Why Moving to Better Was The Right Career Move for Me

Having experienced the long, confusing mortgage process recently myself, I was drawn to Better as soon as I heard about them. I could see the huge opportunity in front of this company that was leveraging modern technology and automation to revolutionize the mortgage industry. I wanted to be part of it. Innovation has always been my biggest motivation. Getting the chance to have a real impact in an organization like Better and helping them grow and succeed, was exciting. I left Google in early 2020 to join my new company as Engineering Manager, and below I’m sharing why it’s been such a great decision for me.
3 min readTue Aug 31 2021

I was drawn to Better as soon as I heard about them as I’d recently been through the whole mortgage process myself. I had found it an incredibly opaque, delay-filled experience and it was clear there was a huge amount of labor behind the scenes necessary to complete the loan.

The size of the opportunity was immediately apparent. I could see how much impact a company leveraging modern technology and automation could have on the mortgage industry. Being part of innovation has always been my biggest motivation as a tech specialist and the chance to be involved with what was happening here was exciting.

So at the start of 2020, I said goodbye to Google after nearly six years and joined Better as a Senior Software Engineer.

A new experience

At Google, I worked on Search features, leveraging cutting-edge Machine Learning and NLP to improve the product and enable novel experiences for billions of users.

It was a fantastic and challenging space to be in, but I’d started to realize the product area I was in was becoming much more mature - the growth curve of the organization, as well as my learning, was flattening out. This signaled to me that it was time to look at making my next step.

I wanted to go somewhere that was growing quickly, and where I could have a larger impact on the business as a whole. At Google, even major launches were unlikely to significantly change the trajectory of the company, but I felt that at Better, the tech being built was a key driver of the success of the business.

I remember when I started out at Google how excited I was by the unique technology coming out of the company. Now I was feeling that same excitement thinking about all the development, challenge and innovation in store at Better. I knew I would be pushed out of my comfort zone and have to build whatever was needed to scale the business.

The benefits of being in a smaller company

When you’re at a large company, you’re surrounded by a deep bench of talented people to take on most projects. Getting to work on important or exciting projects is often a privilege.

But at a smaller organization like Better, projects outnumber people. Instead of being forced to specialize in one area, you get to focus on whatever tools are best for the project at hand, which leads to a much broader range of exposure.

In fact, you ultimately have more impact in a smaller company, in general. There are no projects that aren’t strategic to the business, so a novel or well done piece of work can unlock huge opportunities that end up being key differentiators for us.

Standouts of my role here

One of the unique things about my time at Better has been the opportunity to work on such a wide range of projects. These span from deep technical issues related to scaling our systems, to critical product improvements driving large gains in the efficiency of the mortgage process.

The scaling work has been exciting because it’s very open-ended. I’ve also had to learn about every layer of our stack in a way that was never necessary at Google.

Due to a huge amount of growth we had been experiencing, bad patterns in our systems were exposed. We tracked many of these down and were able to cut latency by 75%. As well as providing an improved user experience, this translated to millions of dollars of productivity gained.

In terms of scaling, beyond the scaling of our existing systems we needed to develop new systems to improve the efficiency of our mortgage origination process. This involved working with subject matter experts and learning a huge amount about the mortgage process.

It was engaging to dig through the problems and re-architect our fundamental data access patterns to enable further scaling up in the future. Many implementations just didn’t work anymore, now that we’d gone from 100 to 10,000 loans a month!

Not only do I now know a huge amount about loans and the industry, the work I’ve done has had a large effect on the business. We’re seeing huge efficiency gains, cost savings and improvements in customer experience, and it’s great knowing

I’ve played a part in something as impactful as that!

Are you excited by technology too? Opportunities for talented, driven tech specialists are available at Better, so head to our website to browse our latest openings!

Nick Zukoski
Nick Zukoski
Senior Software Engineer

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