Wise Full Stack Developer Reviews

Updated 23 Sep 2020

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4.3
82%
Recommend to a Friend
81%
Approve of CEO
Wise CEO Kristo Käärman
Kristo Käärman
4 Ratings
  1. Helpful (2)

    "5 out of 5 if you're looking to join a fintech company"

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Full Stack Developer in London, England, England
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Wise full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Given that most people visiting here would be considering job opportunities, or even job offers from TransferWise, let me just make it clear: this is a company that you won't regret joining, if you're confident, independent-thinking, self-motivated and driven by doing the right things while learning from others, then this is the place. It's not without shortcomings, far from it, but compared to most companies, it is a unique place wherever you're in your career. But make sure you're prepared for a tough but fun ride with a lot of people that you'd like to work together, that is if you're acclimated to the culture. There are so many pros but for a software developer (engineer), let me just tell you some facts and you can be your own judge: - It is very product engineering driven; we're talking about many engineers not only knowing their trade well (good programmers) but also caring and having deep knowledge about the products. It is also reflected in the interview process where there is a round of interview with a product manager for all the engineering candidates. - The culture feels the same when it is >400 engineers now, as when it was <100 engineers 2 years ago. Some companies would have simply met their final destination before hitting that number, and others would have different cultures that are so far from the original. Not at TransferWise. - There are so many friendly and collaborative fellow engineers, who would not hesitate to help if asked. Obviously not everybody is like that but the majority are very much so. The reason? Most of us share the same understanding of why we work at TransferWise and how we can achieve our mission, and being a humble contributor seems to be just the cure. - In terms of tech leads, IMHO it is a highly selective group of people and the bar has been held high so far. I'll say a bit more on the cons side below but the pros side is that this makes sure we have the consistency which is key to preserve and evolve the culture. Most if not all the leads are solid developers, and more or less experienced in people management too. - Oh, did I mention that Kristo, the CEO, was/is a programmer? That's not just some stories PR would like to tell you - I've reviewed his code and he cares about engineering. Nowadays he doesn't voice his opinions on engineering any more, perhaps conscious of the weight his opinions may carry; but you can rarely find another unicorn CEO having the same profile. Compensation-wise, everybody owns part of the company no matter how small (or big for some people) it is.

    Cons

    Let me say this first: every company has room to improvement, TransferWise no exception. I've always been keeping a critical eye on things because I care about the company. The scale and field TransferWise is operating on is very different from another company, so the problem we're facing sometimes exposes our shortcomings. In engineering, - Tech leads are very overloaded. From the start, the requirement is that they have to be good at both engineering and people management (as we don't have engineering manager setup like some other tech companies), as well as understand how TransferWise works. Any one of those would be a big ask, let alone three. I personally would start introducing engineering manager (people manager) in the structure. Recent career map on new IC levels also paves way for some leads who may not want to pursue a people management career to stay on the technical track. - Speaking of career, it's hard to see us offering a lot. When we were small, it's all about having the impact, not your title/level; Now we're relatively big, still with the very flat structure in engineering, there isn't much for a promising engineer to go up to, other than being a tech lead, which as I mentioned above, is pretty overloaded/overworked. Hopefully the new levels would help a bit but we may need to change something more drastically to improve that. - Diversity: not that we don't care (at least I care deeply), it's tricky to make start on this when you have an all-male and sometimes all-white interview line-up. There are some good initiatives but we can definitely do more at intern/graduate/experience levels. - Communication: it has improved greatly over time but still room for more. It's difficult given our global presence but I'm confident we'll do better. - Compensation: no bonus or performance related pay is fine when the company is small, as stock options is doing the job; as we grow, stock options may become less relevant and to attract talents who may have a preference on cash over options, this is something we should consider.

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  2. Helpful (13)

    "Smart people, Average Tech, Horrible Culture"

    1.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Full Stack Engineer in London, England, England
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Wise full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    * you get to work with some really smart people [Tech] * People are really passionate about company values and what they are trying to achieve [business].

    Cons

    * Tech is average. They have a monolith in groovy [although most of it is moved to Java]. nobody wants to touch it.. when they do .. everything breaks! * Both teams and engineers are supposed to be super autonomous and they take it to a whole new level! Most of the time you get answers like "Just Google! Don't disturb us.. be autonomous" * Not very collaborative teams, people work in silos.. collaboration = status updates. they insist you slack/msg your teammates even if you sitting next to them. * Feedback culture is quiet good. its constant but the only problem is you will never be asked "How can i help?". * Not everybody can fit into TransferWise culture, it is perfect for people who like to come to office at 9, don't like getting disturbed.. finish work at 6 and head back home.

    Wise Response

    October 31, 2019Marketing Manager

    Hello, thank you for sharing your honest thoughts with us. We're truly sorry to hear about your experience. And especially to hear that you were in a team that seemed to work so individually. As you know we work within autonomous teams, with each team getting to pick how they operate and what problems to solve, and this can have its downsides. There are many teams in TransferWise that work as a team rather than a cluster of individuals, and it's sad to hear you left without that experience. I do hope you were able to pass on your feedback before you left. Thanks in part to feedback like yours, you might be happy to know there's a quite new team now dedicated to help move the last of the groovy monolith to microservices. If you're up for sharing more, Mallory from our Engineering Experience team would love to hear more about your experiences. Please drop us an email to employerbrand@transferwise.com and I can connect you. Best wishes, Jihan


  3. Helpful (2)

    "Work however you like & work on whatever you like"

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Full Stack Developer in London, England, England
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Wise full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    I think our culture is pretty unique in the sense that I can choose to work from home whenever I want and naturally we have problems but from what I’ve seen people air those problems out and we are pretty good at addressing them head on. I also like that I can push whatever projects I want & generally people don’t even question me on it - not that questions are a bad thing. Fairly generous travel policy to compensate for issues with having a highly distributed team. It’ll feel very cult like initially but trust me it gets better after a couple of years of being here.

    Cons

    Base salaries are below market for engineers - but I’ve heard the People team are looking to address this. Career development is a black box - again I heard that the People team are looking to address this aswell.

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  4. Helpful (1)

    "Great benefits and autonomous Teams"

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Full Stack Software Developer in London, England, England
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Wise full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    Visionary and inspirational CEO. Lots of flexibility and trust. Great community and awesome perks. Surrounded by smart and talented people.

    Cons

    Salary is below market rate but the benefits and stock options make it a good option Autonomous teams can leave me feeling like there's a lack of structure and support

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  5. "A place where you can thrive - if you fit the culture."

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Full Stack Developer in London, England, England
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Wise full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    At TransferWise you are given the opportunity to forge your own path, use your initiative and challenge ideas of others. Expect your ideas and decisions to be dissected but always in a constructive way. There is a huge opportunity to learn from the best across many different fields.

    Cons

    The culture here of autonomy and, some might say, politics can be difficult for some people. Convincing others to buy in to your ideas as they try to push their own can be a challenge. In the end the work produced is of top quality but sometimes you end up discussing what to do for longer than you should.

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  6. "Great company with a startup heart"

    5.0
    Former Employee - Full Stack Developer in Budapest

    I worked at Wise full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Product ownership, responsibility, compensation, mission

    Cons

    Chaotic structure, lack of coordination

  7. "Great place to make a difference"

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Full Stack Developer in Tallinn
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Wise full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    A lovely work environment with a nice working culture Great people that you get to work with

    Cons

    Cross-team efforts are not so easy to coordinate as all teams are autonomous

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  8. Helpful (5)

    "Mission driven company with amazing culture"

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Full Stack Engineer in Singapore
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Wise full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    - Mission is very clear and is well shared among the employees - Culture is amazing (transparent, no politics, learning)

    Cons

    - Organization is still not that structured (which affects collaboration / communication with other teams)

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  9. Helpful (30)

    "Full stack engineer"

    2.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Full Stack Software Engineer in Singapore
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Wise full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    Extremely friendly people, the office team is the best I have ever seen (so many fun things are organised, delicious Friday buffet), the satisfaction of making a contribution in people's lives by helping them save money (compared to banks)

    Cons

    The company has recently digressed a lot from its core values. It is no longer a "revolution" because there are so many companies who are doing the exact same things and they do it better. There is no sense of urgency of "getting things done" - people are focussed on turf wars, there is lots of politics going on with respect to ownership, the oldies in the company seem to think they are the powerful authorities, forming cliques amongst them - backing each other, giving promotions to their countrymen, not listening to criticisms, but overly eager to project the negative effects (arising from their behaviour) on the other members of their teams. We no longer keep customers first - we regularly increase prices to get more profit margins for the investors (but blame the increasing costs of employee salaries, which are way below market standards), we no longer are transparent to the customers, we are regressing on the speed of transfers the last few months, the product is unusable, the tech stack is unstable - but the product managers don't seem to care about them. "No drama, good karma" - literally the opposite happens. There are ego problems with the oldies and leads, they can't take negative feedback and escalate to their leads if you tell them about these, code reviews will get blocked because it is not written as per the other person's whims, leads and product managers regularly do catch-ups as part of their day jobs, but nothing concrete ever comes that improves the product for the customers or the employees' careers, leads getting away by doing only easy tasks and literally exploiting the travel and remote opportunities to the maximum for themselves. There is no autonomy anymore - please don't get fooled by the blog posts, the company is growing big and it is the leads who will be the managers and have literally unlimited control and zero accountability.

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    Wise Response

    June 24, 2019Marketing Manager

    Thank you for your time to share your current experience at TransferWise. Feedback is really important to us and we encourage people to take an active role in shaping and preserving our culture so we can stay focused on the mission and stay true to our values. We are concerned about some of the details mentioned here and to our knowledge, these have not been raised to our people or through one of our many feedback channels/options to date. As you will have seen, Mihkel (one of our Engineering Managers outside of tribe) has made himself available to look into this feedback so I would encourage you to reach out to him to discuss further. We hope you follow up. Thanks, Kate

  10. Helpful (1)

    "Great place to work at"

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Full Stack Developer in Tallinn
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Wise full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    - there is room to grow, my team lead gives me opportunities to expand my skills and experience, and there is the chance to move to other teams and roles - you are given a high degree of freedom on projects and in general, as long as you can justify and explain your choices - as the company is still young and growing, there is plenty of new and interesting projects to work on - the company has strong, decent values which are actually felt as a big part of the company, and don't just revolve around making money for the company - company events, summer days in particular, are fantastic

    Cons

    - it is a very fast paced environment which can be stressful at times - having highly autonomous teams can make large distributed projects more difficult and make it harder to focus teams on particular things - with the very large and quick growth there are sometimes growing pains that go with it

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