A Day in the Life: Mohammad Haque
Welcome to our ‘Day in the Life’ blog series. Each month we interview a colleague from the product and engineering department to reflect on their career and experiences at the Guardian
Mohammad Haque, an Android engineer, first discovered computers when his father bought their first one in 1995, in Bangladesh. It was a marvel then and he still laughs when he remembers his mother hearing about ‘computer viruses’ for the first time (the room was apparently thoroughly cleaned two to three times a day). When he finally got to use the computer, Mohammad discovered he had a love for building things and writing commands. It started as a hobby but by the time he got to university he was ready to start a degree in Computer Science. He soon followed that up with a masters at the University of Greenwich.
What drew you to software development on Android in the first place?
I had an interest in small computing devices and that led me to do my masters in mobile computing. After I finished my masters in 2006 I started my career as web developer during which time smartphones started making an appearance. I found them incredibly interesting (just like another computer but on a much smaller scale) which also meant you could still write code for it. I leant more towards Android than iOS because it felt like it was a more open and adventurous landscape. So, in 2010 I got my first job as an Android Developer.
How did you end up at the Guardian?
I’d been working for a magazine publishing company for a few years and, in that time, I developed a great interest in content based apps. I built my own news aggregator app, specifically for a Bangladeshi audience, which is still popular. In doing this I realised that I had something of a passion for news and wanted to carve out a new path for myself. Coincidentally it was about that time that I was in touch with someone from the Guardian through LinkedIn who was hiring Android Software Engineers. I was already quite aware of the Guardian through my English lessons back home in Bangladesh- many of the courses would use news publications like the Guardian as learning materials all the time. I thought it was a very reputable news organisation so I decided to apply.
Where can I find open positions?
Apply for one of our open positions here.
What can I expect from the interview process?
We aim to be as fair and transparent as possible in our hiring process. Similar to other organisations, there is a CV screening, phone interview, coding exercise and a face to face interview. Read more about what to expect and apply now here.
What does a typical day look like for you?
Well, I became a father three months ago, which is very exciting. Because of that, I decided I needed to spend some more time at home. So now, with the support of my manager, I work compressed hours and get every second Friday off. My working day typically starts at 10am when I check my inbox and complete any urgent tasks. Then I have a morning standup with my team to check in on each other. Usually after that I work on tickets. In my team we follow an agile ‘sprint’ methodology where every two weeks we decide on the goals we need to achieve, work on related tasks and release updates to the app at the end of the sprint. It’s a great way of working because it allows you to make quick changes and deliver a result on a regular basis. We also try to explore different exciting technologies together on a regular basis.
Of course I also attend the occasional meeting. One of my favourites is the Product and Engineering ‘All Hands’ which is a fortnightly departmental meeting and an opportunity to share news, celebrate success, learn a little bit more about other parts of the business and – most importantly – meet any new starters. We are also hiring at the moment so I also have quite a few interviews I attend as well. I enjoy being part of the process and getting to meet potential new team members.
What do you enjoy the most about working here?
My favourite part is feeling like you can affect real change as an individual and that you’re not just another cog in the machine. Our department runs hack days about twice a year and it’s always a great opportunity to be innovative, work on anything that you’re passionate about, and sometimes even see your work go into production. ‘Read it to me’ is one of those examples in the Android Guardian news app where you can choose a list of news articles which the app then will read to you as if it were an audio playlist. That came out of a hack day and it was brilliant to have been a part of that.
I’d like to add as well that as an introvert, as well as a practicing Muslim, I can honestly say that the Guardian feels like home. If you’re on the quiet side you are always allowed the space and opportunity to speak. Though I may not speak up often, I do always feel heard. Being a religious man, and knowing how my religion has been often portrayed in the media, I have also never felt discriminated against here. We even have a prayer room in the office which I take full advantage of any time I’m in. There is a great respect and fellowship between colleagues here. You are accepted for who you are and you never feel left out in any way.
Development of digital products is central to the Guardian. You could be building the products that showcase our progressive and independent journalism, crafting the tools that journalists use to write their stories, developing the services that allow those stories to be distributed across the globe, or safeguarding our financial future.
If you’re interested in joining our product and engineering team, please visit the Guardian News & Media careers page.