Hurrah! I have passed the 100 days mark since joining Sofokus as a software developer. Even though it is fair to say that I am only at the beginning of a journey, it is also safe to say I have seen quite a bit already and I really like what I have seen.

I joined Sofokus knowing that I would be placing myself into a position of accelerated growth. As with every major life change, there are side effects that one encounters, some of which may be expected, while some whirlwinds come unannounced. I knew jumping into a new professional environment is one of those tests of life.

Still, having been mentally prepared, I was slightly flabbergasted once I really got into the day-to-day activities at Sofokus. I am fortunate to join a company that recognizes, whole-heartedly accepts and does its best to mitigate growth pains for newcomers, with special care for those early in their careers. No matter what I have had on my mind, there has always been someone to share it with, be that a job well done or a worry of some kind.

For me, the hardest part was, and still is, managing work-life balance and work-related stress. Sometimes the hectic modern work life can infiltrate one’s protective barriers at inconvenient times, causing one to think about work related matters when you really should be drinking tea (beverage censored) with friends.

There are couple of important lessons I have learned and paid the price for. First, the sooner I lift my hands in request for assistance, the better. There seems to be a magical effect to saying things aloud when it comes to one’s troubles. Sharing is half the relief. We are fortunate to have a People Happiness Officer at Sofokus, who, by the way, really lives up to the title, helps us to come into terms with whatsoever. Having a happiness-oriented approach to HR was one of the initial sparks that launched my interest in the company. I can now attest by my experience, that instead of being just a marketable buzzword, the happiness approach is prevalent in the company culture.

Second, I can always rely on my fellows and they encourage me constantly that I do so. I have received a lot of concrete advice from my colleagues, who are happy to share their wisdom with me. With their help, I feel I have a fighting chance to overcome my natural tendencies to worry a tad too much. In addition, I cannot overstate the significance of having an assigned tutor with incomparable patience to turn to (Thank you, Miikka).

The spirit of Sofokus is encouraging and communal. From what I have personally witnessed, we work together towards achieving our goals and we share our failures and successes. It is great to see colleagues rejoice in each other’s successes. In my opinion, it is the very testimony of grandness, to see a surge of thumbs up emojis on our Slack when someone announces that a client is happy with our work.

Sofokus provides great opportunities for learning and encourages its people to push forward both professionally and as individuals. Not long after my first cup of joe at Sofokus, I was approached with the idea of becoming a certified Google Cloud engineer.

I was asked to choose between two certification tracks: Professional Cloud Architect and Professional Data Engineer. Having worked with Big Data before both professionally and academically, I was immediately interested in the data side of the Google Cloud Platform (GCP), so I decided to aim for the Data Engineer track. Little did I know prior the undertaking, just how intensive the training for the certification exam would turn out to be.

I was able to use my work hours to study the Google Cloud Platform. To support our studying endeavors, the company organized group study sessions for those aiming to complete the certification. I must admit, those group learning sessions were vital in my studies, as I gained important insight from others and crystallized my own learning by explaining GCP concepts to my fellow students.

There is a famous saying that the utmost indicator of your own understanding of a given topic is the ability to explain it so that a child may understand (for the sake of the argument, excluding children heavily invested in GCP). Perhaps I did not quite get at that level, since some machine learning concepts in GCP are somewhat tricky, but I do believe that talking through the concepts with my colleagues was a major factor why I wound up passing the certification exam.

I am proud to be one of the certified cloud engineers at Sofokus, which, nowadays, is an official Google Cloud Partner. I am happy to be part of this company and believe that for my growth as a professional software developer, Sofokus is the platform of choice.