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Meet Founda Health: Jakub
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Apr 22, 2022

Meet Founda Health: Jakub

Jakub is a software developer at Founda. He joined at the very start as a frontend developer, but can now proudly call himself a full-stack developer. He started working from the office in Amsterdam, but truly embraced our remote-first culture now. Jakub has been working for Founda from all over the world – more than 5 countries so far. Let’s meet Founda’s digital nomad!

Work, challenges and support

What are you working on right now? How does that impact our customers?

“Currently I’m working on the backend and also helping build user interfaces of our platform. Developers usually do not speak with our business partners directly, but we have frequent refinement sessions where we learn about the needs of our users and how to approach those, aligning our knowledge and implementing them into the structure.”

What is the most challenging part of your work?

“To understand and keep up with new topics about medical and healthcare technologies. I didn’t come from a Health IT background, so to grasp all the new concepts, standards and technicalities was a bit challenging at first.”

What kind of support do you get to tackle that challenge?

“There is a lot of support in Founda. We have knowledge sharing sessions, where all developers in the team can meet together, share our knowledge. And what is also worth mentioning are the training programmes within the company. Listening to different points of view really helped me grow.

On top of that, we have a lot of support from the team lead and other developers. It is a personal approach. Your progress is discussed with you in one-on-one sessions with the team lead. I think this is really important to boost your career.”

Can you explain more about this personal approach?

“Everyone has personal sessions with the team lead – the mentor – to discuss their progress and seek help or guidance. When I just joined, my mentor was Luuk – Head of Engineering. He onboarded me and put me on track as fast as possible. To discuss my progress, we had monthly sessions or even more often if it was needed. In those meetings I could share my thoughts and questions about the work I was doing, and then Luuk would give me advice on how to improve my work.

When Founda started growing, Arturo became my team lead and the go-to-person whenever I have some issues. I also started to work more remotely, but everything else stayed the same. We have frequent calls to talk about how we are doing.”

Are there other ways to work on your personal growth? 

“In addition to mentoring, there are budgets for our personal development. If I want to learn something, I can always ask to take part in a course or join conferences. For example: we use Vue.js (a JavaScript framework) for development, and when Vue 3 just came out I was able to follow a tutorial to better understand the new features. The tutorial still helps a lot with the work I’m doing.” 

Change and growth

What are some of the biggest changes in your work compared to two years ago when you just joined?

“Almost everything changed. At first, there were only three developers in total. We had a different idea of the product and adjusted it gradually based on our use cases. It was a phase of trials and errors. I didn’t have much experience before joining, but working at Founda gave me the unique experience to learn by doing. In fact, before working at Founda I worked as an intern to develop mobile apps. Building the Founda platform is the first big project that makes me feel like my work has greater real-life impacts. Here I got the space to work on QA, frontend, backend and I’ve become more confident in my work.

As the team grows there are more team divisions, but the communication is still efficient and transparent. Overall I think we are better organised because of the company's growth.”

You just mentioned both frontend and backend, how did you experience the switch between the two?

“When I joined Founda, I started with frontend development. I was learning Vue.js, and received a lot of guidance and instructions from other teammates. Everyone was really eager to invest time in me to help me become better. As I became comfortable with frontend, I wanted to learn about backend development. Founda was supportive of that and my tasks were adjusted according to my level of skills, so I could learn and grow.

The team also has been really helpful. People look into your needs. If a certain task is challenging, there will always be time for you to sit down with a team member to help you figure it out. It’s an open environment, so I don’t feel shy to ask questions. This also enables me to keep learning new things."

"I still have many things to learn, but can now proudly say that I’m a full-stack developer. A great thing about Founda is the flexibility and opportunities for you to try new stacks and things. Time spent on learning and developing yourself is actually very much appreciated and stimulated.”

What’s the piece of work you are most proud of so far?

“This is a hard question to answer. Our work is somewhat always in progress, not project-based. One of the things I’m really proud of is the documentation we made and published. It’s a technical documentation describing different FHIR endpoints. I thought I couldn’t do it, but I managed. It’s like Lego; building something from the ground up, and we nailed it.

I also love the fact that we don’t have a competitive environment. You’ll be acknowledged if you do something very well, but won’t get blamed if something goes wrong. We are one team and work on things together.”

That’s great! What about the proudest moment about your personal development then?

“Again, hard to pick just one. I was able to move to backend development after a year of work, faced and met deadlines we had, and onboarded new developers to the team. All of these things make me proud.”

What’s the next step in your personal development plan?

“Keep growing. Become the best developer. I’m really happy with where I am right now, working with very talented teammates. I will keep learning and challenging myself.”

The digital nomad mode

How about the remote working style? Where have you been staying?

“I’ve been working outside of the Netherlands for almost a year now. At the beginning, with a smaller team, we would all meet in the office. It was very nice, because I could immediately ask someone a question if I was uncertain about something. But as I became more and more confident with working independently, I started working remotely.

The main reason I left the Netherlands is a very practical one: it’s nearly impossible to find an ideal house in Amsterdam. But I’ve been enjoying the freedom of working remotely. It allowed me to travel and work from several other countries, such as the Czech Republic, Portugal, Poland, Ukraine, and Sri Lanka. The time in Sri Lanka was especially amazing. Every morning I woke up and went surfing, enjoying the sunshine and breezes. It was super relaxing, the best way to start the day. I felt recharged, then went back home and started working. I really appreciate how we have this freedom to choose where to work at Founda.”

Sounds amazing indeed! What was it like working from a different continent and time zone?

“My days are quite flexible and the workflow is remote friendly. Additionally, I make concrete plans with my team. The time zones are different, but with all the travelling I’ve gotten used to adjusting mine according to Amsterdam-based working hours. I’m always available and can always reach out to my teammates. We are still able to discuss and finish tasks as soon as possible.”

Do you have any tips for other ‘digital nomads’?

“Get yourself a nice internet connection to prepare for work. I bought a SIM card with a huge amount of data in Sri Lanka just in case. Funny enough, there was one time we had a power outage for almost 5 hours. Because of the SIM card I still could access the internet. And I got a brand new work laptop just before the trip, so it lasted the whole time without needing to recharge. I was working surrounded by candles, but working nevertheless!”

One more important thing: how do you maintain relationships with colleagues when working remotely?

“It’s never been a problem for me. If I want to chat, I can always send them a message. We also have many opportunities for group meetings. For example, at least three times a week we have stand-ups where the whole development team gets together. For new joiners we schedule one-on-one calls introducing each other.

As for the whole company, we have scheduled sessions for different teams to share our progress or just hang out. Additionally, there are social and fun meetings to play games with different teammates and get to know each other better. Overall, there is nothing that really hinders me from maintaining connections with our team.”

The Founda Team in 2019

Join the Founda Health team

At Founda Health, we want to be pioneers who bring changes in healthcare. We are eager to learn, grow, and we trust and encourage each other to make our own decisions. Like Jakub’s story and want to join the team as well? Check out our open positions!

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