People of Synthace: Alberto Morabito – Software Engineer

Photo of Alberto Morabito - Product Engineer

Alberto joined our Engineering team in May 2018, just before completing Year 1 of his undergraduate degree, and has contributed tremendously to building and expanding our product.

What I’m doing doesn’t just help me but could potentially help the entire world. You can feel it: being part of this team, we all work in harmony to achieve something that is bigger than us. It feels good! Alberto Morabito Software Engineer

What is your role at Synthace?

As a Front End Engineer, I build products for Synthace’s software platform, Antha. I’m part of the ELISA team, which is one of the products we’re building.

Each cross-functional team has engineers, designers and scientists; this is important because we’re building something for scientists, and the engineers wouldn’t necessarily understand everything without their input. In a nutshell, we’re building a product with scientists for scientists.

Where were you before joining Synthace?

I was in the exam semester of my first year of the Creative Computing degree. I registered an account on Angel List and received a message from Synthace’s internal recruitment team saying that they were looking for a QA Tester.

I joined on a 3-months contract as a QA. I did well and got offered an extension on the contract. After a year, I had a chance to go from QA testing to building products which is what I’ve been doing ever since.

I was enjoying working at Synthace, and they gave me enough flexibility to work full-time whilst completing my full-time degree.

Why did you want to join Synthace?

I’ve always had this thing about wanting to make a change in the world. There are two ways to do this – either you come up with your own idea and develop it or you jump on a train that is heading in that direction.

I still think, after all the time I've been here, that what Synthace is doing is amazing and can really make an impact globally.

Even before these times – with the coronavirus – biology has always been incredibly important. Finding ways to cure cancer or other diseases or helping towards achieving that… It feels great. I’m not just working for myself, but for humanity!

Think about the expectations you had before you joined. Is life and work at Synthace in line with how you thought it would be?

This is my first job in IT. From the first time I stepped into the office for the interview, I was like “Wow!” The atmosphere was amazing, the people were amazing (and still are!)

All my colleagues are brilliant engineers and brilliant people in general; the way you get treated is out of this world in a positive way – you don’t find this in any of the previous industries I’ve worked before (Navy, construction, hospitality).

How much science do you need to know to work at Synthace?

You don’t need to understand science - we have scientists with PhDs for that! The great thing is that you learn as you go and get some scientific education for free. However, as a Software Engineer you don’t need a deep understanding of science to build the products.

Would you say that you can clearly see how your work has an impact?

I’ve been lucky enough to work on two projects that have already been released to customers. I received feedback from the Customer Success team saying that they loved the things that I had built, which is great!

Do you feel supported, valued and heard - both in your day-to-day role and also in general as part of the wider company?

Definitely. I don’t have many other companies to compare to, but I’m sure at Synthace they spoil me because everyone is just brilliant, funny, always there to help you if you need help, and always smiling. I can’t think of anyone that I wouldn’t want to work with!

It’s not just about helping, it’s also about the socials we have. I’m great friends with some people outside work too!

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

What I’m doing doesn’t just help me but could potentially help the entire world. I don’t think you can find this in many companies. You could be working for a large tech company or developing a website that is used by billions of people, but the goal is unlikely to be as beautiful as Synthace’s.

What do you enjoy most about life at Synthace (outside of your actual job)?

The social activities, the office (and the snack cupboards!), the virtual games nights, all of these! It’s also that the people in the company are so great – it’s a pleasure to be around everyone and just talk, share knowledge, and share moments! It’s nice!

Which activities/events have you enjoyed or found useful?

There are probably two categories.

First, there are many 101 sessions where you actually get trained. Someone who has a lot of knowledge on a topic may spend an hour presenting and answering questions, and you know that by joining the meeting you’ll learn something new. These can be very low-level introductions, and sometimes they evolve with further levels so that you get a full training programme. These have covered all kinds of topics, from engineering tools to financial topics and even interviews. They’re amazing because you get paid to get training.

The social events are also great – lunches, breakfasts, and the bigger events such as the whole company going go karting. All these gatherings are a nice break from work (as much as I enjoy the work) and they give you a chance to actually get to know people. There are so many amazing stories, and you think “Wow, I would have never imagined that you’d done that!” *

*This answer refers to Synthace’s social events that were taking place before the pandemic.

What are you most proud of when thinking about Synthace as a company and/or group of colleagues?

Synthace can actually make a change. The goal is pure and amazing. You’re not just working for you, but for everyone in the world.

Would you say that you're encouraged and able to be your true authentic self at all times?

I’m known as the company joker, and there’s even an Albert emoji on Slack (the app we’re using for communication within the company)!

I’ve told stories that even my parents don’t know about me – that’s how confident I am being myself at Synthace!

How do you think working here is different to other companies?

You get to work with brilliant engineers, including people with years of experience at Google or Facebook. You also work closely with scientists, and if you want, you can pick up the basics behind science.

Access to the lab is also something you probably won’t find in many other software companies. Once you’ve done the safety tour, you have access to it. This means you will have a chance to tinker with sophisticated robots, which are not cheap so you couldn’t just try them at home!

How would you describe the people and culture at Synthace?

That’s easy, family!

What would you say to anyone considering joining Synthace and how likely are you to recommend it?

10/10. If you relate to our mission and if you think you can help, you should definitely apply. You’ll have a chance to learn new things and grow yourself.

There’s also a chance that you’ll be remembered as part of the team who helped change biology forever!

What advice would you give to someone if they were looking to apply to your team? What traits and/or skills are important?

We like people to actively start contributing to our product in their first week, so you should be used to building good products quickly. Being a fast learner, trying new ways of working, and not being scared to jump on things are also important.

Follow Alberto on Twitter!

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