. I want my team to be curious, not just about what they’re working on but also in their industry overall too.
I’ve seen developers who just work, but they aren’t interested in other parts of the business, so they can’t think about the business as a whole; not thinking about how to improve the system or grow the product. So that’s my criteria. Ask interesting questions! And be ready to answer interesting questions!
Inspired? We’re always looking to grow our Engineering teams to work with more great people like Clifford, to help us in our mission of making the world a better place to work. If you’re ready for a new challenge in your engineering career, regardless of what stage you’re at, we’d love to hear from you. Check out our open roles here. Or, find more inspiration and follow what we’re up at rg.co/lifeatrg