Check our article in which Int4 team members share their stories on how they shifted their careers to the IT world.
Switch to IT and boost your career!
Many people perceive working in IT as spending hours behind a desk with one’s eyes stuck into lines of source code, solving problems with software/hardware that is not working, and so on. Ergo – work for geeks. Nothing could be further from the truth! According to Forbes, over 450 thousand specialists work in the IT industry in Poland. Not all of them are programmers with university degrees. What is more, in 2018 alone, nearly 90 thousand job offers in this sector appeared on the Polish pracuj.pl website. Few? According to the data available in the Google Ads keyword planner, “working in IT” is searched almost 4500 times a month (*Google.pl). Will you ask why the result was so impressive? We can safely say that it is a result of a trend – called switch into IT. No one will be surprised that also at Int4, there are specialists for whom IT – was not the first choice, but thanks to the support of the Int4 team and a great emphasis on development – they are becoming stronger and stronger members of the crew dealing with the test automation for the SAP Integration. Meet the Int4 heroes who haven’t always had IT on the way.
I wish I could, but I can’t
Hi! My name is Jarek, and I decided to write this article because I am a journalist by profession! You are probably wondering what I can do after my studies in the humanities at an IT company – apart from making good coffee for my colleagues that are good at this stuff, it turns out that quite a lot, but one by one… From an early age, I was much better at writing essays than with mathematical equations. From my computer science lessons, I remember only the basis of MS Office and the hours wasted on playing Deluxe Ski Jumping (by the way – I recommend). The breakthrough moment was probably the time when I chose high school. I decided to go for an IT profile, and for those few years, I have significantly improved in the sciences. However, I was still far from Tomasz Czajka level. What is more – for my further adventure with the world of computer science – I was effectively discouraged by one of the teachers (after years, I know that it was a mistake). So a little bit against everything, and a little bit out of sentiment, I bet on studying journalism. However, my enthusiasm was very quickly halted during the first journalistic workshop. We heard the following sentence then: “If you want to treat journalism as a way of living with dignity – I advise you to change your course of study today”. As a 21-year-old boy – I did not take it too seriously. More than three years, I was still creating content and later also editing it and managing the website of our publishing house. However, it turned out that the professor’s words were not trumped up. I started looking for a new job, having absolutely no idea what I wanted to do with myself – I was “only” able to write and talk nicely to people (oh yes, working in a newspaper teaches it perfectly). After two months of sending my CV, I finally received a call from the Sales and Marketing Department – one of the largest SEO agencies in Poland. Having no idea what optimization for the Google search engine was, as well as having no other choice then, I picked up the gauntlet. The beginnings were terrible, acronyms I didn’t understand, many complicated tasks based on programming – that was fearsome! But I quickly realized that to do my job well (sales) – I had to understand perfectly what they were selling and how it all worked. So it took me a lot of time to master the basics of the hated programming anew. Speaking frankly, I needed about 5 years to reach perfection in the mysterious SEO techniques. I was able to realize my aims very effectively; often hearing that my approach to the subject made a big difference. Everything was going according to the plan. When I went to a business meeting with Int4, I didn’t expect my future to go that way.
But what is this SAP about?
After meeting with Int4 management, I received a job offer. “Great, but I’m not really familiar with your industry at all.” – I thought. It’s like asking a tailor to bake bread, it will probably come out, but you are never sure if that is going to be as tasty as from a bakery – I continued analysing the situation in my mind. – Don’t worry, we’ll teach you everything – the guys from Int4 calmed my anxiety. For a couple of days I was having second thoughts, analysing the pros and cons (after all, I risked a lot, the whole career so far), until one day, I woke up with full conviction that I was going to take up this challenge. After the first day, I wanted to cry. Suddenly, I was again at zero from an expert stage. Still, the worst thing was that I completely did not understand what my new colleagues were talking about PI, S/4HANA, Migration, Virtualisation. It was black magic. There was no time to warm up because I joined Int4 in a very busy period, so I was thrown into deep water from the very beginning. However, every day I could and can still count on the professional and expert support of my colleagues. Thanks to great mobilisation, but above all, a well-planned development path – I slowly began to understand what it was all about. I must admit that I wouldn’t have achieved that without Int4’s team members full technical and business support – so I’m again on my way – to being the best technical salesman in the SAP world. In hindsight – I’m entirely convinced that this was one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life, although at the beginning – I was so scared. To sum up, I joined the IT world purely by coincidence, but life is full of opportunities, and it’s up to us to make the most of these occasions in life. My story confirms that even after studying humanities – you can find yourself in a world where the main language is ABAP.
Teach me how to do that well
As I mentioned at the beginning, we have a bit more of these “cases” at Int4. So I decided to use my journalistic experience a little bit and ask my colleagues about their adventure to the IT industry. Meet Edyta, our HR sorceress, who started her professional career as an English teacher. – When I was in Primary School, High School English was my passion and my hobby. I treated English grammar as riddles to be solved and analysed. However, being an English teacher was never my dream job that I had been planning to end up with. My father wanted me to become a doctor, so I was preparing myself through high school to go to medical studies. A sudden car versus track accident the day before the ‘Matura’ exam made us revise my medical plans and redirected my path to English studies ? recalls Edyta and adds: – From the very first year of my studies, I started teaching at schools as I wanted to be financially independent. Moving up my English teacher career ladder I came to the point where I was a private school director and ‘Matura’ exam coordinator at OKE, Poznań (oh, irony) That was another turning point in my career path, and as the market was changing with companies opening SSCs in Poland, I decided to try my luck there. Having English only, I landed my first job in a corporate environment as a proofreader, as a replacement for a girl that was on a sick leave. Once she was to come back, I was looking for some opportunities in the company for myself. And there, there was a job post on ‘holiday tracker specialist’ in this totally financial environment. I recall, as if that was yesterday, my future/ex-manager’s interview questions whether I knew V-function. I got this job, which occurred to be totally something different then described in the job post. I was suddenly a payroll specialist who was to implement eTime Kronos system, which was tracking PTO, and to be able to answer all ‘hard’ HR law related aspects. That’s how I started my adventure with Payroll and HR. Implementation, Processes, Systems, Labour Law, Calculations and People. After more than 14 years as an English teacher, payroll specialist and HR expert, Edyta started looking for new professional challenges.
A journey into the world of new technologies
Why IT? – A couple of years ago when I was working for a polish, furniture company I realised that I was missing an environment that was exposed to new technologies. I do not have the hard skills necessary to do a developer’s job but I am very curious of what is behind the scenes and what that kind of work involves. Moreover, the IT branch makes things possible for an HR person to happen. Cool graphics, videos and apps that I can use to make my ideas more fancy and modern is something that drives my can-do attitude to an even much more higher level than I naturally have – admits Edyta and adds: – I would say that I had a pre-start in that financial company where I was a proofreader working along with graphic designers and later on implementing a working time system myself. However, my true love for the IT world started at Ciber. My talent for setting the HR vs Payroll system was recognized by PeopleSoft Functional Analyst (Ted), and beside my HR/PY role I was asked to set the system for HR/PY matters. That was an awesome recognition and I felt at that very moment that I could have been great in that area if I had been born a bit later.
Our Int4’s HR manager makes no secret of the fact that choosing the IT sector was the best decision she has ever made, and joining Int4 was even a better one. Why?
- First: As an HR Manager, I have an environment that needs processes, procedures, strategies and I can design them from scratch, implement them, realize them and see how they work and moderate them if needed.
- Second, I have great, talented graphic designers who are eager to cooperate and create cool EB materials.
- Third, there are many open-minded employees who are willing to create modern, professional and original marketing materials.
If she wasn’t working for the IT industry, she would work either in a factory or in a corporation. As she says, she would see herself as a human resources manager in both companies or as a global payroll manager in the other. However, she claims that it doesn’t matter which sector you work in, but who you work with. When you become part of a group of people who follow the same standards as you (see Int4 values), your working life becomes much simpler, positive and you can’t wait another day.
Psychology goes hand in hand with IT, often late by night
Our next hero – an SAP integration consultant Michał Lubczyński – is a… psychologist by profession. – I remember that after graduation I had many different ideas for myself, but when I look at it from the perspective of time, I think I missed one passion that I would like to develop in my professional life. When deciding on psychology, I was guided by the belief that it was a direction that would broaden my horizons and help develop soft skills, which you could always benefit from on any career path – says Michał and adds:- In fact, I have never worked as a Psychologist. During my studies, I was still fascinated with media, and over the course of 5 years, I participated in several interesting projects of Internet and satellite television. The longer Michał worked in the media, the better he understood that real editorial work differed from his original ideas on the subject. An additional factor was the move from Warsaw to Poznań and met up with the reality of the local labour market. The same year, the TV station where he worked was restructured. He understood then that he could not stand still and had to reinvent himself. The choice of IT was the result of answers to questions:
- What is most important to me in my professional career?
- What are my strengths and in what area I could use them?
The most important thing to me was to be able to learn something new at work. To face a new challenge every day – says Michał and adds:- Making this choice was a slow process in which I had to break down stereotypes about myself.
Where there is a will, there is a way
I was taught that I was a humanist, and perhaps that’s where my moderate enthusiasm for the sciences came from. When Michał decided that he wanted to become a developer, he knew he had a lot of work ahead of him. – To be able to start in any recruitment process at all, I had to build basic competences, learn the basics of programming, assimilate terminology and general concepts of IT architecture – he recalls. Online courses, full-time courses and postgraduate studies at the Poznań University of Technology helped Michał to master those matters. In reality, he devoted every free moment he had to learn and acquire new skills, often until late at night. – I remember that at some point, I gave up my full-time job so that I could fully concentrate on my goal. I put everything on one card then,” says Michał and adds :- I also perfectly remember the day when I received a phone call with the information that I successfully passed the recruitment process and will join the Int4 team. There was a feeling of great satisfaction with the achieved goal, but after a while, there came a reflection that it was really just the beginning of the challenges. It was a bit like climbing an eight-thousander, when, after an exhausting climb, you had to rebuild your strength again and fully concentrate on safely returning to camp. As Michał recalls, the most challenging thing for him was to maintain the momentum of learning and to reconcile it with everyday duties in his private life. – It was just then when I was preparing to work on my first projects, facing the real problems that SAP consultants dealt with on a daily basis that I understood how much work was still ahead of me. On one hand, this is what I wanted – new challenges and continuous development, but on the other hand, the amount of new information that I had to assimilate in a short time I found to be overwhelming, especially at the beginning – explains. According to Michał, there is room in IT for both highly technical people and those whose main strength is soft skills, provided that they have a well-developed ability to adapt. – Another aspect is proper motivation. If the only reason why someone considers the possibility of changing the industry to IT is the prospect of high earnings, he should think about this choice well. In my opinion, it is a good idea to take part in a few months course combined with a small project. It may help such a person to answer questions: Am I able to do such work every day? Does it give me enough satisfaction? – advises Int4 consultant. When asked what he would have been doing in life if he hadn’t focused on IT, he answers, – I’d run my theme channel on YouTube.
We break the stereotypes
Working in IT was also not considered by Angelika, the office manager at Int4. Starting the journey, I thought very stereotypical that I would be dealing with “typical IT people”. But on the first day, I realised that not even one person out of these people was close to this stereotype. It was a very positive surprise that everyone was so open, sociable, helpful – recalls Angelika and adds:- When I started working at Int4, everything was new for me. During the first weeks, everyone tried to provide me with an answer to the question (so that I could understand) “What is this entire SAP?”. Because of the specifics of my position, nobody required me to know it, because I didn’t need it in my daily work. Nevertheless, I wanted to know what my colleagues were talking about, so I started to read, talk to people, and my knowledge was expanding every day. Working in IT does not have to be associated with a dull atmosphere and flannel plaid shirts. Although a few years back, Angelika did not consider working in IT, today she would not change it for anything else. – I think it’s because of Int4 I can see this world differently. Who knows, maybe in another place, my perception regarding the IT world would be the same as two years ago – admits.
We help to become part of something bigger
Our last hero is Mateusz – SAP Integration Consultant at Int4. Unlike most of his predecessors, Mateusz already had a little background in IT. – Basically, I am an IT specialist by education, but I don’t like this term very much – says Mateusz, who chose e-commerce as the specialisation during his studies. However, when he joined Int4, he quickly enrolled in classes that allowed him to deepen his knowledge of ERP systems implementation. Why Int4? As Mateusz recalls, after his adventure in the corporation as an IT support – he started looking for new opportunities for himself. – Recruitment at Int4? I do not want to sound trivial, but it was a coincidence. Initially, I wanted to program in Ruby on Rails, but the company that interested me – had no recruitment at that time. So I started looking for something that would connect the IT world with the business world. Honestly? I never wanted to work with SAP, the first meeting with ABAP effectively distracted me from it. The interview with the founders of Int4 changed my perception diametrically. The old fashion look of this system did no longer matter to me. I felt that here – I could become a part of something bigger – he recalls. However, the beginnings were not the easiest. – The language that I encountered here for me was utterly “exotic”. The names that came up during the onboarding process – sounded for me like from another world. Moreover, in the beginning, I had to pass two certificates confirming my competences. I was afraid then because I knew full well, I had no experience yet. Fortunately, thanks to the support of my mentors – I felt more and more confident from week to week – says Mateusz and then he points out:- You know very well that at Int4 we have the opportunity to work every day with experienced specialists who want to help you get the bug for continuous development. It’s not that you have to, every day you want to learn new things, discover new possibilities – to explore this world more and more. For the support I received here at the beginning – I will be grateful many more years.
I have shared the above career switches with you to encourage anyone having second thoughts whether to make a change in your life, whether it is the right time, I am too old, too young – we have a saying at Int4 that it is never too late, just have a plan in place and do it if you wish to.