Michael Dreikorn is one of our Senior Software Engineers on ALICE's Engineering team. Michael is originally from Germany and has been living in Bogota, Colombia the past three years. He joined ALICE in January 2018 and has been working remotely with our team since.
Our People team sat down with Michael to discuss with him what it's like working on the Engineering team at ALICE.
What do you like about working at ALICE?
There are a lot of things I like about working at ALICE, but to summarize: I love working with the brightest engineers on amazing and unique challenges. I like the combination of the variety of different problems we have to solve and the complexity of the product solutions we’re building. As an engineer at ALICE you feel like you’re really in an “explorer” status.
What makes the ALICE Engineering team so special?
What makes the team at ALICE so special is their creativity, professionalism, resiliency, and their willingness to help. Whenever you face a problem or run into a block, you never feel like you’re alone. Not only do you not feel alone, you really feel part of a team where they will work through the problem with you and get you to a place where you are able to solve it on your own.
How does ALICE promote teamwork through remote work?
In my experience there are really two aspects of teamwork. One is the social aspect; which is really easy to have in the office because you can just grab coffee and have small talk.
However, there is another component of teamwork, which is actually even more important to me, which is feeling like you are part of a team. This means that when you have a challenge or problem and you need to talk through it with someone or talk through an idea, you always have someone available to chat with. You can always reach out to someone and get a response right away. Because the majority of our engineering team is remote, they are always ready to answer quickly and provide support from wherever they are in the world.
When was the moment you made the right decision to work here?
There were two key moments that stand out to me as the moment I knew I made the right decision to work at ALICE.
First, when I had been working at ALICE for a little while, I reached out to my Pod Lead asking for some feedback on my work. It was delivered in a very nice, positive, and helpful way.
The second moment was actually more important to me personally. I reached out to my direct manager about a challenge I was having with my work-life balance. Since I was working remotely and from home, sometimes it was hard to separate work from home life as often times it can feel like that line is blurred; and I needed to spend more time with my family. I discussed this with my manager his positive response was the moment I knew I made the right decision to work at ALICE. Not only did he help me come up with solutions on my end, but as a company ALICE made an active effort to help me keep this work-life balance.
What is something that has happened at ALICE that can only happen at ALICE?
Our time zones! That when you start work in the morning, and all of the problems that were left the night before have been solved (okay, maybe not all of them). We have engineering team members in 12 time zones, so there is always someone working on challenges.
What are the most important qualities of engineers at ALICE?
The most important qualities of an engineering team member at ALICE are humility, resiliency, willingness to always learn, and respect.
Why do you like working remotely? How has it impacted your life?
I definitely like the flexibility it gives you to work from wherever you want, but more so when you want. This is specific to ALICE since we have flexible working hours. For example, I’m able to take a break and pick my daughter up from school and help her with her homework, and then go back to work. It also has allowed me to be more productive in my work without the distractions that come from being in an office.
What are some things you have learned at ALICE?
I have been able to work with and learn new technologies. I have also learned a lot on the challenges of scaling massive, transactional systems and the approaches you need to take to solve problems of scalability. I never faced these kinds of technical challenges before, so it is really interesting to work on them.
What have surprised you when working at ALICE that you did not expect?
I thought the remote work environment at ALICE would be more decoupled or more “on your own”. When I joined ALICE I was surprised with how connected and communicative the team is.
Interested in joining our team? Explore our openings on our Engineering team at ALICE.