Being a Backend Engineer at Urban Sports Club
Central to our members’ ability to do the activities they love are the developers writing the code that makes our product work. Today, we hear from Jan Skopljak, Backend Engineer, on what it’s like being an Engineer on the Member Experience team, what he finds most rewarding about his role, and how his work helps our members.
Please introduce yourself.
I’m Jan, I’m originally from Croatia, and I’ve been working at Urban Sports Club since May 2019 as a Backend Engineer. I joined just as we entered hyper-growth, and I was part of a big group of people joining the tech team at that time. During my onboarding, it was really exciting to see how much the Engineering team was growing, and it has continued to grow since then.
Sounds like an exciting time to join the team. Can you tell us a little bit more about your role?
Since the team had grown from just 5 developers to 20 in such a short amount of time, we had to restructure the team. We started out as two big teams, but as things progressed, we decided to split into smaller teams. Working in smaller teams allows us to work more closely with different departments and the Product Managers and to gain a deeper understanding of our focus area.
On which team do you work?
I’m a Backend Engineer on the Member Experience team, and I work with a Product Manager and our mobile developers in support of our api development. I prefer working on a smaller team because the structure allows us to be much more efficient. Our standup is small, our focus is narrow, and we all get to share our suggestions and opinions in regards to our one focus. Our team is also very open-minded — we like to exchange ideas and feedback with one another, and if I’m unsure about something, I can always depend on my teammates for support.
What is exciting about your work?
Since a lot of things are already established from the backend point of view, our focus now is on improvements. We’re currently working on refactoring and restructuring the api, which is particularly exciting for me because we can actually learn something from our past experiences, improve upon them, and prepare ourselves for the new features that will come.
What impact does your team have on our mission? How is your work going to help members?
One of the bigger topics my team is tackling is our search results. We saw and experienced that the search wasn’t doing the best work for the members in the older apps. In improving our search, we wanted to guarantee that when someone searches for yoga in Schoeneberg, they actually get yoga in Schoeneberg instead of something else.
Following our initial tests, I can really see the impact on the members. Our improved search helps members find the activity they want to book faster and the user experience is much nicer. Now we’re just trying to learn more from our user and search data and use these insights to drive decisions.
What do you enjoy about working at Urban Sports Club?
I like sports a lot, so the minute I came to Berlin, I was astonished by the Urban Sports Club concept and immediately signed-up. It was super simple and really fit my lifestyle. My Urban Sports Club membership helped me continue to pursue my passion for bouldering and rock climbing while also letting me discover some new hobbies like badminton, squash, and yoga. So, when I got the opportunity to interview here, I was really happy.
I already liked the Urban Sports Club concept, but when I came for the interviews, I also realized that my love for the product also extended to the mentality of the people working here. Everyone was open-minded, relaxed, and customer-focused. Technical decisions were being made based on what it would bring to users as opposed to just using the flashiest technology.
I really like the company culture here because it allows you to think for yourself and share your ideas without being worried you’ll be judged for thinking differently. I’m really impressed by how well the company has delivered on my expectations and how much I feel I belong here.
What is most interesting about being a Backend Engineer at Urban Sports Club?
There’s a lot of hidden challenges in Backend Engineering, and I like working to keep things clean, sustainable, and reusable. It should be the goal of a Backend Engineer to think about the future and the different ways the product can evolve or at least keep the code extensible enough that it’s easy to mold.
Furthermore, I enjoy being a Backend Engineer at Urban Sports Club because I can see the impact I have, and I can see that the improvements I make actually have a result. My day-to-day work shapes member experience, and I like that I can see the improvements I’ve made in the app. I know the planning and work that went into it and am able to see the end result and benefit.
Interested in joining our team? Check out our open positions.