Company Spotlight: Altran defines the Developers they hire from Ubiqum as having an ‘incredible capacity for learning’
In the first of a series of interviews with our Hiring Partners, we speak to Oscar Penon from the Human Resources department at Altran.
In light of our long-standing partnership with Altran, a world leader in engineering and research and development services, we thought it’d be a good idea to get their opinion on how our students perform once hired as Full Stack, Front or Back-end Developers. After all, they have already hired eight of them. Altran, along with many other companies working in the field of IT and technology, have come to be loyal partners of Ubiqum, attending our Hiring Days and directly coming to the academy when looking to fill Junior Developer positions. If you had any doubt about hiring one of Ubiqum’s Java Web Developer graduates or Data Analysts, this interview will make you think otherwise. So, let’s dive in!
With such a high demand for Developers and Data Analysts, the phenomenon of the coding bootcamp has emerged, supplying the market with the technological candidates the universities are failing to provide. What difference do you notice between a candidate who has come from university compared to someone who has trained at a coding bootcamp?
We notice that above all, the attitude and the desire with which students leave Ubiqum is normally much higher than university graduates, and this is what we value most at Altran. Another important point for me is that the subjects taught on university programs are a bit generic and the students don’t leave with a solid idea of what the labour market is. At Ubiqum, on the other hand, they have grasped, through projects and the “Learn By Doing” methodology, exactly what to expect from their first working experiences.
Did you have any doubts about hiring students from a coding bootcamp?
At first, we thought that the level of experience or seniority could be a disadvantage. We work with clients with very clear requirements, for example, they look for a person who comes from an engineering background. But we’ve changed our mentality and we have made them do the same. In the end, the results have been very positive.
How have you convinced clients who’ve had a different kind of mentality?
We explain our own positive experiences of hiring Ubiqum talent. For example, we have many people from Ubiqum in our Research and Development department, an internal, slightly transverse department, which helps other divisions bring out new products, services, applications, etc. The experience we have had in this team has been very good, and we have been able to transfer it to other types of projects, either internally or externally. Once a client meets the worker they realise just how great their potential is, both in terms of skills and technique, and his/her incredible capacity for learning.
How long does it take a Junior to adapt when they start work?
The truth is that they only need two weeks to settle in, and then they’re able to function just as anyone else on the team. The R&D department is made up of Ubiqum talent and I can assure you that this team has earned a very good reputation for itself, with Team Leads attentive to the talent that is acquired here.
Furthermore, it’s not simply that they are fully adapted in two weeks, they demonstrate very good progression and their evolution of learning is constant. This is not only because of their ability but also because of their attitude; they want to continue expanding upon their knowledge and developing their skills — some even sign up for courses that we teach.
What frameworks or technologies do you use at Altran?
The main software language we use is Java. We work with JavaScipt for front-end web development and Node for the back-end. We work with many frameworks, the most requested right now is Angular.
Our students don’t learn Angular at Ubiqum Code Academy, has this been an issue? Or rather, would it be an issue if they hadn’t used a particular framework?
Not at all, due to the fact that Ubiqum’s students have adopted a “learn by doing” mentality, they manage to solve things on their own, working and learning in a very autonomous way. They are restless people who look at blogs and forums when they get home and proactively figure things out.
What would you say to a company that is reluctant to hire our Developers and Data Analysts?
Get to know them. On a first glance at someone’s CV you may consider that they lack experience, but if you get to know them in an interview, they will shatter that perception. The methodology they use, what they have learned at Ubiqum and the attitude they have all contribute to them having great potential as Developers. We’ve found that we prefer a person with these characteristics than one who has two year’s experience but lacks motivation. Take a chance and then tell me what you think.
Would you say, then, that the most important thing in a Junior profile is the motivation and desire to learn?
Yes, and more so in the current market where it is difficult to find adequate technological profiles. Unfortunately, people often end up moving for money and not for the project. Finding yourself a motivated candidate, who wants to learn and work within your team is much appreciated.
As for the relationship between Ubiqum and the recruiters, how do you think we could improve this?
The communication has been very good; when we’ve needed to fill positions, Ubiqum has directly sent us CVs and recommended specific people. The fact that they have the job portal is helpful as we’ve been able to publish our offers and reach trained candidates in a more direct way.
The fact that the students at Ubiqum know Altran is also important, and this has been achieved by former Ubiqum students relaying their positive experience to others.
Which skills possessed by our candidates do you value most?
We really value what they’ve learned by doing the web developer course at Ubiqum and also the strong desire they have to continue learning. It says a lot if a person has a blog, has posted a project on GitHub, or published things on our cover flow … It shows that for them, technology is more than a job, a hobby or a passion, they enjoy what they do, and that makes them very valuable.
Ubiqum’s sees Java as the best programming language to learn, would you agree?
For us, it is important that Ubiqum knows what the market is looking for and what companies like Altran are working with in today’s technologies. So, yes, Java is the best programming language to learn right now.
What kind of selection process does Altran have?
We start the process with a phone call, if the candidate fits in terms of availability, salary expectations and technical requirements, we invite them in for an interview. The interview is first carried out by someone from human resources, and then by a more technical team member. The technical part is not a test, we like to hear about the candidate’s own experience, for example, by looking in detail at past projects carried out.
I understand that seven out of the eight students from Ubiqum that you’ve hired have started off on a trainee contract but that after 6 months practically all of them have joined the workforce as long-term employees?
Exactly. We offer a paid scholarship with free extra training. After the scholarship period, our goal is to incorporate that person into the Altran team.
How many scholarships per year, front, back or full stack, do you offer?
Around 20 or 30 a year, that is, we incorporate two or three people per month with this type of profile.
How would you rate your experience working with Ubiqum and its students?
It continues to be a very positive experience. We are very happy with the relationship Altran and Ubiqum has, as well as with the selection of technological profiles we have incorporated in our team. We hope to continue working together in this way.
Would you recommend hiring Ubiqum graduates to other companies?
Totally. I would ask the companies to allow their mentality to be challenged and to go and meet Ubiqum and their students at an event (Hiring Day, Speed dating or an external event they participate in). This will give you the opportunity to speak with students informally and find out about what they’ve done at Ubiqum in a more direct and honest way.
Thanks a lot, Oscar! We too hope to continue working in this positive way together!
Company Spotlight: Altran defines the Developers they hire from Ubiqum as having an ‘incredible… was originally published in Ubiqum Code Academy | Blog on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.