As the WFH (work from home) trend is gaining momentum, even the most passionate fans of the offices got a taste for remote and find it a pretty good option. Hear from three EPAM Anywhere engineers who have shared their experience in this story.
Meet people of EPAM Anywhere
From EPAM regular to EPAM Anywhere: Ivan (has been in QA engineering for seven years) and Yulia (QA with two years experience), a married couple working at EPAM Saratov, Russia, were exploring ways to relocate to another city when they first heard about Anywhere. That looked like a good option letting them put together the opportunity to relocate, keep working and doing that remotely, and take care of their cat. :)
Platform newcomer: Igor, a QA Lead from Ukraine with a non-IT background could hardly imagine he would switch to remote work. However, when Igor decided to leave his previous company and explore new job opportunities, he found out about EPAM Anywhere. And that's how his story has started.
Start of EPAM Anywhere journey
Since Ivan and Julia have been with EPAM originally, their migration to Anywhere program didn't take many steps. Just several arrangements related to the paperwork and hardware set-up updates.
A month before the pandemic started, we decided to relocate to Krasnodar and initially wanted to switch to EPAM office there. As an alternative to regular employment, the company has offered us to try out EPAM Anywhere.
As for Igor, who was totally new to the company, this worked out differently and took EPAM Anywhere regular interview process to get him started. He completed all the screening and onboarding stages right at EPAM Anywhere platform.
The processes on the platform are well established, so interviewing and onboarding worked pretty smoothly for me. Plus, I received my first project here really fast. By the way, when I decided to leave the previous company, I got offers from 4 companies, including one from EPAM Anywhere. After considering all ways and means I've chosen to go with the latter one, as it provides flexibility in terms of your location and extensive career growth opportunities.
Search for the project becomes easier
Due to changes that 2020 has brought into the way we work, more customers become open to complete remote cooperation. Of course, all projects are different in complexity and tech stack, but each is a new building block amplifying an engineer's expertise and knowledge. Here's what Ivan, Julia, and Igor tell about their projects.
It's my second project within Anywhere. It's a huge eCommerce platform that we are developing, and my main area of responsibilities here relates to microservices. To be honest, this project is much more complex than any other I've been working on before. On the other hand, I get tremendous opportunities for development and growth in terms of technologies.
I also work with eCommerce, with cloud technologies mostly. Talking about new areas I've unlocked, I need to mention it's testing the functionality related to accessibility (friendly for people with disabilities). It's one of the key requirements for the US, and since the project owner is headquartered there, I need to make sure everything works properly.
Along with the technologies, all projects vary in their duration. So, once an engineer's work scope comes to an end within one project, it's time to join a new one.
When the current project assignment is running out, or another interesting opportunity appears in sight, I can switch to a new project. I'm staying in touch with the Resource Manager, who keeps me updated on the new openings.
Remote communication: Goodbye to kitchen talks?
Working in remote distributed teams is not a new model of cooperation. However, suppose you used to work along with most of your team in one office. In that case, it may take time and interpersonal skills to set up effective communication with your team - to discuss project questions and tasks, and to have a friendly chat every now and then.
I have a lot of meetings spread over the day because my teammates are in different timezones. Yet, I feel rather comfortable when nobody comes to talk to me personally like it used to be in the office. There are much fewer distractions.
And I'm one of those people who miss office kitchen talks. :) I'm glad I have a very nice team, we regularly make "virtual tea" meetings to restore that office experience.
I'm a really communicative person and I always loved to interact with my teammates face-to-face. Since I'm in the lead position, I have a lot of communication with my team. To make it more comfortable for all of us and bring it closer to face-to-face discussion, we agreed to use only video calls - this helps to add a more personal touch in our fully remote communication.
Challenges of remote work (and how to deal with them)
Remote work brings its advantages but also has some issues. While talking to the guys, we spotted three common challenges they faced.
#1 Spending some time at bench
I guess it's easier and faster to find a project if you're a senior. But, as I'm a Middle QA, I had to wait for a while until a job opening for my level would appear. Besides, the number of applicants was pretty high, and I think the pandemic has also contributed to that a lot.
To mitigate the risk of appearing on the bench, you need to be proactive and stay in touch with your Resource Manager (RM) who works on a project search for you. Schedule status checks and do them regularly. For instance, Igor shared that he pinged his RM every day, which helped him land the project fast. Other than that, to avoid bench, you can take these practical tips.
#2 Home office
The main issue we have is a small apartment we rent. It's a studio, which means we work in the same room. So, when our meetings overlap, it's absolutely inconvenient.
Indeed, to work comfortably, you might need a separate room for your home office. Ideally, your office should have a door that you can close, be functional and ergonomic. If you're looking for ideas on how to set up or improve your home office, explore these seven tips.
#3 Working at home or living at work?
This is another common issue when it comes to working remotely, especially within the lockdown. What's the way out from this?
A tip: To stay productive during working hours and not overtime, Igor uses a timer and schedules everything, including lunch and checking emails. For more strategies to enhance your productivity by working at home, check out these suggestions.
What's next? Career development roadmap
Along with upgrading technology stack expertise, Ivan, Julia and Igor are getting prepared for the assessment and certification within EPAM Anywhere to move to the next seniority level.
Apart from leveraging EPAM’s extensive set of learning materials, they keep an eye on the following resources: Ministry of Testing, software-testing.com, James Bach's blogs, and more.
In addition to deepening text expertise, EPAM Anywhere participants can take on additional roles of interest - Igor, for example, prepares to enter the Resource Management track and gain more experience as a Technical Interviewer.
We hope you got a better understanding of the way our people live at EPAM Anywhere; if you think of trying out remote work yourself, explore our openings and apply.