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  • Writer's pictureMirka Karra

FACES #27 with Christos Charisiadis, Director of Engineering at NET2GRID


A visual with Christos Charisiadis and his title

Welcome to FACES #27! We are delighted to have Christos Charisiadis, the new Director of Engineering, with us on April’s FACES! Such a well-deserved promotion recognizes his talent, experience, and a four-year-long journey at NET2GRID. Christos studied Informatics at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and holds a master’s degree in Information and Communication Technology Systems from the International Hellenic University. Throughout his career, he has seamlessly transitioned to roles that showcase his expertise in software development and cloud engineering, including working on cloud engineering, developing, and maintaining Java applications, as well as working with Oracle systems and in client-facing projects. Please join us in welcoming Christos to his new role! We are eager to learn more about his vision and the guidance he will be providing to the NET2GRID teams.


1. Can you share your journey toward becoming the Director of Engineering at NET2GRID, emphasizing any key moments that significantly shaped your career?


I started working at NET2GRID around 4 years ago as a Cloud Engineer. I had heard of the company before, as many friends and past coworkers were also working there, and the domain always seemed very interesting and something that actually had an impact. Of course, back then, it was very different since we were a much smaller team with very different challenges. As the company grew, so did our challenges and also the requirements for me and the role I had to play in all this growth. I started focusing more on helping more junior members grow and find ways for the team to become better and work more efficiently. This led to picking up a more leadership-oriented role and focusing more and more on this.


It’s really hard to pick specific moments since I view growth as something constant that happens in many small steps every single day, rather than big leaps that you can clearly specify. But one of the most important periods was definitely when I started working more closely with one of our most amazing coworkers (we have many of them of course) Antonios Chrysopoulos, from whom I learned a great deal of things and received the empowerment I needed.


2. As the Director of Engineering, could you describe a typical day in your role? Additionally, is there a particular project you’re currently working on that excites you the most?


A typical day will start with checking emails and messages and catching up on anything that is pending from the previous day. After checking on the planned meetings (which are usually quite a few), and seeing how much time I’ll have throughout the day, I’ll decide on the things I have time to do today and make a small commitment to myself to finish these things. The day typically continues with numerous meetings, either with Team Leads of the engineering teams or with other departments, to stay updated and explore avenues for improvement.

One recent project that particularly excited me involved transitioning all teams to use story point estimations instead of other methods. I strongly advocate for this approach as it can provide more accurate performance indicators and contribute to better decision-making.


3. Reflecting on your time at NET2GRID, what has been the most challenging project you’ve undertaken, and what key lessons did you take away from that experience?


I’ve faced many different technical challenges throughout the years, but without any doubt, my current position is the biggest challenge to date. When facing technical challenges you can always find different ways to approach them, test things, and evaluate the results without actually having any negative impact in most cases. But when you have to manage many different teams with different strengths and needs, things are much more difficult and all decisions have a much higher impact. A big takeaway is that change is important and you can’t always keep everyone happy, but changing things is the only way to move forward and improve.


4. How do you define your approach to leadership within your team, and how has your leadership style adapted over the years?


I always try to see leadership as something you do and not something you are. I try to be as approachable and open as possible to anyone and always find time to listen to people even on the most difficult days. I’m a big fan of the servant-leader approach, and my main focus is always how to help others. A big change that has happened over the years is me slowly becoming more structured and being more able to reflect upon the way I’m doing things and focus on actions that will bring improvement.


5. From your perspective, which emerging technology do you see as having the most profound impact on the future of engineering and software development?


I wish I could say something more original, but like many others, I’ll say the big advancements in AI and their applications in tools like ChatGPT, Copilot, etc. These are going to change the way we view and write code, speeding up development, and will be a huge asset to every software engineer. They are already amazing enough, but they will keep becoming better and better.


6. Managing a demanding career alongside personal time can be quite a feat. How do you strike a balance between the two, especially with interests like hiking? Could you share a memorable hiking experience you’ve had recently?


Finding personal time is something very important to me, and I’m always trying to make time for the things that make me happy. I try to stay active by working out or hiking as you said, but also always have time for reading or playing board games which is also a huge passion of mine.


One of the most memorable hikes I did recently was hiking to the Dragon Lake of Mount Tymfi for the second time and also visiting the peak of the mountain this time as well. The first time was around 8 years ago and it was my first hike ever. Going back there was amazing both because it is stunning and also because I could compare my progress over the years and realize that things become much easier over the years and something that seemed like a huge mountain suddenly feels like a small hill.


7. What piece of advice would you give to aspiring engineers who wish to carve out a career trajectory similar to yours in the tech industry?


Take risks, never be satisfied with anything, and always try to find ways to improve yourself or those around you.


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