By: David Hilber
I’ve always been an insatiable learner, but the rigidity of learning in a school setting was difficult for me. After finishing high school, getting married, and starting a family, I knew being a bank manager wasn’t going to be enough to satisfy my creative and intellectual desires. So I did what I do best: I took up a somewhat unconventional hobby. I decided I was going to learn how to write software.
How It Began
As most hobbies begin, I was a self-admitted neophyte. I read as much as I could, and I practiced the information I gathered to gradually improve my skills. I started off writing macros and VBA scripts using Microsoft Excel. And then as luck would have it, a friend of mine gave me my first copy of Visual Studio 2005. I’m pretty sure I stopped sleeping after that. I began spending every waking moment designing, redesigning, and making small applications. I made applications for my wife to use for her work. I made applications for my father-in-law. At that point, I knew I found my passion. And I knew I had to find a way to use my knowledge and experience.
So, I did what most folks do in the age of information: I created a resumé and put it out there, hoping to find a career in this newfound passion of mine. And as luck would have it, my resume was found and I was brought in for an interview.
The Rest is History
As nervous as I was to have my first interview as a Software Developer without a formal education, I knew this was my chance. I confidently walked into the office and showed off what I had built. And from that moment on, my career took off.
I have to admit, it was difficult at first. I was previously leveraging VB.NET with Access databases. And at Finys, our primary language is C# with Microsoft SQL Server databases. There was a plethora of new knowledge I had to obtain. At first, I felt like I was drowning. And then, I met my co-workers. Everybody at Finys was welcoming, kind, and supportive. It was more like a mentorship than what I had expected. I expected to be thrown into the water to see if I was going to sink or swim. But because the environment was so welcoming, because everyone was so generous with their time and the things they’ve learned, I simply springboarded and accelerated even faster than I ever imagined.
I wanted to make sure Finys knew how serious I was. I wanted to make sure they knew they made the right choice by giving me a chance. After about three months of being mentored, I was put on my first project. I remember spending so much time reading the ISO manual for Commercial Auto. I presented my ideas to the team and was given the opportunity to work with the development team to build and implement my design. That project certainly seemed to separate me from the herd.
The Diamond in the Rough
Fast forward ten years, and I’m sure they would agree taking a chance on hiring me was worth it. While I still run technical projects and develop software, I’m also responsible for some of the hiring procedures at Finys. And I’m grateful for the opportunity because I get to look for individuals that share my passion and perhaps not the typical path of formal education followed by career. I try to watch out for those individuals who have the drive, a unique way of thinking, and for some, the ability to claw their way into a field like software development.
If I can find developers to add to the organization who have a similar mindset to my own, Finys will be a better company for the perspectives they’ll bring.
I’d also like to share the family-oriented perspective that Finys brought into my life. When I was working at the bank, my first child was born. He was born on a Saturday, and I was back to work the following Monday. At that point in my life, I figured that was just the way life was. But when I had my second child and I was an employee at Finys, I was given time off to bond with and care for my child. That experience was invaluable, and I’m grateful to work for a company that saw the value in my absence for the purpose of my family life. I may not be the poster child for the optimal work/life balance. I get passionate about my projects. But with a family-oriented employer like Finys, they see the value in supporting me to be equally as passionate about my wife and children.
We’re looking to add team members who fit into our culture. We’re looking to add team members who want to succeed. And I’d say we’re looking to add team members who not only add value to Finys, but want to find their personal value and true potential. It’s more than a job. And I’m grateful to be a part of this organization.