“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!

ESSA launches a Software Skills Strategy to bridge the software skills gap in Europe

software_skills_strategy

To bridge the software skills gap, ESSA (European Software Skills Alliance) launches a Software Skills Strategy for Europe — it is a stepping stone to answering the lack of software professionals and the future market’s demand for software skills. 

The strategy presents perspectives and expert recommendations to skill, upskill, and reskill individuals into high demand professional software roles. It sets the direction of the work ahead under three important pillars: training, education, and validation. They are the starting points to design up to date, market-oriented VET (Vocational Education and Training) curricula and programmes for software skills in 2022.

  • Train individuals with self-paced and work-based learning. ESSA promotes increased access to the educational offering by addressing the main roadblocks to skilling, upskilling, and reskilling individuals into in-demand software roles.
  • Educate for roles. ESSA supports the development of flexible but widely applicable educational profiles along with specific VET curricula and programmes that are relevant to the software roles profiles.
  • Enable validation across borders. ESSA encourages international mobility by supporting portable and flexible recognition of the learning outcomes at the EU level.
software_skills_strategy

Background

We have about 8 million ICT specialists in Europe which is far behind the 20 million target set by the European Commission. Meanwhile, the European software sector is growing — 45% of organisations surveyed estimate they will need more Developers in the next five years. There is also a strong immediate need for more DevOps experts and Technical specialists. ESSA wants to deliver the learning instruments people need to meet this demand for software skills.

About ESSA

ESSA (European Software Skills Alliance) is a transnational project funded under the Erasmus+ programme to boost software skills in Europe and re-aligning the educational offering and the market’s demand.

ESSA Consortium - Full & Associated partners

Full partners:
Adecco Formazione, AICA, AKMI, AMETIC, ASIIN Consult, BCS Training, Budapest University of Technology and Economics, Codecool, DIGITALEUROPE, Digital Technology Skills, Global Knowledge France, Global Knowledge Netherlands, Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Slovenia, Hellenic Open University, HU University of Applied Sciences Utrecht, Irish Computer Society, IVSZ, MODIS, UNINFO, University of Ljubljana, Warsaw School of Computer Science.

Associated partners:
Amazon Web Services, European Schoolnet, General Assembly, IT Professionalism Europe, NVIDIA Deep Learning Institute.

essa_european software skills alliance

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.