ATA People

Meet Our New VP of Engineering

Martin Krajca

5 minutes read

Mon Nov 2, 2020

Meet Our New VP of Engineering

We’re excited to say that we’ve just welcomed Roman Pichlik, a well-known face in the Czech IT community, as our new VP of Engineering. We sat down with him to discuss why he decided to join Ataccama, what challenges he’s looking forward to tackling in the near future, and what kind of people he’s looking for to join his team. Read on to learn more about Roman and whether you’d be a good fit for the team.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Besides work, I’m a proud father of two small boys. I’m an avid kiteboarder. And I’m also a passionate triathlete which means I’m perfect at monotonous exercises like counting tiles on the bottom of a pool or staring at the walls in my pain cave (the room where I keep my indoor bike).

Continued growth is something that’s really important to me, which is part of the reason why I have my own blog and podcast. I also used to be one of the leaders of the Czech Java User Group community.

Why did you decide to join Ataccama?

When my last project ended, my wife and I decided it would be a cool opportunity to rent a camper van and travel around Europe. But then coronavirus hit. And instead of cruising around Europe, we ended up at our cottage in the Šumava mountains.

I wanted to do something to fight the spread of COVID-19, so I volunteered to work on eRouška, which is an application in the Czech Republic that notifies you when you might have encountered an infected individual. I decided I wouldn’t join any company during that time. I wanted to keep the original idea of a 6-month sabbatical, but I was open to talking about opportunities.

When I was recording a new episode of CZPodcast with my friend, his wife told me that I should talk to a guy from Ataccama, and she put me in touch. It turns out that a couple of my ex-colleagues were already working here, and they told me great things. I was connected to Michal, our CEO, to discuss the role and its challenges, and the reasons I decided to join come down to these 4 things:

  1. Product. I had the chance to spend some time on AI and Machine Learning research during my sabbatical. What I learned is that 80% of work on machine learning development and deployment comes down to data quality, and that’s a big part of what Ataccama does and what attracted me immediately.
  2. Challenges. The opportunities for growth at Ataccama are endless. As a passionate triathlete, I love a good challenge, and I always need room for growth and learning new things in any position I take. Ataccama will definitely offer me that.
  3. Company culture. Everyone is so willing to help and that is unique in a company. I’ll admit I was a bit apprehensive about joining a new company during this new era of work from home and Zoom calls, but from the very beginning, the Ataccama team made me feel welcome, and I could feel the tight-knit and fun company culture.
  4. Strong growth vision and goals. Not only does Ataccama have an extremely ambitious growth vision, but unlike a lot of companies, they actually have the ability to execute it. And this is something I want to be a part of.

How do you find the role so far?

I’m super super excited. When I see the processes here and how smooth everything runs, I’m still surprised. It’s amazing for a team this size. Especially during this time when everyone is working remotely, the fact that everything is going smoothly is really exceptional. So kudos to Ataccama.

What do you see as your biggest challenge?

The biggest challenge I see is how to align the growth targets with the processes. There might be some bottlenecks that we actually need to get rid of before bringing a lot more people on. There’s one thing that I tell everyone who asks me about leading an engineering team, and that is that it’s quite easy to do engineering with 10 people or 20 people, but it’s really challenging to do it with 50+, not to mention over 100.

What are you looking forward to the most?

Going back to reasons why I joined, Michal told me about this extremely ambitious growth vision that Ataccama has. This is what I’m really looking forward to working on. And to get started, I want to meet as many people as possible and to talk about problems I can help with. That’s my role as VP of Engineering, to get rid of all roadblocks, so I’m looking forward to meeting people and listening. I think the most important thing for me at the moment is to be a good listener, and then after a few weeks, I’ll be sure about what kind of changes we need to make to grow our engineering team and reach our vision.

What kind of people are you looking for to join your team?

I’m looking for lots of smart people who really want to grow along with the company. If you’re looking to get out of your comfort zone, learn new things, and work on an awesome product, let’s chat!

Ready to join in the #ChallengingFun on Roman’s team? We’re looking for Java Developers, Senior Front-End Engineers, QA Engineers, and many more. Want to learn a little more about our product first? Watch a short video about Ataccama ONE.

Interested in learning more about the fun company culture that persuaded Roman to join us? Check out our blog for more on life in Ataccama and take a virtual office tour until we can meet in person.