As we strive to create a safer cyber future for everyone, our talented engineering team takes center stage. Curious about what it’s like to be at the heart of our operations? We recently caught up with a few engineering leaders at Nord Security: Gerrit Garbereder, Rokas Dambrauskas, and Paulius Kimbartas to discuss their teams, daily tasks, challenges, and skills.
But not everything made it into the video, and we had a few requests for further exploration! So settle back and enjoy, as we delve deeper into the world of Nord Security engineering.
Engineering teams’ role and projects
Hello, Gerrit, Paulius, and Rokas! Thanks for your time today. To start things off, could you tell us how your teams play a role in the success of Nord Security?
Paulius: Hi there. My team at NordVPN is developing the Checkout system, polishing purchase flows so that customers can get our products in the easiest and most secure way possible. So simply enabling people to purchase our products in their preferred way helps grow our user base.
Gerrit: We’re building tools to protect NordPass customers, even when they’re not actively using the app. Further, as the Premium squad, our team concentrates on monetization of the service. We’re driving this by maximizing customer satisfaction and value for money. Delivering high quality tooling will increase premium subscriptions and reduce the churn rate.
Rokas: Our mission is to continuously enhance the NordLocker platform, creating a seamless and efficient experience for everyone who uses it. By doing so, we empower other teams to excel in their work and ultimately drive the success of the entire company.
Awesome! What are some recent interesting projects you’ve worked on?
R: A little more than a year ago, NordLocker made the strategic decision to go serverless and focus on building cloud-based solutions. In recent months, we finally managed to migrate one of our core functionalities to the cloud, which was a very challenging task!
P: On the NordVPN team, we recently added a one-click payment option to enable our existing users to have a seamless purchase experience in a secure way. This feature required multiple components, such as authentication and secure data retrieval.
G: Adding attachments to NordPass was a really challenging project. We had to align the integration with our colleagues at NordLocker while the underlying structure was reworked from the ground up. During this project we created not only new features but also formed new bonds with people across multiple teams.
Work tools and daily operations
And to get these projects over the finish line, which tools do you normally use?
R: Some tools are used across the whole company. GitLab helps us manage our codebase. For snappy communication, we use Slack. Apart from that, engineers are free to use their IDEs and tools of preference.
P: To expand on that, my team uses Docker, Grafana – and those are only off the top of my head! In terms of programming languages, primarily we use TypeScript, PHP, and GO.
G: As a cross-functional team we’re using a whole zoo of tools every day. We provide each guild the tooling that fits their needs. Android, iOS and Backend development is enabled through corresponding IDEs.
What does an engineering manager do on an average day?
R: My day is quite diverse. I spend most of the time communicating with my team, ensuring their projects are on track and addressing any issues that may arise. I also participate in meetings with other teams and help with long-term planning.
P: In one word: dynamic. My primary focus everyday is to enable engineering teams to achieve their goals, so ad-hoc knowledge sharing, brainstorming, and guiding people takes time every day. On the other hand, focus time is really important for me. Planning upcoming features and aligning our goals across teams is a vital part of my work. It contributes to the team’s overall performance and happiness.
G: To add to the above, after the daily scrum in the morning, I typically take care to remove impediments for the team’s current tasks. Once everyone is unblocked I move towards tactical planning together with the Product Owner on upcoming projects and challenges.
R: I always strive to do some hands-on technical work as well, so I can stay connected to my team and the work they’re doing.
Growth opportunities and skills needed
What do you look for in your teammates?
P: It’s all about having an eagerness to learn – the cybersecurity field is very dynamic, new risks arise and our engineers need to be constantly learning and up to date with new technologies and best practices.
R: Strong technical skills are important, but we also look for individuals who are excellent problem-solvers, able to work well in a team, and have a growth mindset.
G: Engineering specialists are of course expected to be experts in their field. However, I believe it’s also necessary for this role to be open-minded with customer success as a focus. And I agree with Paulius, my expectation for any engineer is to be curious and eager to learn.
P: One other crucial thing is to be an honest communicator. If something’s wrong, we don’t wait till the situation develops. We speak about it and solve it.
How does your team grow together?
R: In my team I encourage open communication and knowledge sharing, which helps everyone on the team to continually refine their skills. Also we do regular performance evaluations, 1-on-1 meetings, as well as offering opportunities to attend relevant training and conferences.
P: Yes, 1-on-1 meetings help us to determine how each engineer wants to grow, because growth is such an individual thing. I always plan the team’s work accordingly, and prioritize initiatives that will help us all grow.
G: We benefit from the training possibilities provided through the Tesonet Group, which focus mainly on soft skills. Hard skills are improved through mentorship programs, online courses, and conferences. I encourage my team to spend around 10% of their time learning, which is scheduled into our sprint planning.
Challenges and how we solve them
It sounds like there’s a lot to consider! What challenges do you face as managers?
G: Translating the big picture into actionable items that allow individual contributors to relate their work to the company’s success is a challenge. Making everyone aware of the actual problem we are trying to solve is a difficult task. Often enough engineers tend to dive straight into a sophisticated solution while a simpler solution would have solved the customer’s problem with ease.
P: I agree with that. Alignment across individual, team, and organization goals is a challenge. The ideal situation is when each engineer’s goals are in alignment with what we as a team want to achieve, and the team goals are in alignment with what we as an organization wants to achieve. In such situations any friction disappears and you can simply tackle whatever challenges you have.
How does your team work together?
G: Our distributed team is shaped by people from different nations with a variety of backgrounds. This mixture of people and culture fosters a vivid exchange of experiences. Not every day is joy and laughter, life is full of challenges and we are handling those challenges together. Recent events in Ukraine and Türkiye are two examples of compassion and support within the team beyond professional distance.
P: Smartest restless achievers I’ve ever known. Each person on the team brings ideas on how we can overcome new challenges, which we always have. On top of that some challenges come unforeseen, but that does not stop us. We can simply jump on a call and brainstorm the solution together. Pair programming is a great way to solve problems.
Thanks to Gerrit, Paulius, and Rokas for their time today!
If you’re an engineer or manager interested in working with us at Nord Security to create a safer cyber future, check out our job postings below.
About Version 2
Version 2 is one of the most dynamic IT companies in Asia. The company develops and distributes IT products for Internet and IP-based networks, including communication systems, Internet software, security, network, and media products. Through an extensive network of channels, point of sales, resellers, and partnership companies, Version 2 offers quality products and services which are highly acclaimed in the market. Its customers cover a wide spectrum which include Global 1000 enterprises, regional listed companies, public utilities, Government, a vast number of successful SMEs, and consumers in various Asian cities.
NordLayer is an adaptive network access security solution for modern businesses – from the world’s most trusted cybersecurity brand, Nord Security.
The web has become a chaotic space where safety and trust have been compromised by cybercrime and data protection issues. Therefore, our team has a global mission to shape a more trusted and peaceful online future for people everywhere.