Inside Qonto

"We are not just here to code, but also to share our ideas."

February 10, 2021 by Djamel Bendaoud

This month we interviewed Djamel Bendaoud, Front-End developer at Qonto.

1. What did you do before joining Qonto? (Education, professional experience, etc.)

Ever since I was little, I’ve been a curious person: I love observing and learning how things work, and trying to recreate the mechanisms myself. So naturally, I became the “go-to computer guy” for my friends. You know, the one you call when you have a virus. Still, I never imagined I would one day become an IT developer. In fact, my first job was working in a restaurant, as a server and barman. I loved this industry: the intensity and rhythm, always on the move, contact with the customers, team spirit. To this day, I continue to use the skills I learned, such as organization, work ethic and verbal communication. But the job is physically draining, and I realized I needed more balance in my life. 

During those years, I never lost my fascination for IT, and I finally took the plunge in 2015 and enrolled in the 42 school. My years as a student were eye-opening: I rekindled my long-held desire to understand and design. In short, I learned that I was born for this job. After 42, I started working as a full stack developer at Semeia, a health industry start-up that designs a software suite with the aim of optimizing patients’ care. I would later become a Front-End developer specialist at Qonto. 

2. Why did you join Qonto?

I discovered Qonto during an Ember.js meetup in the old Richelieu facilities. I was still completing my internship as a young developer, but the team’s participation in the Ember environment had a lasting impact on me, and I was really impressed by the company’s mission. I could see myself working there already. 

Nonetheless, I only ended up working at Qonto purely by chance. About two years after that meetup, I was contacted by a recruiter on LinkedIn who offered me a job without providing any details. After some discussion, he assured me that he had found the perfect job for me at a Fintech doing Ember development in the Paris region. I knew of only one business finance management solution in the world using Ember, and at that moment I knew it was Qonto. 

Working at Qonto was a no-brainer for me. I wanted to join a team known for their work in the French Ember community. Plus, I wanted to be a part of a company whose mission was to become THE financial solution for ALL businesses. I wanted a seat in the Qonto rocket. 🚀

3. How would you summarize the recruitment process?

I was really impressed with how organized and efficient the process was. 

After initial contact with a recruiter, everything was taken care of to ensure that the various interviews and the technical test took place in one afternoon. It was intense, but efficient! I had the opportunity to meet my future colleagues and ask them all my questions during the interviews, which helped reassure and motivate me for what followed. 

4. What stood out to you about the onboarding process?

That all the different teams at Qonto were involved: Tech, Sales, Ops, Corpo, etc. There is an onboarding session for every subject. Thanks to this organized onboarding process, I was able to form, in just one week, a clear vision of the company’s operations and objectives as well as how I could contribute. 

It’s very motivating to join a company where everyone’s missions and roles are so clearly defined. I was thus able to settle in quickly and immediately felt like I was along for the adventure. The Front team gave me an incredibly warm welcome. Everyone was very helpful and friendly. This onboarding experience allowed me to get to work fast, and I was contributing my first feature by week two!

5. Could you describe your role as a Front-End developer at Qonto?

As a Front-End developer at Qonto, my primary role is to help ensure the app’s continuous improvement and the addition of new features. But unlike at other companies, at Qonto, your opinion actually matters. We are not just there to code, but also to share our ideas. All features are discussed during the “tech challenge”, where all stakeholders are invited to have their say. There is genuine exchange between the developers, designers and product managers.

We also participate in the recruitment and onboarding process for our new colleagues, and we even have time set aside to do some open source and contribute to the libraries we use on a daily basis.

6. What are the qualities required to be a successful Front-End Developer?

For me, a good developer loves to learn and is always seeking to improve. In a world where technology changes so quickly, you must always be curious and continuously keep up with the latest tools. 

Also, I think it’s important for a developer to be thoughtful. When completing code reviews or providing feedback to your colleagues, being thoughtful can boost the team’s morale and help everyone move forward. 

I would also add that a good developer must be able to take a step back and really observe the problems they are facing in order to find the best solutions, while demonstrating an analytical and logical approach. 

7. How would you summarize your day-to-day life as part of the Qonto's Front team?

I spend most of my time designing new features, fixing glitches, responding to various technical needs for our source code and contributing to code reviews. 

I also have daily meetings with my team. During these “tech challenges”, we brainstorm about new features and discuss any problems encountered in an effort to improve every day.

8. What has been your biggest challenge and/or greatest success as a Front-End developer?

One of my biggest challenges at Qonto was building a design system. It was a long process. First, I needed to set up tools to help the various teams communicate and work together on the design system (the designers and the Front-End team). I then had to teach everyone involved how to use the tools, by creating documents, standards and good practices.

The project was a success. Today, the design system works autonomously, without anyone having to oversee its proper functioning. Today, everyone uses it. 

9. Which of Qonto’s 4 values (Ambition, Mastery, Teamwork, Integrity) resonates with you the most and why?

Of the 4 values, Teamwork is the one that stands out to me the most. Qonto wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for the collaboration and incredible contribution of all its teams. Plus, even the greatest mind, on his or her own, is nothing compared to a good team. 

Finally, team spirit is, in my opinion, the secret to any company’s success. A well-functioning team is beneficial for everyone, as it encourages the sharing of knowledge and feedback and thus provides greater efficacy and the opportunity for everyone to improve together.

10. If you could speak to future Qonto candidates, what would you say?

Now that we have more than 300 employees, I’m not sure that “start-up” is the best word to describe the company, but we still seem to have a start-up attitude. 

Qonto offers a fantastic opportunity to learn, grow and evolve as part of a team, whether you’re a newbie or an expert! It’s a great school.

11. Do you have a fun anecdote you would like to share about your first days at Qonto?

In order to spice things up during the first lockdown, I decided to dye my hair blond. I got some great reactions and laughs when I turned on my camera during one of our “All Hands” meetings (monthly meeting with all the Qonto teams). I was then asked how many votes I would need to dye my hair purple (the Qonto color). I decided on 100, and luckily for me, only 71 votes in favor were submitted. 😁 

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