One year at HiQ. Rookie mistakes? These are our learnings
About to kick off your career in tech? Congratulations! We have interviewed two of our developers who a year ago were in the same situation as you are now. Interested in what they have learned? Read our blog post.
First of all, some formalities. We’re HiQ – a creative tech consulting group committed to ending bad tech by simplifying and improving people’s lives. Our best weapon in the fight against bad tech is our brilliant employees, a powerful blend of talent working with everything from cyber security to R&D and design. In all our different offices, we believe in trying, improving, and discovering.
Now that’s out of the way, let’s introduce two of our magnificent employees: Isabel Aguilar Johansson and Paola Tosca van den Bor. They both started at HiQ in 2021 and are alums of our trainee program, HiQ Leap, now working as developers at our Malmö office.
Download guide: 8 things we wish we knew when we started working in tech
Doing stuff for the first time, all the time
Isabel and Paola think communication and eagerness to learn are essential traits in a developer. For example, they encourage all new developers to ask questions straight away when in need of help. Furthermore, Isabel believes that part of the job is being prestigeless and knowing that you’ll never know everything. Paola also values having learned to communicate clearly with clients, which is especially important as a consultant:
– During a project where we worked with the agile methodology, we had meetings of precisely 15 minutes to show the client our progress, receive their feedback, answer questions and discuss how the project was to proceed. It was exciting and very educational to try and get the most out of each meeting. Precision and punctuality are key!
Isabel also highlights that you, as a new developer, need to trust your abilities:
– Even senior developers are constantly doing stuff for the first time. Speaking from personal experience, be confident that you have the required competence, even though it’s easy to doubt yourself. As soon as you complete your first few projects, you’ll get the hang of it.
Paola agrees, emphasising that at HiQ, you’ll quickly learn to take responsibility, and more so than at other companies:
– Since I started working here, I’ve become much more confident. HiQ believed in me from the get-go, which has given me the courage to take on more challenging assignments. The support, feedback and interest in who you are as a person, not just another employee, makes HiQ stand out compared to other companies.
Feeling awesome and solving problems
Isabel and Paola have had the chance to discover several new technologies, clients, and projects during their first year as developers. Have there been times when they’ve felt especially awesome during these assignments?
Paola has a similar experience:
– I started working for a new client and received my first bug to fix. I dove into the code, expecting it would take me a few days to understand, but I managed to solve the bug in like an hour! Even the team I worked with was surprised by how quickly I had picked up on how the system worked. I felt awesome!
The perks of being a consultant
There’s usually a distinction between product-owning companies and consultancies in the tech industry. While HiQ offers both, our primary offer is consultant services. Isabel wasn’t looking to become a consultant after graduating but now sees many perks of being one:
– I’m thankful this is my first job, and being a consultant means I’ve mastered things I wouldn’t have otherwise. Consultants must challenge themselves and learn new techniques, which is crucial at the start of a tech career. I’ve also gotten more than just software development experience through exploring different industries and companies’ niches. For example, I worked a lot with financial systems and learned about finance and accounting in the bargain.
Blog post: How to get your first job in tech
What about challenges?
Starting a new career can be challenging; jumping from theory to practice is stressful for most people, and the imposter syndrome is never too far away. So what are some challenges that Isabel and Paola faced during their first year at HiQ?
– I was assigned to optimise a client’s system, and time was very limited. Which problem is the most pressing? What is the most effective use of my time? I was way out of my comfort zone, but at the same time, it’s precisely those assignments that help you grow and become more capable, says Paola.
– A challenge for me has been coming to terms with the fact that I always need to learn something new. However, pretty soon, that becomes more fun than scary. Suddenly, instead of feeling ‘oh no, another tech stack I’m not familiar with, you’ll find yourself thinking, “yes, finally I get to try out this as well!” says Isabel.
Becoming a HiQ’er
Starting a new job involves more than just learning new skills. You’ll spend a lot of time with your new colleagues, which can be a source of tension for some. However, neither Paola nor Isabel felt like it was hard to get into the HiQ spirit:
– At the Malmö office, everyone brings a lunch box to the office, which makes it much easier to enter the community. We always do stuff together, whether it's board game nights or having after-work beers on a Friday. And loads of people have dogs – so if you like dogs and want to score some extra points, just take one of the dogs out for a walk, says Isabel.
In addition, Isabel appreciates the opportunity to work in an environment with such a wide area of expertise. She likes that she can obtain knowledge from senior developers who are happy to help. Paola also agrees that it’s easy to enter the community:
– It happens automatically. HiQ organises so many different events, and you can choose to participate in all of them or just a few. It’s an incredibly social company where it’s easy to hang out and connect with all kinds of awesome people.
Have a look: What do HiQers think about X
A bright future for new developers
The need for developers and engineers has continued to grow for a long time. But is that about to change? Not if you ask Paola and Isabel. They’re both excited about the future and see a continuing need for new developers. And the work they do is certainly important:
– I see that many organisations aren’t keeping up with technology demands. There’s an unmet need in the job market, although vast parts of society need to be digitised, so I think our skills will be required for a long time. I believe my colleagues and I are doing essential work, like developing systems for health care. But it’s not just important; it’s also a lot of fun!
Paola agrees that developers are vital and highlights the work she and her team are doing on one of Sweden’s most frequently visited governmental web pages, whose functionality is socially crucial. What’s more, she believes that the digital realm will continue to grow:
– I’m so excited about the future. In the end, I believe we’ll all have two lives: one regular and one digital, which is why I think everyone should learn at least a bit of programming. Being a developer has changed my thinking; if I have an issue, I find a way to solve it. I think that goes for personal and social issues, too; there’s always a way to solve problems.
What would you like to learn at HiQ? Whether you’re about to finish your studies or have some years of experience under your belt, we’d love to connect with you. If any questions pop up, don’t hesitate to contact us.