Spencer Bray – a drummer by night, the Backend Lead by day!

“My team keeps me stimulated – they poke holes in my ideas that make them better.”

Spencer is leading the Backend team of 5 at Finiata. In between coding and practicing his jumps at the basketball court, he took some time to share with us his journey and opportunities coming Finiata’s way.

Tell us about your journey to Backend engineering and to where you are today?

I worked for about 6 years at Amazon in a semi-technical role from 2009-2015. In that time, I learned to write SQL and some python, but was frustrated with the lack of technical resources available to my team. I decided to move to Berlin in 2015, quit my Amazon job and focused on code. I worked a few freelance gigs and found Finiata in 2017. At Finiata, I found lots of opportunities to learn and grow as the company grew. I became the team lead of the Backend in November 2019 and have been happy in the role for 1.5 years now

What sparked your interest in Finiata?

At the time I joined, Finiata was still very small. I had worked in a large corporation, and I wanted to try something new.

What do you value most in your Team?

My team is wonderful. I think the thing I value the most is the intellectual humility among the very smart people I have the privilege to work with. There are no big egos – nobody has all of the answers all the time. We learn from each other and build on each other’s ideas.

What stimulates you while you are building Finiata’s core technology?

My team keeps me stimulated – they poke holes in my ideas that make them better, challenge proposals to be stronger and more thoughtfully engineered, and encourage me to keep moving in places where speed is of the essence.

What challenges and opportunities do you see coming towards the Backend Team this year?

We are going to be building a brand new application for future products, and rapid prototyping to determine market fit. Developing a new greenfield application is always both a thrill and a challenge. Being unshackled from the burdens of legacy code, building something quickly, and trying not to build those same legacy shackles into a new application is challenging and enjoyable for me and my team.

In 3 words, how would you describe your (almost) 4 years at Finiata?

Growth, Tenacity, Learning

What do you do when you are not at work? How do you spend your spare time?

When I’m not at work, I have an extremely broad range of hobbies and try to keep things fresh. I play the drums, dabble in music production, shoot portrait photography, try not to expand my board game collection TOO much, enjoy Berlin’s nightlife (more pre-corona) and hike and swim in the parks and lakes (more post-corona). I’m a huge fan of the NBA (go Blazers!) and have gotten back on the basketball court lately to practice my jumpshot.

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