Working remotely – are there opportunities for career growth?

Do you like the idea of working from home, but want to advance your career? Working remotely could mean that you are stuck in the doldrums – plodding on with the knowledge and tasks you were hired for.

Not so at OnTheGoSystems as Przemysław Mirota from Poland can personally testify.

Przemyslaw sightseeing in Croatia
Przemyslaw sightseeing in Croatia

When I started out as a web developer, I found writing a lot of HTML/CSS/JS boring. Since my father has his own company, the natural thing was to work there, but I did not find this as interesting as being a developer.

As a WordPress developer, I had to take care of both the front-end and the back-end. I decided that I preferred focusing on back-end development. Nevertheless, I felt stuck until an acquaintance, Konrad Karpieszuk, sent me the news that OTGS was looking for a person to learn to become a Rails developer. At first, I was unsure about learning a new language until I was shown its code. No more HTML and CSS coding!

Could this opportunity be the move forward in my career that I was looking for? I was not disappointed. Of course, I still have to keep an eye on the front-end, but compared to my previous job I would say that OTGS was a great move.

So you always wanted to be a developer?

Przemyslaw (Shemek) and his brother

I know it might sound strange but actually, while growing up, I wanted to be a forensic pathologist performing autopsies. I had probably read too many crime stories.

I was always adventurous, ready to try anything. My parents will tell you that my brother (who is only a year younger) and I did a lot of bad things growing up. We used to fight a lot and do a lot of stupid things. Once, before breakfast, we took our bikes and rode to the city center. I was probably 4 (or 5) and my mother didn’t know where we were. Our cousin saw us and alerted my mother but fortunately it all ended well.

I am still a little boy inside so even if it’s just for one day, I would like to test cars on the racing track before anyone else can buy them!

Back to reality, I guess my expectations from the world of developers were too great and my longing to expand my career was quickly squashed by the jobs I found.  Until that is, Konrad sent me the offer.

How has OTGS helped you in your career development?

Before OTGS I had no experience with Ruby/Ruby on Rails. I had read a little bit about it and played with it in my local environment, but not seriously.

OTGS gave me huge credit when I joined the company because I was given time to learn everything and to begin with the simpler tasks. Looking back after 3.5 years, I can say joining OTGS and learning Ruby/Ruby on Rails was a good decision. I have learnt so much and my confidence has grown to the point I do not fear problems even with more complicated projects.

Do you feel cut off because of working with people from other countries?

Train travel in Poland
Train travel in Poland

I can’t say that I do.  Currently, I work with the Translation Proxy Team, which used to be a branch of Integration. The team is quite small and although we come from different cultures (from Poland, Cyprus, Romania, Ukraine) we are able to work smoothly together. I’ve come to appreciate that it doesn’t really matter from which country you come from. If you are considerate of other people, then they will be friendly with you and there will be no misunderstandings.

What has been your favorite project?

Translation Proxy – mainly because if you explain how it works to non-IT people, it sounds like something magical to them :) Also, this is the first project I started working on, so probably that’s why it is my favorite one.

What advice do you have for prospective candidates?

Don’t be afraid of change. When I joined OTGS I thought that I would have problems with communication (my English was not that good). During the first few months, my English skills improved far more than I expected.

To be a good programmer and developer you should like learning new features, technologies and accepting challenges. Tasks are puzzles to be solved – often there are more than one or two options – focus on the best solution.

Here at OnTheGoSystems, we aim to help people to move forward with their projects. Support tickets may come to you from within the company, from another team or from another developer. Help is always at hand. There could well be some documentation referring to the issue. In cases when debugging is called for, don’t hesitate to ask for guidance. We are all here to help one another.

Would you like to share an accomplishment you are proud of?

Probably it was when an application I worked on (AMS) earned its first money for the company. I felt I had given something back, helping the company move forward. It’s a project I worked on completely alone (as a developer) so I treat it like my own child. Like any ‘parent’ I am proud of it and also a little bit proud of myself for creating it!

That’s great, but I’m sure there are also embarrassing moments you would like to forget. Can you share one with us?

By mistake, I once deleted a table in the production database that was pretty important. I remember that I had to spend quite a few hours recreating it (I am glad it was possible). This taught me one thing – double check before removing something!

Obviously, working remotely means that there will be challenges to face in your career advancement. Like Przemyslaw, you can too can make it work by seizing the opportunities that open up for you.

If you are ready to take the first step on the road to working remotely, check out our jobs page for the latest openings.