Last updated at Mon, 27 Nov 2023 17:00:00 GMT
From developing driver-assistance software for a luxury car brand to jumping on board an NFT startup, Martin Votruba, Lead Software Engineer, is not one to shy away from a challenge. In September of 2023, joined Rapid7 as the first hire in its new Prague office. Martin is leveraging Rapid7’s excitement and energy of a startup while having the resources and support of an established organization to build a new team in Prague. He sat down to share his experience as one of the first employees in Prague, and discuss how Rapid7’s culture of collaboration and continuous learning helped him build a successful foundation on which to grow his team.
How have your past experiences contributed to how you approach your role today?
At Rapid7, my team’s job is to search for reported vulnerabilities and communicate those within our product (InsightVM) so that our customers can determine whether or not they are at risk. With different software vulnerabilities, each case is unique. This makes our job different from traditional engineering where you follow one recipe or code path and deploy it. I’m constantly drawing inspiration from past challenges and experiences to think about how to approach each new case here. I enjoy the opportunity to be creative in identifying solutions and helping our product deliver the best outcomes to our customers.
What was it that initially attracted you to Rapid7?
To be honest, I had never heard of the company before. It was exciting to see that it was starting a new office in Prague, while also having an established team globally to collaborate and partner with. I was looking for an opportunity to grow and learn from others and was interested in a global company. Being able to maintain the excitement and energy of a startup environment by being part of a new office is a unique opportunity. It also is a really fun environment building its own organic culture as new people are excited about working for Rapid7 and joining us every week.
What is something you didn’t realize or expect about Rapid7’s culture?
As far as culture, it was a nice surprise to see that even though Rapid7 is a global company and has larger structures in place, it isn’t so rigid that you are bogged down by processes or unable to feel you are making an impact. For example, right after I joined I had an opportunity to be a part of the interview team for some new roles. I was given that trust automatically to help shape what the office looks like and who we are bringing on board.
Another thing that may be surprising to a lot of people is that even though we are a cybersecurity company, you don’t have to be a cybersecurity expert to have a successful career here. I’m still a software engineer - not a cybersecurity expert (although I’ve learned a lot). What I’m responsible for is still core to my expertise as an engineer, I’m just working within a domain and product that happens to be cybersecurity.
How have you been able to build relationships as a new employee?
We have a really interesting program called “Insight Coffee” that encourages people from around the company to set up 1:1s and get to know one another. There's no agenda, and it’s truly just to learn about another person's background, experience, or role. The program opens the door for you to reach out and form relationships in a way that is really approachable and encouraged. If I know I’m going to be working closely with someone on a different team, I’ll set up a quick Insight Coffee to get to know them before diving into a project. That way, when we are working together, it helps open up that avenue of communication and understanding, making the entire process or project run more smoothly.
What was your interview experience like?
After talking with the recruiter about the opportunity, my interview consisted of a call with the Hiring Manager, an interview where we talked about the role and Rapid7’s culture, and a technical challenge. The technical challenge was interesting, and is designed to see how you approach solving a specific problem. Even though I was being assessed on my skills, I felt I was supported and encouraged to ask questions if I was stuck or unsure of something. Now that I am on the other side of this process and helping others with their technical challenge, I know it’s important to understand how someone thinks, what questions they ask, and how they approach the challenge. Of course, getting to the right answer or resolution is the goal, but how they get there and how they approach it is equally important when assessing if someone is the right person for the job. As a manager, I want to bring that same level of support to my team, so they know no matter what challenge they are up against, we are all here to work together and find the best solution as a team.