Let’s talk Swift: the life of a Guild Lead Karolina Ambrazevičienė
Dec 09, 2021
“Guilds help us keep the structure clear — everybody understands their roles and responsibilities much better. We prioritized the growth of junior-level roles and introduced personal development plans. We have a very clear vision of what we’re building and why.” Karolina Ambrazevičienė, Swift Guild Lead @NordLocker.
In a recent interview, Tomas Smalakys, NordLocker’s Head of Development, explained how adopting the Squads and Guilds model has impacted life and work at NordLocker. Today, we’re sitting down to learn about the Swift Guild first-hand. Meet Karolina Ambrazeviciene, Swift Guild Lead and one of the first people to join NordLocker.
Let’s start the usual way. Tell us who you are and what your role is here.
Hey. My name is Karolina, and I am the Swift Guild Lead here at NordLocker.
I know that you didn’t plan on working in IT. Can you share how you got started?
Yes, it was a happy accident. I studied genetics but realized that the field didn’t interest me long-term. As I was looking for new options, my friend suggested Swift. I found coding to be a real challenge at first. But the more I learned, the easier it became. Now, I see it as a puzzle — and I love puzzles.
And how did you get your first job as a Swift developer?
I’ve been coding professionally for about four years. I started at NordVPN, which was a challenge not only for me but also for the team. Back then, they didn't have much experience working with junior-level developers. So, we had to learn and grow together. After about a year, I heard that work would begin on a secret new project, and I applied. Now you know it as NordLocker.
What a great story. You started in a new field, and now you’re the Swift Guild Lead. Can you tell us what it was like working with NordLocker before it was launched?
As I said, we started developing NordLocker about three years ago. I was the second Swift developer on the team, so, unfortunately, I didn’t get the honors of creating a new NordLocker project on Xcode.
Nevertheless, helping build a product from the ground up was incredible. And, of course, very challenging. We launched NordLocker after a year and, for the past two years, we’ve been working on making it better.
How was your journey to a leading role? Have you always felt like a leader or had to learn things along the way?
I don’t know if anyone is born a leader, but I certainly had to learn how to become one. As I’ve always been focused on self-growth, I have spent a lot of time improving as a person, working on my skills, and doing the right thing. I guess, when the time came to step up, the role was perfect for me.
As you are a Swift Guild Lead, could you tell us more about the biggest goals and challenges at the moment?
As far as challenges go, building a team is one of our biggest priorities right now. We’re actively looking to expand our Guild, so if our readers feel like a good fit, don’t hesitate to reach out.
Other than that, we’re refactoring old code, working on new features, and helping build the business platform. We also have to make sure we’re improving as professionals. That’s why I always encourage my team to increase the quality of our code and the product.
One of my favorite quotes is by Henry Ford: "Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success." I believe that if we remember to work for a common cause, we, or any team for that matter, will be able to conquer the world.
Guilds were applied to NordLocker quite recently. Have you noticed its impact on the team’s efficiency?
Guilds help us keep the structure clear — everybody understands their roles and responsibilities much better. We prioritized the growth of junior-level roles and introduced personal development plans. We have a very clear vision of what we’re building and why.
And while Guilds have already improved our workflow, I believe that it’s only the beginning of a long process, and we’re yet to see its full benefits.
You said you were looking for reinforcements. What kind of people are you looking for?
The Swift Guild consists of people eager to share knowledge and help each other grow. People who are focused on building the best product using the best practices. Teamwork, taking responsibility, and sharing feedback are the qualities I look for in every team member. That and, of course, Swift knowledge.
You’ve seen NordLocker’s incredible growth during these past two years. Where do you see it in the future?
I believe that NordLocker will grow and mature as a product, conquering a few niche markets in the process. I think we’ll see a significant boost in growth once we improve our business product. Simply because of the dire need businesses have for easy-to-implement data security tools.
Most people join NordLocker with very little cybersecurity experience. But you’ve been working here for years. I’m curious, how do you see the need for cybersecurity?
It’s worrying to see how often people don’t consider the data they share with the big tech companies. Not to mention the sacrifices to privacy they don’t even know about. That’s why I believe that cybersecurity is the next big global issue. You can see it happening already.
We must understand that the internet is a dangerous place with the possibility of doing real harm. And it will stay the same until we are more aware of cyber threats, data security, and privacy.
I know you’re a true professional and a great leader. But what about your hobbies? What do you like to do after work?
Traveling is my absolute favorite. I like reading books, watching movies, and listening to music. I will never say ‘no’ to an evening at the restaurant, and you can often catch me on my motorcycle in the summer. I also go to the gym three times a week, so it may sometimes be hard to find time for anything else.
Are you looking for new career opportunities?
Interested in seeing yourself in a new role? Join our growing team and help make the world safer. Contact Ema ([email protected]), our talent attraction partner, or visit our Careers page for all the available positions at NordLocker.
A nerd with a laser focus on all things cybersec. His own words. Oliver’s hobbies away from the computer include reading, Netflix, and testing the limits of yet another Raspberry Pi. To our surprise, this 130-pound ‘nerd’ also bakes a killer pumpkin pie.