5 Minutes with a Devops Engineer
5 minutes with… our DevOps Engineer Philipp! He tells us how he came to 4Soft and how he experienced his first weeks.
Philipp, you joined 4Soft GmbH at the beginning of January as a DevOps Engineer. How did you come to 4Soft? Did you actively apply to us or were you approached by us?
I was approached by 4Soft’s HR department, on LinkedIn. At the time, I was still fully occupied with my doctoral thesis and hadn’t even started sending out applications myself. In the end, I was surprised how many offers you get from headhunters and companies, even if you don’t actively apply for them.
Yes, especially as a developer you can hardly save yourself from offers from headhunters or companies. Why did you decide to go for a first interview?
In the end, it was probably a good gut feeling. Of course, I quickly looked at the LinkedIn profile and the website, but before the first interview, I didn’t really get to know the company that well. As a career changer, you often don’t know exactly what to look for in a job offer. The job that fits my profile exactly doesn’t exist there either. But the message that Nina wrote to me was appealing and somehow aroused my interest. And that’s probably more important: I always knew that I would have to retrain a lot with my previous knowledge; so it’s especially important that the tasks are exciting and the atmosphere in the company is good.
What was your first impression after the first interview?
I liked the way 4Soft presented itself. You noticed right away that there was a positive, hands-on attitude here. I liked that and it was important to me. From getting to know each other to the first day of work, everything was super fast and unbureaucratic, which impressed me. I had more difficulty really imagining the job. I think that can quickly become a problem for someone new to the company: you simply don’t know exactly what to expect, which makes it difficult to even ask the right questions.
What impression did the website give you? Was the impression congruent with how 4Soft presented itself during the interviews?
Of course, that was the first thing I looked at. I think it’s good that you can see right away in which areas 4Soft is active; the website is very precise there. I also find it important that you can click on a Github page there. Privately, I am also interested in free and opensource software, and it always pleases me when companies also show that they are active in this area. For the services and references I would have liked to see more concrete information about the technology and tools used. On the other hand, with some companies this is miserably long and a total buzzword hell, so I was glad that this is not the case with 4Soft. The website and what 4Soft is like also fit together well. I was pleased with the technical articles in the blog. I didn’t understand everything (and I didn’t read everything), but you get a good feeling for how the company works, which appealed to me. And I also think that 4Soft is a good fit overall.
In total, we did three rounds of interviews with you. Did you find the application process too long?
I didn’t give it much thought at all - but three rounds are pretty normal, right? I was surprised that there was no classic technical interview. Of course, they are always a bit stressful from the applicant’s point of view, so I wasn’t too upset about that. But actually, it’s also quite a good opportunity to compare your way of working and thinking with what the company considers “normal”. Instead, you asked me for a sample of my work, which I didn’t really have. So I quickly took something from the programs I had written for my doctoral thesis.
How do you feel about the way 4Soft works?
For the most part, my hopes have been fulfilled. I like the pragmatic, goal-oriented approach here; you realize much faster that you are also making a difference with your work. I also feel comfortable here in terms of the tools we use. We do a slightly more complex form of Scrum (I still have to get used to it), but so far I’ve always felt well supported in my work here. I think that’s important, especially because so many colleagues here work from home. At first I was skeptical about how well that would work - but so far I’m really impressed that we can usually work together quickly and spontaneously despite the distance. That’s why I’m also pleased that my colleagues now turn on their cameras during meetings, so at least I know what they look like. If you don’t really know the company and the individual processes very well, you can sometimes be overwhelmed by the flood of information, not to mention the specific tasks that you have to gradually familiarize yourself with.
How did you feel about your first days at the company? Did you have the impression that you were well received here?
The start was totally pleasant and smooth. I was welcomed by one of the managing directors, who gave us an introduction to the company. After that, IT and my team leader took care of me. As a result, it was clear all along what I was supposed to do, and I think I got on well right from the start. You probably also notice the advantages of a small company. The structures are quite clear and it was always clear who I could turn to if I didn’t know something, which helps a lot. Of course, sometimes the person doesn’t have time, so there’s nothing you can do, but that’s still better than not being able to find out at all who to ask about something. I also liked the fact that parts of the application process took place remotely, but parts also on site. That’s also how we work here - at least at the moment - and it reflected that well.
This is your first employer in the “free market economy” after your studies and your work at the university. Where do you see differences between your work at the university and here, “in the free economy?
There are two things that stand out to me: First of all, the work here is much more goal-oriented and naturally closer to the customer. I find that motivating and that was also something I was looking forward to. On the other hand, the university with its somewhat chaotic system is of course also very inspiring and stimulating. I hope that this feeling will continue here once I have become more familiar with it. I notice that, for example, a lot of commercial software is used here; that is sometimes more efficient and goal-oriented, but you quickly become “just a user”.
That refers to the tools rather than the projects, doesn’t it? You are currently already active in several projects at 4Soft, in different roles. Do you find it a burden or an enrichment to work on different things in parallel?
I simply enjoy working on different projects at the same time. The fact that this is also the case here is an enrichment for me. Sure, sometimes it’s stressful and exhausting, but doing the same thing over a long period of time: Wouldn’t be for me. I was a bit worried about that when I left the university. And that was also a reason for me to look for a smaller employer; even though I don’t know whether it would really have been different in a large corporation. So far - I haven’t been with the company that long - I really like the type of projects and the mix.