Tech Candidate Spotlight – Karina Celis, Engineering Manager

Let’s kick off by hearing a bit about your educational background! 

I studied Computer Engineering in my hometown of Caracas, Venezuela at the University of Simon Bolivar. Later, I did a Master’s in Online Marketing in Madrid, Spain at ESDEN College. I believe in our field we need to improve and keep up with technology every day. So, I try to do courses on programming languages or management skills and do Katas every now and then. 

My university experience taught me the most important things for my career. I remember clearly what my first algorithm professor told us in our first class. He said, “Forget everything you have learned so far on programming if you know anything at all. Here, you will really learn all you need to know to succeed. You will learn to solve a problem, think logically, and then apply any language to it.” Boy, he was telling the truth!

I learned to deeply understand languages, take the best of them, and work around the bad to make them great! I learned to write effective, efficient code and be critical of key functionalities and behaviors. Even today, 14 years since I graduated, I find my education to be the base of every single situation.

What would you like to learn more about?

I am constantly reading about Cloud Technologies, AWS, Google Cloud, and Azure! Also – plus new monitoring and reporting tools. Today’s world is not meant for failure. We have no patience when it happens. It is important to achieve low latency and high availability in all our systems. We want to make sure we are on top of any failures and can fix them promptly. 

What led you to pursue a career in tech?

When I was 13 years old, around 1998, we got our first computer at home. It was a 3GB hard drive, Intel 3. It was the best we could get at the time. My aunt’s boyfriend was a Software Engineer working at Unisys. He lent it to her so she could work on her degree thesis. One day it broke down and the system was not booting. My aunt was in a crisis because months of work was lost.

I sat next to her boyfriend, watching him fix it. He re-installed the software and recovered the data. I was fascinated by this! That day I asked him, “What do I have to study to do what you do?” It was Computer Engineering. I set a goal in life to understand and work on that black box machine. I wanted to make sure it was always up and running and doing everything right to help others achieve their goals. 

How has your skill set evolved over the course of your career?

Since graduating, I’ve had several roles:

  • Full Stack Engineer at an E-com company in Venezuela (Python and Django)
  • Front-end and TV App Engineer at a startup in Madrid (Samsung SDK written in JavaScript and Java in the Back-end)
  • Technical Support Engineer at SmartADServer, which is a great company to work for! (HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Every now and then, I read Android and Apple apps code)
  • Front-End Engineer at eDreams Odigeo (JavaScript and an in-house version of Angular). Then, I had the chance to move up the ladder as Team Leader in that company before moving to London.

I learned so many technologies over the years and even now as a manager, I continue to do so. In my new role, my team mostly uses C# for day-to-day work. This is a language I have not worked with yet so I am looking forward to learning! 

Related: Engineering Manager or IC? Which Tech Career is Best for Me? (Video)

If you chose to specialize in one area, what was it and why?

I chose to specialize in people. I help them become better Software Engineers, work effectively on a team, and hopefully grow as people too. As an Individual Contributor, I learned how much managers can impact your career. If I can make a difference in helping others achieve their goals, why not do it?

Related: Code Your Career: Staying Competitive in the Developer Job Market (VIDEO)

Is your new role different from previous ones?

I changed industries. My previous role was at Expedia, a travel company. Now, I am moving into Fintech. I will still hold the Engineering Manager role but will work with different languages and manage a different team size.

What are some of the things you’re most excited about in your new role?

I have always been very cautious about roles in the finance world. I think traditional, older banking companies can be intimidating. But there is something about tech companies specializing in finance that intrigued me. In this industry, the software is prioritized – good, reliable, efficient software – and I’m all for that.

What was your job search experience like before you joined Hired?

There were usually two ways of looking for a new job. First, lots of recruiters contacting via LinkedIn. It would be endless amounts of calls with them. Then, the waiting. It sometimes felt like ages before I would finally hear back from the hiring managers to start the process.

The second way was to apply directly to companies or go to job post sites like LinkedIn. I’d submit my CV and cover letter. Then I’d wait until one day (after I completely forgot about that job application!) I received an email from the company to begin the process.

In summary, it was a waiting game. I must add though, I met incredible people through these searches and have collaborated with them on other endeavors. I am thankful for each and every minute all recruiters and HR professionals spent with me or on me!

What’s your best advice for jobseekers registered on the Hired platform? 

With Hired, the coin is flipped. You are not looking, you are being looked at. Make sure you are presenting your experience in a way that makes companies curious about you.

Here are a few tips:

  • Give constant, quick responses (even if it is a thank you or a no, thank you). 
  • Salaries are negotiable, so put your expectation on the table and hear the company out. 
  • Inquire about the hiring process if it is not mentioned in the first contact email or initial conversation.

With Hired, it’s true you can find a job in less than a month. In fact, you can even find one as quickly as two weeks – I’ve done that twice! 

Any general advice you’d like to give other tech professionals?

Learn to solve problems, not just how to work on a specific language. Tech evolves every day but that’s not necessarily the same for logic. Also, listen to other people’s ideas. You never know who might help you see a problem in a different way!

Congrats on the job, Karina! Interested in landing a great role in the UK like Karina did? Complete your free profile on Hired today!

About TrueLayer

TrueLayer is building universal APIs that allow companies to access the financial data of their end-user and initiate direct bank payments, securely, reliably, and efficiently. Founded in 2016, TrueLayer has 51-200 employees and is headquartered in London.

Tech Stack

.NET Core, Docker, Kubernetes, AWS, PostgreSQL, Redis, Elasticsearch, Python, TypeScript, React, C#


Stock options, paid time off, work-from-home flexibility, management training, employee discount programs, and more.

Source: Talent Acquisition -


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