rebeldot intern Mihai

Rebel Tech Stories: Looking back on my .NET internship

As part of our conversations with the younger rebels, those of us who started out as interns and who are now an integral part of the team, this time we’ve asked Mihai to share a little about his own journey.

Mihai has been with us for almost a year now, having gone through a 10-week .NET internship initially, where, under the mentorship of some of our smartest engineers, he and his colleagues learned to work effectively as part of a team, learning, failing and growing together.

Like many of the rebel interns, he has quickly blended in and learned along the way how to aim towards a healthy balance between work, life and university. Today, he is building digital solutions to one of our key accounts, and he’s confident that the learning process won’t stop in the near future.

When he got some spare time, you can find him jamming to some classic rock ballads. Occasionally, on a good Friday evening, he’ll show off his cook skills, preparing some of his epic signature hamburgers, having everyone stay for this treat, and mingle in the backyard of our office for hours into the evening. 

When and why did you choose an internship?

I started looking for an internship because the university encouraged but kind of suggested that we should find a place to get some proper work experience. The options were to either work for the university or in an actual company and so I decided to go for the latter.

Did you have a specific pattern when looking for companies to apply for?

I just knew that I wanted to get to a place where people were nice and where I could get along with all my colleagues, although it sounds a bit utopian. I just felt it was a real possibility.

Around the time I decided to go for an internship, a career fair took place which I thought was going to be helpful but ended up confusing me even more.

There were about 30 different companies at that fair, a mixture of everything, You’d attend a presentation, then you’d jump from one to another, without understanding anything about their actions and their culture.. It seemed quite tough to make a choice.

How did you end up choosing RebelDot?

I remember there were a lot of pictures from barbecues / team-buildings, and Christmas parties.

Clearly it looked like a place where people feel good.

Seeing all this, I asked the girls at the RebelDot booth for details about the professional opportunities and, of course, about the technical aspects of the available internship.

I really wanted to do back-end and I saw that the internship was based on the .NET technology which was just what I wanted.

It was a perfect match, in fact, the first internship I have applied for.

How did you feel after the interviews?

To be honest, after the HR interview, I remember telling myself that this is where I want to be. It was a very nice and friendly conversation.

Feeling this oddly familiar vibe from the very beginning, I realized that this is the kind of mood I would like to have at work constantly .

As serious and professional as the conversation was, I didn’t feel it was something procedural, but rather a genuine and casual conversation.

I felt like a human being and not like a “human resource”.

Tell me about your first week as an intern at RebelDot.

I was happy to see that everyone was excited to meet us, me and my fellow intern colleagues, get to know us and support us with any question we had. That day was also when we met our mentor, Emi, kicking off a 4-week training period.

The really interesting part came when we started the actual internship project.

I don’t think any of us have worked in a team in this way before. That is, to try to organize ourselves, each with his bit and his responsibilities, so that in the end we can synchronize and organize as a team.

How was the team-work like as an intern?

To give you some context, everything I had done in terms of “team-work” until then had been in college where someone would come up with ideas and we’d try to help each other. It was very superficial, though…

At the internship, however, everyone had their own piece. We were self-sustaining, but also responsible for the team’s work. When we didn’t know something, we would communicate with each other and teach each other.

I realized that things go much faster and that you learn from others. I saw that as long as everyone does a little bit and we’re transparent to each other, the puzzle comes out until the end.

Besides, I was constantly motivated by our mentor to learn more. I remember him handing out the usual tasks and then telling me “Mihai, this one seems like a breeze. Don’t you want a challenge?” This had me prove to myself that I have a lot of potential to explore and materialize.

Do you have any memorable moments throughout the internship?

Yes. The 3 years anniversary.

It was very nice because I met a lot of people. In the following days after the party, I was even more excited to go to the office because I knew I would recognize a lot of the people I met there.

Everyone was super friendly and I felt comfortable making conversation with every person present there.

This is one advantage of RebelDot being a highly selective company when it comes to people’s character. You can clearly see that, although everyone is kinda different, you are surrounded by nice people.

There ain’t a super-specific -specific pattern. I would say that we rather complement each other with our different personalities.

Which is amazing.

What is one aspect that you enjoy the most as part of RebelDot?

The fact that everyone is open to communication. You can ask anyone for help, no matter what you ask. People will not judge you. When you have open-minded people who care about you and your opinion, it is very easy to come up with suggestions and simply speak your mind up.

That is, in fact, actively promoted within the company – the spirit of initiative, the desire to experiment and implicitly to develop both the business and yourself as a professional and as a human being.

What do you like to do outside work?

I like to play the guitar. I haven’t done it in a while, but I’m still trying to recover on this side.

I like to spend time with people and I have time for all this even if I work.

Sometimes the faculty also intervenes, but even so, I am in a position where I manage to make time for university and the projects for university as well as work and of course, social life.

Did the internship help you as a student?

What I noticed is that the way I am now studying and completing my uni projects has started to be the same. I’m much more organized now. Somehow this way of doing things came organically, a way I learned during the internship, constantly collaborating with my team, but also developing independently.

I like to take things in stride and see how it all works.

I now see programming quite similar to playing the guitar – divide it into small pieces until you get a result.

When you learn a new song, for instance, you try to divide everything into smaller pieces. Take a small part and do it until it’s okay.

The same goes for programming – I have a function to do – I do it in small pieces and I check that each piece works properly. It’s also about the structure.

What advice would you give to a student looking for an internship?

Say what you have in mind at the interviews.

Be exactly the way you are and speak your mind. Be honest with yourself and to the people you’re talking to.

That’s because you can’t get anywhere by being someone you’re not.

If you don’t like the way you are, try to change and get to your best option, or if you like the way you are, just be yourself.

People will appreciate that you are committed and genuine and eventually you will get to the right place, along with the right people.

Let's grow together!

While our internship positions are currently closed, chances are you will find an attractive role on our careers page anyway. Take a shot and apply for it and let’s see if that’s the kind of place where you’d like to kick off a career in tech. 

Product Design Internship

UX & Product Design Internship – A glimpse into how people grow at RebelDot

Hi. My name is Viviana, I am a UX & Product Designer at RebelDot and in this article I am going to talk you through my recent journey as part of this team, trying to give you some insight into the growth opportunities that you’ll find at RebelDot.

Since I too started out as an intern, I am going to take this opportunity to remind you about the UX & Product Design Internship happening this summer.

If you’re a team player who wants to grow both personally and professionally, who is passionate about design, and wants to solve real problems, then you probably might be a good match for us. You can find out more about the role here.

But anyway, let me first tell you how things worked out for me.

Becoming a design intern at RebelDot

After completing my bachelor’s degree in Social Sciences in Romania and being drawn by the aspects of society and culture, I continued my undergraduate studies abroad, in Cardiff, where I studied Product Design. From medical design to creating gaming devices, I explored as many areas of design as possible in order to find the one that I truly like. During my final year of studies, I focused my attention on UI/UX projects, and after working as a UI/UX Designer for nine months, I decided that this is what I wanted to do.

However, this time I was looking for a different Design experience.

I wanted to find meaning in what I do, to constantly fuel my curiosity, to find an environment that challenges and allows me to grow, and, equally important, a place where I feel appreciated and cared for.

And, from the first glance at RebelDot’s website, I felt that it might be the right place. I loved the vibe which was very different from the other tech companies I looked at, I loved how everything was revolving around people and how the values that were promoted resonated with me.

Applying for a design internship

Unfortunately, there weren’t any job openings for Juniors or any Design Internships, but that did not stop me from trying my luck and sending an email. To my surprise, I have got a response and I was invited to the first stage of the recruitment process.

The whole process was a glimpse of the challenge that I signed up for, and a constant reassurance that my initial feeling about RebelDot was more than right. I was straight away introduced to the company’s culture, and I was thrilled by the warmth, kindness, and professionalism that I have noticed from the very first interview.

Getting to know the team and the culture at RebelDot

From the beginning of the internship, I was convinced that RebelDot is a place with an amazing culture and with people that share the same values; a place where I felt included and appreciated right away. Over the span of three months, I met wonderful people that helped me develop both from a personal and professional perspective, and I have always received the support and guidance that I needed.

What I loved the most was the approach towards the internship program which provided me with a hands-on experience of what it means to be a UX & Product Designer, covering all the aspects and the steps of a design process. I was taught how to take ownership of every decision, how to be in control during presentations and client meetings, and how to communicate effectively. I was always encouraged to explore, to question everything, and to find the answers to different problems by myself.

I really enjoyed the fact that my mentor, Tom, did not tell me the answers straight away, but instead, guided me towards finding those solutions myself, allowing me to use my creativity and to develop my own way of seeing things.

Getting to know the job

Going deeper into the project, tasks were becoming more and more challenging, but my level of confidence was also rising. Having people that were constantly encouraging me and giving me constructive feedback was accelerating my progress and was helping me to change my mindset.

Instead of being scared and anxious about the challenges that were coming, I started to see them on a more positive note and to make of them an opportunity to grow. Tom went above and beyond to make this internship experience as close to reality as possible, being both a mentor and playing the role of the client, in such a credible way that I was perceiving him as two separate individuals.

I like how the theoretical aspects were perfectly combined with the practical ones, and how I always had the chance to take a step back and reflect on the things I learned, on the things that went well and on the ones that didn’t, getting a chance to learn from my mistakes, and to understand how I can improve my skills.

Actually doing the job

The most challenging aspects were the ones that involved talking in front of people, especially during the client meetings, and during my first usability test. When conducting the usability testing, I actually wrote my whole speech down (including the “hello” part), so I won’t forget anything, but the fact that everyone was open-minded, relaxed, and willing to help, made it very easy for me to get over those constraints and made the whole process really enjoyable.

Having access to stakeholders was also a great opportunity as I was able to see how things work from multiple perspectives, to understand the different needs, the technical limitations, and to learn how to collaborate and communicate effectively. As it is not only about creating beautiful designs, but also about creating feasible products that address the real problems.

See if RebelDot is the kind of team you're looking for

Maybe you’re not a student anymore. Or who knows, maybe you didn’t even enroll into formal studies. Perhaps you’re just really into observing the smallest of details and designing beautiful, minimalist or edgy, yet practical pieces. Point is, those skills that you’ve been polishing for a while now could keep on delighting the human eye while also solving some real problems and support communities of people that you haven’t even thought of.

I for one realised that this could be a fulfilling alternative thanks to a module that caught my attention. To you this breakthrough might happen only by taking a shot at trying something different. Or not. Who knows. Maybe you’re better off designing concert posters or stock doodles.

That’s still freaking awesome.

However. If you feel like there’s exploration to be made in this field, just send your protfolio over and let’s see if that’s the kind of team you’d like to be a part of.

Victoria React Native intern rebeldot

Rebel Tech Stories: Landing an internship at RebelDot.

We are still looking for driven and talented students to apply for our 9 week .NET/React paid internship. That’s why we figured we’d talk to Victoria, one of our very last interns who we met this summer and who became, in the meantime, an integral part of our development teams, working on a global project, with some of the latest tech.

In this article Victoria is going to talk to us about her experience as an intern at RebelDot, discussing in detail the journey she went through to land a permanent role as part of our team and work with us on developing digital products, technology solutions to current, real problems.

How did you decide to apply for an internship?  

I’ve started applying for internships ever since my second year because I wanted to already apply most, if not all the theoretical aspects which uni has taught me. I wanted to see how things are functioning, outside university, out there in the real life.   

And so I started applying in my second year, without any success, only to carry on with my efforts in my 3rd year of studies. 

I took on this quest and started looking for different opportunities and collectives until I found one that I genuinely liked. And who liked me too.  

That’s how I got into RebelDot. 😊    

Did you know from before the kind of company you wanted to work in? 

To be honest, I was super confused, I didn’t really know what to expect.. I have never worked before, until this last summer and I didn’t know how life was going to be outside university, not just work-life.. 

I didn’t have any specific expectations or super vivid scenarios. I just knew I wanted to resonate with the vibe of the company and to simply get along with the people in there. 

Do you remember what the internship application process was like at RebelDot? 

The very first interview I’ve had was with Oana, one of our People and Culture specialists. I remember that it was a very casual conversation, the kind of talk that makes you feel you had known that person since way back. 

I got to have a glimpse into how the culture was like at RebelDot, hear more about the project that we were going to work on and.. Make a new friend, actually. 

After that I had the technical interview with Andrei one of RebelDot’s team leads, who made me feel super comfortable, even though it was a rather techy interview to which I didn’t know some of the answers.. 

He managed to not make me feel frustrated for not knowing, but instead directed the whole conversation in such way so that I could figure out the answers myself. 

Which was quite motivating and comforting. Especially as a first impression. 

What was your first impression of RebelDot? 

My interview with Oana was the first interaction that I had with RebelDot, so to speak.  

I guess I made a more objective opinion after the interview with Andrei. By then, I’ve had the chance to have talked to 2 people already who validated my impression – the fact that there is a chill vibe in this company, the kind of ambiance that makes me feel comfortable and relaxed. 

I got the sense that people are motivated to build amazing technology, but more than that, to care for each other and build meaningful relationships. I liked it. I felt like I belong to this culture. 

What made you choose RebelDot? 

Leaving aside the reasons I’ve previously mentioned, another one would be the opportunity to work with React Native. That’s something that I wanted very much and that was not possible in other companies as an intern, for some reason. 

Do you remember how you found out about the internship at RebelDot? 

I have heard of RebelDot before through my colleagues who have already applied for some of the internship opportunities. Most of them told me that the technical test was fairly difficult and that they only got negative answers.  

I guess this is something that intrigued me. I took it as a challenge, knowing that RebelDot, as open as it is, wasn’t really a place for everyone. 

In terms of technical details, were there other reasons why you accepted the offer from RebelDot? 

I knew we were going to work on a real project. We were told that there was a training that we had to go through, which got me super excited because, although I really wanted to work with React Native, until that moment I have never had the chance to.  

Having studied mostly Java in university I figured maybe it was the time I’d learn something new, especially if I was offered a training opportunity. After I saw the RebelDot opening for the React Native Internship I told myself “that’s gotta be a sign”. 

Do you remember your first week of internship at RebelDot?  

Definitely. The first week was super fun and I was fortunate to already have some “friends” in the group that I was part of. Oana and Andrei.  

Besides them I got to meet the entire team, 17 interns, divided into 3 teams.  

The first day was when we all got to know each other. We were this weird mix of people from different backgrounds and universities.  

It was amazing to see how involved the senior rebels were in this project and this new collective.  

Considering that they were Senior Developers or Delivery Managers, the kind of people that you’d think are super busy, it was genuinely surprising to see how dedicated they were to make us feel welcomed and comfortable and excited for what was going to follow.  

Right from the start, after me and my colleagues have been allocated to the project, we benefited from close support from Andrei (Team Lead), Oana (People and Culture specialist), Iulia (People and Culture Business Partner and Tom (Head of Product Design). 

They talked us through the entire product development lifecycle, which helped us get a broad perspective on what we were going to work on, as well as create a sense of informality between each other which obviously made our communication super efficient, transparent and friendly.  

I could say that we were privileged to have this opportunity, but is not really a privilege because this is the way every internship unfolds at RebelDot. Which is pretty cool. 

How would you summarize a day as an intern at RebelDot?  

Team-work. 

The most important thing I learned as an intern was team-work. In university, most of what you do as a student is then passed through different tools such as anti-plagiarism, so that your work would never be similar to what your colleagues would do. While it does make sense to some extent, I found it rather absurd and upsetting.  

On the flipside, throughout my internship I had my own tasks, but also the freedom to work on the very tasks together with my colleague/s so that we’d be more efficient, but also learn from each other.  

We’d spend hours in huddles and slack calls, talking and doing what is also referred to as “peer programming”.  

You know what.. I’ve seen that “this meeting could’ve been an email” meme so many times, but it was just interesting to see how, in our case, the interns, the moments which brought the most value professionally, but mainly personally, were those never-ending meetings. 

I mean.. that’s what crystalized our team.. constant communication helped us develop chemistry, a collaboration that resulted in quality code and an environment where you just liked being a part of. 

How did having a mentor help you as an intern?  

First of all, Andrei shared with us his own experience and journey. He knew how things were supposed to play out. At the beginning of each sprint, he would give us the direction, that true north, the way in which we had to manage ourselves and each other, the way we had to provide feedback and the way we had to use GitHub in order to make our work easier and more efficient, developing an objective perspective on our output.  

I very much enjoyed the fact that this learning process never stopped at the work per-se. Often, there were random moments throughout the day when, if Andrei would feel like he had something insightful to tell us, he would just say it on the spot. I sensed that he was driven by an honest wish to help us develop as engineers, but mostly as people.  

What skills should a student have to apply for an internship opportunity? 

Technically, I’d say a solid knowledge of basic programming concepts such databases, OOP and algorithmics. 

Besides, I’d recommend students to try experimenting their hard skills on a personal project so that they’d learn the basic concepts I was mentioning before by actually practicing them.  

And, obviously, a strong drive to learn and be open to new technologies.  

In terms of soft skills and personal qualities, what really helped me was simply being open-minded and nice to the people around me. 

What does being a rebel mean to you?  

Not necessarily thinking outside the box, but just thinking differently about things. Having the courage to stand out by being yourself and by engaging with people. 

Do you feel like RebelDot is a place where you can be the rebel you just described?  

Yes, I think it is something that happens on a daily basis. I mean we were never constrained to do things in a particular rigid way. We are encouraged to figure things by ourselves, using our own reasoning so that, in case we mess things up, our mentors would help us get back on track by perfecting our reasoning and not by blindly following some else’s way of thinking. 

rebeldot internship .net

Become a part of our team!

If this sounds like the kind of team you’d want to be a part of, go apply for our latest .NET/React Internship and give it shot at becoming our next rebel colleague.

RebelDot 2021

Looking back on 2021: RebelDot’s values in action

Hi,

It’s me again, this time with a recap of some of the coolest stuff we did this year @RebelDot.

For this article, I thought I’d ditch the usual format of listing all our achievements and rather talk about our core values and specifically how everything that we did in 2021 is, in a way or another, tied to each of these 5 values – togetherness, growth, care, fun and fulfillment.

Although I have tried to discuss them separately, keep in mind that they all exist in harmony and that each of the initiatives mentioned as specific to one value, can easily be interpreted into any of the other 4 of our guiding values.

Let’s proceed, shall we?

Togetherness

After almost two years of leaving the office to work in a hybrid setup, we gradually came to the realization that it is a blessing in disguise.

Having to adapt to this new context we started thinking creatively, more than ever, about the ways we can engage our people virtually.

With about 78 new people in our team, and an overall number of 150 rebels (70 more than last year, around this time), we started placing emphasis on the informal nuance of our interactions and gave our shot at extending this casual friendly vibe outside the office.

We did so by setting up events that broke the tech bubble and introduced people to new experiences, things that we’ve probably never tried or even thought of trying, moments of novelty that we got through together.

Ever thought about getting a sailing certificate?

Probably not. And neither did our 10 rebels who went to Croatia for a week to do so. Or going to a team building where you get to literally build something for the community around you? Or how about learning how to cook some gourmet pasta dish through an online masterclass thought by one of our full-time Delivery Managers, part-time “remote chefs”?

These are all just a fraction of the experiences that made togetherness seem less and less vague for our people and gave them more reasons to look forward to.

And, by the way, this sense of togetherness didn’t stop at our colleagues but was infused well into our client relationships too. In fact, one of our biggest clients to this day became our close partner after having spent a full day at our cozy office, sensing the “rebel” atmosphere, listening to our company’s story, our individual tales, and ambitious vision, all while enjoying a BBQ in our mildly popular backyard.

rebeldot yard

Growth

When it comes to growth, there are a couple of actions, part of our yearly strategy, which we do to make sure that we stay on top of our game, delivering state of the art digital product, and building healthy relationships. Yes, I am speaking of formal learning programs here: leadership & feedback trainings, workshops, and access to digital libraries. We very often even read books together, and later discuss them at our morning coffees, day to day meetings and of course, the #book-lovers Slack channel.

But these haven’t been the engine of our growth this year.

An important yet sometimes forgotten component of growth is the acceleration of growth that happens while spending time and overcoming day to day challenges with the right people. Now when I say right, I don’t mean likeminded and cultural fitted people. Think the opposite.

By adding 78 new people to our team, we’ve learned that real growth happens when we embrace our differences in opinion and culture. It’s when you stop doing thigs because ‘this is how they have been done before’ and consider new, rebel ways of doing things.

In 2021 we onboarded no more than 27 interns on areas such as React Native development, .NET development, People and Culture, Product Design and even Blockchain development. It is not a practice that we are new to, as we’ve been creating opportunities for students ever since the company took shape. Still, it is the most internship positions we have ever offered.

RebelDot culture

Here’s a word from our People and Culture department on why creating internship opportunities was an integral part of our agenda in 2021:

“We wanted to be more intentional in growing new talent through our internship programs, while also creating mentorship opportunities for our current rebels (as in RebelDot we also believe in the power of taking care of others). This year was particularly tough in selecting a limited number of interns, as along the recruitment process we realized that the competition was super strong and that we had to make difficult choices between many high-caliber candidates. And this is why we decided to add a few extra spots in our programs, as it would have been a pity not to continue with candidates who were fit in terms of technical skills, as well as from a cultural and values perspective.”

This lowered the company’s overall age to 28 and made youthfulness and adolescent-like energy a default vibe at the office. We probably spend more time on Tik-Tok than we did in 2020, and let’s just say that our parties have gotten a little bit more intense.

rebel hoodie

It would probably be a bit of an assumption to say that our clients felt these aspects of organic growth too, but one thing that is for sure when it comes to growing our clients’ businesses is that we made sure to always be there, from the napkin wireframes and all the way to releasing their digital products in stores. Just like we did in all these years.

Besides, we are now proud to have also amplified our service offering, starting 2022, we can run the products we are building, going beyond digital product discovery & design, product adding post-launch support as continuation of the full product development process we follow at RebelDot.

Some of our rebels also went on to land some important certifications, or pivot to roles that increased their responsibility but also catered to their ever-growing aspirations and potential.

Care

For this aspect I am going to share my personal perspective for I became truly inspired by the way care for both my colleagues and the surrounding community is practiced here, at RebelDot.

I’ve learned at university that nowadays, each respectable company “has to have” a CSR plan. Basically, for those of you not fans of the corporate lingo, think of it as a carefully articulated plan to help others for the betterment of the world..

I’ve never really doubted that companies and the people part of these entities simply have a genuine willingness to do good, but “packaging” it in this super corporate practice just isn’t it for me.. I mean, it might be the norm, it might make doing good mainstream, which is very much needed, but this sort of “branding” simply put a superficial if not even selfish nuance to doing good.

And that’s totally not the norm at RebelDot.

Now don’t get me wrong. Obviously, the People and Culture department is making sure that we hold a solid awareness of the social causes, as well as the means in which we could support our community, extending well beyond just developing digital products.

Still, it saves plenty of room for random acts of kindness, the kind of unplanned help that you offer because you’ve been moved, inspired or asked for in that particular moment.

I remember when I started working here, ready to start showing off my academic skills to create a fancy CSR plan then seeing Tudi, our CEO, casually approaching me and my colleagues on a daily basis to let us know about social causes that he found and that needed our immediate help.

Imagine how great I felt to have some of my (once esteemed) university learnings disregarded in such a beautiful way. To have this reality check and observe that acts of generosity happen naturally here, without really planning months ahead for causes that maybe need urgent actions. This was one of the first rebel plays I noticed and loved and adhered to ever since.

Fun

There was a time when we used to say that coding is fun. Eventually we started to dust off the vague industry cliches and really dig into the essence of our values. We realized that building apps is more challenging than it is fun. But being part of an atypical team navigating a big mess is what (truly) makes it fun.

It is the process and the people. The ways in which the seriousness of a project is alternated with the informality of your colleagues in what is supposed to be a stiff, professional stand-up meeting. It is the inside jokes that you and your team develop, the endless memes on “that Slack channel” or the shamelessly extended lunch breaks where you bond together over some cheap takeaway noodles.

Not to mention about the periodical after hours or late Fridays at the office, where roles start to dissolve and where the authenticity of each rebel somehow harmonize into an almost identical collective willingness to share stories, get to know the protagonists, and build genuine friendships.

It wouldn’t make sense to start listing the fun initiatives that we participated in this year, because, really, you’d probably finish reading this article next year. It is not something super specific, like coding or a team-building, but more like onboarding the right people and simply letting them be.

rebeldot anniversary

Fullfilment

Having a fulfilling job clearly is not just about the work itself. While we constantly try to take care of this aspect by handpicking ideas and founders we truly believe in, matching them with rebels who show an interest in those particular visions, there are other aspects which, taken altogether, can ignite a deeper meaningfulness to the job.

We do believe that you are much more than your role which is why we strive to create a context where your true colors can surface and where you can progress on all levels. Take the example of Vali, one of our day 1 colleagues, who actually started out as an intern and is now a veteran React Native Developer.

He also happens to be a very talented beach volleyball player, competing regularly in both local and national tournaments. This year we found out about his intention to compete in the biggest national contest so we sponsored the entire freaking competition. Hell, we even designed the jerseys for all the participants. No second thoughts, just straight action. It wasn’t even part of a strategy of some sort, but a spontaneous wish to do so right after the moment we found out about this. Just like our “CSR” initiatives.

RebelDot values 2021

Come work with us!

If you consider yourself a kind & supportive human, you have a sweet spot for all things tech and you’re up to new challenges, you might have a home with us. 🏠

What we are looking for is not know-it-alls, nor ideological fits.

We want to grow together while creating a space in which diversity is important and your different perspective will contribute to building great digital products. 🚀

So if you think we might be a good fit for your personality and career ambitions, have a look on our careers page and give it a shot! 

As we continue to expand our web and mobile apps development team to support more companies with our technical expertise, we have around 20 open positions and an internship in the works, so plenty of opportunities for you to become part of our team of rebels.

We look forward to meeting you!

RebelDot316-1920-min

A rebel way of giving in 2021 🎁

Ever since we emerged as a tech company in Transylvania, we have been paying equal attention to building products that have a meaningful impact, as well as developing our surrounding local communities with actions that go far beyond any technology innovation – like empathy and commitment.

We knew that for technology to make an impact, we first must address the more important, yet overlooked issue.

For example, we could not just gift the kids in the rural areas with laptops and tablets if they didn’t have any electricity, heat or even food.

And because of that, we wished to be more involved and to actively do something.

We hardly ever had a clear strategy of what the industry calls CSR. Most of the causes we’ve raised awareness about and the people we’ve helped have happened without even planning them in advance. We saw a need for it, and we acted upon it.

No calendar, no procedures and no corporate silo to pass on budgets for simply doing good.

We had a common goal – to give as much as we could to the ones less fortunate than us.

Getting all the rebels involved was the easiest part. The hard part came when we had to choose from different social causes. But it was the kind of challenge that we would’ve gladly taken on infinite times.

In fact, we promised ourselves we would carry on with these projects and initiatives all year long.

Being exposed to the aching community, to so many groups of people and even animals in need of help, we didn’t just wish to help one cause, only because it’s Christmas, Thanksgiving or whatever specific day when, suddenly, people remember that there is kindness within themselves.

We didn’t need a reason to help, but a means through which we can become instinctively willing, able and inclined to do so – to commit to more random acts of kindness.

Here’s how we decided to do good in 2021. 💕

We built something 🧱

In mid 2021, we planned our first teambuilding, ever since the entire pandemic hit. We were more than pleased and excited about it. Almost 80 rebels were onboard and ready to go to a retreat in the rural area of Bihor, Romania.

Besides the excitement of seeing each other again, face to face, after so many months that we already lost count, we also had a mission. For 2 days straight, we were #rebelswithacause, building playgrounds for the kids in three rural areas of Bihor and painting the walls from their schools, adding a little touch of colorful rebellion to them.

We got the chance to meet the children in person, and the surprise came, ironically or not, from them, even though we bought presents for each and one of them. They put on traditional dance choreography and did a nice little show for us which felt like a flash mob, right when we were about to leave the place.

Speaking with our team members afterward, everyone seemed to have enjoyed this. It was a unique experience, but different in an effective way since we broke the pattern of a usual and traditional teambuilding getaway.

rebeldot painting schools
  • Renovate two classrooms ✅
  • Build three playgrounds ✅
  • Enjoy a delightful traditional dance ✅
  • Build a stronger rebel community ✅

A yard sale, but give it another meaning 🏠

The story might go on to an unusual way of our giving philosophy.

Also happening this year, we had 3 different initiatives which had a primary scope to help the community around us.

This time was a family from Belis, Romania.

Organizing a yard sale, in both our offices from Oradea and Cluj, all the rebels had the responsibility to bring something for sale. It did not matter what as long as it was still usable in a good condition or… edible. 😅

rebeldot yard sale cluj
  • Help the rebels declutter and recycle by selling the things they do not use ✅
  • Eat delicious food cooked by our colleagues and their moms that we love for gifting us food all the time ✅
  • Raise 3.500 RON ✅
  • Help a family in need by donating the amount of money raised from the yard sale ✅

The annual shoe box project 🎅🏻

With everyone running like crazy to buy the perfect Christmas present for their family, friends, and loved ones, in December we wanted to stop the run for a minute and think about what we can do to be of use. 

We stopped and thought about all the children who need us the most, given the season. 

Just like last year, we partnered with CERT and created 72 shoe boxes filled with goodies for kids in rural areas around Cluj, Transylvania. 

So, we embraced the mission again, a different one, but kind of the same, I might say – being Santa for one day.  

Everyone got enrolled, taking on the responsibility of finding the best gifts for the kids. It was not hard because we had everything prepared. We knew the cause we were going to help and the kids we were going to surprise with. We even had their names, ages and locations written on our personal notes. 

Everything turned out to be so satisfying. At the end of it, our hearts were full, and their Christmas tree was full of hope, joy, and excitement that Santa really came this year.  

RebelDot CERT
  • Get creative buying gifts for the kids ✅
  • Ship 72 gift boxes ✅
  • Put a smile on the little one’s faces, being Santa for a day ✅

The charity auctions 💰

I left the most amazing and inspiring story at the end of this article. And I hope it ends up inspiring you just as it inspired me. 

How often have you heard about tech companies organizing charity auctions?  

If you are like me, never. Until now.  

The number of people involved in this project was beyond our expectations and our rebels utterly amazed us. We have had such a variety of products, some of them can even be called a must have in your house. And I am referring here to home decorations, books, lots, and lots of cookies, pancakes, cheesecakes, and all kinds of desserts. Even dinner reservations were made by some of our colleagues, who offered to cook their house specialty, and include the transportation to the winner or the winners, depending on how many rebels were able to bet on that offer and win their prize.  

Of course, we could not miss the annual sausages, so known here in Romania, which were the most wanted ones, yet the most expensive ones.  

From books to toys, home decorations and food, you were able to bet and fight for what our soul and mind really wanted.  

In the end, we managed to have fun, fun creating our own game, from which we could give back even more. Give back to our community, to those less fortunate than us.  

Seeing that we can contribute to a little spark of someone’s wish, for only he knows how long, was everything to us. 

rebeldot charity auction
  • Engage the teams in a fun activity ✅
  • Raise 4 125 EUR to 8 different social causes ✅

Our Christmas gift for our clients? ✨

We decided to double the sum on their behalf, increasing the amount raised from 4 125 EUR to 8 250 EUR. Because we could not decide on one single cause to donate to, we decided to split the amount.

Here is how we wrapped this one up:  

‘’Hi Jason, 

Were you expecting a branded mug or T-shirt from us this Christmas? 

While we look forward to sending some to you with another occasion, this year we want to break the pattern of material corporate gifts, and we are giving you something that is truly meaningful. The gift of giving🎁 

Like last year, this time, we picked a few social causes we wanted to give back to. 

For that, we organized an auction and had our people bidding for random items offered by colleagues, from traditional food to DIY Christmas decorations, scented candles, a whole lotta cakes, folk nights, or even custom memes. 

We called it #rebelswithacause. It was a brilliant way of having fun while giving back.  

Now, what does all this have to do with our present for you?  

We took the money raised from the charity auction and doubled the sum on your behalf. It’s our way of saying thank you for being a trusted partner and contributing to our mission of building great products while being mindful of the world around us.  In total, we managed to raise 8 250 EUR to 8 different social causes.  

Cliché or not, it is a Christmas 🎄 miracle that you, together with us, made it happen.  

Happy holidays! 

Yours truly, 

The team @ RebelDot’’ 

RebelDot Christmas
  • Give clients a meaningful gift ✅ 
  • Raise 8 250 EUR to 8 different social causes ✅ 

Our giving did not stop here. As we are always looking for people and organizations that have an impact on the world, we found ourselves sponsoring sport competitions like volley tournaments and rallies, sponsoring an entrepreneurial bootcamp for kids, and the purchase of medical equipment for medical institutions in Cluj.  

In the corporate & business world, doing good can easily be interpreted as an empty brag or is reduced to purely transactional brand building efforts.  

2021 has given us an important lesson about doing good as a company. One, you do not need an elaborated CSR plan. Second, fun and teambuilding activities are better when they serve a higher purpose.  

RebelDot Intern Filip

From intern to full-time rebel – Filip’s love story for coffee and technology

Some might wonder why a love story. Because Filip has a passion for coffee as he has for technology.

He just ordered a new espresso machine, right before our talk. 😊

Filip is a Software Developer who started as an intern in RebelDot 4 months ago.

Since many of you are considering applying for an internship position as part of our team, we figured he might have some useful insights to share with you – behind-the-scenes details about life as an intern here and how to eventually land a permanent job.

Let’s start from the beginning. How did it all start?

It was all there before I even knew it. Joggling around medicine and architecture made me understand that I cannot see myself doing anything else besides technology and everything that comes with it.

During high school, where I had a primary focus on mathematics and computer science, I understood that, and yes, I was delighted by it.

You might ask, why technology? I was deeply passionate and curious about the “hidden mystery” everyone was talking about. Being able to create programs, video games, solving puzzles for different industries and their business, was beyond me, and because of that I was eager to learn more.

Why choosing an internship?

To be honest, looking back now, I am connecting the dots. It’s funny how this (connecting the dots) has been a recurring theme in RebelDot for a while now, and we keep referring to Steve Job’s speech.

Being in my second year at the university, the year you are supposed to find an internship, they organized some sort of a workshop for all the students, where different IT organizations were enrolled.

All you had to do was to choose one from that list and go for it.

As you can imagine, it was an entire list full of startups as well as enterprise companies, so it was a bit hard to limit myself to choose only one name from there. You might wonder how I did it?

First, I analyzed their websites, from a user experience point of view, to more narrowed in colors, texts and visuals. What mattered the most to me was the feeling I was getting after scrolling through the company.

Second, I let myself inspired by the initial impression and I made the final decision based on how effectively they managed to communicate with you, via one simple website.

That’s how I chose RebelDot. Their storytelling was centered around people and their values had a loud resonance to what I believe in.

Why us? How was the entire experience for you?

At a glance, I had the feeling that the focus of the organization is narrowed around people and nothing else. People who help you succeed. So yes, I followed my intuition, and I am super excited about my decision.

If I would have to describe how the entire experience was for me, I would sum up my feelings about it: togetherness & care.

Imagine how one day of an intern’s life was at RebelDot.

What really impressed me is that whenever we would start off a call in the morning – a stand-up meeting, we weren’t just having a small talk for the sake of it to then move on to “more serious” topics.

I remember that our Team Leader was genuinely interested in how my weekend was like, for example, or what places I have visited. Essentially, everyone wanted to make sure that we feel good personally and appreciated. This definitely helped in improving my performance on those particular days, but also overall.

At the same time, I felt that I was learning something new, day by day. We were assigned in different teams, as I was not the only intern at that time, and each team had its own mentor.

So, for the first 3 weeks of the internship, we had training workshops in which we covered different topics and based on those intuitive discussions, we cut down on individual tasks for the week in progress.

Overall, for me, it was a learning experience.

What was the most challenging part of this internship?

I’d say working with a team.

I know, it might sound unfamiliar, but during my university days, we always received projects individually. Coming to this internship and discovering that I need to synchronize with the members of my team, and most importantly counting on them to do their own part, was new for me.

At the same time, it helped me understand that it’s ok to count on someone else, it’s ok to ask for something you haven’t heard or know anything about.

At the end of it, this means being part of a team.

What’s your advice to the next generation of interns?

Keep in mind that attitude beats knowledge.

No matter how much knowledge you acquire in time, the way you maintain your attitude once you’re on a learning curve is detrimental to your progress both personally and professionally.

For example: during this internship, I felt respected and appreciated for who I am, which gave me the confidence I needed.

I do believe that this level of confidence came also from our Leads and Mentors because you were able to ask any questions, as dumb as they were, without feeling stupid. You were appreciated for asking first because it showed your interest and desire to learn.

The other advice would be to allow yourself to make mistakes now, once you’re in an internship, because it’s supposed to be that way, as it’s supposed to help you grow.

It’s safe to make mistakes while you’re still an intern. And it’s safe to make mistakes and learn from them even after being an intern at RebelDot.

What’s your plan for the future you?

At this very moment I see myself becoming a full stack developer, rather than being oriented only towards front-end or back-end. I want to have the full picture of it, knowing that I would be able to create, develop and maintain everything from scratch. Alongside this comes the opportunity to discover new technologies which could help me achieve extraordinary things in the future.

I am thankful for this opportunity of being an intern first, then switching to a full-time position, because it helped me grow personally and succeed professionally.

If this article made you curious about how being an intern at RebelDot feels like, keep an eye on our careers page, as we are going to announce a new internship for Spring 2022!

Teambuilding Rebeldot

A team-building diary – How we got together by giving back to the community

Almost two weeks ago, our People and Culture department set up one of the best and most literal team buildings any of us has ever had. In a time when it got so tempting to be fantasizing about extravagant and “out-of-the-box” activities, we chose to go for the one solution hidden in plain sight this whole time – a team-building where people get together by literally building something for the community around. ⛏️

And not just anything.

We found three schools in a remote, yet utterly welcoming village in Bihor and built playgrounds for each one of them.

After all, we do have a new office playground too, so we figured that since we enjoy it so much, then surely the 100+ kids are going to absolutely love having their own.

Some of us gave our shot at painting the walls with some joyful illustrations, while others exploited their constructions skills by putting together what seemed to be a simple structure. Spoiler alert, it wasn’t. At least not like assembling an IKEA couch. Which.. I guess is not always easy either.. Anyway. 

Here’s how it went:

Day 1

We kick off our long-awaited adventure by gathering almost two thirds of our people at the office and have everyone tested to make sure that we are in for an epic, yet safe trip.

Once everyone gets their negative results back, we hop on the bus, two busses actually, and head towards Bratca, a nice little village surrounded by nature and picturesque views.

Now most of the faces are quite familiar, as we had seen each-other before in our weekly Friday company meetings. Still, since much of the online interaction we’ve had was only with those part of our departments, there is this sense of excitement in the air, knowing that we are finally going to step beyond our closed circles and really get to know the rest of the people, which are enough to worry about remembering names 😅..

RebelDot party

I mean, think about it.. Almost two years have passed since we last had a team building.

In the meantime, we tripled in size, growing from 40 to about 120 people, we moved from our glossy low-key corporate office into a nice little house and started working in a hybrid environment.

To most of us, getting to know each other got harder the moment we left the office and began adapting to the new remote work environment.

People were still seeing each other, but most of the interactions were rather intentional and not so much accidental, which meant that despite all the daily meetings and online initiatives, random & organic relationships were yet to be built.

On the other hand, adapting to this new kind of virtual togetherness made us even more grateful for the moments spent in the company of each other. Hence the great turnout of our most recent offline initiatives such as the Movie Nights, the Wine-Tasting evenings, the Summer BBQs, Board-games Sessions, or the Yard Sale.

This is also why this team-building, as late as it was, came just at the right time.

Now going back at it,

Rebels at work

9:07 PM

We break the ice in this first evening, or more like melt it, with a cup of mulled wine and some small talk near a big campfire. Shortly after, we all enjoy a cozy dinner together and successfully fail in keeping our rebels well-rested and contained for what was going to happen the day after.

What you could deem as “pre-party party” happens organically with most of the people preferring to dance and chat for hours into the night which, although was not part of the actual timetable, is the best thing we did not plan for.

Everyone’s just naturally getting together, talking so casually, like they know each other from before…

There are no fixed roles anymore, no labels, just people. 😊

People enjoying finally being together.

A highly sociable setting powered by this extended state of isolation and.. well… the spiritual wonders of kitsch music. 

Rebel Party

Day 2 - 9:07 AM

Breakfast is served and soon enough we all set off for a trip. We split into 3 groups and after a 30-minute bus ride deep into the natural landscapes of Bihor, we all reach the destination and learn what our actual quest is going to be. The excitement is real and you can just feel it – It’s bound to be an adventure.

The task is pretty straightforward – paint the walls of each classroom and build a playground.

And here we are now, 3 groups of roughly 25 people, trying to be Agile “on-site”.

We’re told that we got till 7PM to finish everything, which means that there’s no time for stages like wireframing or MVP development.

This playground has to be flawless from the very first try so no beta version or further updates.

We get moving.

Some of us give our shot at painting the walls, some others start chopping the necessary materials and some others want to show that the “engineer” in their JD does not only stand for software, handling the drill machine like it’s second nature.

It is fun.

A bit cold and maybe a challenge for those of us who stayed long into the previous night, but fun, nevertheless.

2:30 PM – We're getting there 😀

Hours fly by, the paintings are gradually coming to life, the playgrounds.. not so much, but good thing there’s still some time to undo the mistakes, slightly panic together and miraculously find a last-minute solution.

It’s actually fascinating to just step outside for a minute and look at how everyone is being useful, no matter their skill. If a couple of hours ago we were all just a big mess, now everyone is busy, even if it’s varnishing, drilling, carrying planks or.. figuring out how to help, also known as “giving indications” 😂..

It really does look like a cross-functional team, a cluster of smaller groups that work on separate tasks, but constantly communicate with each other to deliver the best solution. Kinda like what we do for our clients. 

From time to time you get to see people zoning out, being absorbed by the beautiful scenery and then smiling, acknowledging the present moment, the fact that we’re all here, happy, doing this thing to make someone even happier. 🎈

rebels building a playground

7:15 PM – Yes, we do overtime. No, we don’t leave things undone.

Three hours later, we make the final adjustments and start packing. The energy levels are slowly draining, but the satisfaction is through the roof.

We look at the final product and can’t help but think – we made this. 🤩

We all organize for the celebratory final photo, but not before our QAs do their thing and stress-test both the playground slides and swings. – Say cheeeeese! 📸

This second night is actually supposed to be even more exciting than last night because this is when the “official” rebel party happens. This time we got an actual DJ with a professional sound system and it shows. We party till early in the morning and create more memorable moments on the dancefloor.

Day 3 – a morning full of gratitude and memories to look back on.

Here we are now, enjoying a coffee on Sunday morning, having just finished a short hike, kind of wishing we’d stay here for at least a few more days.

But there’s still time for one last surprise before we set to go back home.

We’re invited to attend a dance performance in the parking lot, something random enough to get everyone outside and see what’s going on.

Turns out some of the kids we’ve made all these things for, found out about our not-so-secret initiative and thought about showing their gratitude in an original way, to say the least.

By setting up an impromptu traditional dance show which is just…wholesome. We also get hand-written thank you notes and a genuine smile from these innocent little souls.

And we know it.

Giving back was the best thing we could have done together

So.. Why not keep on doing this? Building teams by literally building things..

I guess we now found our side-hustle. 😊

bihor teambuilding

Join RebelDot and build impactful digital products and meaningful friendships. 🚀

We do have quite a lot of vacancies on our careers page so go get your next Rebel team-building pass by applying to become part of our team. 

You will grow with us and get the chance to work with highly skilled engineers and visionary founders on some of the most promising ideas.

Besides, we got a whole bunch of activities going on, all of them designed for you to really enjoy working here.

A place where you get to be more of yourself, where we actively work to help you achieve your goals professional and personal goals. 

RebelDot culture

We are celebrating the RebelDot 3rd anniversary 🎉

Last Saturday we celebrated our 3 years anniversary at @RebelDot.

[….] After months spent watching the number of people on Slack increase week by week, we now had a chance to see just how much we grew during the past year. [Who would have imagined that as a company that has togetherness and care at its core, we will have a period longer than 1 year in which we will not meet in person.]

Fast forward one year, we are looking at last week’s anniversary party pictures.

RebelDot celebrating 3 years

We celebrated ourselves and the amazing things we built together in our 3rd year as rebels. Here’s what has been keeping us busy. 🎉

48 new rebels have joined the team, RebelDot getting closer to 150 people (collaborators included).

Probably the best thing that we have achieved this year is that we continued to grow while strengthening our culture and company values.

Even at distance, our People and Culture helped us grow our team remotely, onboarding no less than 48 new rebels.

In 2018, we started with the bold goal of creating a company that brings great value to its customers and that is valued by employees for its culture. Back then we were 30 rebels with big dreams and an outlook that was less than great. Today, 3 years later, thanks to our great colleagues, after a 500% growth in size, we are looking at an extremely bright future.

The new way of doing work was an open invitation to knowing people beyond their day-to-day roles in RebelDot through their homes, peers, friends, and kids that popped up in the backgrounds of our Teams calls. It conveyed a sense of closeness and intimacy that nurtured the organizational culture beyond any coordinated effort.

rebeldot retrospective 3 years

NFT Marketplaces, Banking, Telemedicine, Energy, GreenTech, or PropTech are just a few of the industries we’ve been tackling this year.

For the 3rd year in a row, I am fortunate enough to have met yet new business founders driven to build promising ventures with the help of technology and create new market opportunities through innovation.

Last year, a lot of companies were not sure if they were going to keep up with their digitalization plans, but it looks like the “uncertain time “ that we navigated amplified the need of startups, SMEs, and large enterprises to find partners that can bring their digital product ideas to life or speed up their digitalization process.

The pandemic was never an obstacle to the emergence of new great ideas.

This year we kick-started over a dozen new projects, doing what we know best, being reliable tech partners to our clients, and building web and mobile apps from scratch.

Despite the growth, we continue to keep an almost equal balance between the size of clients we work with (startup, SME, Large Enterprise), consolidating our expertise in industries like Banking, Telemedicine, Energy, GreenTech, or PropTech.

 

RebelVentures — because we can’t keep our hands off cool startups.

At RebelDot, we build digital products for startups and brands all over the world. Most of the time, we take them from the idea stage and take them through the entire development process, through design, ideation, MVP creation, and a full product launch.

The thrill of joining forces to solve problems with the help of technology it’s probably what has kept us in the business for over 13 years. And sometimes, listening to your own heart does only good.

Hence, we’ve decided to launch RebelVentures with the aim of investing in the startups that catch our eye. So far, we’ve invested in several startups around Europe, and we have one major investment in a Romanian startup (to be announced soon).

From the office to working from home, and then to hybrid.

Moving our headquarters from a corporate building into an actual house grew our sense of community and closeness.

We’ve turned the office into a social area where bonds are tightened, where we meet to take the edge off a challenging project and chat about anything, from holiday plans to weekly wins or struggles, or just exchanging cat pictures”.

The last few days, the office has been at full capacity and if last year I was thinking about remote work is becoming a norm, I now find that people actually prefer mixing the two for both productivity and other holistic reasons. This is why we’re currently looking for our new, larger playground.

RebelDot playground

Found genuine ways to give to the community around us.

Having a not so intentional, but rather impulsive way to give back allowed us to find along the way many causes that could benefit from our fast, call it Agile approach to finding solutions.

We went from formal NGO donations to speaking at student events, supporting monthly hackathons, and integrating little habits like only sourcing locally for each of the present bundles we occasionally offer our people.

RebelDot CSR

We’ve also built a pro bono app for CERT Transilvania, an app meant to support the local rescue teams.

Since we love supporting rebels in their passions and side hustles, this year we decided to help to organize the beach volley tournament Valentin, one of our React Developers, is involved in.

Beach Volley jersey

Visidot, our internal startup has become part of a short few selected in the Wise Guys accelerator.

Visidot, our very own startup, the digital paper log that we’ve built last year continued to reach new heights, having just got out of @WiseGuys’ pre-acceleration program in Estonia.

Backed up by some solid digital campaigns, Visidot started to gain traction on a both national and international level, landing some important clients in industries like tech, as well as real estate.

It is also fortunate timing since many other companies are considering this new hybrid scenario and getting back safely into the office.

We’ve used our voice to drive a digitalization action in Romania.

Posting on LinkedIn also turned out to be an impactful indirect means to give. The post I wrote a while back about the ridiculous level of bureaucracy in Romania and the need for a digital alternative was recently quoted by Romanian Deputy @Sabin Sarmas in his celebratory post, announcing a digitalization bill recently passed in the Government. Again, seems like little things like that, small daily impulses can, in fact, build that “better world”.

I am grateful to be here, now, and to have experienced yet another just-as-challenging year together with such driven and amazing people.

rebeldot digitalization

1538 applicants and 27 interns: our Spring and Summer Internships.

The spring and summer internships we have organized this year were probably one of our greatest joy bringers. Not only they gave us a chance at meeting new people, but it brought a new wave of fresh perspectives to our team.

I want to congratulate all the students who became Rebel Interns as we were extremely selective — only 1.7% of the applicants were accepted

Today, we are actively growing our .Net, as well as React Native and Blockchain development teams, making RebelDot a community that is fueled by learning and innovation.

RebelDot tshirt

The future will be Rebel! 🚀

I wrote this with a heart full of gratitude for the people that make RebelDot a company in which we thrive by being authentic day by day.

If last year you would have asked me where I think RebelDot will be on its 3rd anniversary, my guess would have been a lot different than the reality we are experiencing today.

We have a lot of work do to in the next year, and although I am not able to fully envision where we are all going to be 365 days from now, all I can say is that we are looking at a REBEL future.

via negativa wellbeing

Via negativa – a bold approach to wellbeing.

Via negativa – a relatively new concept that Cristina, one of our QA Engineers and a psychology aficionado will present in this article, aiming to provide you with a practical means of decluttering your daily routine to live a much more fulfilling life.

Who wouldn’t want their life to be better? 😌

Specifically, who wouldn’t want that something that would make their life better? Be it a better romantic relationship, a higher salary, or a fitter body. A quick glance at the plain Google search containing How to make life better yields more than 7 billion results.

Venturing even deeper into peer review research, keywords like improve well-being entered Springer Link Academic Journal, outputs around 6000 results. It seems that so much time and effort invested in researching, blogging, and creating podcasts, might indicate a prevalent problem.

Indeed, according to WHO, mental health and other behavioral problems are the primary drivers of disability worldwide. Apart from socioeconomic variables, genetic influence, and environmental factors, are we taking the wrong path towards this issue?

A more recent approach, commonly known by being associate with famous Black Swan author, Nassim Taleb is the via negativa approach.

Instead of focusing on the positive, why not focus on the negative? Specifically, on cutting out the negative? This approach that centers on what not to do rather than on what to do is called via negativa or the upside-down approach.

Originally born out of a theological approach, via negativa can take many forms. The core of this life philosophy is to focus on what to eliminate from your life in order to make room for whatever positive you want to add.

If I want good, why can’t I simply do good? 🤔

Deciding to decrease negativity or to increase the positive are two completely different approaches.

The first one deals with cleaning the internal or external environment. It’s like you try to cure a pulsating wound by cleaning it daily.

You don’t go to the doctor to apply skin grafts on a pulsating wound, do you?

Why won’t you?

Because by doing so, increasing the positive first approach, you will experience a failure in the end. Skin grafts applied on infected wounds don’t make wounds healthy. On the contrary, they get infected from the wounds. What you lose is not just the time you’d have to wait for the wound to heal. You increase the healing time and you lose some healthy skin grafts.

There are some reasons in favor of us accepting the negativity in our life and focusing on dealing with it, instead of cluttering it with another 21 ways to be happy in the next 2 hours.

Bad is stronger than good.

Humans are more attuned to negativity than being drawn to the positive. In a comprehensive article, Baumeister gathered evidence from multiple research areas. All data pointed to what might seem, at a first glance, a pessimistic worldview – we are so affected by negative factors: declining health, poverty, traumatic relationships. In this case, simply increasing positive behavior will have little to no significant effect on out well-being.

Losses weight more than gains. 💡

According to Kahneman, losses loom larger than gains. In some heavily replied experiments, people made irrational decisions when having to choose between scenarios framed either as losses or as gains. The authors’ conclusions pointed out the so long neglected flaws in human decision making – that of deciding based on the rational actor hypothesis.

People don’t just compare and weight anticipated outcomes and make a data-based informed decision. They actually decide through the lens of losses, a fact that might ruin investigations and marriages, and, generally, one’s future well-being. We are prone to acting out our cognitive biases.

Willpower is expensive and limited.

Research shows that willpower is easily depleted and, generally, not the best candidate for attaining long-term goals. Just an energy-consuming mental task makes us more prone to saying (and justifying the decision) yes to unhealthy temptations.

Yes, this vanishes all the pop psychology suggestions that romanticize the hero who manages to never eat the chocolate cake when everyone else gives in. But if willpower is not our trustworthy friend when it comes to getting rid of negative habits, then we should find other reliable solutions.

Via Negativa in practice

Via negativa solutions in practice. ✅

Behavioral activation exercise with a twist.

Behavioral checklist – select the activities that involve mastery and pleasure at a certain cutoff point. Based on behavioral activation theory, it involves introducing behavior to increase positive mood.

Distancing from clinical context, the exercise can have other purposes: discarding redundant, or low-quality activities. These are not necessarily pleasurable activities or activities that don’t have immediate, measurable outputs. The goal of this exercise can be to improve performance or mood by getting rid of the cluttered elements in your life.

If combined with the upside-down approach, one could easily add a twist to the logic behind the original behavioral activation exercise.

In this case, the steps are:

  1. Make a list containing all your day-to-day activities.

2. Start by extracting the activities that have the lowest level of mastery and/or pleasure.

3. Set a cutoff point (e.g:. discard all activities with mastery less than 7)

4. Set a limit of activities (e.g:. no more than 3)

5. Plan when to perform the activity in a specific manner (day, hour)

6. Plan which activity you’ll replace (e.g.: discard an activity with 5 mastery level and replace it with an activity with 7 mastery level)

Don’t refrain, control the environment. ⏱️

Successful interventions designed to decrease addictive behaviors have some key aspects in common. One of them is stimulus control. Originally introduced by B.F. Skinner, stimulus control captures the relation between behavior and a specific stimulus.

Applied to via negativa framework, stimulus control might take the form of choice architecture. This translates into simply cutting out the temptations or, making them hard to access.

Instead of focusing on bringing more detox smoothies or hard-to-pronounce purifying elixirs to your diet, start first by cutting out the junk in it.

An important key point is to always have a corresponding behavior to replace the unhealthy one. The upside-down technique can be used here to narrow down to a list that contains the most efficient foods that can substitute your unhealthy ones. Variety is not to be decreased with this approach. Rather, you can use the list to have a solid starting point for healthy replacements.

In this case, the steps could be:

  1. Make a list with the foods you want to cut out/remove from your diet

2. Remove them from your house/ Find ways to delay buying them

3. Make a list with the top foods you will use to replace the unhealthy ones

4. Make sure to have those healthy foods accessible

Conclusions. 🚀

The via negativa approach is a bold one.

It’s not comfortable to digest at first. But its function is not to decrease positive outcomes. Rather, the purpose is to filter to the core, which is to learn, to think critically about your choices.

As much as we’d like to feel good about ourselves, not all choices are the same, not all foods are the best, not all opinions have the same level of efficiency with respect to specific things. We are highly susceptible to cognitive biases, especially in a noisy environment full of too many options.

Using via negativa, you learn to filter everything based on a specific objective, in a specific context. It is an empirical approach almost rooted in a scientific mindset. Its purpose is to make room for positive emotions, relationships, decisions.

You can read more about Cristina’s transition from working as a clinical psychologist to becoming an integral part of our development team in the latest Rebel Tech Story.

Cristina QA RebelDot

Rebel Tech Stories: From psychology to building web and mobile apps.

We’re back again with a new interview part of our Rebel Tech Stories series, this time with a dear colleague of ours who got into tech after a remarkable turnaround.

The TechRebel Stories is a platform that we created to bring the people of RebelDot forward and have them inspire you to immerse into the tech world.

In this article, I’ll be talking to Cristina who is one of our QA engineers. With a master’s degree in Psychology and over 2 years of private clinical therapy practice, one day she figured that a therapist job might not actually be for her, and decided to give technology a chance.

Two years later to today, she is an essential member of the RebelDot team. A highly skilled quality assurance engineer with an insatiable thirst for curiosity whose never-ending collection of insights makes our Slack #learning channel feel like a library that you just don’t want to get out of.

At RebelDot we want to foster an environment of diversity and inclusion, which is why we offer our people the opportunity to craft jobs that fit into the broader purpose of the company and of their own professional path.

Get yourself a cup of your favorite drink and enjoy this read. I had a lot of fun interviewing Cristina.

What was your life like before RebelDot?

I have studied psychology in Bucharest and did my master’s here, in Cluj. After graduation, I began applying cognitive behavioral therapy as a private practitioner. During this time, I extended my experience to a private cancer hospital.

What made you think of choosing a different career path?

Ever since I was an undergraduate, I noticed I was drawn to structured and predictable tasks. That’s why I got into research and playing with variables. I enjoyed having the freedom to modify things without the risk of irremediably breaking them..

After my 2-year experience of working as a private therapist, I realized I couldn’t fulfill my curiosity the way I did through research.

I have then decided to volunteer at a research neurosciences lab. Besides that, for a brief period of time, I also worked as a content writer as part of an advertising agency. The topics were not necessarily interesting, or just arguments that I’d agree with, but I am grateful to have had that experience too. Writing surely did teach me a lot in terms of structure, which I enjoy so much.

I was eager to discover things, but a private psychology practice is not the most ethical context to fulfill one’s unquenched curiosity. I was working with people, vulnerable human beings whom you cannot just experiment with, to fulfill your curiosity.

How did you get into tech and quality assurance?

My humble beginnings in QA.. I wasn’t really confident that there’s anything else that I could do besides psychology or social sciences in general, but my friends supported me throughout all this process so I thought I’d give it a shot.

The first chapter of me entering the QA field started with my enrollment in a programming course that lasted 4 months. That was my very first interaction with code, so to speak. That’s also where I got introduced to quality assurance.

Having finished this introductory course, I wanted to dig a bit deeper into the quality assurance domain and decided to enroll in a second course, this time a more specific one, where I learned what you call testing.

It was a 6-month training, consisting of both Manual Testing and Automation Testing. By the end of it, I managed to build an automation project. Still being a beginner, I was content at the thought of me being able to produce a small part of what is called automation testing.

What was it that sparked your interest in quality assurance?

I’d say mainly the guarantee that you cannot make an irremediable mistake. The fact that you cannot harm people, but rather experiment with data to create something that would help them.

I figured that since I like structure, articulating and following a plan, I might as well just try QA. Because I knew that here, I am not just allowed, but actually encouraged to experiment, unlike psychotherapy, where even a small mistake could easily harm people.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not implying that as a QA you don’t have to worry about attention to detail. Not at all, actually.

It’s just that, in comparison to other environments where you’d work with people, here you can allow yourself to make mistakes because by doing so, you somehow create a shortcut for growth.

Also, with regards to the personal growth aspects: I believe that the detail-oriented approach and structure-based mindset I were to develop in this job, might also extend to my day-to-day life.. I’m talking about daily habits, things that go beyond just testing.

What about RebelDot? How did you find about us?

Following this second course, I figured that it would be the right time to start applying for a job in QA, although I was still a bit unsure about my skills, as, you know, like most juniors, I thought that not having any work experience won’t make me a desirable candidate.

Regardless of my lack of confidence, I started searching on Google for opportunities and that’s how I “bumped” into the RebelDot website.

I remember being impressed by the website’s “mood”, as well as the way in which the description of the job opportunity was written. I felt like this is a welcoming and open space, where I could grow despite my lack of experience. Unlike the rest of the job announcements, this one made me feel confident about my skills and character. It seemed like a good fit.

How was your first work experience as a quality assurance tester?

I remember I was pretty nervous, but everyone was super casual and welcoming which almost instantaneously gave me a sense of comfort and belonging.

Since this was my first proper job in tech, you can imagine there was a lot of stuff which I wasn’t familiar with, but any question I had, there was always someone who was ready to help me. It didn’t really matter what kind of query I had, from setting up my working station to requesting more technical details about the projects I was working on.

Besides that, I was pleasantly surprised to see that I can ask my manager anything and that he would always be available to answer my questions.

What helped you grow?

A particularly important aspect was that, besides the project that I was working on, I also had long-term learning objectives that I set from my very first week and that I would periodically verify with my lead manager. For example, I remember that alongside the short-term learning objectives, I really wanted to learn SQL.

I knew that, beyond doing my job properly, I wanted to progress, learn more and do more.

That’s why defining a clear learning path together with my lead, and having a blend of both intentional (formal) and also informal learning was an extremely important aspect to me.

Also, there was this common mentality amongst my colleagues that you should first be able to see the big picture in order to do your job better, which is why the developers never looked down on me and, on their own initiative, spent time showing me the behind the scenes so I can do my job better.

What were some of the challenges you had to face in the first months of the new job?

I think that the first challenge was prioritizing what I had to test.

My problem was that I was writing lengthy cases and I didn’t mind spending a long time learning and discovering more and more testing scenarios.

Still, my colleagues helped me work more efficiently.

A second challenge was that I wanted to go beyond just manual testing. I remember I wanted to work with databases, which required some basic knowledge of SQL.

But that was also sorted because it didn’t take long until I was taught simple (SQL) queries by my colleagues.

How is it like to be a tester at RebelDot?

You got the possibility to do both Manual and Automation testing. It starts gradually, from manual and you can pursue only that if that’s what you want. Manual testing is not just using an app endlessly until you find some bugs, but it is about upgrading the entire requirements creation process and modifying them from your perspective and your team’s feedback, of course.

As a tester, you are the voice of the user, which is why you will be regarded as a very valuable asset to your team. Your opinion is, in fact, critical to the decision-making process when building the end-product. Hence, you are encouraged (and paid) to speak your mind.

It is a sense of accomplishment when you know that, no matter how junior you may be, someone will listen and weigh your feedback.

Tools that you might be using: Squash, SQL, JMeter, Postman

What advice would you have for someone looking to get into QA?

It’s normal and acceptable for you to be uncertain on what career path you’ll be in the near future.

Regardless of what you decide, keep in mind that you have the chance to get feedback from various sources and experiences, thus making a richer decision. There is the opportunity to learn a lot within the company.

It is fine if you don’t know stuff, because certainty is often just an illusion, and might actually send you false judgments. You don’t have to be discouraged for not having a mindset and work ethic already defined.

What are some of the things that helped you grow the most?

A thirst for learning – essentially, admit that learning will take time and be willing to learn. Yes, you got a lot of opportunities, but it’s your process, which is why you should be the one having the initiative.

Now, in terms of testing, you should pay attention to details and dig deeply into every situation to find out the problem. Find out a way to pay attention to details – it can be a checklist, a tool, anything you can think of, anything that might work for you. Otherwise, it is hard to be so responsive/focused when so many things around you are competing for your attention.

I think it’s more important to know why you got where you are instead of knowing where you want to be in the future. But, that, of course, is just my personal opinion.

Also, embrace this role as it is something that you already know. Do it because afterwards you will be able to figure out if that’s what you want to do for the long term. Just commit to learning and by having this mindset you will benefit from all the opportunities that the company has to offer.

What about the people that you’re are working with?

People know how to separate work from spare time and they’re willing to help you with pretty much anything. You don’t have to be in their team, because they will be excited to get to know and help you either way.

It might sound cliché, but, to me, RebelDot is a place where I can be my true self.

Shortly after being hired at Rebeldot and getting accustomed with the people here, especially those in my team, I remember thinking “Finally, someone who appreciates my judgmental spirit and the fact that I’m always looking for flaws.”

Generally, I tend to see the negative aspect, but that’s the kind of role where I am actually happy to see the negative aspects. Personally, I promote the via negativa principles: focusing on cutting the negative instead of adding and adding the positive in one’s life. So I assume, the QA domain is quite suitable for my own approach to life.

This role massively satisfies my curiosity.

I hope that you found this interview just as insightful as it was for me to listen to Cristina.

If you are also thinking about starting your career in tech and grow with us, have a look on our careers page and see what positions might fit you.

You might also want to read our previous Rebel Tech Story, where we talked to Vali, one of our Mobile Developers, about his journey at RebelDot, from starting out as an intern to becoming an accomplished React Native Developer