A little about me? My name is Ana and I am a Software Engineer! I graduated 2 years ago from the University of Birmingham, where I studied Computer Science and Business Management. At university, I attended three courses on Software Engineering, amongst others, such as: Java modules, Web Development, Networks, etc.
In my mind, Software Engineering was one of the widest Computer Science areas, being shaped by the Agile Methodology. I learned about Agile during my first year of university and I couldn’t wait to finally apply what I learned!
I’ll be honest with you, during my last university year, when I was looking for a job, I was avoiding the Software Engineering roles because I wasn’t completely sure what the role involved, so I took the easy path – I became a Web Developer. I wasn’t fulfilled with my job, I wanted to get involved more in the other phases on the project, “have my hands on it”, not just deliver a piece of work without even understanding the need for it.
Eighteen months later, I joined Kainos. The main project I have worked on was for DEFRA. The first, days on the project can be summarised as: colours, walls and post it notes. Yes, yes, I know what you’re thinking…
What we actually did:
I got home and thought to myself: this is exactly where I want to be! It all makes sense now, this is what makes Software Engineering special: you get involved in designing what you are about to build, rather than jumping straight to building, which would most probably lead to collapsing…
Software Engineering is not just about coding!
It’s about sketching, designing, thinking outside the box, understanding what types of users will use the service you are building, and adapting it to all of your users’ needs. It’s a complex process that will not be successful if you miss out some of the steps.
But I’m not 100% sure any company will allow a software engineer to take part in any decision or project planning meetings – they have Technical and Solution Architects, as well as Business Analysts for this. And having these opportunities at Kainos was my first clue that joining this company was the right choice. You hear this at every company: our main focus is on people. And you join it and realise that’s not true at all – their focus is on delivery and you’re there just to make it happen. Sorry, fast delivery.
The benefits and flexibility at Kainos and how other people were describing the company’s culture seemed too good to be true but guess what! It is entirely true. Because a good company knows that keeping their employees happy will increase motivation, which leads to an improvement in delivery.
If you want to improve your skills and knowledge in a particular subject or area, all you need to do is ask and the company will provide the support for you. And it’s not just about technical or soft skills. Kainos wants its employees to find new hobbies, to create relationships with people from other offices, to create a network that will help you progress in your career. With these in mind, you have £250 every year to spend on any hobby you like, team lunches, a kick-off every year in Belfast, where the headquarters are, and many other team building activities that vary across teams.
They also don’t want objects flying around the office, so if I’m getting frustrated that the tester has found bugs for my ticket, I can go and relax by playing a pool game in the kitchen :).