He started coding when he was 7, and always knew he wanted to create something in this world - to take an idea, think about how to build it, and create it. With code, he creates.
Fast forward 20 years later, and Shalev Shalit is leading the CRM R&D group at our Beer Sheva offices, in the south of Israel. He joined Wix 3 years ago as a frontend developer, and today manages nearly 40 developers, who are responsible for developing products that help Wix users communicate and interact with their users: Forms, Contacts, Automations, Financial Tools, Workflows and Business Phone Numbers, just to name a few.
How did you get to start working at Wix?
“I moved to Beer Sheva 4 years ago, to study computer science. I had a software development background, so during my studies I founded a startup with two friends and did freelance coding for other companies, building applications and systems. After my first year of studies, I joined Wix.
“Wix Beer Sheva, or Wix7 as well call it, is very familial: We’re almost 100 people now, but everyone knows one another. We feel like this place is our home - on normal days we sit and eat together, play together, celebrate birthdays together, and we also have the best beer selection at Wix.”
Shalev started as a developer in a newly formed team, which was in charge of developing a new product: Wix Forms. “From the very beginning, I was interested in understanding the big picture, in solving problems. I wasn’t looking at Wix Forms as a product I’m contributing to - I really saw it as my own. I started taking more and more ownership, until 10 months later I officially became the Team Lead,” he shares.
“This is definitely one of things I’m most proud of. Today it’s a dev team with 9 people, Product, and UX. It’s a product that generates real value to Wix, adopted by millions of new users each month and has 10s of millions of submissions by users of our users. But at first, when we just released it, it was far from where it is now. We worked hard to make it a great product.”
Making it Work
As with any complex technological project, there were challenges. “We were using a new infrastructure for the first time, which was a real challenge to solve. We also had to work with a large group from another part of the company and find the best way to integrate and collaborate.
“Throughout this project we had to be very dynamic, make a lot of changes and find creative solutions - which was an interesting challenge for me. This is part of what I appreciate at Wix: You’re not given a task with instructions on how to execute it - it’s always a dialogue, brainstorming ideas and looking at different solutions.”
You took ownership, and became a group manager within 2 years.
“It’s true that I took a lot of ownership, but I was also given the opportunity to do that from my manager. There are companies that tell you to stay within the scope of your role, but at Wix there’s always someone there to help you get to where you want to be.
“Usually, I’d advise young developers to join a startup, since you do a lot of different things and gain tons of experience - but at Wix we’re still like that, we’re a startup of 4,000 people. There are a lot of initiatives that come from the employees, and I don’t think there are many companies that would allow this and be willing to take risks to make it happen.
“I’ve been here for 3+ years, and I’m still growing. I’m managing projects of much larger scales, integrating solutions with other things that happen at Wix, to make a greater impact. There are always new challenges, and most importantly: this is a place where I feel I have a very big impact.”
What are the challenges that currently keep you motivated?
“First, it’s developing our CRM tools with velocity. I’m very proud that we manage to set very ambitious goals for ourselves, and not just deliver on them - but even add things on top.
“Second, we deal with a wide variety of technological challenges. One team could deal with challenges of massive scale. Another team has challenges of real time processes. A different team could have resilience challenges. It’s very diverse.
“In the development process, and as part of our culture, we allow mistakes. A lot of our biggest achievements may not have happened if we told ourselves they might fail. Business Phone Numbers is one example for that: we knew there would be engineering challenges. We had a very small team of developers and many other projects going on. But we decided to go for it, and today it’s a product that people use and that brings value to the company.”
You don’t write code - you built a product that people use.
“To be part of Wix and be successful, you must be passionate about what you do. We don’t just come here to do a 9-5 job - we love what we do. We also need to take responsibility. It’s not just a product you work on - it’s your product, and its success is your success. You deploy your code to production and it reaches millions of people in no time.
“And that’s what I like about it - you really make an impact. You see someone using your product to stay afloat during COVID-19. It feels that we’re doing good for others. But since we do really big things that impact millions of people, there’s a lot to consider. You need to look around, ask for help, learn from people. We’re a team, and we’re lucky to be in a place where there are super smart people who also want to help others.”