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An Interview with Matthew Knowles – Named a 2023 Sitecore Most Valuable Technology Professional

An Interview with Matthew Knowles – Named a 2023 Sitecore Most Valuable Technology Professional

In 2023, 16 EPAMers were named by Sitecore as Most Valuable Professionals (MVPs) in the Ambassador, Strategy and Technology categories—the largest number the company has ever had. The MVPs were recognized for outstanding contributions to the Sitecore community, including sharing their expertise and knowledge of the platform to support partners and customers.  
Matthew Knowles, Solution Architect at EPAM Systems, Inc.

First of all, congrats. It's a significant achievement. How did you learn about EPAM and why did you join?  
I became an EPAMer through acquisition while working with a digital agency called THINK. Going from a company of around 150 people to one with tens of thousands of people was a bit of a cultural shock, but it was very interesting and challenging.

What is it like to work for such a big company with teams dispersed worldwide?  
I like people, and I like knowing people. With EPAM being a global company, you can work with individuals worldwide, representing different workplace cultures and customs. But you also very much feel a part of a smaller team as well. So, in my case, the Sitecore practice team is here in Newcastle, where I am based. It feels like you belong to both a global and local team at the same time.

You’ve been with EPAM for almost five years; how can you describe your working environment?  
There’s never a dull moment. Every day brings a new and stimulating challenge, and I get to work with some of the smartest people on projects that span the globe. My current client operates in more than 20 countries, making working across different time zones and workplace cultures challenging. However, the support structure here at EPAM is wonderful. And with significant obstacles come great opportunities.  Without working for a massive global company and being able to work with these people and for these people, I would never have accomplished half of what I've accomplished in the past four years.

You've been named a Sitecore MVP in 2023. How did you achieve this?

Working on projects of massive complexity, you end up with interesting things to talk about at events and conferences. I spoke at European conferences and was lucky enough to attend a global conference in Chicago. Working in a complex global organization gets you onto these stages in front of these sorts of people. Obviously, it was scary because I’d never thought I would stand on a stage in front of hundreds of people and talk. That's not me as a person. I'm an engineer. I like to sit in a dark room to write code, and this is where I'm comfortable, but when you go out of your comfort zone, that's when you achieve better things. I was lucky to be encouraged to push my limits by managers and mentors within and outside of EPAM. They showed me what I was capable of and I’m very grateful for that. 

And how do you feel now? Are you ready for a bigger audience? 

Yes, I've already been preparing more talks. Obviously, it's a challenge with client work and everything else, but it's addictive. It's like going bungee jumping for the first time, and it's terrifying. And then you do it and think “well, it’s brilliant!” The more you do it, the less scary it becomes. Public speaking is the same. I've done four talks in the last year, two at big events and a couple at smaller events, but each one was easier than the one before because you know you're capable of doing it. So, I want to do more and push more. And then finally to know what my personal limits are. 

Do you have a career development plan at EPAM? What are your goals?

I've always been more motivated by the work that I do, than by the job title or the position that I was called for. But I see myself becoming an expert in my area with EPAM and within the wider world. In that area that motivates me, these people I’m working with, and if my career goes along with that, it’s always nice.

What can you suggest to those who are looking for work opportunities with EPAM? 
If you want to become an expert in technology, there are so many resources within EPAM. And talking about Sitecore Practice, if you have a goal and are willing to do the work, there are people who are willing to help you. Go and try. Because if you don't try, you will never achieve. And if you try, then you might.

Learn about career opportunities at EPAM at