This is part of our Brizan Spotlight series, which highlights the stories of our distributed team, and the incredible people who make up our company. Brizans live on 4 continents, 80% speak multiple languages, and 1 in 4 employees from outside of Canada choose to relocate to Canada. In this interview, we had a chance to catch up with Luiz Pereira, a senior software engineer who currently lives in São Paolo, Brazil. Luiz has worked at Briza since June 2020.
Hi Luiz! We’d love to start with some background on your career. What got you into the world of software development and technology?
When I was younger, my brother took a technical course in highschool in software development. I started reading his books out of curiosity, and ended up signing up for the same program a couple years later. Shortly after that, I got an internship, and completed my degree at night school over 4 and a half years. I have always remained in this field. I considered exploring math, but enjoy the work of software engineering.
What do you think has kept you in the industry for so long?
I love to learn new things. Technology is continuously evolving, and each job requires new learning. Most of the time, in computer science, you also need to learn other areas of expertise in order to build software for a particular vertical, and the work is generally challenging day-to-day. I especially enjoy the process when the problem is hard, because it forces you outside your comfort zone. You always need to write code and learn about code, which forces you to stay up to date.
Can you reflect on a career highlight that reminded you why you chose this path?
I was once at a company that decided to open a new office — there, I helped grow the team from 5 to 100. I helped cultivate the culture there from the ground up. I made a contest for hiring and I won; this is somewhat outside of my area of expertise. It required successful completion of technical tasks, and I liked the competitive aspect, and I like that I got to experiment with recruitment strategy. The event took place in a hotel conference room with 100 people who spent the whole day participating. Every hour there was a test (coding, English, architecture) with scoring along the way. The top 50 candidates got interviewed. The goal was to hire 20 people in a single day. There was a lot of pressure that day — it was even my birthday!
Let’s talk about immigration for a minute. What made you consider relocating to Canada?
A few years ago, I was living and working in Australia. I wasn’t comfortable with the idea of returning to Brazil for the long term, and I had the flexibility to select where I could go. I wanted to be a bit closer to home than Australia, and I have an existing personal network in Canada made up of close friends and family.
Have you faced any challenges along the way?
Definitely. First, I got an offer from a Canadian company that ended up rescinding because of COVID lockdowns. Even today, access to government services is not perfect, and there are still some challenges ahead, but Briza has supported me through every step of the process.
Do you have any advice for someone thinking about working for an international, distributed company?
I’d recommend working on your communication skills all the time. Show that you are present, build trust with the team, support your colleagues, and be more cohesive. I feel connected and part of the team at Briza, despite the company being distributed.
How has your role evolved since you joined the team?
I’ve always been thinking about the problems at hand and writing code. I was initially focused on frontend and API. I am now working on research and development. The biggest change has been my leadership function. I also proposed the underwriting protocol project. I was definitely pleased when Briza allowed me the chance to run with it. The team trusts people to take ownership of projects they believe in.
What makes your experience with Briza unique?
The combination of the small-but-growing size of the company, plus the stage of the business, means it is interesting to see things happen in real-time. There is also always a fine balance of tailoring decisions due to resource priorities, and making sure goals are consistent.
Why do you believe in what Briza is doing?
Briza was built to fulfill a vision, and visions are hard to measure. However, we are now seeing signs in the market that we're moving in the right direction — especially when we get in front of potential clients. The numbers continue to move in the right direction. Finally, I believe in our leaders. This is key, as it strengthens commitment to our mission.