An interview with Benjamin Bortfeldt-Roß, Senior Software Engineer
Why did you decide to join AMBOSS?
A former colleague of mine discovered AMBOSS in 2014. He told me how great the company was and offered to put me in touch with the CEO, Madjid. I called him and we set a meeting for the next week. In two hours, he explained how the AMBOSS product worked and how great it was. I could tell that he put his whole heart into building it. I joined AMBOSS in May, 2014.
What were you working on when you first joined?
The first thing I can remember, which still has an impact, is working on how we could technically get users to pay for subscriptions. I built the process and it still works today!
Looking back on the last seven and a half years, what has surprised you the most about working at AMBOSS?
I think it’s that we still have this family-like atmosphere. When I started, the company had 20 people and everyone knew each other. Now, we’re over 400 people and everyone is still so nice to each other. It’s great we could keep this feeling while achieving a lot of growth.
What has been one of your favorite projects that you’ve worked on?
I think I would say custom study plans, because we built them from scratch. I joined the Learning Guidance team at the beginning of 2020, and it was the first time we’d planned something as a team.
What’s your favorite thing about working on the Learning Guidance team?
The team. I’ve worked on every part of the backend in the past seven and a half years, I have seen many things in the codebase, and the Learning Guidance team’s domain covers several of my favorite parts. But it’s mostly the team. We became really close together, and now the team’s growing again because we’ve hired a lot of new people.
What has been one of your biggest challenges in your role as a software engineer?
I think it’s overcoming imposter syndrome. I felt for a long time that I didn’t know how to build good software, that everyone knows it better than me. It took a long time to overcome this. Now I’m more confident when building things.
What was one of the things that you did to help overcome it?
I spent a lot of time thinking about it. I also like to talk to people about this — talking always helps me a lot. I’d speak to my Engineering Manager and other other engineers. It’s always helpful to talk to people who are working with you on similar projects and realizing they have the same problems.
Outside of the scope of your day to day work what’s something else that you’ve gotten involved with and AMBOSS?
I’m trying to improve the overall Engineering experience. And I’m always improving my coffee making skills. I’ve really missed it since I moved to working from home. There’s a professional espresso machine at the office in Berlin. You get two cups of coffee from the machine and I never wanted to give the other one to a colleague. So I started watching YouTube tutorials and two years ago I did a latte art course, but then the Coronavirus pandemic happened and I didn’t have an opportunity to practice anymore.
Do you have any advice for someone who’s thinking of joining AMBOSS as a software engineer?
Do it. Apply to AMBOSS. It’s great to be here. Don’t be afraid to be yourself.