Part of our Team Spotlight series, featuring Crisp employees and what lights them up at work.
Role: Backend Developer
Lives in: Boston, MA
Favorite grocery store product: freshly baked bread (baguettes, rye bread, bagels, pita...you name it!)
Rockstar backend developer Tanya Fesenko loves to make big ideas happen behind the scenes. She’s worked on modernizing the backend infrastructure of complex industries, from finance to energy, which took her all over the globe before she joined Crisp as one of its first hires. Now, Tanya is helping advance Crisp’s mission to reduce food waste and building game-changing technology along the way.
Powering the back end of global industries
Tanya started her career after earning a Masters in Mathematics & Computer Science in St. Petersburg, Russia, where she grew up. Since then, she’s worked for large tech companies, semi-public institutions, and startups in Prague, Paris, and the U.S. In France, Tanya worked for the French Committee for Atomic and Alternative Energy, where she helped make mission-critical energy and transportation systems more reliable. During this time, she also became a committer for global open-source project Eclipse, working on the diagram editors for UML. Ten years later, she still meets people who tell her they rely on this product today. Tanya’s startup journey began at another remote company, where she worked on top-tier APIs for the financial services sector. It got her interested in the idea of startups and remote work, and when she moved to Washington D.C., she joined Crisp as one of its first hires.
Unique ideas with mainstream applications
Tanya and Crisp were a match for many reasons, but Crisp’s mission to reduce food waste was the primary draw. Tanya’s passion for this issue goes back to her upbringing in Russia, where her family grew their own vegetables. With that level of appreciation for food and what goes into it, wasting “just wasn’t something you did.” Tackling an industry that loses one third of its products to waste seemed like an important opportunity.
Crisp was also attractive from an engineering standpoint. Tanya’s career previously focused on niche products in legacy industries, leaving her somewhat disjointed from the broader developer community. “I wasn’t doing what 99% of Java developers were doing,” she explains. Tanya wanted the chance to join the technological mainstream while working on a product that was still unique and innovative. When she met Crisp CTO and Founder Dag Liodden, she saw that he was interested in applying cutting-edge technology to the mainstream development world: exactly what she wanted to do. Plus, with another opportunity to work remotely, she had the flexibility to make choices like moving to Boston, where her partner’s job is.
Current projects: creative integrations
Tanya’s role as a back-end developer is to power the technology that makes Crisp’s seamless features and visualizations possible. Specifically, Tanya works on Crisp’s “outbound connectors,” which pipe Crisp data into other tools that customers use to run their business, like Excel. With this integration, Excel users can see live updates to their favorite charts and tables without any effort. This feature actually started as a Hackathon project last year, and has since become an important component of the Crisp platform. But that doesn’t mean it was easy. Software that Tanya works with like Excel, Power BI, and Quickbooks are often black boxes, so the team has to find creative ways to build meaningful integrations. To get mass amounts of data to seamlessly appear in Excel Insights, for instance, they had to manipulate it on the byte level -- with literal 0’s and 1’s. As that project wraps up, Tanya’s moving onto integrations with other core business applications, a source of variety that she says keeps work interesting.
“When friends tell me they’ve been using the same technologies for the last five years, it makes me proud of my Crisp colleagues who are constantly exploring the best and newest tools and techniques.” - Tanya
Tackling big-picture problems
While she may have joined Crisp for the mission, Tanya stays for the engineering culture, where she gets to collaborate closely with “the best of the best.” As she explains, “Everyone is open to everything...open to sharing knowledge, and open to learning and testing new things.” They’re also using the latest tools and technology. Just in the last several months, Tanya has worked with DBT to transform data, Docusaurus for automatically generated technical documentation, and Argo for workflows in Kubernetes, while her colleagues test out other Machine Learning and Business Intelligence technologies. “When friends from other companies tell me that they’ve been using the same technologies for the last five years, it makes me proud of my Crisp colleagues who are constantly exploring the best and newest tools and techniques," she says.
Not surprising given some of her past projects, Tanya embraces the complexity of Crisp’s goal: taking the intricate, disconnected supply chain and turning it into a more efficient system. “We're connecting pieces of a broken industry using old technologies. This is really exciting,” she explains. In the process, Crisp has the potential to democratize data in a new way: “We are making data accessible to everyone, not just data analysts.” Those are ambitious goals, but we can’t think of a better person to take them on.
To learn more about life at Crisp and view open positions, visit gocrisp.com/careers.