Welcome to our Q&A series, where we explore the incredible talents within Sparta. Today, our focus shifts to Jose Juan Gázquez, a seasoned professional whose journey spans over two and a half years within our company. As a front-end engineer, José is the face of our applications, ensuring a magical user experience through stunning visuals and seamless functionality. His role encapsulates collaboration across departments, embodying the starting point and finishing line at Sparta, orchestrating with designers, backend engineers, and the QA team.
Let’s dive deeper into José’s story, discovering his dedication to continuous improvement, passion for preserving heritage, and his aspirations beyond the world of tech.
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN WITH THE COMPANY?
I’ve been here for two, two and a half years. It’s been quite a while now, and the company has undergone significant changes since then.
Initially, when I joined, it was a more unified setting – we functioned as a single entity. We had to handle everything ourselves; it was a collective effort. Everyone pitched in across different areas because it was necessary. Now, things have evolved. We’ve divided into specialised teams, each focusing on specific areas and supporting one another. If someone’s in marketing, they concentrate solely on that aspect; similarly, for front-end developers. It’s about streamlined delivery. There’s been a lot of transformation in this regard.
CAN YOU EXPLAIN YOUR ROLE?
Certainly! As a front-end engineer, our responsibility lies in being the initial interface that customers encounter when they enter the application. Our goal is to create a magical user experience. Whether it’s stunning visuals, dynamic animations, or a visually appealing page, that’s our craft. We meticulously work on every detail to ensure seamless functionality. I often liken our role to standing on both ends – we’re the starting point and the finishing line at Spanta. We collaborate with designers, backend engineers, the QA team, and every department in the company to craft that final user experience. We’re the team that brings that magic to life, but we rest of the shoulders of giants.
HOW DID YOU GET STARTED IN THE INDUSTRY?/CAN YOU GIVE ME A RUNDOWN OF YOUR CAREER PATH UP UNTIL THIS POINT?
I initially ventured into the industry by establishing my own design company when I was younger, alongside my girlfriend at that time. Over the years, we gained extensive experience and learned a myriad of skills. Although I didn’t start as a designer, I acquired a significant amount of knowledge from colleagues who were designers. I never claimed to be a designer myself, but the exposure was invaluable. Having a great team worked wonders for me. It allowed me to collaborate effectively, understanding what they aimed for and providing relevant feedback, especially related to design. Whether it’s front-end work or related to design, I’m closely involved in that realm.
Due to my experience in design I’m the one frequently engaging with the designers, seeking improvements, or making suggestions. I’m the person who constantly requests changes, always striving for better outcomes. I’m immensely grateful to them for their patience and support.
WHAT’S ONE THING PEOPLE DON’T KNOW ABOUT YOU THAT YOU WOULD BE SURPRISED TO FIND OUT
Well, amidst the hustle and bustle, there’s something quite different about me that I’ve never really shared with anyone here. It’s a story tied to a small bakery located in Cádiz, a town in the extreme south of Spain. This bakery has been baking bread for more than a century, using what’s known as a “massa madre” or “sourdough starter” – an age-old culture that’s passed down over generations.
During my visit there, I learned from the brother who runs the bakery alongside his sister that they have no one to inherit this profound knowledge once they retire. This realisation hit me deeply. I felt a sense of loss, knowing that such a traditional practice might vanish forever. I’ve never openly discussed this, but I’ve secretly harboured a wish to spend time there, to learn from him, and preserve this invaluable knowledge. Not necessarily to become a baker myself, but to ensure that this heritage continues, possibly passing it on to others in the future. It’s something I feel strongly about and would love to pursue, although it might seem unexpected.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE OUR COMPANY CULTURE?
Our company culture embodies a spirit of camaraderie; we’re like a close-knit group, supportive and caring towards each other. I’d also describe it as having an obsession with the customer experience. We’re consistently immersed in discussions centred around improving and evolving to deliver the best possible service. There’s a collective eagerness to pivot or alter our methods to ensure top-notch delivery. I particularly appreciate the openness to diverse opinions. Everyone here is always ready to lend a hand, regardless of their role or position.
Okay, so traditionally, in other companies, development is straightforward—you build features and proceed to deploy them just as requested. Here, it’s different. It involves interacting with various teams, such as design, QA, and even the CEO if necessary, to comprehend what’s happening and how we can enhance a feature for a better user and customer experience. It’s not solely about delivering features; it’s about ensuring they’re the best they can be. This mindset spans across every phase of our process; it’s not just the developers, designers, or QA striving for it. If a developer identifies something that could enhance user experience, they’re encouraged to discuss it, and we’re proactive in making those improvements.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE PART OF WORKING AT OUR COMPANY?
My favourite aspect of working here is the collaborative environment. The teamwork and the camaraderie within the company are exceptional. There’s a sense of unity where everyone respects and values each other’s expertise. It creates an atmosphere where ideas flourish, and together we can achieve incredible results. This collaborative spirit makes working here truly enjoyable for me.
WHAT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF IN YOUR CAREER SO FAR?
I find satisfaction in the challenges, although it can be stressful at times. Currently, I’m fully engrossed in shaping a significant project. While it’s on the tech side and may not be visible to users or customers directly, I’m optimistic that they’ll experience better performance. Additionally, I believe it will enhance the developer experience for our front-end team. This project holds substantial significance for me. I anticipate its impact on the company by its completion, which might be around the middle or end of the year. Reflecting on it then, I’m certain it will be a proud moment for me.
WHAT PIECE OF ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO YOUR YOUNGER SELF?
I’d tell my younger self to cultivate patience. It’s crucial to learn the art of thinking, working, and most importantly, listening to your teammates. Focus on continuous improvement in every aspect and have the patience to let things fall into place. Everything will eventually work out, but it takes time.
WHAT’S THE MOST INTERESTING PROJECT YOU’VE WORKED ON HERE AT SPARTA?
The most captivating project I’ve been involved with here is similar to what I’m currently engaged in. It revolves around Futures, the recently launched feature. It was a demanding task, and we’re immensely proud of what we achieved.
What made it stand out? Well, it’s essentially about real-time data visualisation, a considerable challenge to implement effectively on the web. Displaying live updates and charts showcasing current events involving a massive influx of data was no easy feat. It was a collective effort involving every team, and the journey to its successful delivery was an incredible endeavour. I take immense pride in what we’ve accomplished.
HOW HAS YOUR ROLE EVOLVED SINCE YOU’VE BEEN HERE?
Coming from consultancy companies, the transition was quite significant. In those companies, you’re just a part of a mechanism—receive a ticket, develop it, and that’s the job. However, upon entering here, everything changed drastically. This isn’t merely a start-up; it’s a partnership. The approach shifted fundamentally. Now, it’s not just about developing a feature; it’s about understanding its purpose, its goals. It’s about looking for opportunities to enhance the feature, seeking feedback, and assisting the team to improve collectively. It’s a constant cycle of doing, improving, and communicating. There’s an emphasis on continual evolution; it’s not a regular job like in other companies—it’s a completely different experience.
WHAT’S ONE THING YOU WISH PEOPLE KNEW ABOUT YOUR JOB?
I truly appreciate this question because it reminds me of my early days learning to code. Often, during meetings with former students, I emphasise that this profession isn’t solely about coding. It’s about communication, negotiation, and spending a significant part of your day interacting with others. Excelling at coding alone won’t suffice; it’s about articulating ideas, negotiating solutions, and addressing blockers collaboratively. Soft skills play a pivotal role in this domain. If you’re naturally extroverted, that’s great, but for those less inclined towards soft skills, it’s essential to work on them as they’re integral to the role. Communication is key, regardless of your personality type, in this field.
WHAT ARE YOU GOALS FOR THE NEXT FEW MONTHS/YEARS?
In the next five years, my aspiration is to relocate to Galicia. I have a profound desire to experience life there, appreciating the contrast between the north and south, especially the cooler climate. Although Seville is wonderful, it no longer aligns with what I want. Galicia holds a special allure, not just personally but also professionally, as we have valued teammates there. My professional aim is to continue evolving, striving to be the best senior front-end engineer I can be. Once I achieve that milestone, I’m open to discovering what lies beyond.
WHAT, IF ANYTHING, ARE YOU CURRENTLY BINGE-WATCHING OR READING?
Currently, I’ve been engrossed in a documentary series called “Drive to Survive,” hosted by Ken Reeves. It’s a compelling narrative centred around a Formula One team that faced a year of hardship but emerged victorious, winning two championships. It’s an extraordinary story in Formula One, something like to a unicorn in the business world. For those not deeply into Formula One, this series offers a comprehensive view of the intricacies of the sport, beyond just 20 drivers racing for two hours. It beautifully unravels the complexity of the sport, highlighting its various dimensions and nuances. It’s truly captivating, even for those unfamiliar with Formula One. I’ve always loved Formula One, and this documentary was a revelation.
WHAT’S ONE THING ON YOUR BUCKET LIST
From my bucket list, something not many know about is my passion for practicing judo. I have a strong desire to spend a few months, or perhaps more, living in Japan. Specifically, I aim to visit and train at the Kodokan Judo Institute, a renowned school that I’ve been training with here in Spain. The lineage of knowledge and techniques in this dojo stretches back to the time of the samurai, preserving and passing down their teachings through generations. Collaborating and learning from them in Japan is a profound aspiration of mine and an integral part of my bucket list.
WHAT’S THE LAST SONG YOU LISTENED TO?
I recently listened to “Check it Out” by Florence + The Machine.
José Juan Gázquez our Frontend Developer here at Sparta and can be contacted at Jose.email@example.com
Sparta is a live, market intelligence and forecasting platform that enables oil traders, refiners, banks, hedge funds and wholesalers to have access to real-time and global actionable insights to capture market opportunities before others.
To find out how Sparta can allow you to make smarter trading decisions, faster, contact us for a demonstration at firstname.lastname@example.org