Celebrating 15 years of Babbel with: Taylor Winter (she/her)

Babbel is 15 this year! To mark this milestone, we’re doing a series of interviews with long-time Babbelonians who reflect on their time with us, share their learnings, and highlight special moments. 

This round, we’re talking to Taylor, an iOS Developer at Babbel.

What are your 3 favorite memories from your time at Babbel?

  • Babbel was the first company where I was allowed to show up to work with brightly-colored hair.
  • It is thanks to Babbel and specifically our CTO Thomas that I was able to become a developer with no prior experience in three months’ time.
  • The first New York office Winter Team event was karaoke, which I got to arrange.
    Bonus fact: Babbel has been my longest job!

When did you first join Babbel? What have been some of your highlights of working here so far?

I joined Babbel in September 2015 in the New York office as an executive assistant to Thomas Holl, when he was leading the US team. At the time, there were only seven people on that team (that number has more than quadrupled today!). My first year was filled with mistakes and adventures, and I was really struggling at the time in my personal life, but I loved coming to work everyday. Through Babbel I made friends, gained confidence, and actually learned some German. 

After a year, Thomas announced he would move back to Berlin and he gave me the opportunity to continue in my position there – which was amazing!

During my first year in Berlin, I became really curious about coding and started taking free online classes about HTML, CSS and Javascript (none of which I have ever used since, but of course they’re important to learn 😉 ). Eventually, I told Thomas that maybe someday I’d like to be a developer. But he encouraged me to start sooner than “someday”! When my two-year Babbelversary came around, I took the three-month Sabbatical opportunity Babbel offers and used it to attend a nine-week coding bootcamp in Berlin. Technically I had to resign from my assistant position to do this, and reapply as a trainee upon bootcamp completion. 

That summer was the most challenging of my life. Coding is hard, and I made a living as an Airbnb host throughout the course. But at the end of that summer, I passed my first interview at Babbel as a trainee-level developer, and I was thrilled to join the mobile team as an iOS Engineer. 

Ever since, I’ve been growing in that role, from Trainee to Junior to Professional. I can’t believe how much support I’ve had along the way, not just from Thomas but also my EMs and fellow iOS developers. 

The best part about working at Babbel has been to have a serious desire to directly work on the actual product and shape it for users like me, people who badly want to be understood when they speak a new language – and to see that fulfilled. Working on the app has been so rewarding, and even watching the code change over the years has taught me so much about teamwork (and at the risk of sounding cheesy, yes it taught me about life too 😀 ). I have nothing but deep appreciation for Babbel and the incredible people here. I’ve never had a job this awesome. 

As you know, Babbel is celebrating its 15th Anniversary this year. What is most exciting about this milestone for you?

The most exciting thing about this anniversary is thinking about the beginnings. Four guys (one of them the Traktor creator), their computers, and a really cool side-project idea that turned into something huge. We all know there have been various kinds of ups and downs, but Babbel and its leadership is doing something right if we’re going this strong today. It’s been a privilege to work here for almost half its life; I’m excited to be able to say that. 

As someone who’s been at Babbel for a while, can you think of a team, person or moment that you’re particularly thankful for?

I’m beyond grateful for the learning opportunities, and that Babbel really means it with that “Learning Company Inside and Out” ascription. And aside from Thomas, Pooja, Alex and Mau, I’m grateful for Lisa Rieh (the assistant OG!), Giulia Raffaello (should be a mental clarity and wisdom ambassador), the astoundingly patient IT team, and again, the Hobbits (my team) for making me as happy as Day 1 to come to work every morning, virtually or not. 

Want to work with Taylor as one of her creative peers? We are looking for Engineers (all genders) for some of our Berlin teams. Apply here.