Young developers are showing that all the beaten paths in the IT industry are beginning to lose their relevance. They are now focusing on the opportunities for self-growth and are often more interested in a good working environment than in temptingly high salaries. In an interview with Dorian Opacki, our very own Senior Developer, we talked about his approach to working in IT industry, the importance of a university degree and his plans for the future.
Although you are now a Senior Developer, we could still call you a young developer considering your age. Many people are now choosing to change their career paths and enter the world of IT. How do you recall your beginnings in the industry?
I started out like most people in the industry. When I was in high school, my friends and I used to create servers so we could play together, and over time we started creating various modifications to them. Ever since I was a kid I wanted to be a doctor, so at the beginning I didn’t see my future in technology at all. I even started medical studies, but eventually the IT industry seemed more creative and interesting for me personally. So that’s where I went. Looking for and fixing bugs turned out to be more interesting to me than dressing wounds and giving injections. Halfway through my studies, I got my first internship and then I just kept going until I got to where I am today.
Actually, it wasn’t really my choice. I would say that fronted chose me. During my internship, I ended up on a project where a frontend developer was needed for small changes and bug fixes. So I got the chance to learn on a real, commercial product, and that gave me a huge amount of experience in a fairly short amount of time. However, if I had to choose ‘my’ area once again, it would definitely be frontend. Firstly because the entry threshold to the industry is much lower than for the backend, plus the speed at which the frontend evolves means that practically every day there is a new technology to learn. I like dynamics and excitement and the fact that you can’t just sit back and say, “Now I know everything”. If I did that, I would be way behind.
What was it that made you decide to work with us?
I’ve been working at Sollers for almost two years now. That’s both long and not, looking at my age and what is said about young developers. Following this stereotype, I should already be looking around for a new employer. 😉
Before Sollers, I had only worked in small software houses. When I started looking for a new job, I found that this time I wanted to try my hand at a bigger company. When I started looking for a new job, I realised that this time I wanted to try my hand at a bigger company. When I looked at what Sollers had to offer, I was interested in the development paths, but most of all in the opportunity to work on projects almost anywhere in the world. The recruitment process was quite fast and I received constant feedback, which gave me the feeling that both parties were equally committed to a positive outcome. I also learned that there is the possibility of promotion twice a year in Sollers. This really happens and makes me feel appreciated for what I do on a daily basis.
There is a belief that the third year of working for a company is a turning point for a programmer, and that is when they start looking for a change. Would you confirm this trend?
The truth is that the right time to change companies is when you feel that you are not progressing.
If a programmer feels bored with his job, if he is not developing, or if the financial conditions are undercut by what the market is offering – then the natural reflex is to look for a new place. I have been with my current company for two years, so according to the market, I should be looking for another one soon. But personally, I don’t feel the need to do that. I think Sollers is a place where you can break these patterns and stay much longer. During these two years I have learned a lot of new technologies, and if I feel the need to change projects, I have the opportunity to do so. I don’t bang my head against a wall and I don’t feel like I’m just a number on the pay slip.
What are you currently working on? Do you already have any specific ideas about the future of your career?
My plan for the future is simply to become a better developer. I am currently developing my knowledge and skills in working with the Guidewire system, which I am working with on a current project. It is a system divided into easily configurable modules that are responsible for payment or policy management for insurance companies. The system itself has a lot of custom development, so I have the pleasure of working on both the backend in Gosu and the frontend in React.
It’s hard to say what I’ll be doing in 2-3 years’ time, as the pace of change in the IT industry is incomparable. I started my career working on the frontend, and now I also work on the backend. It seems like everything is moving forward everyday – there are new technologies and challenges we need to solve.
What do you like most about your job?
There are many. The most important thing is that there is never a dull moment. Every task brings a certain challenge. It requires a lot of technical knowledge as well as logical thinking and creativity. Nowadays, the image of the programmer has moved away from the stereotype of the ‘IT guy’. Today, they also need well-developed soft skills in order to fit in and work as part of a team.
The IT industry offers a wide range of opportunities, both in terms of technology and working systems. This is the place for introverted people as well as those who are the heart of the party. A programmer today can be almost anyone with knowledge and soft skills – including those who like to party or travel far and wide.
What advice would you give to young developers starting out in IT? Is a degree necessary to start a career?
First and foremost, not to be afraid to try. You don’t need to be an expert in any particular technology to start your projects. We learn the most from our mistakes, so the more mistakes we make, the more we learn. It is popular to stay in what is known as ‘tutorial hell’. Of course you need to know some of the basics, but once you’ve got them, it’s worth trying to build something yourself. And if you get stuck, look for answers on the internet – that’s what our work will look like in the future anyway 😉
A degree is no longer necessary. For a potential employer, the actual skills we can apply to a project are far more important than our degree. However, a degree can give us a solid foundation and help us choose the direction we want to go in. The choice is up to the individual.
What are your tips for people who are interested in a job at Sollers?
The most important thing is to be honest. Don’t lie about things in your CV and then fake it in the interview. If you’re applying for a junior position and don’t have any commercial experience, it’s a good idea to show your portfolio and talk about private or university projects. At Sollers, we look for people who are open to self-growth and learning new technologies. It’s also important to be open to interacting with others – be it colleagues in the office or clients. Once you have passed the technology knowledge test, the interviews that follow are mainly about finding out if you will fit into the team and the role we see for you.