Growing the front-end professional community in Lithuania
Devbridge, a digital product and technology consultancy, has long since prioritized the initiative of establishing a free Sourcery Academy for Front-End programmers. The team is incredibly proud of the graduates' first achievements. Sourcery Academy invites those seeking a career change and open to trying their hand at IT.
Senior programmer Gediminas Stanaitis has been leading the Sourcery Academy for Front-End since returning from the US to work in Kaunas a decade ago. He is convinced that our country has the right environment to grow the IT professional community and find a job that is meaningful for everyone and would also be fun.
When Devbridge started in Chicago more than 13 years ago, you were the only Front-End programmer there at the time. What was your job like in the US?
I have been with Devbridge for over 12 years. When I joined, the company was still very small, and I was the only Front-End programmer. At the time, the most memorable thing working at Devbridge was perhaps the sense of community. The team was very small back then; we were all motivated by the idea and will to prove to everyone that we could do more and better. We were all very happy and proud of each other's achievements, regardless of the project size or work complexity. When I returned to Lithuania, I wasn't disappointed either. Chicago brings back fond memories and will probably always be my second home. I started my family, and my children were born there. It's where I found that real vocation, turning to IT.
When you returned to Lithuania, you brought together the Front-End community and made a significant contribution to establishing the Sourcery Academy for Front-End. How did the idea for a like-minded group and academy come about?
When I returned to Lithuania ten years ago, I saw many curious people who wanted to improve. They wanted to contribute to young people's development and educate young programmers who joined the academy. Over time, as more and more Front-End programmers joined our company, there was a need to introduce certain rules and standards. Thus the Front-End group was born in the company. We currently have more than 40 dedicated Front-End programmers in charge of the UI / UX part of the project.
We founded the academy because we wanted to share our experiences. Each year, we carefully review the academy program with the whole team, ensuring students know everything we do. During the studies, we try to convey to the participants all the good practices and show the work culture and the principles that we follow every day.
What motivates you the most working with Sourcery Academy students for almost a decade?
Each year, I am amazed at the dedication and willingness of students to attend the academy. It fascinates me and motivates me to continue my academic activities. It is very nice to see that students value the academy and take their studies seriously and responsibly. We adjust the program every year; during the academy, we try to convey the principles of our work and adapt to modern trends.
Within the community, we focus on knowledge sharing and the uptake of new technologies. We organize internal training, have weekly meetings, share our experience, and discuss the latest technologies and trends. These things help grow an even larger community of Front-End programmers, both inside and outside the organization. And for us, the best results are when alumni build successful careers within our company and outside it.
What qualities and skills do you think are needed to start a career in IT?
Technology is changing very fast these days. To stay in the market, you need to update your knowledge constantly. Therefore, a good professional can quickly adapt to the environment and take on new technologies. And for beginners, perhaps the most important thing is curiosity and a desire to do something meaningful. Many IT professionals wish to make an idea functional and attractive to the user, and the greatest compliment is when aesthetics are combined with a technological solution.
Many Front-End programmers come from a completely different field than IT. When one is determined to change professions, what qualities are needed to establish oneself in the Front-End field?
Front-End technologies are easier to understand as they do not require complex work environments. Maybe that is why beginners choose them more often. After gaining practice, one can easily move on to other areas and continue to improve. At the academy, we teach students the basics of Front-End technology. We pay a lot of attention to visual solutions because a good Front-End programmer has to focus on detail and know user interfaces and behaviors.
Today, IT specialists receive many job offers enticed by a proposal to change the organization and the nature of work. What has motivated you to work in the same company for so many years?
I am appreciative and glad that I had and still have the opportunity to watch the company's growth and transformation and further myself as a specialist. From a team of like-minded people, Devbridge has managed to grow into a world-class IT company with more than 600 employees over a number of years. It is gratifying that the values created at the beginning of the company have remained unchanged and that we all actively adhere to them, but we also live them. These values can inspire new people entering the IT field.
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