Embarking upon a new career can be an uncertain journey, but for those treading new paths during the pandemic, the journey was comparable to stepping into a labyrinth.
Social distancing spelt an instant end to face-to-face interviews, and as the world switched to remote working, tech professionals across the globe were left wondering not only how and when – but if – they would ever be able to progress their careers and explore new opportunities.
Thankfully, one of the very few benefits of the pandemic was the shift to digitisation and a more relaxed approach to workplace culture, as people across the globe juggled being stay-at-home workers, parents and teachers.
While some industries slowed or shut down completely, many B2B tech businesses boomed as consumers and companies alike began to explore new digital terrain as they adjusted to the ‘new-normal’, creating ample opportunities for graduates to make their first foray into the industry.
Two such professionals were graduate Georgios Botzakis, who joined Saggezza UK during the pandemic as an Associate Software Developer and Jake Vinegard, who joined the company as a Java Developer from a fellow UK tech company.
We caught up with the pair to find out how they found the process and what they’d say to others hoping to follow suit and explore a career in UK tech while working remotely…
Georgios Botzakis – Associate Software Developer
Hailing from Greece, Georgios joined Saggezza after graduating from the University of Sunderland where he studied Games Development.
Georgios’s interest in tech started at secondary school when he played a lot of computer games in his spare time and became curious about how they worked. However, it was his Maths teacher who really encouraged him to look into computer science, which is still traditionally taught in Greece through lots of theoretical science and pen and paper coding.
This, he felt gave him the perfect foundations on which to build a career in tech. After graduating, he decided to move to the UK to study and, inspired by its excellent reputation for education and his love of British culture and the English language, he began studying at the University of Sunderland.
It was while studying at university that he gained exposure to C# and Unity, how to build software and gather requirements and how to implement the SDLC in projects.
With graduation looming, Georgios already knew about Saggezza thanks to a university trip to our offices in his second year. In that visit, he was able to speak to our team and gain some valuable insight into the projects they worked on. After getting to know us he was attracted to the mentorship and our TechTrack which we offer graduates.
His biggest challenge since joining the business has been what he calls the ‘paradigm shift’ – he has had to get used to a different way of thinking from games development and he has also realigned his focus from C# to Java.
Also, with Saggezza being a software consultancy, there was a lot to learn about the commercial side of the business But, despite it being a steep learning curve, Georgios has been impressed with the support and guidance he has had through the transition.
The Saggezza Tech Track graduate programme started as soon as Georgios joined the company, which included an HR Application as a mini project. This has been built in Java, Spring, ReactJS, MongoDB which compliments the learning and upskilling he has been doing.
He describes the working culture as being very collaborative, as since joining, he has had a lot of mentorship and help from the team. He loves the ethos of continuous learning and is looking forward to sitting an AWS exam in the near future. He also enjoys the “fun, almost family-like atmosphere, where even senior management are accessible no matter your position in the company.”
His advice for graduates looking to explore a career in tech?
“Stick with it, the learning curve is steep but by joining Saggezza, you will get all the support you need to succeed.”
Jake Vinegard – Java Developer
Jake joined Saggezza last year after working in software consultancy for the past two years. Prior to that, he studied mathematics at the University of Hull where he graduated with a first class degree. In his spare time, Jake is a big Rugby League fan following Hull FC and is currently reading Silmarillion, a Lord of the Rings prequel.
His interest in tech started at University where he started using Matlab as part of his degree. He felt the logical nature of maths lent itself well to software development, so he took a leap of faith and made it his career. Despite it being a major switch, he found himself easily able to learn on the job and began broadening his skills through self-study.
Jake had been tracking Saggezza’s growth via LinkedIn for a while and he decided to apply to further his career. He felt the company’s values, commitment to development and the chance to learn new tech fitted perfectly with his personal aspirations. Despite being in the middle of a global pandemic he was able to onboard quickly and integrate with the team.
Just weeks after joining, he was soon asked to work on a project with a global investment bank and the first thing he noticed when joining Saggezza was the fast-paced environment.
After getting up to speed with the client’s proprietary software and documentation, he is now working with Java, Rest APIs, Spring and Apache Kafka amongst other technologies. His team is located all across the globe; the UK, US, India, Hong Kong, Poland and Tokyo. He enjoys the international nature of the team but admits it can be challenging, especially when he was involved in his first big release.
After a busy start to his Saggezza career, Jake has been able to catch his breath and reflect on the workplace culture. He cites ‘excellence and learning’ as being integral to the way the company works. The business has really challenged him to bring the best out of himself in terms of his career development and delivering the best service for clients.
Jake’s advice for anyone thinking about joining Saggezza…
“As with any big decision, think carefully about it, do your research and ask questions. If you are looking for an employer who really lives their values, can give you variety in your work and develop your career, then you should definitely consider Saggezza. I’m glad I did.’”
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