Internal talent development - Win-win approach for companies and juniors
Companies that want to thrive, especially those in the IT industry, must focus on the most valuable resource they have - people. While they worry about finding new employees for existing and future projects, a large number of talented individuals aspire to pursue careers with meaning and purpose.
In order to facilitate the development of talents within the company, an increasing number of them are trying to develop programs and trainings that lead to higher quality and new employees. Internal talent development is thus one of the best and most effective solutions because if the company's culture is focused on discovering and nurturing talents, it will help not only to strengthen existing teams but also to recruit additional members for future projects.
One such program is being developed by Vicert, which operates in the health-tech sector. New selected talents are periodically added to the talent program, within which all of them get employment while they are in training. As this approach has proven to be very useful in practice, especially for juniors who acquire theoretical knowledge and practical experience as part of the program, as well as specific certificates, we will use their example to show you what such an approach looks like and what benefits the entire team of employees derives from it.
Both theory and practice in internal talent development
One of the juniors on the Vicert Talent program, in his impressions, describes the program as interesting, dynamic work, with people who are always there, ready to help.
The Vicert Talent program lasts about 7 months. It started in May 2022 and included a total of 15 juniors and 6 buddies, i.e. mentors who worked with them on projects. Core technologies they worked on are .NET, React, iOS, Android, DevOps. Support in implementation was provided by the HR sector, which held over 27 hours of workshops with buddies and almost 25 hours of check-ins - evaluation and monitoring of the work of juniors.
Jelena has been working in Vicert for 3 years in delivery team in the position of team leader and on this program she was a buddy in the .NET team. She explains that the Vicert Talent program is designed in two directions: theoretical and practical. As the crown of the project, after mastering these parts, the juniors worked on creating the Vicert Hospital Information System application (Vicert HIS), an information system for hospitals.
"Based on our experience and market demand, we have chosen a set of skills, techniques and training that will be useful to juniors in their work. With this theoretical, practical part of the program, the aim was for them to achieve greater independence in their work and to join Vicert multinational teams, to convey the team atmosphere, to know that they help each other and to have someone who can stand by them. They all fit perfectly into the team and the values we wanted to convey to them."
In the following, we get to know more about what this process looked like.
Talent program roadmap
As Vicert is known for health tech, its specialization is health software, and the business market is the US market where knowledge of HIPAA is necessary, the juniors first took the ProHIPAA certificate, which provides a certificate of knowledge of standards for the protection of sensitive patient data.
The basics of cloud computing are an important part of the program because Vicert follows the Cloud First approach, which means considering Cloud services before all other technologies, whether it is a new project or the development of new functionality on an existing system.
As they recognize the advantages of Cloud, they enabled the entire delivery team to train and start training, and the juniors had the same opportunity. The result is that everyone became an AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner and got to know the most frequently used services of AWS and the possibilities of cloud computing.
As part of the theoretical part, the juniors further approached the agile method of software development in Scrum technology, and received another certificate by becoming certified Scrum Masters I, starting immediately with the application of this method in practice.
Juniors are also introduced to some tools that they will use on a daily basis, such as Jira and Git, the most common program for saving and versioning code.
"When we went over all the secondary important knowledge, we started with the pilot project. We were lucky enough to get the opportunity to build software from the ground up, from the analysis of user requirements, through the backlog to production. The idea is that juniors from different tech stacks can work together, ie. that the teams collaborate on the same project, in order to get hands-on experience as in commercial projects" - says Jelena, whose team worked in .NET, one of the most represented technologies and frameworks.
Work on Vicert’s HIS application
Marko, one of the juniors from Jelena's team, tells us what the work at Vicert’s HIS looked like from the perspective of the juniors and what they achieved.
Describing how the process went, Marko points out that they started with the analysis of the hospital's requirements and based on that, started the implementation. Some of them were to have different types of users: doctors, patients and technicians, as well as the primary module - appointment scheduling. After that, implementation followed.
"First, we chose technologies, and since we are a .NET team, we decided to use the .NET Core 3 version, while for the databases we chose ASP .NET Core 3.1. We also opted for a multi-layered architecture, which is the practice for this type of application, where we will have a layer for databases, presentations and business logic."
One of the biggest challenges, Marko says, was authentication and authorization, as well as the creation of the interface itself, that is, how the application will look to users and how to intuitively move through the site.
His colleague from the .NET team, Dragana, points out that everything from database design to user interface implementation was very interesting.
"The most interesting thing for me was that we worked on the application as a team from the very beginning and that we entered the business side of the hospital information system", in which Jelena helped us a lot by explaining how everything works.
A learning process for everyone
Veljko started 2 years ago in Vicert through a similar program, and now he has already reached the position of passing on his knowledge to young talents as a buddy. Veljko says about this program:
I had the opportunity to learn how to teach someone and work with great people.
Veljko worked with the juniors on React technology. The emphasis was first on updating knowledge, starting with HTML, CSS and Java Script, and when they successfully completed that part, they started doing the React course, which is quite a long one, like 40+ hours.
In the end, I assigned them a test project - a real web shop, where they had the ability to add, delete and list items from the basket, filter, and sort and do the ordering process itself on the page. Besides being a test to see where they are after all the theoretical parts, this project was also an introduction to the very crown of the Talent program, which is the HIS React application, which worked in communication with the API written by Jelena's juniors.
With Veljko, there were juniors in the React team who describe their experience as very interesting.
"Since we didn't have a designer, we had to figure out how it would all look on our own, which was both the most interesting and the most difficult part - says Dušan, adding that they used various libraries, so it was interesting to design and add animations, while their biggest challenge was that for the first time, they made an application using React technology."
The iOS team started the program a little later than the .NET and React teams. Along with the usual road map, they first tackled iOS fundamentals.
"Some of the resources we used are Swift Apprentice and iOS Apprentice. I adapted the content to what was more interesting to whom, book or video, as well as in relation to the level of knowledge - some in the team are beginners, while some have seven months of experience. What we covered the most was UIKit, considering that SwiftUI, as a UI technology, is not something that is 100% covered, says Nemanja who led this team."
Nikola, an Android developer, and Filip, a DevOps engineer each have one junior in their team, which confirms the rapid progress of young developers.
We started the program at the beginning of September. As I worked with a junior girl who knew Java, in two months she reached the level where she could create a basic application that displays information and interacts with it - points out Nikola.
Filip also developed an individual module of the Talent program based on AWS and pipelines, and which aims to finally understand how the backend works, the services in it, how to create a pipeline, and if there is time, how to create basic frontend applications.
All buddies on the Vicert Talent program agree that it's great that they can give a chance to young developers, and they also have ideas for improvement for the next cycles of the program.
How did you like this approach to internal talent development, whether you are a junior or someone who can be a buddy in a similar process? Share your opinion with others in the Joberty community, and if you want to know more about Vicert and their projects, check out their profile on Joberty.