Employee Spotlight: Theo Despoudis
In this ongoing blog series, we speak with WP Engine employees around the globe to learn more about their roles, what they love about the cities they work in, and what they like most about working at WP Engine.
In this interview, we speak with Frontend Engineer in our Limerick office, Theo Despoudis. Theo is the recent author of a book about React, The React Workshop: A New, Interactive Approach to Learning React.
Going back to the start, how did you discover WP Engine?
It’s an interesting story actually. Before relocating to Ireland, I was interviewing for a few companies both in Ireland and in the UK. One was WP Engine (I can still find my old submission project) and one was with my previous employer. I ended up completing the interview process with them earlier, so I had an offer on the table while WP Engine was still a work in progress.
After a few years, I was still keen to learn more about how WP Engine works, and at some point I attended a WP Engine-sponsored career event where I had a chance to speak with a few engineers and managers. After some time, I got an invitation to apply for a really interesting role within the Limerick office. I prepared for the interview process and everything else came naturally as it was a good fit.
Can you explain your current role at WP Engine?
I work as an engineer with Front End specialization but I also work with back end technologies across the stack. When not writing code, I contribute to team discussions, supporting other team members and trying to improve our team efficiency. There is also strong support for self improvement, so I utilise time for learning and development.
What is your favorite thing about working at WP Engine?
I enjoy delivering features that have immediate impact on customer experience. We use a variety of tools to get feedback from customers and what they prefer or where they struggle and we aim to be on top of their needs without interference.
For example, many of our customers were interested in showing their plan usage (both current usage statistics and historical) so we assembled a team and delivered that feature. Now they have the opportunity to see their website storage use in more detail without any gray areas.
Can you describe the culture of the Limerick office?
The Limerick office has very helpful people and they are all professionals in their work. There is strong support and working in this office is both fun and rewarding.
How do you contribute to the success of WP Engine?
I think that I have the opportunity to look at the problems holistically and offer implementations that make long lasting solutions. We always aim to keep the feedback loop with our customers as close as possible so that it gives value to them when they need it most.
What is the most challenging part of your job?
I think that figuring out the best long lasting solution is the most challenging but also the most rewarding part. It’s not about making perfect decisions every time but finding ones and discussing them with the team so that we can understand their long term impact.
What is a good lesson you’ve learned in your career?
Be humble and try not to overestimate your abilities. I think that this kind of mentality will give you a chance to really understand where you are going and how you can improve as a person.
What’s the favorite part of your workday?
I really like mornings especially after I complete any features the previous day. This gives me a chance to organise my day for being more productive.
What is one of the coolest projects you’ve worked on while at WP Engine?
I’ve only been with the company for seven months so I can say the one project that I’ve worked end to end is the Plan Usage dashboard. This may change in the future though.
Which one of WP Engine’s values speaks to you the most?
All of the core values make sense to me. I really think that Do The Right Thing is the one that is most important but the trickiest as well. Many times you need to utilize all your combined principles (ethical and pragmatic) to figure out what is right and what is wrong. Ignoring the pros and cons for each approach and siding with the majority is not always the right decision so you always have to trust your judgement before agreeing to do something.
What are some of your favorite things about working and living in Limerick?
Limerick is a nice city with a lot of historic background. It’s not very big nor too small so you can enjoy plenty of activities with friends and family. It has an airport nearby and you can take the train or bus and visit Cork or Dublin or other excursions. Also compared to other regions it’s more affordable to live.
What are some hobbies you enjoy outside of work?
I enjoy playing video games, reading books, doing occasional yoga/hit boxing,
Favorite TV show of all time?
I really enjoyed watching the Simpsons, American Dad series. I also like the Witcher series.
Solving puzzle games or watching videos of other people solving puzzle games as a lot of them are expensive to buy.
What would you recommend others to do if they’re interested in WP Engine Limerick or engineering in Europe?
If they enjoy working with technologies like WordPress or helping people and businesses transition to digital, there are plenty of opportunities on the careers page. The interview process is straightforward, and working here offers a supporting environment with plenty of opportunities to progress and make a meaningful impact in the world. We also have plenty of new projects on the horizon, so it’s a great opportunity to work on real world projects. Come join us!
Thank you, Theo!
Want to find out more about what it’s like to work at WP Engine? Visit our careers site to see the roles we currently have open and check out our blog for more information about all the great people who work here!
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