Interview with Steffen: From programming newbie to team leader in the development department
Hi Steffen. You have already been working at Soloplan for 11 years, how did your career unfold and in which department did you end up?
Back then, I started at Soloplan as a working student while doing my bachelor’s degree in business informatics in Kempten. I wrote my bachelor thesis at Soloplan and spent my practical semester here as well. During my subsequent master programme (computer science & information technology) in Augsburg, I continued to work part-time from home and spent all my semester breaks at Soloplan. After I finished my master’s, I started working at Soloplan full-time in 2017. Back then, I was a software developer in the development department.
So, you went to University. How did you join Soloplan?
During my bachelor’s programme, the University in Kempten had an initiative called “studies with in-depth practice”. Soloplan was one the companies based in Kempten that took part in this. To my delight, the application process including the interview only took one week until I was hired.
What does your everyday work look like today?
In the last years, I was working as a software developer in the core area of CarLo–basically the heart of the software. Since November of 2020, I have been the team leader of the planning team that has 7 colleagues in it. Therefore, I no longer carry out the typical tasks of a developer. The share of my working hours in which I write source code myself has drastically lowered in the last months. I think, it only makes about 1/5 of my tasks. My day-to-day work as a team leader mostly consists of many organisational tasks such as supervising the team members and planning tasks and schedules, but also organising technical meetings.
Why did you end up in this department and what do you like most about your work there?
I just love software development. Back then, I applied as a newbie, because before I started University I knew nothing about programming–it was only a private hobby. I have always had an affinity for computers and technology, at Soloplan I developed this affinity further and acquired a liking for it. One aspect of the work I particularly enjoyed was the practical orientation, because it is much easier to see the connection than during my studies–I learnt a lot at Soloplan in regards to that.
The thing I enjoy most about being a team leader is working together with subordinates and colleagues and to monitor and support their development. In regards to software development, I enjoy that the technology is always changing–that way you are always forced to grow and to keep up. This makes the work very diverse.
How would you describe the working environment at Soloplan?
In general, the atmosphere is only positive and the solidarity among all colleagues is very friendly. Despite being divided into five different teams, everyone in the teams in the development department gets along great and helps each other–no matter whether it concerns questions or a shortage of resources. A certain amount of friction between departments on a professional level can occur, but that is luckily the exception to the rule.
How did you develop working at Soloplan–both professionally and personally?
On a strictly professional level, I grew from the clueless student to the professional team leader. The first tool I ever wrote is still in use–even if I would do some things differently looking back at it now. The importance of my work and profession in my life has also become greater and has enabled many things for me. Initially, I still lived with my parents, now I live in a house with my partner. Even now, in my first leadership role, I am still learning a lot. Thanks to Soloplan, I am currently taking part in a half-year-long training regarding leadership.
What do applicants need to bring to the table to be successful in your area?
In my opinion, the most important quality is conscientious or even meticulous work. Being willing to learn new things and to continuously develop further should always remain, as should motivation, passion for the technology and team spirit. Critical faculties are also helpful as review and feedback are part of the daily work. In regards to professional qualifications, a certain amount of prior knowledge in the .NET ecosystem is a good prerequisite.
How do you think your workplace and your area of responsibility will change in the future?
In principal, the technology continues to develop further. With CarLo, in the short to medium term, we are also in the transition period to Microsoft’s new .NET framework. Additionally, the trend towards cloud solutions continues, as they mean a low administrative effort especially for small businesses. Therefore, I think that the current on-premise usage model (resources/server at the customer’s location) will shift towards virtual servers and hosting solutions.
How do you manage to keep up with the current technology?
Personally, a large part of my information comes from subscriptions to RSS feeds, magazines and professional journals. I also like to inform myself about this topic in my free time, because proximity to technology cannot be neglected. Additionally, you cannot make good decisions on surface knowledge. In any case, my area of responsibility will not be boring in the future!
You also want to become part of Soloplan?
Then take a look at our open positions–we look forward to receiving your application!