Further development is not a one-way street

Julian Brünjes gives an insight into his personal and professional development at encoway.

Julian grew up in Worpswede in Lower Saxony and still lives there with his family. After graduating from high school, he completed an apprenticeship as a computer scientist and then studied business informatics at the University of Bremen. During his studies, Julian had the opportunity to participate in practical innovation projects as part of the so-called Praxis Summer Camp at the University of Bremen. encoway was one of the companies that offered such a project and Julian’s choice fell on this very project – this was his first contact with encoway.

How did you get started at encoway?

“After my studies I first had another job and after about three quarters of a year I quickly realised that I needed a career change. I then contacted the supervisor of our innovation project at encoway and we exchanged ideas. There was another conversation and then the decision was made relatively quickly: I wanted to join encoway and encoway wanted me. Three months later I started as a software developer.

Until then, I had not yet developed software in a professional environment. However, I quickly found my way around the two projects I started in. Thanks to the onboarding programme and the super team around me, my learning curve was very steep.”

How have you and how has encoway developed you since then?

“After just over a year, I was given the opportunity to take over the technical management of one of the two projects, which I was also involved in as a software developer from the beginning. That was a challenge for me, but great at the time, because it also totally raised my learning curve again.

As the technical lead in the project, I then not only had the task of developing software, but was also responsible for ensuring that the application was running on our part. I was in regular contact with the customer – for questions, praise and sometimes criticism. I was also the contact person for the other developers in the project. Through this change of roles, I learned a lot.

Everything went well – my job, the project, the cooperation with the client and my colleagues. And that was exactly the reason why, about a year later, it was time for me to look for a new challenge. I then went into talks with my team and department management and we worked out the next steps together.

Over the following months, we looked for and found a successor for my role as technical director and I handed over the project. This took time because we develop technically complex and customised software solutions and it was and still is my wish and requirement to hand over all tasks and information in a sensible way. In addition, a connection with the customer developed over time that I didn’t want to simply break off abruptly.

During this time, I looked together with my team and department management what I wanted and what possibilities there were. I wanted to get further out of operational software development and no longer develop myself. So the plan grew that I would like to go into project management and I have now taken on such a role a few days ago.”

Congratulations! How did you manage to expand and change your areas of expertise and responsibility so extensively within almost four years? How has encoway supported you in this?

“I would definitely say that if you put yourself out there, you can progress at encoway. If you show that you want a change and want to develop, have the desire to do so and also want to be challenged, then basically all paths are open to you. With regard to the last criterion, I now have to face up to this again in my new role as project manager. Other competences are required of me again. New questions and challenges in the cooperation with the client and in the team are waiting for me.

Some people prefer to stay in their comfort zone, which is perfectly legitimate. For me, however, that is not the case. If you don’t wait for changes to come your way, but take them into your own hands, encoway always gives you the opportunity to talk and discuss about them and to see what the next step could be.

When it was clear that I would take over a project management, I was called a day later by a colleague who also does the onboarding programme for project managers. We discussed which modules and training I should do to prepare. In addition, at least four other project leaders have come forward and offered their support and coaching.”

Has your development so far taken place exclusively within your field of work?

“Not exclusively. While my path to project leadership was picking up speed, I read an internal job posting ‘contributors wanted!’. I thought to myself ‘That sounds very exciting’ and applied for it. Now I have been in the programme for about a year with 10 other colleagues.

It’s a cool story: We are colleagues from very different departments and teams and have the opportunity to dedicate part of our working time to topics that interest us in addition to our daily business and that are relevant to encoway’s success. Together we work on self-developed questions on innovation topics. In addition, contribution offers us the opportunity to develop personally.

Working with other colleagues on topics to which you would otherwise not have direct access is a great change and you learn a lot. It motivates and supports your personal development when you have the opportunity to exchange ideas with the management or people from other companies. Even, or especially, if the discussions are sometimes controversial. The feedback and the questions you encounter there are challenging and supportive.”

You are working on an innovation topic as part of contribution – what is the difference between the work you do there and your day job? In which area do you learn the most?

“The challenge is to move out of your comfort zone and that is one of the things I personally learn the most from. For example, in the innovation project I have to deal with more uncertainty and complete tasks (e.g. conducting interviews in the market) that I don’t currently have in my day-to-day business in my role and never had before. I have to work much more creatively.

In addition, I now have more issues to organise for myself – day-to-day business and contrbution. That’s one reason why we also dealt with the issue of time management at contribution and learned something again.”

What is your idea of what’s next for you at encoway?

“I am not the type to rest on one goal for a long time, but the topic of project management is very extensive and therefore I will pursue the goal of project management for now and continue to work on the innovation topics at contribution. There is still a lot for me to learn here.”

Then good luck for your future and thank you for taking the time to talk to us. Finally, one more question: How would you describe encoway in three words?

“Family-friendly. Challenging. At eye level.

I know that are five words, but I want to express that: If you want a change and want to develop further, you have the opportunity to do so at encoway. You certainly have to do something for it personally, because further development is not a one-way street. But if you can leave your comfort zone and are prepared to be supported and challenged, you can grow perfectly at encoway.