The obstacles and rewards of changing your role in a software company
Nowadays professionals tend to change jobs every 3 to 5 years. You can observe this tendency especially in dynamic industries such as IT&C. At Qubiz, we believe there are better ways to build your career. Why leave your comrades when you can find new opportunities within the same company?
Most of our colleagues choose this path. In some cases they switch projects or learn a new technology, and in other instances they take up new roles and responsibilities. I asked Răzvan – who arguably has the most interesting career path inside the company – to tell us his story.
Răzvan, your career path in Qubiz was very unusual. Walk us through the stages
It all started back in 2010 when I joined Qubiz as an enthusiastic junior developer. I quickly realized that writing code will not be my thing in the long run so I started thinking about other ways to be useful to the team. When a new phase of the project started, I took on new roles: functional designer and tester. It was the classic case of figuring things out and applying theory as you go along.
I enjoyed talking to clients and teammates, understanding business needs and finding solutions. With this in mind, I took a leap of faith and embraced a presales role in 2011. I relished in explaining what we do and how we do it in different contexts . However, after 6-7 months the demands of the role began to surpass my theoretical knowledge and I decided to take another approach.
I switched back to part-time functional designer, part-time tester. I really liked this setup because I got the chance to understand the project thoroughly. In the meantime, my SCRUM master initiated me in project management. For a while we co-led the team, but after a decrease in team size, I was trusted with all SCRUM master and team lead duties.
In 2015 my career took another turn. I transitioned towards a delivery management role, being responsible for managing expectations and making sure deliveries are correct and complete. I also retained the business/ functional analyst role within the project. Also, my Agile enthusiasm turned out to be very useful in the company’s Project Management (PM) Council, which lays out best practices which are applied in every Qubiz project.
What motivated you to continue to search for a role that fits like a glove?
My passion just wasn’t the code writing part of software development. I felt that I’m not where I’m supposed to be, that I can perform better in a different area. What I really wanted was to understand the big picture and explain it to the whole team, so they can fit each piece of the puzzle in the right place. When I started coordinating projects, I knew I was on the right track.
Are happy with where you are now? Are your current roles the right ones for you?
Delivery management and business/ functional analyst are the right roles for me. It’s where I’m most productive and effective. I’m also glad to be part of the PM Council. It’s fulfilling to know my work has an impact on the whole organization.
But if you ask me if I’m happy with where I’m now, my answer is not yet – I still have a great deal of knowledge and experience to acquire. I want to stay hungry for more, I want to continue to grow professionally.
How does one approach his or her boss with a request to make such career changes?
I told my career manager during the development session that I’d like to explore other areas. No hard commitments were made at first, we just agreed to examine whether a different role would suit me better. Then the good things started happening. I guess everything depends on the company culture. In Qubiz, we are very informal and open, so the career managers are approachable and welcome new ideas.
Also, if your boss gives you the green light to explore new roles, keep in mind that you’ll start from scratch. It takes some time to accumulate the experience and know how. You’ll have to stay committed. Stick to the objectives and make progress every day.
How did the Qubiz company culture help you shape your career?
In Qubiz, roles are not set in stone. You have the flexibility to try new technologies or even new roles. In this process you can rely on your career manager, he/she’ll help you set objectives and keep on track. Additionally, a senior guides you through the learning process. This mentor – mentee exchange can prevent you from going in the wrong direction.
Even if you feel that it’s not the right time for a change or even if you are where you want to be in your career, you should still explore new areas. It enables you to understand your colleagues’ job and its effects on yours. It also helps you in the long run, it widens your horizons. Also, our company culture encourages this and it sets you up for professional development.
What was your main takeaway from this endeavour?
You will find yourself in new situations, sometimes in very difficult circumstances. Colleagues and mentors who advise you will inevitably also criticise you. Don’t take it personally! Learn to extract the advice from their objection, and just move forward.
Do you have some advice to offer for those who are not happy with their current role or state of their career?
Don’t wait for somebody to discover you and offer the opportunity you are waiting for. Be proactive. If you have your eye on a role, “shadow” the colleague who is best at it and learn from him or her. Take initiative and ask questions when you are stuck.
If you have the chance to change your role and pursue a new one, be persistent. Don’t give up in the face obstacles, when everything is not going your way. Continue walking (or jogging) down the road you have chosen.
Interviewed by Krisztian Szűcs