Behind The Scenes: Michael
At Babbel, our endgame is getting people to have conversations with other people, in a new language. There are fantastic folks here making that possible. In our “Behind The Scenes” series, we sit down with them to provide a glimpse into who makes it all work, what they do, and where their heads are at.
This round we’re talking to Michael Münzer, Team Lead for the Mobile Engineering team.
What’s your role at Babbel? What do you do on a typical day?
I am an Engineering Manager and my team is working on passive learning experiences within our app. We want users to relax and learn a new language on the fly. It’s a great topic to work on, as we create features which are low effort and fun for the user, like podcasts.
I joined Babbel just a couple of weeks ago so I still spend a large portion of my time getting to know people within the company and understanding how my team fits into the company vision. This means asking a lot of questions to many very helpful people.
In my role, I work closely with engineers to discuss everyday challenges and help them grow professionally. I also align our efforts with other teams to ensure we are working on the same goals without stepping on each other’s toes.
Where are you from and which languages do you speak?
I’m from Austria and moved to Berlin almost 5 years ago. I speak fluent English and German, with a little bit of Italian that I picked up in school. Thanks to Babbel, though, I am now getting ready for my next vacation in sunny Spain.
What were you doing before Babbel?
In my previous jobs, I was working with various kinds of technology to create backends, web front-ends, and even Windows mobile apps at some point.
A couple of years ago, I settled on mobile development for Android. I’ve always loved the idea of having a visual customer impact on the product and it still excites me to see people engage with the user interface I create. I also moved into a leadership role, taking over more responsibility and bringing people from different backgrounds together. This meant focusing more on delivering the right solution for our customers while considering various tradeoffs.
What drew you to Babbel?
I am inspired by helping people grow in their personal life. Language and cross-cultural understanding play a big part in that.
One thing that attracted me to Babbel is that the existing structure and culture incorporate company values very well. For instance, diversity is not just a nice to have, but a necessity within our company. Only by having all these different opinions and views within Babbel, we are able to understand our multicultural customers and what their needs are.
What’s surprised you most so far?
Almost all company and department-wide meetings are recorded. You can find them in our internal wiki for the last couple of years. This made it much easier for me to gain a solid understanding of how the company and multiple projects evolved over time.
Another thing which surprised me is the number of emojis that are used everywhere throughout the company. They are literally everywhere 😮
What do you hope to accomplish with your team at Babbel?
To make the Babbel app more than a product that you use for 10 minutes a day to learn a language. I see it as a companion you love to use for understanding the culture that language wants to express.
What would you tell other mobile engineers about Babbel?
Within the engineering department, we follow a dual-track agile model which means it’s a great place to experiment with new ideas and technologies as part of your everyday job. Additionally, we actively support learning time to ramp up your game and engage in the latest industry innovations.
It’s a great place to grow, work with a scaling number of developers, and have an impact on many users’ personal lives.
You were onboarded remotely onto the team. Tell us about your experience.
It worked much better than I expected. I got my MacBook delivered one week before I started and there was great documentation around the account setup. The People team did an excellent job organizing a virtual Welcome Day and multiple onboarding sessions for tools we use within the company.
Meeting the team was a bit strange at first, as everyone was working from home and you miss the personal touch when you don’t already know the other person. Luckily, most of the team is living in Berlin, so we had the chance to meet in person as well after lockdown restrictions were lifted.
Want to work with Michael? His team is now looking for an Android Engineer!