Data Respons R&D Services has hired a record-breaking 40 new developers
While many companies have struggled during the pandemic and even had to reduce their workforce, Data Respons’ daughter company R&D Services had a different experience. Not only have they been able to land several new customers, they have also, due to the high demand for specialists, employed a total of 40 new developers this year. A new Data Respons record!
Since 2018 Data Respons R&D Services has arranged an annual onboarding event, where all the rookies can get to know their new colleagues and the company. This year we where able to join them and used the opportunity to get to know the new members of the Data Respons Family, as well as get a few perspectives on R&D Services’ success. And who better to get an inside scoop from, than R&D’s Managing director, Ivar Melhuus Sehm.
Many companies have struggled under the pandemic and had to reduce their workforce. But you have broken a new record and hired more developers than ever before with 40 new talents. How do you explain this success and need for new developers?
While the world was holding its breath waiting for the pandemic to pass, our customers were working at full pace. Some of us were with them physically, working from their locations, while the rest was working from home.
As I always say; our value is our employees. So, creating a good work environment for them, so that they can perform, is always one of our biggest priorities.
To meet the high demand from the market we have opened a new office, as well as hire new developers, and this year we had to gather more new talents that ever before. We usually hire people straight from the university, and I have to say that it’s a joy to see them evolve and become specialists throughout their journey here with us.
How do you support young employees to make the transition from studying to working easier?
Mentoring is a crucial part of helping the new employees settle in, they are important assets for both knowledge sharing in terms of work experience, but also our culture and values. New employees are so eager to use their knowledge, and we need to fulfill their needs if we want to keep them here. We believe that by giving them the opportunity to “trial and error”, with the safety of a mentor, they’re getting exactly that. The learning curve is quite steep as a newly graduate, especially when given the opportunity to work on different technologies in different teams, which is something our customer projects offers.
Why do you think so many talents choose R&D?
We are always working actively towards student, especially towards Cybernetics and Robotics. We would like to think that our brand is well known among the students, as we try to follow them throughout their years as students by being present during relevant events and workshops. We’re also working on new and exciting projects, really giving them the opportunity to be at the cutting edge og tomorrows technology.
We also reach out to one of their mentors Robert Klingholz to hear his impression of the young employees first months at the company.
How would you as a mentor define the first couple of months as a young R&D employee?
Young graduates tend to be quite eager to get started and apply their newly acquired knowledge on actual projects and create something. However, they might soon discover that there are significant differences between two worlds, i.e., knowledge acquisition in an academic learning environment and application of this knowledge in real-life engineering projects.
One difficulty they might face is the level of complexity of large systems and projects with many other engineers, and sometimes even third-party companies, involved. The young engineers will soon learn that all the knowledge they have obtained so far only serves as an entrance ticket to the world of engineering, and most problem-solving methods, well known to the more experienced, will be entirely new and unfamiliar for them.
Another difficulty new hires might face is the need to relate our daily work to project schedules and budgets, which implies that we need to learn to establish a balance between the permitted level of perfection of a solution, how much the solution may cost, and the required time of completion according to the project plans. Communication skills will also need to be trained and refined.
Every newly graduated engineer needs to go through this transition phase, and that’s where mentors come into the picture. Mentors support the new colleagues to get used to this unfamiliar way of working, and at the same time keep alive the enthusiasm almost every graduate possesses and which we need to value very high. In fact, young graduates expect to be given the opportunity to really contribute and make use of their knowledge from day one! To support them on this way, mentors should initiate suitable initiatives and invite the graduates to take part in them, such as courses, internal projects, “hackatons” or workshops.
Earlier this year, I started an introduction course to signal processing for two, now three, colleagues. Signal processing is a very important tool involved in solving both hardware- software- and FPGA-related problems occurring in almost every project, and continuously dealing with signal processing problems is good training in the way of thinking like engineers think. In this course, we repeat the theoretical foundations learned at university and at the same time relate them to typical problems we often face in various projects. Small groups meeting on Teams for half an hour every day seems to be a perfect arrangement!
We have experienced that it is important to create learning environments where the threshold to ask questions is low. The message is that within this learning environment, there are no stupid questions. Actual problems arising in the daily work on the projects the young colleagues are assigned to may as well be treated in the groups.
Another role that mentors need to be prepared to fill is to assist young colleagues in their projects, especially the more challenging projects. The mentors can be assigned to these projects as advisors, but don’t necessarily have to contribute besides the coaching – after all, mentors have their own projects to work on. It’s important that the unexperienced colleagues quickly gain the experience of mastering a task almost entirely by themselves and gain self-confidence. Again, young graduates come with a great level of enthusiasm and a strong will to learn, and it’s important to keep the fire burning as long as possible.
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