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EPAM UK from a Newcomer’s Perspective: A story from a cloud architect. 

EPAM UK from a Newcomer’s Perspective: A story from a cloud architect. 

With only six months at EPAM UK under his belt, Darren Lester has a wealth of knowledge to share as a cloud architect. Join us as we explore his motivations for joining EPAM and gain valuable insight into the company from a newcomer’s perspective.

Why EPAM? What attracted you the most to join?

I think there were a few things that happened simultaneously. I saw a couple of roles advertised on LinkedIn that looked attractive, but I also had colleagues in my previous organization who worked with EPAM.  Whenever EPAM was mentioned, they only talked about how good the Company was, so it stood out for me.  A friend also joined EPAM a year or so before I did. He told me about EPAM and the solutions they build. I thought, “wow, these guys really know how to make use of data and know how to develop software.”

Then I spoke to an EPAM talent acquisition specialist, who explained that when you join EPAM, you can decide where you want to go in your career. That was important to me. With EPAM, I have the option in the future to carve out my career path which is great. 

You’ve been with EPAM for more than six months now. How did you find the first month and onboarding process?

The onboarding process at EPAM was smooth and painless.  My laptop arrived before I even started, with a nice bag, and on day one I was given access to everything I needed, and it was a seamless process. Then you go through all the mandatory training - I quite liked it.  And the Engineering X boot camp. I just felt like “oh, that's a really good level, and it just means that everyone can come in and start talking the same language.” Then I got straight into my first client, and I have been enjoying the engagement and feel supported by the people on my team. 

What do you like the most about your role?

I love learning new bits of technology – there are always elements I don't know, so I'm always putting effort into filling those gaps and ensuring I've aligned a certification plan. I really enjoy working with the client and the relationships I have, from product owners to architects and developers. It's nice when a client returns and says, “this is helping us; this is good stuff.”

What I really like to do is to take those experiences and make them repeatable. So, I’m always coming back to the rest of the team and saying: “how can we make this a bit more of a decision tree type of process, a repeatable process, a library of patterns, or whatever it might be.” I want every new architect who joins to have an easier experience than me and to work on continuously improving that process. I'd quite like to be able to bring my enterprise architecture and strategic thinking to the role.

We all have some challenges at work. What obstacles do you face in your day-to-day work?

Time management can be a little difficult, especially when starting a new job. This is inevitable as you become embedded in a new role, and the meetings pile up. Finding balance is important and eventually, you begin finding the right balance.

Talking about people and communication, what is it like to work in a global company with such a multicultural environment? 

I think there are a couple of aspects to that. For instance, when I'm working with a particular client, people from several different countries are on the project. I really enjoy talking to them, and you get elements of the different cultures coming through in conversation. The only downside is, with remote work, you can’t always just go into the office and interact with your entire team because we’re all dispersed. But I really enjoy the Desk tool. I can check to see which teammates are in there and schedule a time to chat or have a coffee. 

What is your career progression plan looking like at EPAM?

At the moment, I think it's simply to progress my seniority as an architect. There are many ways that employees at EPAM are supported in their career trajectories like continuing education programs and other career advancement opportunities.

Have you thought about moving into a management role?

Yes, I've managed teams before, and I found it a rewarding experience. So, I'd be happy to do so again.

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