In our Senior Trainee blogs, you’ll learn more about the people working at Digia, their careers, and what it’s like working here. Now it’s time to hear Shakera’s story. How she worked her way to her dream company without a background in IT, why Digia is her dream company and what she appreciates in Digia.
Shakera works at Digia as a BI-Consultant in Digia's analytics team. She has studied engineering and wireless technologies at Tampere University but during her studies, she was trying to think up what she could do in the future. “One of the most important things for me is taking up technologies that have a future prospect”, Shakera reveals. Around 4 years ago cloud technologies were emerging in Finland, but not many companies still excelled in them, but Digia was one of those companies who did. “In a recruiting event organized by Tampere University, I visited Digia’s booth, and the people there handing out swag were so friendly, encouraging, and matched my vibe so I really looked up to them. I thought, if I want to work with cloud technologies, Digia would be the company I’d want to partner with”, Shakera reminisces. “I still have the red, Digia lip balm from one of those events. I kept it and now every time I look at it, I think how funny it is that now I am working there, in my dream company”, she smiles.
Even though it's mostly Finnish people working in Digia, people with international backgrounds shouldn’t be afraid to apply. “In my team, DDS (Data Driven Solutions), we have a lot of different nationalities working together. It’s all about the passion that you hold and the attitude that you have towards your work. That’s what matters in Digia”, Shakera adds.
Shakera didn’t have a background in coding, nor did she speak Finnish at that time, but she was determined to succeed. She applied to a Microsoft Azure-training organized by Saranen where Digia was one of the partner companies. She knew immediately who she wanted to partner with, even though she would have to move to Helsinki from Tampere. After 7 months of intense training in Digia she was recruited as a full-time digian. “And now I’m here where I wanted to be”, she smiles.
Digia didn’t just invent some catchy slogans, they were created from the culture and by digians
“Digia truly goes by the cultural principles which we have set for ourselves. For example, “Courage – it will not sting that bad” is a slogan that came from the employees. “The company didn’t just invent some catchy phrases. These principles actually came from the culture we held within”, Shakera says.
As a BI-consultant courage is an essential thing. Customers come to you for consultation and help. “What if something goes wrong? That question often haunts us, and it stands between you and your potential. But when your employer and coworkers stand by you, encourage, and support you even if you make a mistake, it is a big thing for any beginner or someone who momentarily lacks confidence”, Shakera explains. In Digia courage means trusting in your own professional skill, continuous small choices and taking responsibility for the smooth flow of things, and daring to try and to move forward.
In Digia there are no egos, and we encourage people to share knowledge with our coworkers.
Another one of Digia’s cultural principles is learning and the Senior Trainee-mentality. Learning is a fundamental requirement in our business. As technologies evolve so must we by learning something new and being curious. Every digian has the permission and the responsibility to be both a trainee and a trainer. “I’ve seen people leave from other companies because of lack of knowledge transfer. In Digia there are no egos, and we encourage people to share knowledge with our coworkers”, Shakera mentions. Digia has numerous tribes where digians who share a common interest can gather around that subject, learn new and share their knowledge. “You name any technology we probably have a tribe for that”, Shakera laughs. “We have DevOps-tribe, Power Platform, Cloud technologies. Any emerging technology or sector, most likely we have a tribe for that”, she lists. There’s even a Language Tribe if you want to develop your Finnish or English skills. If there isn’t a tribe already, anyone can start a new one. Hours that digians use with the Tribe community and activities are considered as work time. This is one of Digia’s ways of supporting learning, development, and overall strengthening Digia’s community. Digia also supports different technology training and certifications for employees.
“Digia stands by you and was with me in my darkest time”
Digia has different types of community activities. There are several Open clubs which are free time clubs for leisure activities. “You could start your day with a Aamujooga-session through Teams. We also had before pandemic in Atomitie “Beer ‘n’ banter” every Friday. The topics there were always so versatile and fun, and you always come back from this with a lot of new knowledge. You are entertained, you learn new things about Digia, about other departments and what they are up to, and you get to meet people and have a nice chat. I really look forward to these again when everything normalizes”, Shakera laughs. There are also different types of challenges for teams. For example, in November teams can participate in a Marrasputki-challenge where digians are encouraged to go out and exercise every day for at least 30 minutes.
There are people who have worked here for 15 – 20 years. We have people who've been here for so long but still are looking forward to working here. This tells something about the culture and the people here
Shakera tells another, very personal, example about the people and community in Digia. In 2021, she lost her father due to Coronavirus. The first person she contacted about her father’s illness was her manager. Her manager made sure Shakera had everything she needed to get to Bangladesh, like permission to travel there. It was also made sure Shakera had the time she needed to process the situation, so she didn’t have to worry about her clients or projects at that time.
Digia is with you, no matter what
“When I came back after losing my dad, she (her manager) was always there, texting me like a family friend…When you have that kind of support, it helps a lot. Digia is with you, no matter what. This kind of support I didn’t expect, and I was surprised but I appreciate forever that Digia was with me in my most difficult time”, Shakera praises. Her sister also works in a Finnish company and the approach and challenges she had to face for her to visit their father were so different that Shakera wanted to talk about the support she got from Digia and appreciate the help she got from her fellow digians.
There are similarities between being a consultant and being a doctor
As a BI consultant Shakera describes her work as interesting but at the same time a bit challenging. She emphasizes the word ‘consult’ in her title as she consults with the customer, her colleagues, and even, in a metaphorical way, the technologies.
“The technologies that I work with change rapidly and you have to keep up with the changes. You have to give time to yourself to know the updates and suggest them to your clients who are blindly trusting you to give them the best advice.”
This job requires learning all the time and keeping updated with new prospective technologies. “I mainly work with Power Apps, Power BI, Microsoft SQL Server Database, Azure-technologies and currently for the last few years I’ve been working with Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance and Operation and Dynamics 365 HR.” With these tools, she drills down the data, analyzes it, and builds dynamic reports for customers to enhance their business.
You have to be brave enough to question your customer or their policies and processes
The challenging aspect of Shakera's job is to understand her customer's business and their needs completely. You need to understand that every customer has different business processes and policies, and you must understand how every customer business model and organization works so you could produce and deliver reports that the customer can utilize for their business to grow. The client probably gives you certain KPI’s and things that they want to see in the report, but that is when it’s time for the consultant to take charge of things. Consultants should then question why the client needs this data, what information do they get from it, and then the real need comes out and the consultant can bring something more to the table. Give ideas and maybe visualizations that the client might have not thought about before.
“Sometimes the customer can be bewildered also and anxious of why we are asking certain questions. But it comes down to Digia’s slogan; you have to be brave enough to question your customer or their policies and processes”, Shakera tells. “Consultancy is kinda like being a doctor. You have to ask your patients a lot of questions in order to diagnose the symptoms and then decide what kind of treatment you would be giving them. They expect you to no matter how badly your hurt or how severe the disease is to save their lives. So (as a consultant) your clients always expect you to save their business or enhance their business if something is wrong”, she adds laughing.
What excites Shakera in her job is that every day is different, “It’s very important for a person like me because I get bored easily and my manager knows that, and she gives me different projects every time.” This is something Shakera appreciates in her team. People are given tasks that they feel drawn to. You can openly talk with your managers about what kind of projects you’re interested in.
The clients might be the same and projects last even up to 6 or 7 months but the challenges and tasks on a daily basis are different. This role allows you to make the data talk, “If you think of data as an unvaluable item and then you can do your own magic and make it talk and to empower others. It’s like making something from almost nothing", Shakera describes.
A human being is nothing without growth
You use a major part of your day working so you should work in a place that gives you the opportunity to grow. Shakera sees that the opportunity for growth is one of the main reasons why someone should come to work at Digia. The other reason is that Digia abides by the cultural principles that they have created together. “In Digia you don’t have to worry if you fail or if you want to go in a different direction, in another technology, we are there to support you. Here you don’t have to be alone. There are people to support you”, Shakera states.
When you’re working with technologies that are challenging but making a big impact in the world right now and when your workplace is pioneering in those technologies, there is a feeling of professional pride. Which is, surprise, one of Digia's cultural principles.