Spotlight: Patrick Bardo

At the heart of Meltwater Engineering are the employees who find ways to collaborate around the world. In our Spotlight series we will introduce you to new hires as well as veterans from across the organization, and give you insights into their day to day from North Carolina to Hong Kong.

Today we are happy to introduce Patrick Bardo from our Gothenburg office.

Would you like to introduce yourself?

My name is Patrick Bardo. I am a level 1 software engineer working in the Gothenburg office. I was born and raised in Kitchener Ontario in Canada and I moved from there to Sweden when I received this job. I have been working at Meltwater now for 10 months. Outside of work I like to socialize and play sports. Last summer I started playing quite a bit of golf and disc golf. I also like to play piano and then on my lazy days, I like to sit back on the couch and play some video games, just to do something non-intensive. When I can get some friends together, I love to play all sorts of board games, so I never get ‘board’.

What has your journey been like at Meltwater, a new employer in a new country?

Joining Meltwater has been an easy transition, the cultures are very similar. A lot of people say that, when you move to Sweden, the hardest thing about it is that everybody speaks English! I luckily work with another Canadian, so I can get the inside details on Swedish culture.

What do you work with?

I work on the Meltwater search platform. This includes an Elasticsearch cluster and the APIs that we provide to the other teams to allow them to store or search documents in the cluster. I dip into many different facets related to that, but specifically right now, I am working on the upgrade of our search engine and APIs to use the latest Elasticsearch version. Development is mostly in Java and Kotlin while our tech stack has quite a few tools and technologies such as Kubernetes, Terraform, Kibana and Datadog. All engineering teams at Meltwater practice DevOps, which means that I am also on-call for the components that we own every 6 weeks or so.

What does being on-call mean?

The system that we work with is very large and there’s many different moving parts. Being on-call means making sure that our product is always available. If something happens so that searches slow down or start failing then we need to act to investigate and fix the issue. Secondly, being on-call means also being the first point of contact for other teams that need help from us. We need to deal with these questions/issues, either escalating them to the correct people or do the work to resolve them.

What does your typical work day look like?

I start work around 8:30, beginning with a few smaller tasks, updating JIRA tickets, catching up on some slack discussions or looking at emails. At 9:15, we have our pod sync to discuss any problems we’ve been having or progress that we’ve made. And then at 9:30 we have a larger team stand up where we give updates to the rest of the team and bring up any blockers or larger problems that we want to address. I take lunch at 12:00 and those of us who are in the office normally have lunch together and banter for some time. The rest of the day, before and after lunch I typically pair-program with someone - we kick butt and we merge PRs! And then I typically finish work after 17:00.

Can you give an example of a less typical day at Meltwater?

One that stands out is when we had problems with our Elasticsearch cluster in February. The Java heap got a little bit out of control and nodes started dropping like flies. I was still new in the team but this incident and dealing with getting the cluster back to a healthy state helped me both feel more comfortable with the things that I do and was character building for me as an engineer.

Name one thing you have built that you are proud about?

One small thing is a script I recently wrote for rotating the security certificates of a service that we use. This was a menial task that I had to do several times while on-call. So, I thought, Okay, this is something that could be scripted away. It was something that had a long setup, and a lot of cross-checking of resources to make sure that you are rotating the correct certificates. I turned it into a script that you just hit play on and let it run. This has been very useful within our team and other teams are now also interested in using it.

Is there anything in particular that stands out about working for Meltwater?

I would say in particular, it’s the trust in the engineers. I don’t think I’ve ever felt like I haven’t been trusted both by my own managers and by upper management. Trust in completing the tasks we need to do and also trust that we know what is important. A good example of that is our two ‘improve something’ days at the end of the month, where we can work on something that isn’t on the main roadmap. These days as well as the regular company wide Hackathons shows that management has trust that we will do something that will provide benefit for the company. And then there is the fact that my colleagues trusted a Canadian engineer that just joined to plan the team and office barbecues!

If you want to learn more about working at Meltwater you can check out our open positions.