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. Donut Time is part of our way of staying connected. It's a time to connect, chat and learn about one another and what makes us tick. So, we sat down for a Donut Time 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.
Bringing a wealth of industry knowledge, Mahbub tells us about what inspires him, how he works and how new talent can benefit every engineer.
Hey Mahbub. Tell us a bit about yourself!
I’ve been with RG for just over two years now. I primarily work on a product called SmartSpending, so we do a lot of work around discount functionalities, vouchers, cashback — basically anything related to our employee discount reward offering. On average, each year, we’re processing the equivalent of $1bn transactions through our platform. So it’s a big challenge for both our engineering and product teams.
Is that a blend of teams you like? I know it’s easy to work quite insular, so do you actually enjoy working across different teams and disciplines like that?
Yeah, for sure. A benefit of working here is that we work very nicely with the Product team, so it’s not just about engineering and technology and stuff like that — we get to focus more on problems and solving them as a team.
Do you genuinely find it quite collaborative, then? I’ve spoken to a few people who talk about how important it is to speak up and share their ideas, is that something you’re passionate about?
It’s not about ‘one solution rules all’, we work both ways. Sometimes we have ideas that work on the back of what our Product team will try to achieve.
It’s very collaborative, and we have a tight relationship between all of those teams.
So how do you keep up maintaining and learning your skills while working with new teams and technologies?
Well, a great thing about working for Reward Gateway is that they always invest in their employees. We have a Book Benefit, so our colleagues have access to order any amount of technical books for free. Plus we have access to subscriptions for many different platforms, news outlets, podcasts, that sort of thing. Our engineers can get a holistic overview and education about what’s happening in the industry.
More recently, we introduced Pluralsight, so we’re encouraging lots of our teams to take at least 2 hours a week (happily during work time) to upskill; be it soft skills, or technical skills, so they’re not just bound to work projects. Plus we try to have a good culture of sharing articles/courses that interest us.
Has your role changed since you’ve been at RG? Have you always been on the SmartSpending team?
When I started, we were one big team working on everything. But over the past few years, we’ve taken a more focused and split approach; smaller teams working on dedicated projects and products. So whilst my personal role hasn’t changed, my workload certainly has.
Is that something you’ve enjoyed? I know you work quite internationally so how do you manage sharing projects and teams like that?
At first, I was a bit worried because I wasn’t sure if I could survive because I’d not worked in a team that was that international or multidimensional. But very quickly I realised working at RG was nice, because we already had the teams and frameworks in place for us to collaborate easily, without feeling like there was distance.
And even during COVID [lockdowns], it wasn’t an issue, because everything was already in place.
I’ve noticed the RG values are very strong — I see online (like ‘We Work Hard’, ‘We Push The Boundaries’, ‘We Own It’) that they are genuinely shared within the team and mentioned often. Do you find they actually carry through to your work, not just a platitude?
It is! We’re always reminding each other about what we’re aiming to do through our work. But it’s not just technical, work stuff; we have plenty of other opportunities to look after each other. Like how Catrin Lewis is always putting on wellbeing sessions for us that might include yoga — even during the day, so they can take advantage of that on their own terms.
Nobody will ask you “why aren’t you working” or “why aren’t you doing 40-hour weeks” etc. We don’t work like that. We’re flexible and, if something’s on your calendar, we won’t interrupt you. We don’t want anyone to feel burnout.
And we also do constant 1-to-1s, with everyone on the team, so we can get feedback on what’s happening and make sure we’re supporting the team.
What’s coming up in the next year that you’re excited about?
Our big focus is on microservices. We want to introduce newer technologies following the microservices architecture practices, and this will allow us to make a more scalable solution that will work across many geographies. By making these scalable solutions, we can focus on acquisitions as well. So the team is pretty excited about this.
That’s awesome to hear. So, finally, if you were looking for a new team member or coming into an interview tomorrow, what would you want them to know?
The key thing from my personal point of view is that I want to know how collaborative that person will be. How well they can work with a team. We always prefer a team player because that’s how we work. And even if they might have shortcomings with their technical knowledge, that’s what our team is for. We’re always here to help you learn new things, and want you to grow too. Just be a nice person to work with!
Inspired? We’re always looking to grow our Engineering teams to work with more great people like Mahbub, 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