People, business & a bit of distance – a talk with Paweł Ziemiński on the market and the job

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Written by: Justyna Cichocka, Employer Branding Specialist

Paweł Ziemiński has been on #solwitteam board for 10 years now. His career path is full of various roles – from programmer, through team leader, to the current one as Head of Software & Applications Business Unit, where he is in charge of software development. Paweł and his energetic personality are well-known to all of Solwit. Though he is not very fond of talking about himself, this time he has made an exception – we invite you to read the interview with Paweł!

Do you remember your first day in Solwit?

I don’t remember it completely, but I do have some flashbacks. At that time we were working in the client’s office in a large room, and I was seated in a very convenient place; in the aisle, that was. This way I got to know all of my colleagues very quickly: Michał, Piotrek, yet another Michał, Natalia, Marcin, and Przemek worked with me – to mention those with whom I still have the pleasure of working at Solwit. I also recall one other thing from my very first day. I didn’t quite know how to enter the building, so the first test of the day was just to get through the door – the rotating kind,  prone to getting blocked 😉  

I also remember well a recruitment interview where Wojtek (CTO at the time) asked me about various architectural and networking issues. There’s also a story about the red couch, which was always in the HR room in the previous building. When we were still working on site, it was very easy to find us just there. Morning coffee with the HR team, initiated by Robert and continued by Magda Brauer, was one of our rituals. All the banter and laughter we had…good times!😉

How would you compare the last decade with what today's world has to offer young people who are now entering the job market?

In terms of opportunities, it certainly has gotten much better, but, on the other hand, it is much harder to find the perfect place for oneself in all that. On one hand, young people are very aware when they turn up for an interview. They know that they want to develop, for instance, in the frontend, and that backend is simply not for them, or that they are into Java and not necessarily C#. What’s more, they are capable of saying that openly. They are far better prepared and have a plan for themselves, which can be both a disadvantage and an advantage.

Back in the day, you started working after graduation, but now 2nd or 3rd-year students come to the meetings already having some practical experience. Everything is definitely happening faster.

While we were focused on integration during our studies, they are already working on their seniority. Interestingly, in remote or hybrid working modes, young people, despite the ocean of opportunities, struggle quite a lot to get into projects. Here they are ambitious, skilled, and have theoretical knowledge, but they don’t get many chances to learn from more experienced colleagues. In the past, a junior would sit next to a senior or an architect and could learn from them, but now this natural mode of substitution is gone. It’s hard to get started on a remote basis, despite the fact you can call, and write, but very on numerous occasions, it’s a matter of having to overcome your inhibitions and approaching a stranger who you have never seen before in your life.

What do you think this market will look like in the next 10 years or so?

Robots will not replace us; there’s no need to worry about that. There are attempts to create applications from the blocks, but it’s much more than that – such type of application also has to be maintained by someone. And this is what people are and will be needed for, although I personally think that soon there might be a slight shift in this market, too. Software accompanies us in all areas of life, including those most important nowadays – be it during a pandemic or warfare, so I would not be concerned about the future of the business as such.

What is most important for developers?

Development. This is a group of professionals who very quickly realize when they are stuck and just as quickly move on to pastures new, often outside the organization, ignoring the chances within. And this is where we come in as managers, to provide them with development opportunities and to make them aware that they don’t have to look for it next door, even though the paths they follow have somewhat changed. When I wanted to learn a new technology or a tool, I would take a book or a course and take action – first I would learn, then I would write a project for myself, and only with some experience would I go into commercial activity. Currently, there is a trend to learn through experience, and this is where we encounter a slight business problem that needs to be solved in a sensible way.

What is Pawel Zieminski's typical workday like?

I start from the sync with my Project Managers and Salespeople as I always recall something in the evening, then it’s time for the day-to-day business – transfers between projects, new ones, onboarding. Most of my time is taken up with putting all the pieces together, making changes, and castling, so everything fits together. I manage about 170 people, so there is a lot on my plate. Every day I have at least one meeting with a client, plus “programming in Excel”, on top of that, liaising with administration, HR support, reporting to the Board. I would not be able to handle all this alone – my seven Delivery Managers come to the rescue along with Artur, who is a People Manager in Solwit and looks after a large group of employees. His role is extremely crucial for me – he is the closest to the staff and I highly appreciate his input.

What is the most challenging part of your job?

Quick decision-making. There is no time for delays, so one has to think on their feet and act upon it. Procrastination often costs the most. It is better to make a decision, even the wrong one, than to sit on the fence. Even if the decision you make is a bad one, it costs less than procrastinating.

What do you like about your job?

I’m a social animal and I like contact with people. During the pandemic I was frustrated that I couldn’t travel to the office, now I’ve become a bit more used to hybrid work, although I still prefer to be on-site, meeting and chatting with people.

Don't you miss on being a regular engineer?

Sure! A few times a year I have the dream of getting back to all the engineering problems and stop worrying about everything around me. But it fades away quickly, usually with the next problem tackled and ticked off.

What matters most to you at work?

Distance, but not a careless sort of attitude, just a healthy one. Although I may not be the right person to talk about it, as I myself am at work 24 hours a day. Also, patience, as without it, things certainly won’t be doable.

In what direction is this IT world of ours heading?

Everyone will be wanting security. Cybersecurity, cloud services, native apps, Machine Learning & AI. Our customers are moving strongly towards leveraging these technologies, and since we have smart customers, I believe they might be on the right track 😉 Tentative glimpses towards predictive maintenance cannot go unnoticed either – in electronics this has been going on for a long time, but now we are seeing the transfer of this experience and background to industry, manufacturing. They want to know more and they want to know it faster. Arguably the biggest trend of the future is simply knowledge and the right application of it – we are gathering data, we may not know yet for what in particular, but we need to do it.

Pawel is always seeking new people to join his teams – be sure to check out our careers page!

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