Shreya Vashisht on being a Mission Critical Engineer and a team player

Shreya 6
Shreya Vashisht
Jun 27, 2023 · 6 min read

For this edition, we sat down with Shreya Vashisht, a Mission Critical Engineer at Schuberg Philis. Her job has given her a new outlook on fulfilling mission-critical ambitions. She also started an initiative for an "All Women's Lunch" that brings both tech and non-tech women together on a common platform so they can discuss topics and ideas in an informal way. Originally from India, she now lives in Hoofddorp with her husband and their son.

Working life

What drew you to work at Schuberg Philis?

Schuberg Philis always seemed like an exciting company for me to join. I was quite influenced by the company’s very flat hierarchy. All the tech people go by the title of “Mission Critical Engineer” here or they’re working in connection with engineers, doing sales, for example. And when you talk about “mission-critical,” it means you have the highest responsibility toward the customer. All your actions are very critical. For anything that you do on your productions systems or anywhere, you remain accountable. Schuberg Philis says: with freedom comes responsibility. This means you are free to do a lot of things, but then you’re also accountable and responsible for your actions, your decisions, your results, your outputs. I have also worked in the past in 24/7-support scenarios on critical applications, so it was similar in that every customer application was mission-critical, as per my experience and knowledge. But with Schuberg Philis, you really live that ambition on a day-to-day basis – it gets embedded into you and you live that feeling.

What’s a typical day like?

A regular day in the office involves a standup and other team meetings and regular sync-ups. We are currently building up an enablement platform for our customer which enables them to land their mission-critical applications on it. It uses a combination of multiple tools, such as Terraform, GitHub, and AWS cloud, and is being implemented as an infrastructure-as-code solution. Also, we have experts in different areas we consult. So let’s say today I’m going to work on a security feature, I need to pick the right people who have relevant knowledge of security within my team and also within Schuberg Philis outside the team. I can then bring in their expertise, incorporate that in the designs, and start coding. We work on a four-eyes principle, doing peer reviews on the code, so if I’m writing a code, it’s not that I can just merge it directly; we need to create some pull requests and then the other team members will review my code to check if it’s as per the agreed procedures. Once the whole process is designed, created, and implemented, we show it to the customer to get the approvals. Some days, we are in the customer’s office in Den Bosch, where we have regular meetings and interactions, for example, if we have a proposed design to share.

Company culture

Is there something particular that helps embeds the mission-critical mindset?

The basic difference, compared to what I’ve seen in my prior companies, is there’s nobody guiding you over here. You talk to your team members and you work on a consent model, but there is nobody from the top giving directions, commanding you do this or that. You are the person who’s taking ownership of everything. Plus, your work is not just a proof-of-concept; it is something that you have to deliver to the customer. This is not for the benefit of your own knowledge or career; you are doing something because you need to produce an end result to show the customer. I think that is where the critical part gets embedded into you because it’s like you are on mission to achieve that task and deliver it end to end. There’s nobody in front, nobody in the back. Obviously, you have a team assisting you, but there is nobody else. And this is also very nice, I think, for an engineer because once you have that sense of ownership, then you give more than 100% in your work.

So although you have independence and consult with various colleagues throughout the day, the team stays tight.

You live in your team day in, day out. You tend to stay within that team mostly because you’re working with them and you lunch with them. My team is great; they understand me and I understand them. But I started here two years ago, and still know just a limited set of people within the company because I onboarded during the pandemic and then I was on my maternity break. That’s also the reason I am trying to meet colleagues outside my domain and have coffee catchups outside my team. I get involved in all these company initiatives, like Girls’ Day and Women’s Day. I also started a women’s lunch at Schuberg Philis.

Passion project

What’s the women’s lunch?

The whole idea was to bring together all the company’s tech women and non-tech women onto a common platform and have an informal lunch together. Last year we had the first one, and I’m going to follow up this year again; we were in the Grand Dining, where we could talk and share our interests about different topics. In my team, I’m the only woman. I’m really comfortable with men engineers; from the work perspective, I don’t see a difference between genders – I think both are doing fantastic jobs in their own ways. So there’s no comparison on that front, but on a non-work front, I would like to also spend time with women engineers. Because at times, you really want to talk to a woman, even if it’s just to say: “Hi, what’s up?” and catch up.

Are there other aspects of daily life at Schuberg Philis that you find striking?

I love the food. I think the restaurant is a big, big highlight of the company. I love cooking, and I’m a big foodie. I think Schuberg Philis really gives us an opportunity to taste different cuisines and different flavors. Yesterday they served okonomiyaki. In the restaurant, there’s a wall with a list of different dishes next to which you can put your name down to share the recipe or help the chefs cook it. I’ve also thought about putting my name on the wall to help make something Indian. I really like this cozy culture vibe.

Like most colleagues, you work hybrid. Do you let the restaurant’s weekly offerings help determine which days you’ll come in?

Yeah, I think a lot of people are doing that now. I am on the Slack food channel, where I can preview the week’s daily dishes and then decide if I’ll go to the office and enjoy lunch that day especially.

Curious to know more about how more colleagues spend their days? See the whole series here.