Introducing Zane Neikena: The mad queen

Zane Neikena
Zane Neikena
Published: 19.10.2021

QueensLab is one of Sweden's fastest growing companies in an industry where you can expect the work to be well-engineered with a touch of brilliant design, combining and creating pure excellence—just as it should be. With transparency and long-term thinking, you as a client can expect innovation with ease.

It’s time to meet one of our developers, Zane Neikena!

Why did you join QueensLab, and what has kept you here?

I made a career switch from being a graphic designer to becoming a developer. I was rather picky with choosing my next employer (probably due to the fact that I decided to change careers relatively late in life). I felt totally exhausted, feeling expendable and unappreciated at work. This time I really wanted to find a place that I don't feel like leaving after just a few months.

QueensLab had the right vibe right away—partly because of the focus on both sides of the product (development AND design), but mostly because of the people and the company culture where everyone is treated fairly and has a chance to speak up.

At the time, I actually had two contracts to choose from and it was not an easy choice by all means. Both seemed like great places to work. I chose QueensLab after getting invited to their Christmas party and meeting all my colleagues-to-be. It felt like we had known each other for years. That did it for me! The Monday after, I signed the contract.

A year and a half later, I am still very happy with my choice. It has been a wild ride - many exciting projects, a global pandemic in between, QueensLab expanding to Stockholm and Lisbon, me landing a long-term gig with Volvo, all the while running my own startup on the side. It feels like this time came with a lot of growth, both for me and for QueensLab… and this is only the beginning!

In your opinion, what are the hallmark traits of a great developer?

Doubting everything is probably both a gift and a curse alike, although I’d argue that it is also an essential habit of a great developer! Staying curious is the only way, really. And then there is a whole lot of googling, of course.

How has QueensLab helped you in your career development?

One thing that I appreciate the most is the freedom we get at QueensLab. We can always choose and have a say about our assignments and that way steer our career the way WE want it to go. This is probably the most important thing for me - being able to choose my own way, and knowing that whatever I choose—QueensLab will cheer me on.

Another invaluable factor is all the support, advice, and inspiration I've received from my peers in my own entrepreneurial journey. Running your own company on the side of being employed is no joke, I'd say, without open-minded and supportive bosses it is probably impossible. I am very lucky to have a management that can and will make all kinds of solutions happen for me.

Do you have any hobbies, go-to weekend activities, or long-term passion projects you’re working on?

Yes, so what is this business I'm running, you ask? Since 2019, together with a few friends, we have been building KattBNB—an online platform similar to Airbnb, but for cats and cat sitters! Yes, that's right, an Airbnb for cats! Currently it is only live in Sweden, but soon everywhere!

Growing up on a farm I always had animals around me and animal welfare is a great passion of mine. I love my cats and I love traveling—and that's the part where it gets tricky. As a cat owner of 15 years (and counting) I know from first-hand experience what a challenge it can be to find a cat sitter you can trust. So, naturally, we took this struggle online and solved it with software. Running my own company is very exciting, frustrating, crazy, fun, depressing, and empowering at the same time and I would not change it for anything.

Building a product on your own terms, seeing it being used and appreciated is the most rewarding thing as a developer, as well as a kickass learning experience in every sense. I don't know if entrepreneurship is for everyone but I do think everyone should at least give it a try!

Zane taking care of her bundle of joy

How do you balance your career at QueensLab and friends & family?

Very badly; I’m a recovering workaholic and separating myself as a person from the work I do is something I still struggle with. Though, I do believe that being self-aware and open about my own struggles has helped me. Speaking up is hard but that is the only way to go.

How do you define success in life?

If you would drop dead right away and do not have a bunch of regrets about life—

you lived a successful life. Maybe a slightly morbid point of view but really, once we accept the inevitability of our own mortality, it gives us a good perspective. For whatever reason we are here… why not try having a nice time?

Are you an iPhone or android type of person?

iPhone, 110%.

What is the best vacation you’ve been to?

Iceland. I had dreamt about traveling there since being a child and it really felt like a dream come true. I would do it again and again, and again.

Zane enjoying the outdoors

Describe what you were like at age 10.

I was a strange kid, one of those nerds who do well in school without trying much and don’t have any real friends. I was not too sad about that though, I liked being alone. I preferred reading books, playing piano, and caring for animals over hanging with other children.

Enjoying the fresh breeze

Get to know Zane and the rest of the QueensLab team!

We’re delighted that Zane decided to join QueensLab – it’s been great having her on board! If you have any questions or want to get to know Zane or one of her colleagues from the engineering team, we are happy to put you in touch. Please don’t hesitate to reach out!

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