Jaymz kommt eigentlich aus Neuseeland, arbeitet aber jetzt für die IT-Agentur Davies Meyer in Hamburg als Web-Developer. Wir hoffen, dass ihr kein Problem mit Englisch habt und wünschen Spaß beim Lesen! 

Jaymz, before you started at PWC as a Forensic Analyst, you have studied Information Technology in New Zealand. Did you already gain work experience as part of your studies?

Currently I am working as a Web Developer for Davies Meyer; a Digital, Marketing and Media firm based here in the wonderful Hamburg. This role sees myself working with a number of leading edge technologies, a great team of Digital Artists, Project Managers, and well-rounded, experienced Developers, and many others of course.

I generally work day to day on taking the visions of our clients and Project Managers and translating these into dynamic and functioning systems.

Previously I worked within the PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC)’ Digital Forensic Services team based out of New Zealand, with my role there not being Software Development focused, however, these skills could often be utilised for automation, or something similar.

I since met a lovely German girl and made the decision to move to German and pursue a career closer aligned with my studies. Moreover, being in a role that allows me to create systems others will see, use and interact with, is what drives me to be a software developer.

Unfortunately not in terms of work experience during my time studying, however, there were a number of projects run out of my university that essentially gave students some practical experience and a portfolio before heading out into the professional world. Oddly enough, the role I found myself in at PwC was not something I had specifically studied for, however, it definitely made use of my Computer Science and Programming background.

 

Which skills do you need to work for a consultancy such as PWC?

Great question. This is something that is very much dependant on which line of service you might find yourself working in, PwC is a firm that has such a diverse range of offerings, so I’ll try to answer at little more broadly.

Firstly, a conscious mindset to anything risk management based, albeit through due diligence or issues that may or could arise over the course of an engagement. This goes well outside of general IT, however, it is an absolutely necessary step;

A good working plan, a good working structure, and the ability to write clear, meaningful and concise notes as you never know when an older engagement might arise. This absolutely still applies to IT with things such as simply writing down which version of a program you used, or what scripts you used to get your results, etc;

A sound and sensible approach towards data handling and encryption. Backups are your friend, backup, backup, backup;

An automated mindset really helps too; having the ability to identify repetitive, mundane or error prone tasks that can be automated will save you time, resources, increase your productivity, and importantly save on what you’re charging clients;

A solid working knowledge of the technologies you may be faced with in your day to day working. For example, if you are wanting to work as a Data Analyst, then it makes sense to have a good understanding of Database technologies like SQL or Oracle, etc;

Lastly, the ability to be critical of your own working, question your own results and be comfortable with peers or superiors querying the work that you have done or methods used.

How did a typically day back at PWC look like? Have you collected great memories from projects and travelling as part of your job?

That’s another really good question. In terms of how a working day at PwC might look, I imagine it’s no different to any other company:

Firstly, always, always, coffee in the morning, a quick chat with the team about how they or their families are doing, and what they did on the weekend;

Then planning out your individual tasks for the day, who you have to call, what you have to get done and how you’re going to do it;

Usually weekly or fortnightly meetings to discuss ongoing engagements, planning and resourcing for the coming weeks or months;

And lastly, jumping into whatever work you might have to do for that day. For example: copying devices, processing or reviewing data, reporting’s, internal maintenance, etc. Whatever it might be.

And this role definitely gave myself access to some of the brightest minds within the industry (something I will always be grateful for), options to travel, both within New Zealand and a lot within Australia, and allowed me to work on a large number of current and interesting engagements. Unfortunately, as all of these engagements were undertaken in the strictest of confidence, it is never something I’ll be able to talk about, however, it goes without saying that there are a number of great memories from projects undertaken and people I’ve met over the course of my time with PwC that I’ll never forget.

Any tips for students who are interested to start their career in IT? Would you rather recommend to work on own projects first or join a company as an intern for example?

I personally feel that 20 years ago this industry was a lot more relaxed to come into, however now, with IT being one of the leading professional industries, competition is fierce, so it is always good to look for ways to stand out. Beyond things that may otherwise be obvious for IT related roles, I would be interested in candidates with characteristics such as:

Good people and communication skills, as it can often be a trait difficult to come by in IT. Furthermore with this point, just fitting well into existing teams, as a toxic team can be extremely disruptive to any working environment;

Apply for everything and anything, as long as it relevant and something you want to do. Don’t let a stream of failed applications stop you from searching as it can be tough, but there’s definitely something for everyone out there;

Having a clear idea of the technology stack you want to work with or the specific area of IT you want to be working in; be it Programming, Management, Security, Data Science, AI, etc. If you have defined goals about what you want to do and where you want to go, you’ll be getting a few extra points in my book;

A development portfolio (if relevant) is another great way to show employers that you’re a passionate about what you do, and more importantly within a Software Development environment, it can give employers a sense of how you code, and work through solving problems; End of University projects are a great example for something to include;

Internships are definitely another great way to ease into the professional world and gain some “real world” experience before completing your studies. At the very least they can work as a great networking tool for industry contacts, if not a permanent position after your studies.

 

Now you work for Davies Meyer, an IT-Agency from Hamburg. Is your daily work now different compared to your time at PWC?

Whew that’s a tricky one to answer as the fundamentals of these 2 jobs are totally different. In the sense of how I approach a working day, I feel it is much the same.

Firstly, I spend some time in the morning planning out what I need to do or get done for the day, what systems I should be working with, who I need to talk to and what bugs might need to get fixed;

We (the development team) go quickly into daily stand-up meetings, again to discuss timing and resources, see who needs help, or when things might be due, and to drink coffee of course;

Then, it’s getting straight into whatever you need to get done, be it coding, meetings or learning new technologies.

Obviously the German language is an interesting new little challenge for myself, however, I am luckily surrounded by an amazing, and culturally diverse team, whom are never afraid to help (or switch to English if I need it.)

It is also refreshing to be in an environment where you know all of your colleagues and interact with them on a daily basis, the working lifestyle with Davies Meyer feels a lot more family like then other places that I have worked.

 

What tools do you use at work? Has there been a lot of change since you started your career in IT in terms of technology and tools you work with?

Interesting question, and yes definitely the tool set has changed for me with the move away from a Digital Forensics environment. My previous tool set mainly focused on software for collecting, processing and analysing data, and has now moved to a purely development based stack where you are writing code for systems on a daily basis. That being said, I have also used these technologies in my last roles, however, to a lesser extent.

Currently, I am working within Visual Studio as my IDE (Integrated Development Environment), C# as my main development language, and a number of scripting languages and web technologies like CSS, JavaScript, Angular, JSON, etc in my day to day coding. However, we have large team of developers, using a large set of technologies and tools, so I expect over time my tool set will grow into these areas as well.

For me personally, I really like Sublime as a text editor, it is a great feature packed little program, and allows for some pretty powerful text manipulation. Cygwin is another great shell application that lets you use Unix like commands in a Windows environment, which is super helpful at times. And lastly, Vice Versa which is an amazing file comparison tool; All of which were tools I used heavily in my last roles. 

 

Did you experience any cultural differences between your job in New Zealand and Hamburg? What do you like about your new job in Germany?

Honestly, in a Professional setting the culture is strikingly similar, it will likely differ a little from firm to firm, or city to city, however, it essence it is much the same. That being said, a number of my colleagues have already mentioned it’s interesting how often I ask how they are doing; it’s just something us friendly Kiwi’s do. Germans sure do work hard, but I have yet to find anything negative about the working culture here.

 

Anything, you wish you would have already known as a student? Would you do something completely different as a student, if you could turn back time?

Having now been in the industry for a number of years, it is really easy for me to see the sort of things I could have focused on a little more during University and technologies I could have learnt. Things like Git, Test Driven Development, Development Lifecycles etc, as they are extremely popular and highly utilised in modern development. Additionally, it would have been fantastic to know how the price of Bitcoin was going to go, we could all be millionaires by now.

My advice to 22 year old me would have been to focus a little more on your studies and stop surfing so much. Sit down and identify the things important to you in terms of your career, personal goals and needs, then work towards making those a reality. However, if I had the chance to go back and do it all again, I think I’d go with the surfing.

Looking for a job at Davies Meyer?

Check out their career-page for more information: Career @Davies Meyer