“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!

5 reasons why women should go into IT

women in tech 1

We know that girls can code and we’re big on inviting more women into IT. With 9 speakers from 3 European countries, our Women’s Day event shone a light on the value and importance of women in tech. Check out the insights and immerse yourself in the topic.

women in tech 1

Looking at the digital world today, we see a strange combination of amazing progress and prolonged change.

On one hand, digitalisation happens at an impressive rate everywhere we look, especially since the pandemic hit.

On the other hand, we still have fewer women in tech training and IT jobs than men. Though it’s clear as day that women make amazing programmers, the gender gap is still very real.

On 8 March 2022 we’ve  sat down with a group of inspiring people to discuss hard facts, top trends and their personal stories:

  • Christine Antlanger-Winter, Country Director of Google Austria 
  • Tanja Sternbauer, Co-Founder & Head of Community at the female factor in Austria
  • Hauke Hinrichs, CEO of SMATRICS in Austria
  • Claudia Tamasi, Country Manager at Codecool Romania
  • Lydia Jeschko, Business Development Manager at Codecool Austria
  • Iulia Iacob, Head of Mentors at Codecool Romania
  • Dalma Csernok, Full-stack Developer Student & CoderGirl at Codecool Hungary
  • Eva Szalai, ex-Codecool Student &Test Automation Engineer at Cap Gemini

Let’s recap this uplifting discussion and explore the key takeaways, along with the 5 main reasons for women considering IT as a career option.

The moderator of the event was Sigrid Hantusch-Taferner, Country Manager at Codecool Austria.

1. You can learn to code

Dalma Csernok, current Full-Stack Developer Student & CoderGirl at Codecool Hungary recalled her first experience with coding: “After I graduated university and studied theatre, I was unsure what to do, so I started working as a receptionist at a hotel. It was quite fun for a short period, but I soon lost motivation and started to look for other challenges. One of my colleagues mentioned a website where I could learn basic coding. A few lessons later I realised that I was writing code that worked, and I enjoyed it. After 2 or 3 months, I decided to switch career paths.” 

It seems that Dalma is not alone with her insecurities. When it comes to tech, women can be quite unsure of their capabilities. And it seems that these insecurities are mostly rooted in childhood experiences.

Female applicants usually have more questions about the basic abilities needed for coding, the requirements for the school, and the job market in general.” – confirmed Lydia Jeschko, Business Development Manager at Codecool Austria. Studies on gender differences show that young girls already judge their competencies in domains such as mathematics lower than boys. Likewise, studies on the self-efficacy theory have shown that boys are more confident about their performance in maths and science.

Hauke Hinrichs, CEO of SMARTRICS added his thoughts. “The problem starts in kindergarten where we start to socialise girls differently than boys, destining them for a different career path. I’d love my daughter to become an engineer or scientist. We should start treating girls in a way that allows them to live out their fullest potentials, without any type of discrimination or predestination.”

Eva Szalai, Codecool graduate mentioned the one skill you’ll still need to be successful in tech. “You still need to have abstract thinking. That is a must. But if you have that, the field is wide open. Companies are very happy to have female developers.”

2. Your previous experience will not be lost

Claudia Tamasi, Country Manager at Codecool Romania mentioned a key insight. “When a woman decides to take a new path, there is always the thought that she must start again from zero. But it’s not true. We had a student, who had 10 years of experience in a bank’s back office. She was worried that she would have to start from zero, too, but her experience became a great advantage. She now develops banking applications, making good use of her previous experience every day. Everything we do adds to our personality and our skillset. Our experience will not be lost, we just add new things to it.”

Tanja Sternbauer, Co-Founder & Head of Community at the female factor in Austria continued the thought. “With coding, you will gain a new skill set and you’ll have a brand new combination that will open doors for you. Also, you won’t have to code 12 hours straight every day. Coding doesn’t even have to become your career path because you’ll probably need this skill for different types of jobs in the future. If you can code, nothing will stop you in the next couple of years, no matter what type of job you take.”

Another option is to transform your previous job into a side-activity and pursue it next to your new, flexible job.

Eva Szalai used to be a professional musician and music teacher before starting Codecool. Today she is a Test Automation Engineer at Cap Gemini in Hungary, but she hasn’t given up her previous career either. “I’m a pianist and I still give concerts… I can work from home with flexible working hours, which is a great help. Sometimes I have a rehearsal in the middle of the day, and it’s okay, I can do it, and still keep up with deadlines.”

women in tech 2

3. Diverse teams are more effective and fun

Eva enjoys working in her new team at Cap Gemini. “In my team of 8 there are 3 women, so the gender ratio is quite good. There is mutual respect. Advancement is knowledge-based, and it’s measurable, which is a great advantage in comparison to art. We can learn from each other. The most productive teams have been the most diverse ones at Codecool, too. Men and women in tech have different approaches and different affinities. And men appreciate having women on their team for a varied approach and new perspectives.

Claudia Tamasi added her thoughts. “We’re built differently by nature, but when we’re collaborating, we complete each other.”

Hauke opened the topic of diversity and continued with his insights. “Not just gender diversity, but all kinds of diversity are important in teams, for example religious, racial, social-economic, and age diversity, too.”

women in tech 6

4. Companies desperately need more IT professionals

Discussing the topic of career prospects for women in tech, Claudia Tamasi mentions the following: “When women decide to work in IT, they can pursue whichever field they’d like, there are no barriers anymore. Front-end, back-end, full-stack development. Project management. There’s a new world out there. At Codecool Romania, we have young ladies and mothers learning development, too. This sector is expected to grow around 20% in the next decade so it’s lucrative to enter now, no matter your background or gender. You just gotta have the courage to start.”

Hauke Hinrichs adds that the demand for women developers is quite high today: “We’re searching for 20 new additions to our IT department this year. The lack of qualified labour is quite a challenge, and there are a lot of companies fighting for the best talent – especially for young, talented women.

According to our speakers, it’s important to have women where products are born and to involve both genders in business decisions.

“50% of the global population is female. If you serve women, you have to have women in your management too, to drive business decisions.” – says Tanja Sternbauer. – “Your business will do better financially too. I wonder how this aspect can still be overlooked sometimes.

Diverse skills are needed to build great things. The mix of voices, ideas, cultures and skills leads to better discussions, better decisions and better results for everyone. Teams work and perform better when they are gender diverse.” – says Christine Antlanger-Winter, Country Director of Google Austria. 

5. A tech job could be your dream job

Some women miss out on a fitting role or their dream jobs just because of preconceptions or a lack of support.

“Women tend to value different sides of the programming profession such as the independence and freedom that a programming job offers, as opposed to the high salary.” – said Lydia Jeschko, Business Development Manager at Codecool Austria.

Working in tech is a fast-paced road and some of the highest-paid professions can be found here, so it’s super lucrative to start. And there’s an opportunity to have a real impact with these professions; you can move to roles that deliver on a purpose. And women in tech tend to value this aspect a lot.

“Women aren’t driven by status or a fancy office location. They’re more interested in fulfilling a purpose and making an impact. They want to contribute to society and give back. What is the impact I can make here and how can I contribute? These are the questions women often ask when considering a job. – says Tanja Sternbauer

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How to get started in the world of IT

Starting fresh in IT isn’t easy, but our speakers had great insights for all young women who’re considering an IT career. The number one factor is confidence according to the panel members.

“Be confident, and just write an application. The worst thing that can happen is that you’re not ready for it and learn from it. But be confident and give it a go. Apply to jobs, go to a programming school like Codecool, and start a great career.“ –  says Hauke.

“To extend your knowledge you have to get out of your comfort zone. I learned later on that staying in that zone won’t help you. So don’t overcomplicate things and try to leave behind your insecurities” – adds Dalma Csernok

The second most important factor would be to have a mentor you can rely on.

“Unfortunately, I didn’t have a mentor when I started. That’s exactly why I wanted to become one for others. To share my knowledge and experience to make it easier for others than it was for me.” – says Iulia Iacob, Head of Mentors at Codecool Romania. – “ My advice to women seeking roles in the IT domain is to be confident, self-aware, and to find a mentor who will support them. They can share valuable past experiences and insights about navigating the tech industry.”

Last but not least, staying curious and open to new things is also key to succeeding for women in tech.

Be open to everything. If you learn a lot you can have different solutions for the same problem. There was a lady who was resisting alternative solutions often, and she got hired several months later than she expected. You must ask questions because it’s okay not to know everything first. The biggest difference between senior and junior colleagues is often that seniors already know that they don’t have an answer. They are always searching for the answers.” said Eva.

codecool berufsbegleteind

Why Codecool?

Our speakers have discussed what sets Codecool apart and why it’s worth learning to code at Codecool’s Full-Stack Development course. Eva mentions the Full-Stack Development course’s length: 

“What sets Codecool apart for me is the duration. Some other schools are too intense, fast-paced and heavily condensed into a couple of months. As an active musician, I couldn’t have done that type of course. ”

Still, with such an ideal length, there’s a wide palette of knowledge being taught at Codecool, not just frontend or backend.

“It gives you more confidence for the job interviews and more options afterwards since you get a complete set of skills. I could have applied for test automation, Java development or even frontend jobs, too.” – Eva adds.

The flipped classroom method has also added a lot of value according to Dalma and Eva: “I really enjoyed it and it makes total sense since I used to be a teacher. The first thing is that you get a task. And then you get the background materials that you can study. But it’s not set in stone how you have to handle a task. If you can find the solution some other way, then you’re done. There is never one universal solution to a problem at Codecool.”

On this note, Claudia adds: “We’re practically teaching our students how to learn because being a developer means to be in a lifelong learning process. We’re serious about quality, too. Our job is only done when we found you a job that you like. And you can also come and try us without paying for the first 10 weeks.”


Looking for the next addition to your developer team?

It’s never too late to add talented women developers to your teams. If you want Codecool to help you find the next female developer who can start to work right away in your IT team, get in touch!

We’re looking forward to helping you build a more diverse team.

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.

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.