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Priscila Lima. Image: Personio

‘The job specifications for an engineer are changing every day’

7 Mar 2022

Personio’s Priscila Lima talks about how the engineering landscape has changed and why communication is a critical skill in her role.

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Priscila Lima is a front-end engineer working at HR tech company Personio, with more than eight years of experience building modern web apps using the latest technologies, CSS animations and Angular tips and tricks.

Future Human

In the engineering team at Personio, employees work in groups known as tribes, which bring people from a variety of different teams together. Lima is part of the recruitment tribe, which works towards helping organisations to attract and hire talent.

‘I love the idea of working every day to improve a product that’s in the market’
– PRISCILA LIMA

If there is such a thing, can you describe a typical day in the job?

My day begins with a quick morning stand-up with my engineering team to discuss what was achieved the previous day and establish what this day’s focus will be. We also raise problems and discuss how these can be tackled and solved before spending the rest of the day putting it all into action.

What types of engineering project do you work on?

At Personio, I work on the promotion experience aspect of the product. We work on making the candidate’s experience as smooth as possible from start to finish, working to perfect the promotion product as part of the wider Personio offering.

I love the idea of working every day to improve a product that’s in the market, making Personio a more attractive and helpful offering to SMEs and businesses across Europe.

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What engineering skills do you use on a daily basis?

While I’m a trained front-end engineer, communication is definitely the skill I use most throughout the workday.

I’m one of the more senior members of the team, which means I’m constantly aligning and working with my more junior teammates and with my counterparts on other tribes and teams.

I help to set guidelines, participate in different initiatives and lead multiple projects, so clear and concise communication is a vital skill.

On a more technical level, I spend about 50pc of my time on coding and I put a lot of effort and energy into continuously learning more. I’m very focused on excelling in my job and improve every day – which fits well with Personio’s operating principle, #SeektoImprove!

What are the hardest parts of engineering?

Effective communication is always a challenge, and of course the pandemic has not made it any easier. Even moving to a hybrid model of partially remote, partially in the office still has its struggles.

Thankfully Personio has put a big focus on enabling us to continue working smoothly and we work hard to make sure we’re keeping everyone in the loop each day. We’re also trying to get together in person whenever it’s possible and can be done responsibly and safely.

We’re also facing a new challenge in maintaining our work-life balance. It’s become especially hard to switch off when working from home – I know I certainly find myself staying online later.

But Personio is good at encouraging us to focus and define our time so that we don’t work out of hours. There are also great company initiatives to help with this, such as a development day dedicated to studying, so that we can continue to improve without eating into our free time.

Do you have any productivity tips that help you through the day?

I think it’s important to take regular breaks. I try to stick to working for 35 minutes and then taking a five-minute break to stretch my legs, have some water and re-energise.

And I always avoid scheduling meetings that last longer than one hour, to ensure my team is able to concentrate throughout. I find that when meetings are any longer it becomes difficult to maintain concentration and so harms productivity in the long run.

What skills and tools are you using to communicate daily with your colleagues?

The main tool we use is Slack. I work across multiple channels on Slack, which allows me to speak to different team members and the wider company quickly and effectively.

And as well as being helpful with working, we use Slack to socialise – sending each other memes, playing games and sharing funny videos and social content!

How has this role changed as the engineering sector has grown and evolved?

The engineering sector in general is growing at a rapid pace and so is my team. I was one of the first people on my team when I joined five months ago and now we’re at eight people across three different time zones and growing!

And the job specifications for an engineer are changing every day. The things I learned when I was onboarding are different to the things that new joiners are learning now, which reflects how quickly things are moving in the engineering world – not to mention Personio’s product and engineering department. There is never a dull moment!

What do you enjoy most about working as an engineer?

The thing I love most about being an engineer is the opportunity to solve problems. I love being confronted with a problem and then taking methodological steps to work out how to solve it and having an answer at the end. It’s even more satisfying when I find the answer to a problem that I didn’t think was solvable!

And in my position as a professional engineer, I often have the chance to help other people learn, sharing my knowledge with team members and helping the team develop their own knowledge and skills. It’s a great part of my job!

What advice would you give to someone who wants to work in engineering?

I think my best advice would be to try not to feel overwhelmed when you’re starting out. Engineering can seem very complicated and daunting at the beginning, but it’s a skill that can be learned just like anything else – so don’t give up.

This advice applies to women in particular. Because engineering is a male-dominated industry, I think a lot of women feel put off about getting started.

But girls can code and girls can be amazing engineers! So, I would encourage women and girls everywhere to look into the sector. If you’re a motivated problem solver, engineering could be perfect for you!

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