ORTEC: 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!

Com-Forth: “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!

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.

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.

Meet cool leaders: Sigrid Hantusch-Taferner, CM @Codecool Austria

Sigrid Hantusch-Taferner

In this new blog post series we’re sitting down for a chat with people making the Codecool vision happen. Please meet Sigrid Hantusch-Taferner, Country Manager of Codecool Austria.

Sigrid Hantusch-Taferner

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 partners that inspire us. We also make sure to work with colleagues that are equally amazing, and make the Codecool mission and vision come to life.

We had a chat with one of these colleagues about her current goals, challenges and outlook on the future. We’re super excited and proud to introduce her to you finally. Please meet Sigrid Hantusch-Taferner, Country Manager of our newest school, Codecool Austria.

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

I am a family person who is constantly looking for new experiences, and enjoys adventure and action with family and friends. I love nature, and prefer to be outside in the mountains to hike, climb, bike or ski.

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

As Country Manager, I am currently responsible for getting the Vienna location up and running. I try to pay particular attention to what can work well in Vienna and combine those approaches with the successful existing experiences from the other countries.

In addition to the business aspects, it is particularly important to me to create a good team structure and a cool workplace. Also, to enable the students to receive the best possible training.

What did you do before?

For the last 10 years I was sales and marketing manager at a digital learning solutions provider. Before that, I had many years of experience in sales of e-recruiting and software solutions.

During my studies, I focused on knowledge management and eLearning, which prepared me well for a job in education.

Why did you decide to come work for Codecool? What do you like most about your new workplace?

The Codecool business model immediately convinced me: the market needs IT specialists now and in the coming years, and we help people to gain new qualifications.

Personally, of course, I was intrigued by the challenge of setting up a location here in Vienna. And most of all: I like the people at Codecool 🙂 

Sigrid Hantusch-Taferner 2
What's the biggest goal that you set out for yourself in Codecool?

My biggest goal is to continuously improve over the next 3 years, and become a well-known and renowned training institution here in Austria.

What do you see as your biggest challenge currently?

Our biggest task today is to reach our potential students with the right message. We want them to see Codecool positively, as a great place to start a future-proof career.

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

The most important trend impacting us today is the growing talent gap. The baby boomers are now retiring, while, of course, everything will be digitally controlled in the future – from city administration to our cars and our stoves.

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

I believe that re- and up-skilling people who are already employed is becoming more and more important.

In the long term this means that we are becoming more and more the corporate partner to offer tailor-made training and further education for special needs.

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

Hiring companies can get great junior talents from us. Talents, who really want to change their lives, and who are enthusiastic, and well-prepared for their first tech job.

How do you see our shared digital future?

Together we will manage to solve social, economic and ecological problems through digital transformation.

It’s our chance to make the world we live in an even better place.

Scrum in programming training – Tips and benefits

Businesses go agile for better quality products, happier customers and more productive teams. But agility and frameworks like Scrum are super advantageous during the learning process too. We’ll take you behind the scenes to show you how we implement Scrum into our teaching method, and why this is good for you.

The agile way of working is not just a buzzword in the world of IT. 

Today, more than 70% of companies worldwide use agile methods in IT or for their business processes. While IT was the first sector to implement agile values in software development, companies saw the perks, and started rethinking their whole organisation using agile principles, in the scope of large-scale agile transformations.

In software development, most companies made their pledge to the Scrum framework to implement core agile values. Scrum can be a useful addition in the learning process, too, and we’ve decided to make it an integral part of our teaching method.

But what is it about agile that makes it so effective? And why is it so beneficial to use it to teach programming? 

First, let’s see what it really means to go the agile way.

 

A quick recap on agile

Agile relies on self-organising, cross-functional teams, and it’s a more reactive, more flexible way of organising your company. 

The 4 basic agile values are:

  • Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
  • Working software over comprehensive documentation
  • Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
  • Responding to change over following a plan

Agile prioritises the human element and holds your customer’s satisfaction above all. And we just have to look at the numbers to see that it’s really working. From the 70% of companies that adopted agile, 98% said that it helped to achieve their previously set business goals.

Why? Because agile frameworks can enable your team to create better products by changing specifications and designs on time. They can get up-to-date feedback from customers, and test parts of the product as the process goes. Mistakes or changes in business needs can peacefully coexist with initial plans, and everything can be dealt with on time.

This overall philosophy leads to more productive teams, higher quality products, and satisfied customers

 

Transform your business with the power of agility

Agile stopped being the IT sector’s secret ingredient a long time ago. So whatever your business profile may be, you can start an agile transformation to make your organisation respond to change better and faster. 

Going agile just for the sake of it will by no means be a guaranteed solution to all your problems. But it could break silos, and enable a more collaborative way of working within your organisation. For example, your IT, HR, and Sales departments could be working together in a more connected way to solve problems and deliver amazing products.

To go agile, you could:

  • transform one section of your company with agile and build a supportive, more traditional business structure around it, or
  • apply agile values to your entire organisation, and all the different departments within.

To start the transformation you should do a detailed assessment of your business.  And if you’ve been wondering, there’s absolutely no need for an already existing agile team within your organisation, and you might as well start from the ground up.

 

Go agile in programming training, too

To implement agile values in software development, there are a lot of different frameworks you could use. The most well-known and widely-used is definitely Scrum. To implement Scrum effectively in IT, you’ll need a team of developers who’re clear on agile values, Scrum roles, and ceremonies.

And that’s exactly why we made Scrum an integral part of the Codecool way of learning, too. To make sure that our juniors will be well-prepared for individual and teamwork in any Scrum project, as well as continuous learning in their future careers.

Codecoolers learn and work with Scrum from day 1: they do sprint planning, take on the role of the Scrum Master during sprints, and even work with Product Owners (acted out by our mentors) and real customers (representatives from our partner companies). 

Through lifelike projects and real-life inspired user stories, they also learn valuable soft skills, like teamwork, time management, effective presentation, conflict resolution, and assertive communication. They continuously give and receive constructive feedback, and learn what it takes to study on their own. 

But let’s see in detail, how we do all this.

 

Scrum in action at Codecool

At Codecool we use the below elements from the Scrum methodology in our flagship Full-Stack Development course:

  • the Scrum Master and the Product Owner roles,
  • sprints (with ceremonies, like planning, standups, reviews, retros, demos),
  • the Sprint Backlog and the Product Backlog.

Let’s see how we incorporate these in our learning methodology for the best results!

Scrum Master

This title belongs to the person who facilitates Scrum to the team. A Scrum Master is committed to Scrum values and principles and ensures that the framework is followed. 

At Codecool, students select a Scrum Master from among themselves while planning their tasks and priorities for their next sprint. This role rotates by sprint so that everyone can try their hand at it.

It’s the Scrum Master’s job to administrate the team’s progress and to keep in contact with the Product Owner. If there are questions emerging or unexpected difficulties, the Scrum Master moves things further. Scrum Masters in Codecool teams also do hands-on development themselves.

Product Owner

The Product Owner acts as the project’s key stakeholder who has a clear vision of where the team should arrive at the end of the project. They’re the ones communicating with other stakeholders and the ones that understand the market, the customer, and the business too.

At Codecool, mentors act as Product Owners, and usually they create and maintain the product backlog

Sprints

A sprint is a time-boxed period when a Scrum team aims to complete a set amount of work. 

Just like professional development teams, our students work in one or two-week-long sprints to deliver projects

On self-instructed weeks, they deepen their knowledge on their own with available help from mentors. This setup supports our mastery-based learning method because it improves individual learning and teaches how to take ownership. 

On alternating, teamwork weeks students work in Scrum teams to get closer to the demands of a workplace. That’s when they actually act as any software development team in a Scrum environment.

Sprint planning

Development teams do the detailed planning of the sprint together to kick off the project. During the planning, the team defines what they can deliver in the sprint and how they will achieve it. Codecoolers do the planning, create the sprint backlog and appoint the Scrum Master on Monday.

Product backlog / Sprint backlog

A Product Backlog is a list of deliverables derived from the project roadmap and the high-level business requirements. The most important tasks are shown at the top of the product backlog. At Codecool, mentors act as Product Owners, so usually they create and maintain the product backlog. 

Sprint backlogs list tasks to be carried out in the specific sprint, taken from the Product Backlog. Sprint backlogs at Codecool are created by the student Scrum teams.

Daily standups

From Tuesdays to Thursdays students have their implementation days when they get to do the development planned out for the sprint. Each morning, they have daily standups, facilitated by the Scrum Master, where they align on daily tasks and discuss any obstacles keeping them from going on with their tasks.

Sprint reviews

During sprint reviews, development teams have a chance to check the sprint’s product, and demo the working app or feature to the customer.

Fridays are Demo Days at Codecool, and these days provide an opportunity to have the sprint reviews, and reflect upon the work that has been done during the sprint. Students demo the result of the sprint in the morning in front of teammates and real customers, who are actually guests from our hiring partner companies. 

The focus at demos is always on practising presentation skills, giving detailed, constructive feedback, and discussing learnings.

Retrospectives

Retrospective meetings are held to reflect upon what and how went down during the Sprint, facilitated by the Scrum Master They give teams a chance to learn from the setbacks that they encountered, and an opportunity to improve for the future. 

The retros at Codecool usually happen after the demos, on Friday afternoon.

Looking for your next agile developer?

After going through a year-long learning journey organised around Scrum projects, our junior developers are at the top of their game in Scrum teamwork and practices. Due to our super-fast sourcing process, your next junior agile developer could be in your team in just 5 days after you contact us. 

We are also here, if you’re rather interested in up-skilling or re-skilling your existing colleagues in Scrum software development.

If you’d like to hire new teams, and get them through an onboarding training in Scrum software development, then an internal training academy, powered by Codecool, tailored to your exact needs might be the best option for you. 

But why not visit one of our Demo Days on a Friday first, and check out the skills and capabilities of our students yourself? We’d be happy to have you.

If you’re interested, or have any questions, please contact us. Can’t wait to talk to you!