When I joined Itera in March 2016, I was really excited, and I had had many thoughts about my role as a consultant. I had led a development department at a smaller business for many years. It was challenging to get a job offer from Itera, and my success gave my self-confidence a boost, but I now had to deliver on the trust I had earned.
Written by Alex Sherman, Lead Consultant in Itera
My first project
The first project I worked on was for Santander Consumer Bank, and I was the tech lead for the project's management team, which comprised seven people, the majority of whom were not physically based in the same office as me. The technical solution we had to manage was a partner portal that had just been developed.
More than 6,000 car dealers were to adopt the new solution, which would handle tens of millions in revenue every day. The car financing market is extremely competitive, and you have to be “on it” in order to deliver new functionality continuously. Everyone in the team was probably a little nervous, but together we wanted to do everything we could to help the market leader in car financing to retain its position and also to increase its business volume.
The solution fortunately turned out to be as solid as a rock, and we could therefore focus on further developing it by adding new functionality and making technical improvements.
Steep learning curve
No-one in the team had much prior understanding of the area, so it was a steep learning curve. Before long, everyone in the team had learnt the main points of how the car financing market worked with its manufacturers, importers, dealership chains and independent dealers.
Collaborating with commercial personnel and end users of the solution gave us a good understanding of the end users’ requirements. This was invaluable insight – because, however technically good the solution you build, it has absolutely no value if nobody uses it.
Real chance to make a difference
What surprised me the most about life as a consultant was the extent to which I was able to make a difference. At Santander, I was able to challenge their existing way of working. I got to help future-proof their choices and thus ensure they had high quality code. I also continuously and actively worked on automating their processes and routines, which made it easier for us to deploy changes quickly and securely.
A couple of years on, my day-to-day work is different – not to mention varied! Nowadays I spend most of my time talking to project managers, tech leads, product managers and architects. By virtue of my experience and knowledge of various systems and industries, I am employed as a consultant that ensures that new functionality is developed and deployed quickly and securely – ideally by re-using services that already exist. I help by documenting and sharing the knowledge I have acquired and ensure that our developers have the tools they need. I am the first point of contact in relation to critical faults, I am a member of security and architecture teams, and I contribute technical advice in connection with updating core systems.
Itera gives me a lot of what is most important to me: a really high-quality working environment from both a professional and social perspective, colleagues who are passionate about the quality of what they deliver, and projects that have visible and important results.
Or, as we summarise these factors at Itera: