Rudolf Nagy, or as we call him, Rudy, is a Full stack developer that has been part of the RebelDot team through thick and thin! In fact, he’s part of the group that made the Rebel team what we know today. Starting out as an intern to being an absolute gem inside the team, he’s seen it all and been through it all while RebelDot navigated the split, a pandemic, war, and many other ways in which the times were, to say the least, uncertain.
Let’s meet Rudy and read it all from his point of view.
Tell me a bit about yourself, Rudy, how did your passion for technology start?
I grew up in a family where my dad was my role model. I wanted to be a police officer just like him. In fact, and this is a funny story, one day, playing with his handcuffs, I accidentally got my hand locked to the desk. It was pretty embarrassing and a good occasion for my family to mock me (but also an opportunity to start pondering about maybe having a different career). Back to it, my dad was our role model, mine and my brother’s, and we both wanted to be just like him. Well, fast-forward 15+ years, one of us is, but I took a different turn.
After dropping the policeman fantasy, I figured being an architect might suit me better in the future. As a kid, I found it mesmerizing to build things. But I think it was around my first year of high school when studying Computer Science that I discovered how creatively you can use your development skills to problem-solve. It got me intrigued; I wanted to keep being thrown into challenges so I could find a new way, a creative one, to solve the issue.
Tell me about your first days at RebelDot
The day I took the final exam to get my bachelor’s degree, I came to what was known at the time as Imprezzio Global. RebelDot was initially part of Imprezzio Global in Romania. In 2018, the services divison ruptured from the company and became what is known today as RebelDot. I really wanted to get a place in the summer internship, and I was extremely happy to be accepted.
At the time, we, the interns, would stay at the office for six hours, working as a team. This was unique at the time; it wasn’t all theory but a lot of practice. I fell for the people, the overall vibe of the gang, and surprisingly, despite the company being split up, going through a period of transition which is often challenging, things got even better when we became RebelDot.
I guess I was grateful to be part of the team even in those challenging moments, which made the overall experience even more thrilling, and more meaningful to me. It all got even better after the split when we became RebelDot
After two fun and insightful months, I was offered a full-time position, and I took it in a heartbeat.
During my years as a student, I got attached to .Net. Therefore, I was working on back-end. That’s what I did at first inside the Rebel team. I started off on an Advertising client, an English start-up to mid company. There, I explored some front-end frameworks because they were using a console to track data, which was written in Angular. I saw an opportunity, and I started to learn some Angular too. Just like that, after about six months, I was slowly growing into a Full-stack developer. In the last year or so, I’ve also taken on a new challenge and shifted to React Native to explore mobile development. Recently, I’ve touched the basics of AWS too.
How did the company split of 2018 affect you? What were your thoughts and feelings about it?
You can imagine that I was rather nervous at first. It was my first job experience, and I really wanted to have a place here. I really liked everything about it: the people that I met and worked with, that were intelligent, witty, and hardworking, the culture, and the leadership.
I also got used to the project that I was working on. We’d done a lot of work, and things were going smoothly. When Tudi, our CEO, presented us with the news, our weekly company meeting was born. We were all gathering around him in a circle, so he could update us in the same honest and transparent way that he does today. The news was a lot to process, and it was also a bit scary. I didn’t understand, or better said, I didn’t have a clear view of what that meant for us and for me personally. I honestly believe that the admin team, meaning our support departments, took the hardest hit. Tudi was doing his best to keep us posted in real-time, giving us updates, explaining every step, and sharing his progress. He was also “in charge’ of our spirits, so he’d be spreading positivity around the office daily. After the first few moments of uncertainty, I can honestly say that I didn’t experience any bumps; it was quite a smooth ride.
I can recall the culture of our group at the beginning, and it has stayed the same throughout the years. We grew and evolved, but we still carry those same values that made us who we are today. Those thirty people that were at the beginning resemble a lot of those who make up the Rebel team now. We’ve always prioritized how we manage our projects, the value that we add to everyday work, and how we support each other’s growth journeys. That’s still visible today. Maybe, because the foundation was strong enough, all joiners resembled us in some way but also brought something new. That’s how we kept on going. To this day, I’ve never met a Rebel that I couldn’t connect to in some way!
How did previous events and all this uncertainty affect you professionally and not only?
When the pandemic started it was obviously a lot of information and again, a lot to process. I did not know what to do, so on a personal level, I’ve decided to pack my bags and go to the countryside and live with my grandmother. I needed a picturesque sight, nature, and some peace of mind in the middle of the chaos that was installing into our society.
At first, working from home meant no “start” or “end” to working. I’ve managed to “control” that too and simply enjoyed the simpler life. Although, something was missing still.
When our restrictions loosened up, I moved back to Cluj-Napoca, missing my friends, and the closeness to the lively city air.
When the pandemic started, I think we were somewhere around sixty people, but the remote-first world meant that there were no borders or cities anymore, so when I came back, I realized that we doubled in size.
It became hard to get to know everyone on a personal level as before, but I was also excited about the group. We started shifting more towards hybrid working and every day brought a new gamble of “who you’re gonna meet today”.
Fast-forward to 2023, we’re almost 200 people and rapidly growing. I kinda miss the experience of seeing my friends every day, but it’s also nice to go to the office and check the app a few minutes before entering to see who I’m going to spend the day with. It gets me excited!
In retrospective, the pandemic was a subject of great importance, and a lot was lost by the world, but I do believe that we did the best that we could, in a situation with no antecedent and 0 guidance. Given the context, I do believe that RebelDot was wise to send us all home, to close the office, to get a new one, the transformed cozy villa in the picturesque side of the city, then going hybrid. I think the whole team adapted quite well and fast. Now, to make the best out of it, I love both our office spaces.
What would you say that’s kept through the years from the Rebel team initial essence?
The people; this is definitely the answer. Everyone is just as open and as happy to help since day 1. I’ve never felt lost or lonely inside my team or my community, and I know that I always have someone to count on. The quality of people, this is something that glued and stuck.
We expanded on our initial connection, the 30 people that knew each other very well, on a personal level, and gathered people around that resembled our values, but brought their own uniqueness to our mix.
How did a normal day or a normal week used to look like at the beginning of your journey?
Well, it definitely started off by being physically in the office because the thought of working from home was far away. People used to gather in the kitchen area, and we’d start the day with stories, sharing a laugh, and sipping coffee. Then it was working as usual, the daily stand-up meeting, learning new things, and learning the ways of the Rebels. It was such a nice time, and it holds a special place in my memories. It was a period when I, together with the team, picked up a new hobby, doing puzzles. We did this in the office too; we’d buy puzzles of 2000 pieces, and we’d assemble them in bits during our breaks.
Hoes does a normal day or week looks like now?
Now, every day depends on the office’s availability. I always check the app that we use for booking a desk and decide what my day is going to look like depending on what I must do that day and who has already booked an office space. If the office is very crowded and I have a day with more meetings, then I prefer to be at home. When the office seems quieter, I prefer going and relaxing at RebelCafé and spending time with my colleagues. Yes, you might have guessed that I prefer our HQ because of our Café.
At home, I still tend to work a bit too much, but I’ve slowly found my balance, and now I mix 1 or 2 days at home with 3 or 4 days at the office. Having this decision to suit my needs is really amazing. Besides this, things haven’t changed much. We don’t gather in the kitchen anymore, but at the bar in the Café, and we share our stories and laugh just like we always did.
You mention the people a lot. What’s your relationship with the team? Do you ever meet outside of working hours?
I’d say I’ve developed many friendships with many of my colleagues, quite a few of them! Some people I’ve known for around six years now and some for a lot less, but I am happy for everyone in my life. Tudi, our CEO, taught me how to snowboard, which I now love. Tom, the Head of design, he’s a top-notch man! It’s funny because we didn’t connect at first, but then we were coupled up for a Blind Date (a People&Culture initiative to mix and match together people that don’t usually work together), after which we just started hanging out. I remember going to a music festival and creating a whole group of Rebels. I have so many stories that involve my colleagues; I helped Tom plant his new trees in his garden, and the best part is that they actually survived. During the last year, I had the opportunity of working with Cip, and some tough times and some fun brought us closer together. This is just the tip of the iceberg, I can’t possibly list everyone now, but I’ve come close to them; they’re my friends, not just work colleagues.
You’re one of the lucky ones. It’s rare to find a place, fit in, and stick around. Do you have any advice for people that are just now starting on their own journey?
Look for people and choose a place because of its people. It will never be just about work. Things should also be fun; they should also be about caring for others on a personal level, noticing them, and being there for them.
Start off with internships, one or more, test things out, discover who you are and what you want, but when the time comes, choose a place for the people.
Sometimes you might not get the project that you wanted, but it’s much more important, to me, to be around people that see and hear me, that care about me and that sustain my development on both a professional and personal level.
Try out new stuff confidently and go to events to meet your teammates. You’ll never feel alone when surrounded by the right bunch.