Finding your niche
Sometimes where you start in a company isn’t the career you end up pursuing. As we grow, we develop different interests- which we believe a workplace should always encourage! We spoke to Marjona, Business System Analyst in our Gloucester office, about how she explored different options within Thinkproject before getting to where she is today.
Apprenticeships and acquisitions
In 2016 I joined Thinkproject when our Gloucester office was still called CEMAR. At the time I was interested in exploring a career in I.T and I joined the team as an Advanced I.T Apprentice where I started off as part of the programming team. When I joined, the UK office was a very small team of 20 and I have watched both our local team grow, as well as being with the company as we were acquired by Thinkproject and transitioned into a bigger, international business.
My first few years went by very quickly, I was learning the ropes of hardware and software, as well as studying towards my apprenticeship qualification, plus gaining more confidence in the workplace. I celebrated some great milestones in this time, including winning Gloucestershire College’s I.T Apprentice of the Year Award, as well as gaining my ISTQB qualification.
Evolving with experience
As I got more involved with different aspects of our Development & Infrastructure (D&I) department, it became apparent to me that there was one aspect of my role that I was enjoying the most, which was software testing. With encouragement from my mentor, I decided to focus on what I loved about my job and became a Software Test Analyst.
One of the benefits about working at Thinkproject is we are encouraged to explore our options and follow our passions. By working with colleagues in D&I and being involved in a variety of processes it was easy for me to identify where my strengths lay. My manager also recognised these strengths, and we were able to make the decision together for me to focus on software test analysis.
Business expansion, career aspirations
As Thinkproject continued to grow I was introduced to more responsibilities and our expanding teams who were all working on different products with different dynamics. It was a really exciting time for all of us, the bustle was energising, and when an opportunity came up for another change in my role, I felt confident in putting myself out there as I applied for a Business System Analyst position.
I had always been interested in project management, product owner roles and overlooking projects in their growth, I used my one-to-one meetings with my manager to ask about qualifications or experience I would need to take on this new role. By showing my manager that I was committed and interested, my manager agreed that I would be well-suited to being a BSA.
This was definitely something outside of my comfort zone as I like to consider and take my time making big decisions, but I had grown in confidence in knowing where I wanted to be in my career and it’s a personal achievement of mine to have been able to just go for it, I think going through changes in the business like the acquisition and rapid growth changed my mindset and encouraged me to make bigger steps. As Ben (CEMAR founder) says, you have to think big to become bigger.
It also helps a lot to be on the same wavelength as my manager and we foster a relationship built on mutual trust, I have grown even more sure in my strengths as a BSA, even taking on new duties that put me out of my comfort zone.
Applying strengths, learning to overcome
As a BSA, I thrive knowing that every day isn’t like the last. I can put my problem-solving abilities to good use on new challenges and have the autonomy to make decisions which are trusted by the rest of my team. I enjoy being able to plan my own day and being able to work with a variety of different teams across the group. A highlight of my day is working with the other BSAs, as although we work independently, they are always available for advice and we can all come together to work on the ‘bigger picture’.
Communication is key to our team functioning well, and one aspect I try and be mindful of as someone who takes a direct approach in meetings or other interactions is factoring my colleagues individual working styles. As I have had the opportunity now to be a SCRUM Master, or if I need to ask things from my teammates I try and recognise how they prefer to interact, for example a softer manner can make some colleagues feel more comfortable. Working with a diverse team has allowed me to work on my people skills, which I will continue to do throughout my career.
Collaboration and Commitment: hand in hand
I try and put our values into practice every day, but I’m particularly drawn to collaboration and commitment. As much as I value my independence, we would not be able to achieve anything without working as a team and committing to our goals to ensure success. Commitment has always been a part of my career, by committing to my apprenticeship, or my previous roles, I gained the experience to be where I am today, doing what I love.