My First Year At Innovation Enterprise

Alexis takes us through his first 365 days at the company


I have been at Innovation Enterprise one year now and it feels like I started last week.

There are so many things to say, and doing a sum up for one year is a real challenge.

But first, let me introduce myself. I’m Alexis, and I’m a Software Engineer at Innovation Enterprise (mostly back-end stuff). I didn’t study computer science. Actually, my scholarship was complicated and I studied Nursing, Sports Science, and Ergonomics before moving to programming. During my last year at University, I had a lot of free time (4 days a week) and unemployment was becoming a clear reality after I graduated.

In the meantime, I spent a lot of time in London because my sister and my brother-in-law are developers there too. I really enjoyed my time there and it gave me the motivation to start a new adventure. So, I learned to develop on my own using the Coursera platform and personal projects and moved to London to try my luck. After 6 months in England, I finally found a position as a Junior Web Developer at Innovation Enterprise.

When I started in June 2015, we only had 4 developers (2 back-end and 2 front-end) with the challenge of maintaining 3 Ruby on Rails applications. When I started to learn web development, I used Sinatra first in order to understand the fundamental web programming principles. Indeed, Rails can be tricky for beginners and I wouldn't recommend it as a first choice. Surprisingly, it wasn’t hard to deal with it and I learned Rails progressively. Of course, I used official documentation, but also blog posts as the online community is really good and active.

As a Junior Developer, I couldn't expect to be with a better team. During the first 6 months, I asked a lot of questions and everyone was really kind and found time to help me. With that, I progressed a lot in my job but I did make some mistakes, just like many Junior Developers. For instance, I imported SQL database from the previous day into the production database. Fortunately, It wasn’t critical and we retrieved data.

After 6 months, I started to feel more confident (fewer questions, better comprehension). I was able to deal with different parts of programming like front-end stuff (React) but also devops (AWS, Nginx). Sometimes, it can be frustrating because it is difficult to switch between languages and logics. But it is necessary to be polyvalent in order to deal with varieties of tasks. My English has also improved a lot and I can speak fluently now without much effort.

One thing that I really like is that the company cares about employee skill development. It is expected that we spend time learning new things. In our jobs, we need to keep up to date with the latest technologies. That is why I like to spend 30 - 45 min every morning to learn new stuff. We have also flexible hours and remote work is allowed. We wrote a good article about it. This flexibility is really good because we have developers connected most of the time, so an issue can be detected quickly.

Our team is now composed of 9 members: 1 Product manager, 1 Tech Lead, 3 Back-end, 3 Front-end, 1 Salesforce specialist. Our team is also multinational and that is awesome! We have people from Italy, Poland, Portugal, France, Pakistan, Northern Ireland, England and South Africa.

I have never seen a work atmosphere like this. I worked in France where hierarchy is very important and working relationships can be complicated. In England, you go to the pub with your colleagues whereas, in France, they prefer to go back home and enjoy a night with their friends. I think this is a mistake as socializing outside the office has helped to create a better working relationship with my team.

As I said, I’m really happy with my team and this company. I have already spent one year at the company and I will probably stay for a while. We are implementing exciting new processes and we have so many interesting challenges all the time. The team is really stable now, we care about writing good and clean code, and I feel that I’m learning every day from those around me.

I would never have thought 2 years ago that I could be at this position now. I would like to thank all my team-mates and everyone who supported me in this adventure. And I’m so excited for what the future holds. Programming is the best thing that happened to me, and I hope my article will motivate some of you to try this fabulous career path too.


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