Inside Scout24 

Updated: March 26, 2024Reading time: 10 minutes

Behind the Scenes: A Spotlight on Our Engineering Team with Akriti Stachelek

Akriti's story at ImmoScout24 began in 2018 when she joined our team straight from India, starting her journey as an engineer. Her exceptional skills and leadership qualities didn't go unnoticed, leading her to quickly rise through the ranks to become an Engineering Manager and then advancing to her current position as Head of Tech. Outside of her professional life, Akriti harbors a deep love for the mountains, often spending her time hiking and exploring nature's wonders. Her unique blend of technical skills, leadership acumens, and adventurous spirit enriches our team, bringing diverse perspectives and innovative approaches to the forefront of our work.

Can you provide an overview of the roles within the engineering team and their contributions to the company's success? 

Our engineering team consists of diverse roles, each crucial to our success. Product Owners and Product Managers align our work with business needs and value propositions. UX Designers and Researchers ensure our products meet user needs, focusing on usability and user satisfaction. Analysts provide essential data insights that inform our decisions and strategies. Engineers, are the backbone of technical development, responsible for building and maintaining our systems. The Engineering Manager oversees the delivery and health of the team, ensuring projects are completed efficiently and team members are supported. Each role is pivotal in driving the company's innovation, operational excellence and drive business growth.
What technologies or methodologies does the engineering team primarily use, and how do they contribute to the overall success of the projects?

At Scout24, we embrace a range of advanced technologies and approaches to stay ahead in our field. Our infrastructure is primarily based on the AWS cloud computing platform. Our technological framework includes languages and tools such as Kotlin and Java for backend development, alongside TypeScript and React for frontend. From a methodological standpoint, we're dedicated to agile development techniques, employing Scrum and Kanban, alongside a microservices architecture, and the implementation of continuous integration/continuous deployment (CI/CD) processes, along with emphasis on observability and reliability. Quality assurance is a collective responsibility here; we do not assign a specific QA role but instead depend on automated testing conducted by our developers. These tools and practices empower us to quickly prototype, iterate, and launch features with a level of quality that greatly benefits our projects.
How does the engineering team foster innovation and creativity in their day-to-day work?

Innovation is at the heart of our engineering culture. Innovation is nurtured through hackathons/hackweek, dedicated research and proof of concept time, and encouraging innovation. We maintain a culture of openness, where new ideas are welcomed and explored, and failure is seen as a learning opportunity. This openness fosters a creative environment where team members feel valued and inspired. Recent example is of leveraging the AI in our search journey to provide user an easy and innovative way to search.  
What professional development opportunities are available for the engineering team to stay updated with the latest industry trends?

We're committed to the continuous growth of our team members. We provide access to online courses, certification programs, and participation in conferences and workshops. Regular tech talks and knowledge-sharing sessions within the team further ensure everyone stays updated with the latest industry trends and technologies. Enhancing this culture of learning, there is a weekly organizational-level Tech community meetup for the exchange of experiences.

“We value problem-solving abilities, collaborative work, and a passion for continuous learning.”

How does the engineering team maintain a healthy work-life balance, considering the demanding nature of their roles?

Understanding the demanding nature of tech roles, we emphasize a healthy work-life balance through Hybrid working model, 30 days remote work options, and a supportive culture that recognizes the importance of personal time and well-being. Regular team-building events and wellness initiatives like Body and Mindfulness Day further support our team's health and well-being. As the head of engineering, I consistently advocate and ensure a healthy work-life balance. Also by setting example of respecting team members' time outside of work hours and avoiding sending messages or emails outside of work hour. We believe that a healthy work-life balance is essential for bringing the best in our team.

In what ways does the engineering team collaborate with other departments, such as product management or customer support, to achieve overall company goals? 

Our engineering team works hand-in-hand with product management, customer support, sales, and other key departments to align our solutions with both business objectives and user requirements. We foster a culture of open conversation, where anyone can reach out to anyone else without hesitation, and colleagues are always approachable and helpful.  
We believe that delivering a quality product requires the collective ideation of all roles. Roles such as PM, UX designer, engineer, analyst, data engineer and other needed roles are all deeply involved from the feature's discovery phase, which further facilitates easy and open collaboration along the delivery.Typically, Slack, used as an instant messaging tool, supports this collaboration in the hybrid work model. This collaborative effort ensures a holistic understanding of customer needs, market trends, leveraging tech advancement.

Can you highlight a recent project or feature that the engineering team is particularly proud of, and what makes it stand out?

There are multiple projects the engineering team is proud of, but a recent highlight is our AI-powered natural language search. This project stands out for its use of AI to enhance the user experience, significantly improving engagement and satisfaction. Navigating through filters, drop-down menus, and complex navigation can be daunting for users. Our goal is to simplify the search and filtering process with the help of AI. This feature allows users to search in plain, natural language, just as they would describe their search to a friend or family member.

What do you recommend applicants for the recruiting process at Scout24?

Embrace authenticity, show empathy, openess to challenges, be data-driven and bring your curiosity. Familiarity with our technologies is beneficial, but a willingness to learn and adapt is crucial. We embrace diversity and encourage applications from all backgrounds. 

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