Improving the world with data and mathematics

In our Inspiring Digital Employers series, we’re bringing you some of our 300+ business clients from 4 countries. Meet ORTEC from Romania.

Our partners inspire us not only to become better employers ourselves but also to contribute to their success with great new tech colleagues, in line with their business needs and matching their corporate culture. We’re proud to be their tech training and hiring partners, and happy to connect them with Codecooler graduates, the best tech juniors on the market.

Meet ORTEC, the world’s leading supplier of mathematical optimisation software and advanced analytics. With headquarters in the Netherlands, around 1,000 employees worldwide and offices in 13 countries around the globe, ORTEC is a truly global company. This time, we sat down for a chat with their Senior HR Manager, Tania Ion.

Tania, please introduce your company to us. What is ORTEC like as a workplace?

At ORTEC, we’re passionate about what we do and we’re proud of our employee-oriented culture. We value teamwork, creativity and ownership and our colleagues are happy to be given the chance to speak up and take initiative. We have real talent recognition, provide work flexibility to our colleagues, support their career development and reward their performance too.

I’m proud to have been working for ORTEC for almost 9 years now. We’ve had exciting, challenging projects and I had the pleasure of working with wonderful people and of developing along with the company.

Why are digital talent and skills important for your business?

New digital talent is vital to growing our company further since our purpose is to improve the world using data and mathematics. We believe that data-driven decisions empower companies to reach a higher level of performance, and our clients achieve this with our software. The quality of digital talent and skills will reflect upon the quality of service we deliver to our customers.

You can hear about the growing digital talent gap everywhere. What’s your opinion about it?

There are studies which confirm not only the existence of the gap but its widening as well. What we see is that this situation combined with talent scarcity forces organisations to develop the necessary skills of their employees through internal training programs instead of just hiring new people to fill in the gaps.

How do you grow the digital skillset of your organisation? Via hiring, training, both, or some other way?

We developed an internal academy that offers ORTEC employees continuous learning possibilities by organising a diverse and up-to-date curriculum in various knowledge domains.

Since attracting and keeping talent has become more and more difficult in the past years, both hiring and training measures should be applied equally in my opinion.

What global and local trends impact your digital hiring and training efforts?

Remote work has reshaped the way we work. For example, some teams have been mixed from different locations, and some people are now involved in new projects that required a different type of skill set before. Adapting to changes is vital to developing any business so we focused our efforts to support and embrace these changes.

Why did you choose to partner up with Codecool?

Considering the talent scarcity combined with the tough competition in our local market, we embraced a new channel of insourcing talents by collaborating with Codecool. We can see through the students that we work with how effective Codecool’s structure and learning methodology are.

Our partnership is based on transparency and trust which we value a lot. We’re happy to have covered some of our job openings with your help.

What’s your long-term digital vision for your company? What are your most important projects right now?

Scaling our business to live up to future digitalisation needs will have to be organised in steps, so it will ensure a smooth transition, which should not affect the services provided to our clients. For instance, we started implementing more and more AI technologies in our services and this leads to improved efficiency of our products.

How do you see our shared digital future?

Well, there’s only one way to go and that’s up! We’re confident about our common digital future as a whole and we embrace the benefits that it has to offer.


Inspired by ORTEC’s example?

Reach out if you need great junior tech professionals or best-in-class training for your organisation.

Hope to talk to you soon!

“Digitalisation starts with a change in minds”

In our Inspiring Digital Employers series, we’re bringing you some of our 300+ business clients from 4 countries. Meet Clocklike Minds from Poland.

Next to big and household names, we want to introduce you to smaller, maybe lesser-known businesses. These inspiring digital employers motivate us not only to become better employers ourselves but also to contribute to their success with great new tech colleagues. We’re proud to be their tech training and hiring partners, and happy to connect them with Codecool graduates – the best tech juniors on the market.

This time, we sat down for a chat with Pawel Brzeski, Founder and CEO, and Lukasz Bieniewicz, Partner at Clocklike Minds

Pawel is an experienced manager, architect, and developer with over 20 years of experience in the IT industry. He was responsible for the implementation of many transformation projects in financial institutions. He has managed large teams of over 100 people, and is a Certified Pega Lead System Architect.

Lukasz is a Certified Pega Lead System Architect, who has been working in the IT industry since 2011, and with the Pega platform specifically since 2015. He started his career in the insurance sector as a business analyst and JAVA developer. Since then, he has taken part in numerous projects related to the Pega platform and carried out projects for Polish and international clients in all technical roles, from junior programmer to lead architect.

Please introduce your company. What do we need to know about Clocklike Minds?​

Clocklike Minds was founded in September 2017 by a group of technology enthusiasts who previously co-founded Bizmatica Poland, which has been active on the Polish market since 2013. The acquisition of the Pega team and Bizmatica Poland contracts took place in December 2019. 

We are experienced technical and business architects and engineers with a proven track record of success in delivering complex IT projects. We have an extensive knowledge of the IT industry, IT technologies, trends and agile methodologies, and in-depth experience in BPMS and Java technologies. Our experts have carried out many international projects for organisations in various industries, including in particular:

  • banking,
  • insurance,
  • the leasing industry,
  • telecommunications,
  • the pharmaceutical Industry, and
  • health-care.

We use the Pega BPM Platform to build and configure applications.

Why are new technology talent and digital skills important to your business?​

It is often said that digitalisation starts with a change in minds – the ability to leave old, worn-out patterns, openness to change. We can safely say that the future and development of our company depends largely on the minds of our current and future employees. Their innovation, freshness in approach to technology, understanding of it and courage to make bold, future-oriented decisions – all these factors are and will be key elements in shaping the future of our company. 

That’s why a constant influx of new technological talent into every company is essential. Not just in technological competence, but also a certain natural, I think, increasingly better understanding of technology and current trends that the next generation of employees will have.

We live in a world where the boundaries between the offline and online worlds have virtually blurred. Key elements of business have already moved largely into the digital world, and without strong digital skills it is hard to find your way in this rapidly changing reality – even in everyday life, let alone in business.

Everyone is talking about the growing digital talent gap. What is your opinion on this subject?

It all depends on the definition we take of the phrase ‘digital talent’. 

If we understand it as consuming digital content, being able to navigate the digital world, social media, etc., it seems that the younger generations in particular don’t have the slightest problem with it. Here, the gap is not only not widening, but is being systematically bridged with the natural generational change and increasing awareness of the power and usefulness of modern technological solutions among middle and older generations. 

For example, referring to the Polish “backyard”, which is closest to us, we are at the global forefront of innovations related to non-cash payments. We are more and more willing to pay by card, mobile phone, watch or blister, and many people no longer even carry a wallet, considering it unnecessary baggage. 

But digital talent understood as a group of people willing and able to create digital products or tools to create or consume digital content is a different story. Undoubtedly, a technology-related career path, although well paid, is also quite demanding and has a certain barrier to entry. It is also, according to a still widespread opinion, a path that supposedly requires extraordinary talents and skills.

This all results in some young people feeling apprehensive about choosing such a direction for their career, so that the supply of new digital talent is not as wide as it could be. Those with such skills who are already in the market, thanks to globalisation and the increasing acceptance of remote working, can in turn choose from a range of jobs around the world, often better paid, further widening our local digital talent gap.

When it comes to the demand side of the market, today more than ever, positions for IT talent are not limited to IT Departments. Marketing, sales, and many other areas, historically purely business, need to be filled with many roles designed for digital talent. 

Some of these needs are being met by converting business employees to more technical employees (citizen developers) who, after appropriate training, can produce software, usually using low-code or RPA platforms. However, this does not seem to be enough to meet current market needs. 

Hiring or training? Or both? What is your approach to digitising your organisational skills?​

In general, we believe that using both options is the optimal approach. 

Hiring an experienced employee means not only introducing high quality (knowledge, experience) to the company “on the spot” (without waiting for the end of the process of training, acquiring experience, etc.), but also taking a different look at similar problems from the market. A different one, because it is based on the experience of functioning in a different business environment, in other companies, in other projects. This is an opportunity to learn also for us, because by relying on the experience of others we can improve our company in many aspects. 

On the other hand, training employees from scratch allows us to place emphasis in the training on those areas which, in our experience, are the most important in the process of smooth introduction of such a person to work in real projects. As a result, we can optimise the time spent learning a new technology, using it more effectively. 

We do not hide the fact that within the domain in which we move (although it applies to the entire IT market), the possibility of hiring experienced people from the market is limited. Firstly, the supply of experienced Pega specialists on the Polish labour market is small. As a young and still small company, we are also not able to attract employees with a well-known logo. Similarly, the technology we deal with – Pega – cannot compete in popularity with many other technologies. 

Therefore, for us, the training of newly hired people is not a novelty and has been an integral part of the onboarding process of new employees for virtually forever – and we feel good about it.

What other global and local trends are influencing your digital training and employment strategy?​

Undoubtedly, the saturation of the labour market and the difficulty of attracting experienced workers from the market, for reasons we have already discussed above, make us focus on training. Both for people just starting out in their careers and for people who want to retrain from another area or another technology to develop applications based on Pega.

We have also been influenced by the pandemic that has accelerated the popularisation and acceptance of the concept of remote working. It is not so much about changing our way of thinking, but mainly about changing the way of thinking of our clients, who look more favourably on the remote work of our consultants. 

This allows us to look for employees more broadly, not limiting ourselves to specific geographical locations where our clients’ offices are located, or not only looking for people willing to travel. This is both an opportunity and a threat because other companies can freely penetrate the Polish market, as well as the employees themselves can seek work in foreign companies or work as freelancers.

Why did you decide to cooperate with Codecool?

On the recommendation of our German partners, Greenfield.

How do you assess our cooperation? What do you value most in our cooperation?​

I think it’s very good. We highly appreciate your professionalism and substantive support in the process of recruitment of new employees. 

Our very high rating is also influenced by the quality of purely human relations with your representatives, their openness and friendly, partner-like attitude to cooperation.

What is your digital vision or strategy?

It seems that due to the growing digital talent gap (in the sense of people producing IT solutions), an effective and often chosen approach to try to solve this problem by companies will be the conversion of some business employees to technical employees (citizen developers). 

This approach must go hand in hand with a further increase in the popularity of low-code platforms, and therefore also the leader of this segment – Pega. As a company which (including Bizmatica) has probably been working with this technology for the longest time on the Polish market, we would like to become the first choice for all Polish companies considering implementation of this technology or further development of their existing applications. 

We would like to further expand our activities focused on popularising this class of solutions on the Polish market – so that an increasing number of companies recognise their possibilities and potential. Automation of business processes, flexibility, and speed of their adaptation to changing market conditions, improving the speed and quality of customer service in the increasing number of available channels of communication with them – all these, in our opinion, will be the key elements determining the success of companies soon. 

Modern BPMS solutions are ideally suited to this environment, as they address all these needs using a single, consistent platform. We believe that by focusing on this area we will be able to further develop our business, helping our customers to achieve their ambitious goals.

How do you see our shared digital future?

Above all, we see Codecool as an excellent Partner with whom we can implement many projects to support our digital vision and strategy. 

We would like Codecool to help us create the first proprietary Pega-based BPMS application development curriculum in Poland. This would allow trainees to learn about the possibilities and how to work with such a solution at an early stage of their professional development. 

On the one hand, this would increase their attractiveness on the job market, as BPMS and low-code platforms are gaining popularity. On the other hand, it would allow them to make a considered decision as to whether this is a career path that suits them. 

An important aspect of such training, in addition to providing practical knowledge on the use of the tool, would also be to make trainees aware that with proper commitment on their part, they are able to easily find themselves on the job market in application development based on BPMS platforms – and this does not require 5-year studies in IT. 

Pega, being a modern BPMS solution, supporting the low-code approach, seems to be a particularly graceful platform to enter the world of IT. It also offers interesting work at the interface between IT and business, allowing to learn in detail the business processes of the organisation.


Inspired by Clocklike Minds’ example?

Reach out if you need great junior tech professionals or best-in-class training for your organisation.

Hope to talk to you soon!

Great teams, smart machines, beautiful locations

In our Inspiring Digital Employers series, we’re bringing you some of our 300+ business clients from 4 countries. Meet AGCO from Hungary.

Next to big and household names, we want to introduce you to smaller, maybe lesser-known businesses. These inspiring digital employers motivate us not only to become better employers ourselves but also to contribute to their success with great new tech colleagues. We’re proud to be their tech training and hiring partners, and happy to connect them with Codecool graduates – the best tech juniors on the market.

Meet AGCO, more specifically its service delivery centre, AGCO Hungary Kft. AGCO is a global leader in the design, manufacture, and distribution of agricultural engineering. Their portfolio contains exciting international brands, ca. 30 factories worldwide, a dealership network present in 140 countries, and a full line offer from tractors and combine harvesters to silos, smart feeders and precision agriculture machines.

AGCO’s service delivery centre in Budapest is a truly global, multi-functional business centre creating value for most areas of the AGCO business from IT, HR, Purchasing, and Finance, to Technical Service or Engineering. We’ve sat down with Senior IT Manager, Peter Subecz.

Peter, please introduce your company to us. What is AGCO like as a workplace? ​

AGCO is a large multinational company with multiple business lines. We’re proud to be among the top 3 global market leaders in agricultural machine manufacturing. One of our flagship brands, for example, is Fendt. Fendt is so cool and premium that it’s also known as the Ferrari of tractors.

We have 20+ factories world-wide, and several other business units, including a SSC (shared service centre) in Budapest with 400+ colleagues. A big part of the local team works in IT development and architecture, and the focus is both on delivering smart solutions and leading innovation.

Our office is nice and modern, and the vibe reflects a good type of multinational culture. And we have great, international teams with an inspiring mix of cultural colourfulness.

Colleagues stick together, there is a strong sense of solidarity in the air – inspite of the fact that many business units have been acquired and not organically grown from within the organisation. 

There is always opportunity to travel if you like, and our offices and factories are at beautiful places, like in Linnavouri, close to Tampere in Finland, near Neuschwanstain Castle in Germany, outside Vicenza, at the feet of the Alps in Italy, in Beauvais, France, Devon, UK, in Duluth, Minnesota, US, and other amazing locations. 

Work is exciting, too. We’re building hi-tech smart machines and use a DevOps approach for production support and corporate governance. There is so much new innovation ahead of us, that it will give us work for the next 4 to 5 years.

How important are digital skills and talent for your business?​

As I mentioned, a big part of our business unit is about digital solution delivery and innovation, and we need skilled people to make all that happen. 

Besides solid technical and soft skills we also value an agile mindset and the knowledge of agile principles and methods, because we’re in the middle of an agile transformation, too.

Waterfall is just not good enough for us anymore.

The shift is gradual and business-side will be a part of it, too, not just the IT department.

You can hear about the growing digital talent gap everywhere. How does it affect you?​

We also feel that it’s difficult to find quality tech professionals today. And it’s more difficult to keep them, too, because people tend to change jobs much easily and faster than just a few years ago. 

We are still confident that we can offer a great workplace and package overall, and strive to continue being the employer that you wouldn’t want to leave.

How do you grow the digital skillset of your organisation? Via hiring, training, both, or some other way?​

We do both, focus on quality recruitment, as well as continuous training. 

I have 4 DevOps teams with ca. 60 people and we’re still in the process of hiring more. There are teams where half the people come from Codecool. They all specialised in DevOps during their Full-Stack Development training.

When joining us, they always go through an additional onboarding video training series, like everyone else, focusing on our solutions and technologies. 

We offer centralised training programs for existing employees, too, including training in new technologies and soft skills. Everyone has a personal improvement plan, and we make sure to follow-up on it.

Why did you choose to partner up with Codecool?​

Codecool trains skilled juniors, and you cannot run a development team with seniors only. You always need a good balance of seniors and juniors for efficiency and best results.

We found that Codecoolers were always very motivated, as opposed to many seniors, for example. They want to learn, they want to work, and we appreciate that a lot.

Sometimes they need to further improve some of their skills, for example to work with complex algorythms. This is something that university graduates are better at because they studied linear algebra. But Codecoolers are better at others things: they have hands-on programming skills, and are more confident to try new things, work in teams and explain their approach to their solutions, which is another important part of their work. 

We are happy with our Codecoolers, they fit in our teams very well.

And I also value our cooperation with the Codecool team. I just send them the profiles we need, without explaining it too much, and I always get a short list of matching candidates within 2 days the latest. If I have to wait, it’s more because of our part of the HR workflow sometimes, but all-in-all it’s always a really fast and very convenient process.

What local and global trends do you see impacting your business today?​

Agile transformation is not a totally new global trend, but it’s something we’re doing right now, and we put a lot of effort implementing it across our organisation. 

Cloud-based services are another trend we follow – about 60 to 70% of our solutions in total already are hosted in the cloud or shared via the cloud.

What’s your long-term digital vision for your company?​

Our new CIO has launched a large-scale digital transformation, starting from centralising all customer portals based on cloud technology, to be continued by connecting all financial and engineering processes globally. 

Together with our plans about going fully agile and cloudbased, we’re building a globally integrated digital platform for our organisation. While obviously also continuing the delivery of world-class smart agricultural machinery.

How do you see our shared digital future?​

I believe that we will continue to have faster and easier access to more and more information. For the worker next to the delivery line, and the one sitting on the tractor, checking real-time operational data on their smart phone, too. The key is going to be the filtering of the data – in the future even more, than today. The personalisation of the access to data will very much be in focus.

Outside of our domain, in general, I see a similar trend with regards to the information ecosystem. Sustainable energy, and digitalisation eliminating human error are also key areas where I expect substantial and exciting improvements in the future.

Looking for an inspiring digital employer like AGCO? Check out their open positions. If you need training first, consider our Full-Stack Development Course, which will give you the exact skills AGCO and the rest of our 300+ partners are looking for.

Inspired by AGCO’s example? Reach out if you need great junior tech professionals or best-in-class training for your organisation.

Hope to talk to you soon!

“We always look for the good people”

In our Inspiring Digital Employers series, we’re bringing you some of our 300+ business clients from 4 countries that we find especially inspiring as employers. Next to big and household names, we introduce you to maybe lesser-known and smaller businesses that are equally amazing workplaces in their own way.

Our partners inspire us not only to become a better employer ourselves, but also to contribute to their success with great new tech colleagues, in line with their business needs and matching their corporate culture. We’re proud to be their tech training and hiring partners, and happy to connect them with Codecooler graduates, the best tech juniors on the market.  

Meet Com-Forth, a Hungary-based, family-owned small business building innovative, industrial digital solutions for production companies. Com-Forth has been on the market for 30 years now. They have always put people in front of technology, both as a business partner and as an employer. They are very conscious about not wanting to grow bigger, also to maintain a human-centred company culture. We’ve sat down with their CEO, Péter Bóna.

peter bona
Péter Bóna, CEO

Péter, please introduce your company to us. What is Com-Forth like as a workplace?

Com-Forth is a small and focused business delivering industrial software. We provide production companies with tailor-made, innovative digital solutions for production process data collection, analytics, and visualisation, to improve their effectiveness and productivity. We’re also value-added distributors of industrial digital products such as industrial data acquisition, communication and security.

Com-Forth is a human-centred company, and this is not just a nice-sounding hiring cliché in our case. We really mean it. 

We are not a big multinational, where you’re sometimes just a cog in the machine, or a cool start-up, where you must be over-the-top busy all the time.

Instead, we’re a place where you are not „used”, or burnt out quickly, but welcomed and appreciated, with a community that is truly a second family for our colleagues. 

We look out for our colleagues, and we always look for the „good people”. Not even in the sense of a good worker, but more like people matching our culture. 

If you work for us, then you have your space and freedom to do your work the way and at the time you want to.

And if you’re a person that can live with this space and freedom, not requiring too much hand-holding, then it’s a good start. 

You also must get on with everybody else working here. We’re a small company, and we make big decisions together, so it’s important that there is no substantial tension in the team. It’s a young team, doing innovative projects, in a digital environment, with a focus on people.

We find that most developers appreciate having the freedom to decide not only when and where they work from, but also how and in what digital framework. We provide this freedom and „only” ask you in return to live well with it.

How important are digital skills and talent for your business?​

Being a digital software provider, 15 of our 24 colleagues (26 with 2 on maternity-leave) in total are developers. We tend to grow organically, meaning when we have more projects, we adjust the team. On the other hand, we’re very conscious about not growing too big, to maintain a family-like vibe in our small organisation. 

Just recently, we’ve grown and now have 4 Codecoolers in our team already. We’re very happy with them.

As I said earlier, we hire good people, matching our culture and sharing our values. In terms of hard skills, we look for professionals knowledgeable in using and building MS SQL databases, and programming in C# and ASP.NET Core for back end and a web-based front end with Angular. 

But I think there is not a single colleague in our team doing exactly the thing we’ve hired them to do initially.  This is a place where you can keep on learning new things and taking on projects that inspire you.

You can hear about the growing digital talent gap everywhere. How does it affect you?​

Not much, actually. I might not be super popular with this opinion, but I tend to agree with Simon Sinek in this question. Sinek says that if you’re a good employer, then you can keep and find the people you need in your organisation.

I don’t think there’s a real shortage on the market. If you look closely enough, you can find great people. The real challenge is keeping them.

At Com-Forth, employee churn is close to 0%. We have some colleagues who have been with us for around 20 years now. I remember somebody left during the probation period because we were not a good match on a cultural level, but that was about 7 years ago. You must make an effort to hire well and keep the good people. 

According to Gartner, the average cost of a leaving colleague is about 19k USD. Including the cost of lower and lost productivity, exit, recruitment, onboarding, everything. It’s expensive to let a colleague go, still, so few companies make a real effort to prevent it.

Employees have always been exploited everywhere. Now they’re turning the power-game around, or rather starting to demand respect and a fair deal from employers.

So I’m not surprised about The Great Resignation trend at all. But I think this creates a better, healthier setup, teaches you patience as an employer and motivates you to value what you have. 

By the way, it’s also not true that young people today don’t want to work, just make money, or that they don’t have discipline, just demands. Not true at all. We have Z gen colleagues, one of them was born in 2001. They are motivated and have a hard-working attitude, they just don’t like close control and boundaries. 

Our colleagues, including young ones, are listened to, and they can work in a flexible setup. Say, from Greece for a couple of weeks, where they can kitesurf a few hours at the end of an 8-hour workday. (True story by the way.) Technology enables us, we trust our people, so why not?

We at Com-Forth have been used to working in a flexible, hybrid setup in the last 5 or 6 years, with everyone having the option to work from home if they felt like it. So the restrictions coming with the pandemic didn’t take us off-guard, we just continued work more or less the way we used to. We’re not afraid of flexibility, if it helps our colleagues and doesn’t hurt productivity.

We want good people to work for us, so we must be a good employer. Mediocre is not good enough, people don’t settle for mediocre anymore.

And I’m actually glad to see that.

How do you grow the digital skillset of your organisation? Via hiring, training, both, or some other way?​

As I mentioned earlier, we sometimes hire new tech colleagues to keep up with the growing number of our projects. We just hired our 4th Codecooler last October. But we don’t want to grow too big, so we don’t hire all the time.

As for training, we find that our developers prefer self-learning through new projects and innovation, as well as learning from each other. And we support that. Training is an option, too, but we mainly see colleagues interested in soft skill courses.

Why did you choose to partner up with Codecool?​

When we were first contacted by Codecool, we were not hiring. But one day, Angi, our account manager from Codecool called me saying that she found a graduate for us that she thinks matches our needs and culture. We checked, and it was true. We immediately hired this Codecooler, even though we were not looking for anyone, because she was such a great match. The exact person we dreamt of having in our team.

This was only possible because our account manager listened to us, understood who we were, and didn’t come back to us with a compromising offer to waste our time.

She waited until she found a Codecooler who was perfect for us, and then gave me a call. I appreciated this so much and didn’t get disappointed in Angi or Codecool ever since.

How do you see Codecoolers?

I find Codecooler graduates very motivated. After „checking out” from the world of work for a year for the time of their Full-Stack Developer Course, they can’t wait to get to work. I think Codecool is such a big commitment with the intensive, full-time, one-year training, that graduates appreciate the opportunity of working on innovative projects in their first tech jobs afterwards.

Codecool is not easy, and by the end, graduates know a lot. They don’t know everything, but you can’t learn everything in 5 years either. What’s even better, at Codecool you learn to learn, and to love to learn.

Codecoolers are good people, motivated and skilled, and these things matter to me.

What local and global trends do you see impacting your business today?

One is Total Experience, which makes a shift from a technology-centric approach to a human-centric one in digital development. This is not a new trend, but it’s as strong as ever, and very relevant for our business.

Another one is the evolution of low-code platforms, and other tools making software development easier, thus democratising programming. You don’t need advanced technical skills to create simple solutions anymore. You still need those for the complex stuff, but not for the basics.

Then there is the citizen data scientist trend – similarly democratising the field of data analysis. It allows colleagues with basic analytical skills to perform advanced analytics with the help of smart technology.

This brings us to Industry 5.0, which focuses on the interaction between humans and machines. With Industry 4.0, industrial production is going through a digital transformation. It brings data-driven decision-making to factories, artificial intelligence controlling processes, all focused on and driven by technology. With Industry 5.0, people are now in the centre, making decisions. This is a major paradigm shift; technology is not the key anymore, but people. 

In the past, if you wanted to go digital, you tried to go along with a Chief Digital Officer (CDO) responsible for digitalisation. Today everybody needs to go digital, meaning every single person must use, or sometimes even develop technology. Everybody must change, which is hard, but the above-mentioned low code and citizen data scientist solutions can help.

And last but not least, sustainability and caring about the planet, making tech helps us living in better conditions in the coming decades, is another trend I’m glad to see gaining ground – also as a human being.

What’s your long-term digital vision for your company?

I believe in sustainable growth and continuous innovation in business, too, even at the expense of short-term profit. I’m determined to create automation that is used for good.

Automation should add much more value than just cost cut. It should take over those jobs that would be better be done by machines (like visual inspection at the end of a production line, but there are many others that burn people out quickly).

Then it’s important to give better work to these people, in which they can add more value. 

We want to be the company doing these „automation for good” type of projects, being kind of a human-centric oasis in a technology-driven industry – with a strong culture, strong principles, and the guts to say „no”, when necessary.

How do you see our shared digital future?

What I see is that right now we’re going from one extreme to another by rushing from complete digital illiteracy towards a fully virtual lifestyle. 

I think we’ll find a balance only when we start valuing traditional interactions again, like personal meetings, shaking hands, or coming together at conferences.

Getting interested in each other again, and giving each other time not just online, but over a cup of coffee. I think these things will gain more value soon. Anyway, even classic, hard-copy book sales surged after the pandemic started. 

I think we need analogue at least as much as we need digital in our lives. And I think we’ll find a natural and liveable balance eventually. We’ll use machines for good, not end up in a Matrix, but rather thrive as human beings in the age of digital.


Inspired by Com-Forth’s example?

Reach out if you need great junior tech professionals or best-in-class training for your organisation.

Hope to talk to you soon!

Twice as many students and the best IT education

How could Codecool continue a steep growth in 2021? What’s in the plans for 2022? Jozsef Boda, CEO of Codecool shares the details.

When you think about just for a moment how we expected 2021 to look like in 2020 … Well, things haven’t turned out quite as we expected then, have they?

Back then, we thought that by the end of 2021 the pandemic will be long over. After the first and then several more shocks, after the first and the second wave, with the help of the vaccines our lives can get back to some kind of a new “normal”, but at least a more stable state. Well, it didn’t quite happen like that. 

Due to waves 3 and then 4 in 2021 we were “in and out” of our school in Hungary, changing from on-campus to online education several times. In Romania, it was online with minimal breaks. While in Austria, just after opening our school and our very first group of Codecoolers starting in November, we had to switch to online classes in line with restrictions. 

But there was one big difference compared to 2020: however unexpected these sudden changes were, we were already prepared for them. We have successfully overcome unexpected challenges in 2020, too, but we weren’t even surprised in 2021. And we managed to turn them to our advantage even more efficiently – for example with further improving the online version of our flagship, full-stack programmer course, reaching much more aspiring students with it then with the offline version, available only for those living close to our schools. Who would have thought in 2019 or even 2020 that we’d get there? Not us for sure.

We have never thought we’d hire new colleagues fully online, not to mention senior managers, but we solved this, too, with no problem. Obviously, most of our graduates were hired by our partners in a fully online process, too. We grew up to the new challenges together.

In the meantime, we haven’t even noticed that we’ve entered the “new normal” we’ve been waiting for – probably because it looked a little different than what we expected. It was clear in 2020 already that things will never go back to how they were before, but we were not sure what they would end up like. By today, one thing stands out as the main characteristic of our new, post-breakout world: constant, significant change. What’s also apparent is that those who are agile enough to adapt and build on change will succeed. One simply can’t afford to wait for things to stabilise. That’s a waste of time, a losing strategy.

We’re so lucky and proud to have achieved so much in 2021, too. Let me mention just a few things:

  • We’ve placed our 2000th Codecooler at one of our hiring partners. Our first students graduated 6 years ago. We’re so happy that 80% of them are still with their first employer, the one we found for them. It’s a true confirmation of our shared success.
  • We’ve launched our very first scholarship programme, the CoderGirl Scholarship. Together with our corporate partners we want to invite and motivate many more women to start tech careers. The most talented and motivated girls and women from those applying to Codecool can now get a chance to study completely for free with us.
  • We’ve opened our very first school in Western Europe, in Austria. Together with Hungary, Poland and Romania, now we’re present in 4 countries already. Another step closer to becoming a leading IT education institute in Central Europe in 1 or 2 years, and later in the wider region. 
  • We’ve launched new open courses. The one-week “Intro to IT” Course was first introduced in Vienna, while the six-month Cyber Security Specialist Course in Budapest. We’ve launched the fully online version of our Full-Stack Developer Course in all the Codecool countries, and helped more than 300 Hungarians to new, future-proof tech careers taking our short courses, fully financed by the local government. 
  • We’ve further developed our corporate re-skilling and up-skilling training services, and launched comprehensive, tailor-made digital academies at some of our corporate partners.
  • Numbers taken out of context can only tell a part of the whole story. Still, the fact that we’ve managed to grow our revenue by 40% year-on-year in 2021, might mean something. It definitely means that we’re a stable partner for our students choosing us to help them switch to a new career, and also to our corporate partners, counting on us to boost the digital skillset of their organisation in the short and long term.

What we see is that digital transformation at companies is speeding up, now in departments and functions previously requiring only non-tech, business-side competencies. More and more capacities and skills are needed in IT, as well as in newly forming, business-side digital roles, and we can’t even come  close to meeting the market demand, due to the limited number of our graduates. We’ve managed to place each and every Codecool graduate last year who chose to take our job guarantee, while developing and delivering more fully tailor-made corporate training programs than ever before.

We would like twice as many students to  start studying with us in 2022 than in 2021. But we accept no compromise on quality, what’s more, we will further improve our courses and services, just like ourselves. 

Our Full-Stack Development Course is more than a bootcamp, and better than a university. A one-year, comprehensive programming course with a job guarantee and post-payment options not only providing a wide and deep knowledge of software development, but also a real job at one of our corporate partners. We would like to make this offer to even more ambitious and committed career-changes in 2022, so we’re extending our job guarantee to the online version of our Full-Stack Development Course in every Codecool country.

We can only be efficient and authentic at the same in what we do, if we are efficient and authentic ourselves. If all our colleagues truly believe in the mission, values and methodology of Codecool, and if they can also represent them and share them with others. The way to achieve this was different 6 years ago, when we were a young, promising start-up venture, and it is different today, when we are a mature, internationally present, and still dynamically growing scale-up company.

To increase our flexibility and innovation power despite the sudden growth of our own organisation, too, we’ve started a comprehensive mid-management development programme. And to keep up with the demand for our corporate services, a dedicated professional team will be responsible for the development and delivery of our corporate training programs and internal academy solutions from 2022.

And now that I’ve mentioned our organisation and my colleagues – let me say thank you to them for their valuable work all year in 2021. Because the thing is that it wasn’t about getting lucky. Whatever we’ve achieved as Codecool is the result of their hard work. Each and every of my Codecool colleagues has contributed to our successes with their enthusiasm, perseverance and skills, and I’m personally really grateful that I have the chance to have been working on shared goals together with them every day.

As a final conclusion, I have to say that after 2020, 2021 was another year full of challenges. The successes we’ve achieved haven’t come easy. We’ve worked for them really hard together. I admit, I got quite tired by the end of the year. I needed the holidays to recharge my batteries. 

But I’m starting the new year full of new energy and motivation, I hope you feel the same. I trust that we’ll have an as exciting and fruitful year in 2022, as we had in 2021. 

I wish a happy and successful new year to all of us, and that we make even more dreams come true, by helping even more successful, future-proof, tech careers to start, together.

Find your match – 5 tips to hire better tech talent

Still looking for the perfect junior developer? Or you’re just beginning the process of searching for a new addition to your team? We’re here to help you upgrade your recruitment practices and find great talent while you’re on the search.

The war for great tech talent is as real as ever. On top of the ever growing digital talent gap, the information you have on candidates is often insufficient. So it’s hard to make quick, yet well-balanced decisions during the hiring process.

It’s even more difficult to assess the skills of junior developers, often without a track record. They come from widely different backgrounds, often lacking professional experience, which means a lack of information for you. Do they work well in a team? Is there up-to-date, relevant knowledge behind the points you see listed on their CVs? Can they handle challenges, conflicts, and constructive feedback? All these questions left unanswered can lead to you not hiring a promising candidate and passing great developers by.

So what more can you do to find the best talent, on top of your current efforts? Read on to find our 5 tips. 

But first, let’s see the top challenges hiring managers face while recruiting juniors.

Hiring junior developers? Here are some typical challenges

From CodinGame’s latest developer survey, we learned that finding qualified developers was 2021’s biggest recruitment challenge for 61% of HR professionals. No wonder it’s difficult to recruit great junior developers either. The process isn’t easy for a number of reasons, and it’s weighed down by some typical challenges:

Job portals are useful, but have their limits

It’s natural to start searching for candidates on job portals, however, they can give an illusion that the talent pool is smaller than it actually is. Profiles don’t usually follow strict conventions and often lack information, therefore it’s difficult to compare them. And even when candidates create amazing profiles, it’s good to keep in mind that they’re able to write just about anything about themselves. Missing reliable information on candidates often results in overlooking good developers and going too far with mediocre ones.

Future potential is hard to estimate

It can be tempting to hire someone for a specific programming language that they’re a pro at currently. However, a great junior’s job is to be a motivated learner too, to be able to grow into an invaluable senior later. Someone with amazing tech skills might be the obvious first choice. Then, the same person might turn out not to have the motivation to learn or adapt to their new workplace, get frustrated by challenging projects or be hurt by or indifferent to constructive feedback. It would be amazing to see the future potential of candidates next to previous experience and studies, but it’s really difficult in a classic hiring process.

University degrees are not that relevant for tech positions

You’d assume that degrees help you filter out the best candidates. However, we learned from CodinGame’s latest developer survey that close to 80% of HR professionals around the world already recruit developers with non-academic backgrounds. Asking for a degree in today’s climate can drive away young developers. What’s more, it doesn’t really help you either

The process takes ages

Your first instinct might be to invite a candidate to as many rounds of interviews as possible. To meet your decision-makers and to get to know them as much as you can. To give them filtering assignments, or invite them to assessment centres. But jumping through too many hoops can cause applicants to lose interest in the process. They might simply move on if it’s too dragged out.

But how can you learn more about your candidates?

We already wrote about what you can expect from junior programmers on the job market today. But what if you’re still looking for the right developer in the first place?

Here are our tips:

1. Visit your candidates and check them out at work

It’s a pain point in developer recruitment that you cannot really get a realistic knowledge of your applicant’s ability to code and present until you’re working with them. The usual way to do this is through a technical interview, an on-the-spot coding exercise or an assessment center. These are great solutions, but will not always lead to accurate results.

We rather suggest you to request to watch live demos of junior programmers at a programming school. Go see demos online or in-person, or invite promising students to your premises to do demos. You can get to know candidates much better this way, and check their individual skills in terms of coding, presentation, and interpersonal skills, and select the best ones for an interview. This is also a great employer branding opportunity for you, and an amazing chance for juniors to get to know you as their future employer. 

Codecoolers demo their work to peers and hiring managers every Friday. If you’re interested to see them, reach out.

2. Pick a pro hiring partner that starts with understanding your needs

To speed up the hiring process and to make your recruitment efforts easier, it’s one of the best solutions to get a sourcing partner that really knows you, your business, and your needs. If they understand the way you do business, they’ll know what type of developer could fit in there.

Is it worth it though, to find a partner like this? Well, that’s something you have to decide for yourself. 

At Codecool, we approach every new partnership with a fresh start, asking deep-dive questions about a partner’s business, culture, hiring needs, teams, tasks, preferred hiring practices, and a lot of other topics. After a short and effective briefing we’ll make sure that you meet only the best, most fitting junior developers that match your exact requirements. 

And we are fast – you can have your new junior signing your contract in as fast as 5 days after you request one later.

3. Compare juniors based on an extended candidate profile

While external recruiters can bring you a number of developers to interview, they usually have time to talk to a candidate only once on the phone after finding them on Linkedin. This is a great starting point and can save you time. 

Still, you’ll have a higher chance of finding great employees if you pick recruiters who have an active, personal connection with the developers that they’ll recommend to you. Recruitment Managers at Codecool take the time to get to know each and every Codecool graduate personally. Based the information you shared about your requirements previously, they’ll know whom to recommend to you, and can share detailed info on each candidate‘s skills, ambitions and personality.

4. Ask to see their project portfolio

While looking for the right junior programmer, you can face a simple yet daunting problem: a junior is usually not going to be the one to present you with an extensive, jaw-dropping project portfolio. However, a portfolio is what can best showcase a programmer’s actual skills and interests, so it’s usually a super important source of information when hiring digital professionals.

Our students document all the projects that they work on during their time with us. During our flagship Full-Stack Development course, they finish 20+ lifelike Scrum development projects and 50+ individual coding challenges and assignments. They’re continuously practicing their newly learnt technical and soft skills, and get used to handling different project roles, too. What’s more, after successfully completing the course, they spend their time working on their personal ‘love projects’, which are usually even bigger and more ambitious projects compared to what they’ve been doing before.

5. Look for truly informative CVs

We all know that recruiters spend 6-8 seconds reviewing a CV before they decide on the fate of an applicant, and around 80% of CVs don’t get shortlisted at all. So it’s just natural that while looking at multiple, inherently different CVs and trying to compare them with one another, a number of great junior developers can slip through the cracks. Plus, so many details that look dull on paper could be game-changers when shown off in the right way. Not to talk about irrelevant, or fake information that some candidates put on their resumes.

Our juniors all use the same standard, concise, informative CV format, which makes it easy to compare them. It’s not just a simple CV stating facts, but an interactive showcase of their projects fuelling great conversations at technical interviews. Individual Codecooler’s work and contribution to projects can be checked in detail through the CV, and all information included is guaranteed to be 100% legit and relevant.

Tech talent recruitment can be better

If you’re looking for your next developer, consider partnering with Codecool. We have a big and active network of quality tech talents and flexible recruitment processes, offering you quick access to top talents.

Growing your teams? We can help you find your next junior who could be in your team in just a couple of days after you contact us. The complete hiring process takes 4 to 7 days for our clients, from briefing through shortlisting and interviews to sourcing agreement. You won’t be wasting time or resources, and be ready to start work with your new developers quickly and efficiently. If you’d like to hire a senior developer or a complete new team we can help with that, too. 

Don’t let your best colleagues go. We are also here if you’re interested in up-skilling or re-skilling your existing employees. We’re happy to tailor our flexible training programs to your exact needs, and turn them into your most valuable and skilled digital resources.

Your own internal digital academy powered by Codecool can cover the hiring, training and onboarding of your tech teams and colleagues, and provide continuous training for existing employees, in line with your actual strategic priorities.

Interested in what Codecool has to offer you? Let’s talk! Please be invited to visit one of our Demo Days on any Friday, too, online or in person, and check out the skills and capabilities of our students.

Hope to talk to you soon.

Meet cool leaders: Olga Zelent, CM @Codecool Poland

Olga Zelent

In this blog post series we’re sitting down for a chat with people making the Codecool vision happen. Please meet Olga Zelent, Country Manager of Codecool Poland.

Olga Zelent

If you want to meet inspiring people, Codecool is a great place to be. Everyday we meet hundreds of smart, ambitious and cool students that study with us to change their careers and our shared digital future. And we meet innovative, great leaders with a vision from hiring companies, that employ our students to build a digital future. But it’s not only our students and partner company leaders who inspire us. We also make sure to work with colleagues that are equally amazing, and make the Codecool mission and vision come to life.

Last time we talked to Sigrid Hantusch-Taferner, Country Manager of Codecool Austria. Missed the article? Make sure to catch up now.

This time we had the chance to sit down with another inspiring Codecool leader about her current goals, challenges and outlook on the future. We’re super excited and proud to introduce you Olga Zelent, Country Manager of Codecool Poland!

Olga, how would you introduce yourself, if you were not allowed to mention your work? 🙂

I’m a bookworm, a sports-addict, a theatre junkie and a yogini :heart: I respect all beings, and strongly support equality, especially equality of women in all walks of life (and also in business, IT and boards). I am totally in love with Italy, especially the southern part of this stunning “paese”. I am super happy to be a mom of almost adult teenager Hubi, and sweet doggie Chico. 

What is your work now actually? What are you responsible for?

As a country manager, I’m responsible for the general management of the local business activities of Codecool in Poland. My main duties include scaling up the Polish branch. As always, people are the most important for me so I strongly focus on my team’s wellbeing. Motivating the team and working together is crucial to meet our ambitious targets. 

My job in the end is to make sure we attract more and more talented students, and partner up with more and more corporate partners in Poland, who focus on innovation and digitalisation, looking to either grow or re-skill their teams.

What did you do before?

Originally I’m coming from a totally different area: I am a lawyer by education and I have a background in the pharmacy market. After learning everything I could about the field in sales, operational and general management positions for 10 years, I felt I needed a change. I found information technology and the idea of taking part in shaping our digital future super exciting, so I decided to start anew in this new area. And I never looked back since. 

Why did you decide to come work for Codecool?

Before joining Codecool, I already gained experience in IT at a big digital service provider, and also as a scaling-up expert. I spent some years working for one of our competitors, another Polish programming school as well. I made my decision to join Codecool in July because I saw that my experience could come just at the right time for the local business, and also because the Codecool mission really impressed me.  

I wanted to be part of changing people’s lives for the better by providing them quality, accessible IT education and helping them land their first tech jobs. I already knew the market, I knew what it meant to grow the company from a start-up to a scale-up, and I was excited that I could contribute to closing the digital skill gap in Poland.

Olga Zelent Codecool
What's the biggest goal that you set out for yourself in Codecool?

We’re working on making Codecool the first choice for people who want to learn coding really well, but without having to study for long years. Codecool is more than a bootcamp and better than a university, and we want to grow it bigger to bring this ground-breaking type of programming education closer to even more people and companies. 

I couldn’t do all this without a great team, so my first task here was to strengthen the stability and motivation of the local team. Our next, shared goal is to make Codecool a leader in the alternative tech education market in Poland.

What do you see as your biggest challenge currently?

Our biggest challenge on the market today is to show that our offers are not empty promises, but true propositions. We offer a real job guarantee, actual post-payment options, and high quality, project-based education for our students.  And we offer quality candidates with agile project experience and advanced programming and soft skills for our partner companies. Our competitors are fast to repeat all our promises, but they fail delivering on them. The result is a loss of trust impacting the whole market, and Codecool, too, obviously. 

We are doing our best to show Polish people and companies that we can be trusted to deliver on all our promises and make no compromises about keeping our end of a learning or partnership agreement. I know it all sounds too good to be true, but we really managed to come up with a unique business model that works, and when we promise something, then we truly mean what we say.

What trends do you see in the world that impact your work at Codecool most?

We see that the pandemic brought a significant change of attitude in big companies. They’ve started to see more value in re-skilling and up-skilling their existing workforce instead of letting go employees and hiring new ones to grow the digital skillset of their organisations. They are now trying to build stable, loyal, strong in-house digital teams by retaining and  motivating their best people, as well as enriching their skillsets through quality tech training. 

Codecool is not only about open trainings, we can be valuable allies in building digital skills in-house. We have a solid track record of quality corporate re-skilling and up-skilling training programs, as well as full-scale internal academy solutions. Our courses are always tailor-made to the exact business needs of our partners, because every organisation and every digital strategy is different.

Why do you think hiring companies should partner up with Codecool?

We’re quick, flexible and effective. We offer great junior programmers that we ourselves would be happy to work with. Who have the motivation and skills to deliver value in the jobs from day one as proactive members of any team. The hiring process of Codecoolers is fast and painless, too, while our corporate solutions are tailored to our partner’s specific needs and exact requirements. Internal academies powered by Codecool have a proven track record of re-skilling and up-skilling existing employees to work together in highly effective digital teams. 

Where do you think Codecool is going in the short and long term?

In the short term, we’re becoming the first choice for more and more people thinking about a career change to IT, and for more and more companies with ambitious digital strategies and a mature approach to tech talent recruitment and digital skill development. 

In the long term, we’re growing into being the leading programming school, and digital educational and hiring partner in Europe.

How do you see our shared digital future?

I see a bright future with our lives, economy and markets entirely built on digital solutions. And I see teams of digitally skilled people building these solutions in cooperation, using not only advanced technology, but also strong soft skills for a better, fairer, more inclusive digital future.

Your top 5 favourite Codecool blog posts from 2021

man reading blog post on mobile

Read again and get new inspiration from your favourite articles by Codecool about training, recruitment and management from last year.

man reading blog post on mobile

It’s almost the end of the year, a great time for some nostalgia. We thought we’d look back and see which of our articles you enjoyed the most last year, which ones generated the most heated discussions, and which ones inspired you most. It was great reading back all your thoughts in comments on LinkedIn under some of them, or just see how many likes and other emojis each got. 

Here goes the top 5 of your favourites. Enjoy (re)reading them!

This was by far your number one favourite post this year. It’s about what we found to be the biggest obstacles to closing the ever growing IT talent gap. The fact that it was so popular shows how important the topic today is, and how many companies struggle with the gap.

4 of the 7 main reasons we found about why it’s still there were:

  1.  Going digital beyond IT, or the fact that more and more digital positions are opening outside of IT, too, in business departments
  2.  COVID-driven digitalisation of not just those innovation areas in previously defined digital strategies, but also forced, quick digitalisation of further, business-as-usual processes
  3. Inflating prices in some countries raising salaries of anyway-not-cheap tech professionals, too
  4. Growing EU and VC funding creating more-and-more IT jobs to fill, especially from 2014 on
Curios about the remaining three? Read the article now, and get inspired about the complex background of this global challenge.

We found that quite an intense discussion started under this post on LinkedIn. It seemed that everyone has an opinion about this controversial topic, and loved seeing your arguments and examples.

Our view,  explained in the post in detail, is that university education has many values, and there are positions where it’s absolutely necessary to have as a background, but there are many more, where it is not. We looked into some statistics from a related research, looked at reasons why we’re biased towards university graduates, and how it can be harmful. We also gave practical advice on how to adjust your selection criteria, if you decide to drop the university degree from your list of primary filters for a candidate.

The article was posted last January, but it still does have its relevance. Open to consider its facts and arguments? Read it (again) here.  

Have you seen the meme, where a woman jumps from a burning building with a sign saying “2020” down into a huge round sheet stretched out by firefighters, only to bounce back and fly into another burning building through the window, with a sign saying “2021”? Well, let’s just say, 2021 didn’t really bring the relief of the pandemic situation and it’s effects that everyone hoped for in the beginning of 2020. 

Recruitment faced its own challenges, after the initial freeze in 2020 through gradual revival, but complete overturn to online and remote operation. The difficult part of writing this article wasn’t the collecting of the challenges, it was to show the opportunities. But we managed, and this became one of your favourites from our blog posts this year.

Wonder how the impersonal, tech-dependent online recruitment process can bring advantages? How the insecurity of jobs in 2020 resulting in lower number of candidate open for a change could work for you? How the digital skills gap can shake your HR strategy up in a good way? Give the article another go, and collect fresh inspiration.

Besides closing the tech talent gap in general, getting more women into tech has been a major focus for companies all over the world in the past years. Since we wanted to do something, too, we created the CoderGirl Scholarship in Q3 2021. The scholarship allows talented and determined women and girls to learn tech for free with us with a guaranteed position in the end,  matching their new skills . We even started a whole new Cyber Security Specialist Course solely for women, with scholarship places only, in November.

In the article, we brought you some facts and figures about the gender gap, as well as some interesting examples when digital product launches went bad only because there were no women involved in the development. We also asked you be part of the change and join us in inviting more women into tech. 

Doesn’t ring a bell? (Re)read the article and be inspired.  

This las one on our (your) list was actually our very first post in 2021. It was a very personal look back at 2020 and look ahead at 2021 by Jozsef Boda, global CEO of Codecool.  It’s quite interesting to reread it and see how we realised our plans (like our series B expectations and the opening of our newest campus in Austria). 

How does he evaluate 2021 and what are his expectations for 2022? You can soon find out from another similar post to come early next year. 

Until then, read (again) this article for a bigger context and some nostalgia.

The above are just a few examples, of course. There were quite a few other blog posts you really liked, like our collection of inspiring podcasts, a success story of one of our graduates featured in a BBC StoryWorks video about our school, and a behind the scenes guide to how we put our company values into practice in tech training.

If you’ve enjoyed reading our blog posts this year,  make sure to subscribe to our Codecool Business newsletter for more.

Stay with us and keep getting inspired for a better digital future in 2022, too.

What to expect from your junior programmer – 5+1 things to look out for

Junior developers on the job market today can possess amazing skills, and can even show up to an interview with great references. To make your hiring process easier, we created an outline on the skills and hallmarks of a great junior developer in 2021.

Defining what type of professional you need in your growing IT team can be a challenge. Do you need an experienced veteran who is able to make quick decisions or is ready to mentor their colleagues? Or maybe you could achieve more by hiring a motivated junior professional, who’s willing and eager to deliver high-quality work under supervision. Your business needs both juniors and seniors to thrive because they add value on different levels.

There’s a catch: one company’s definition of “senior programmer” could be the next company’s ideal junior developer. For example, one developer could be considered “senior” with respect to Java development, but at the same time be considered “junior” at HTML5. So categorising and labelling applicants according to their experience is not a cookie-cutter process. Plus, there are many more things you can expect from your next junior colleague apart from having some experience. 

On another note, age-old hiring practices are becoming outdated. For example, university degrees are becoming less and less of an expectation, and you can expect juniors to have some experience nowadays. Plus, more and more companies are opening up their positions globally, even overseas due to the changes that the pandemic has brought. You have the option to recruit junior developers from all over the world and offer them remote positions.

But before we dive into the topic of juniors, let’s quickly explore the skills and capabilities of a senior developer for some context.

What can you expect from a senior developer?

Programmers in a senior role usually have 5+ years experience at a certain technology.

Seniors should be critical thinkers and practice full ownership. They are the ones you can trust in an organisation to keep the big picture in their minds as challenges and problems arise. Seniors ideally place responsibility on themselves first, whether or not their team is succeeding. Apart from being responsible, seniors are generally experts at:

  • Liaising with internal and external customers and stakeholders
  • Leading and mentoring teams
  • Driving projects and keeping the big picture in mind
  • Having an innate understanding of software systems and architecture 
  • Advanced understanding of frameworks, technologies, testing, and troubleshooting methods
  • Analysing business needs and user expectations
  • Ability to lead and mentor teams and drive projects

There are a number of areas where a seniors excel. However, having a team full of seniors could be an over-kill, because junior developers can also be a great addition to your organisation.

So what exactly can you expect from a junior developer?

When we talk about a “junior developer” we usually think of someone who has 1 to 3 years of experience in any given technology. 

As a general rule of thumb, we can say that juniors should be able to perform technical tasks independently,  but they will need some governance and consultation on a general basis. They should focus more on the code and sub-tasks assigned to them by seniors, and less on the big-picture, architecture and strategy.

In short, these are the things you can expect from a junior developer in the year 2021:

  • 1) Have a basic understanding of technologies and development
  • 2) Have demonstrable, relevant experience
  • 3) Understand agile practices
  • 4) Deliver high-quality work under supervision
  • 5) Possess great soft and interpersonal skills
  • +1) Have a strong drive to learn and progress

Let’s dive deeper into each point, and explore why they are important to have in a junior developer.

1) Have a basic understanding of technologies and development

A junior shouldn’t focus on the big picture, and should rather get busy with working on specific features of a product. But having a knowledge of what processes are involved in creating a software will make everybody’s life in the team easier. So a junior should ideally know how the development cycle goes, and it’s more than ideal if they’ve been through the entire development process a couple of times before. 

Technology-wise, your business will define what skills are most valuable, but you can expect a good junior programmer to know around 4-6 programming languages. Juniors should be excited to learn the technology stack that’s relevant for your business, so expect them to be eager and willing to learn new things. 

Top junior developer candidates will have an innate understanding of the development cycle and will know their way around the processes and the roles. So expect your junior to understand the software development process and where they fit into the big picture.

2) Have demonstrable, relevant experience

In terms of hiring, experience is still golden in the eyes of companies– but the type of experience someone has is a game-changer. Experience can be gained through personal projects, at a programming school, during an internship, or at university. So experience doesn’t always have to come from a full-time job. The bottom line is to see relevant experience on your candidate’s CV because you can expect any junior to be able to demonstrate some type of work.

You can expect junior developers to show up to the interview with a solid project portfolio and relevant programming experience. 

3) Understand agile practices

Agile software development is the universal best practice in software development right now, and around 92% of business owners think that the key to their company’s success lies in agile.

Hiring a junior developer who knows their way around sprints, or is up to make a team-based decisions will prove to be a great pick when your team works in agile. Of course, you can’t expect every candidate to have worked on a live project with agile methods, however, you can expect your new junior colleague to have a basic understanding of agile practices.

A great junior candidate will be well-prepared to start working in any software development team. You can expect them to understand what Scrum, daily standups, sprints, retrospectives, client demos, and collaborative work are. 

4) Deliver high-quality work under supervision

A junior should be able to work independently, but will need some supervision, guidance, best-practices and mentoring from senior colleagues from time to time to be able to progress and deliver the best quality of work. It’s a more senior colleague’s place to make decisions and to mentor junior colleagues, but a junior should demonstrate the motivation and the energy to learn and progress. Still, you can definitely expect a junior to be able to work on their own and to find solutions to smaller issues by themselves. Having a great work ethic and a keen eye for details will prove to be amazing features in your new junior developer.

An ideal candidate will be a confident, self-sufficient professional who won’t shy away from putting in the work to solve a challenge. Still, it’s great if they know when to ask a question or look for support from their peers. You could ask your candidate: “When was the last time you had to ask for help, why, and were you able to solve the challenge then?” Expect junior developers to have a great answer to this question, and to have an inner drive to learn and excel at their work.

5) Possess great soft and interpersonal skills

Your new junior colleague should be able to adapt to your company culture and team dynamics quickly and seamlessly. This process will be a whole lot easier with a colleague who has great social skills and who possesses certain soft skills.

Imagine a scenario where your new junior developer is expected to demo their work, but appears  to be uncomfortable presenting themselves in a professional way. Or think about initial conflicts that can arise during a colleagues onboarding and first few months. How will your new junior handle constructive criticism, communicate with their colleagues, and adapt to the changes that are bound to happen?

We know that soft-skills are in the focus of many hiring managers today, and they are just becoming more and more important by the day. Skills like presenting, feedback giving and receiving, time management or conflict management will all be invaluable in your new junior colleague. So expect them to have great soft skills, and you’ll have a faster time onboarding and integrating them into your team.

+1) Have a strong drive to learn and progress

Companies work in a changing environment, and digital transformation comes with a continuous change in processes and technologies. A great junior sees changes not as a threat, but as challenges to solve. They are happy to learn and implement new technologies, processes and ways of work. 

Personality-wise, look for a demonstration of motivation and genuine energy, plus a willingness to learn from mistakes when you’re interviewing juniors. Apart from the points on our upcoming list, expect your new junior to be open to constructive criticism, and have a real drive to progress at their craft. By paying attention to these qualities, you can make sure that your new colleague is excited and ready to learn and work in your team.

During the interview, you could ask your candidate to tell a story where they were able to learn from a mistake and get them to explain how they handled the initial criticism. Or you could ask them to tell when they supported their team, even though they did not 100% agree with the direction the team wanted to take. Hearing these stories could give you a great general idea about the type of person your candidate is, and about the level of support and commitment they can give.

Ready to find your next junior developer?

If you’re looking for a candidate who has a checkmark next to every item on this list, consider partnering with Codecool. Codecool graduates are great junior developers that can tick all the boxes on your list of expectations, and help your organisation grow. Our motivated junior professionals can deliver high quality work from day 1 in your projects.

Interested? Get in touch with us and let’s talk business. We’re excited to hear from you!

One step ahead in closing the IT talent gap – the ESSA skills report is out

ESSA (European Software Skills Alliance) looked into missing skills necessary to fill about 1.6 million digital job vacancies in Europe until 2030. Codecool is on mission to close the tech talent gap by disrupting digital education, also as a working member of the ESSA Consortium.

Today in Europe, developers are the most wanted professionals in the software sector and this trend will accentuate. The companies of tomorrow will also need people that have a good understanding of the day-to-day business activities. 

That’s why soft skills and business knowledge need to be integrated — in the way we train individuals for software roles, but also in the way we think and embed software in our organisations.

Developer is the most popular software role

In its 2020 The Future of Jobs Report, the World Economic Forum listed the top 20 job roles where the demand will skyrocket. Almost all jobs on that list are ICT related — with developers firmly holding the 10th position. A trend largely confirmed by our recent findings where 45% of organisations estimated they will need extra developers in the next five years.

ESSA graph 1
2021 ESSA Europe’s Most Needed Software Roles and Skills report “Need for extra people per role profile”

Programming and professional hard skills are in high demand

The ESSA report goes further and tentatively identified the skills in highest demand among software professionals.

Needless to say, hard skills like programming are the most in-demand with Java, Javascript, SQL, HTML, PHP, C++, C#, and Python being the most needed programming languages. But what is important is for software professionals to have a solid understanding of programming principles, so that they can quickly and more easily adapt to new languages.

It has been discussed that profession-related skills are also to be developed.

“Even more important than teaching particular IT skills, like IT framework or programming languages, is teaching how to understand the business. Only if you are able to understand the purpose of the software solution that you are building, you can deliver a valuable product.”

In this regard, our report findings show that security management, agile project management, and software development lifecycle skills are needed and that software professionals with an understanding of the business are the assets organisations are looking for — now and in the future.

Soft skills are key

Again, looking at the predictions of the World Economic Forum (2020), we can only confirm and strongly advise people with software roles to not only grow their hard skills, but invest in non-technical (transversal) skills like personal soft skills or interpersonal skills: critical thinking & analysis, self-management, teamwork, and communication skills.

2021 ESSA Europe’s Most Needed Software Roles and Skills report “Soft and other skills for developers”

Of course, soft skills are harder to assimilate when only relying on theoretical knowledge. Thus, it is important to introduce more systematically real-life projects into learning and training curricula.

It's about the details

In October 2021, ESSA released a full report exploring current (and future) needs for software skills in Europe. During the next step, together with the rest of ESSA members we will contribute to addressing the conclusions of the report in a comprehensive document — the European Software Skills Strategy. Visit the ESSA website for more details about the initiative.

In the meantime, we at Codecool are already working hard on bringing better digital education to Europe. Already in 4 European countries, in Austria, Hungary, Poland and Romania, we’re offering mentor-led, project-based developer and other digital skills courses. We’re building on our mastery-based learning methodology and tried-and-tested curricula, and putting an extra focus on developing soft skills, both in our open courses and in our tailor-made corporate solutions. We make career changes affordable and change lives with our job guarantee, post-payment options and the CoderGirl scholarship. 

Learn more about who we are and what we do, and reach out to discuss how we can help filling your software skills needs.