Published November 30, 2023

Schibsted Tech Tracks: Jakub Gwóźdź


What does your technical path look like?

My career began on November 2, 1998, as a Unix administrator at the university where I studied computer sciences. Although I knew I wanted to be a programmer and not a system operator, I was also curious what other IT career paths looked like. 

Post-graduation, as a junior programmer, I joined one of the first Polish fintech startups, except we didn’t call them fintech or startups. Back then, there was another name for such companies: dotcoms. And like many other dotcoms, ours went down in 2001 when it became apparent that the market was not yet ready for the services we wanted to provide.

Then I switched industries from financial to e-security for a decade engaging in public key infrastructure related projects. My journey continued through various companies and industries, mainly as a C++ and Java developer, until I transitioned to Kotlin roughly five years ago.

Then, just before the pandemic hit, I came to Schibsted after hearing a lot of good things about this company. I spent the first three years in the Privacy Team, developing GDPR-related solutions for Schibsted’s brands and their users. Currently, I’m with the Nordic Marketplaces in the Jobs vertical, where my team is focused on automating the import of job ads to Finn and other Nordic classified boards.

What technologies do you use on a daily basis in the project?

Here’s the best part: the freedom to choose. And for our projects, we decided to use Kotlin as our main language, with a set of Kotlin-related technologies, like KTOR web framework or Arrow.kt library for functional programming idioms. While there’s a lot of liberty in selecting technologies, some company-wide solutions must be adhered to, such as deploying on Kubernetes or using Prometheus for metrics, etc.

How would you describe your usual day at work?

That depends on whether I’m in the office or working from home. When at home, I spend a good amount of time reading, writing, deleting and redesigning code, searching for potential bugs, creating and maintaining software written with technologies I love. Of course, meetings are part of my schedule, whether mandatory or by choice, but there is also a lot of precious focus time. But I work in the hybrid mode and try to be in the office at least two days a week. And while in the office, it’s a completely different story, as much more time is spent on socialising, bonding with colleagues, talking about a ton of various topics, both professional and not necessarily work-related. This naturally leads to lower short-term productivity on office days, but ultimately, these interactions are just as vital as code-focused work.

What do you value most about working at Schibsted?

I love the diversity, the mutual respect between colleagues, and keeping a high level of professionalism while being super friendly and open at the same time. 

What was your biggest technical challenge?

It was c.a. 19 years ago, but to this day I remember creating software that replaced WindowsXP security mechanisms and allowed logging in using smart cards instead of passwords. It was called “Graphical identification and authentication” in Windows, and in theory custom replacement was supported by Microsoft, however, in practice at that time, there was very little documentation available on how to achieve this. It took me a lot of reverse-engineering of WinXP system calls, but in the end I managed to do that, and frankly my solution was one of the better full-blown GINA replacements in the market. I was pretty proud of myself back then :).

What did you want to do as a child?

I knew I wanted to be a train driver – that was my Plan A. But I was lucky to get a Sinclair ZX81 in the early eighties, and at this moment I decided that maybe I wanted to be a programmer – this was because on that computer, with 1KB (yes, one kilobyte) of RAM, there were no games except those you programmed yourself. 

And here I am, coding REST endpoints so companies in Norway can find adequate candidates for their job openings.

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