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How ThoughtWorks Changed my Life

Over the last eight years of my professional life, I’ve had the opportunity to essay different roles across local and international enterprises. While I was initially focused on different streams, I realized that I really missed coding. I took on a few coding projects in my personal time.

My experiences with these projects led me to realize that this is what I wanted to do most. I wanted to use all my time to write flexible and well-structured code. Additionally, I wanted to use my coding skills to help my country.

My employer, at that time, didn’t give me a chance to refine my skills and teach others. Any organization that could help me develop my coding capabilities and in addition, let me help my country, would be a perfect fit.

Once I had that sorted out, I started looking out. Initially, it looked like I wouldn't find such a place in Ecuador. A few frustrating weeks went by before a friend called me and told me about ThoughtWorks. I was really skeptical about what he said - it seemed like ThoughtWorks was everything I was looking for, but I wondered if it truly was real. I used an investigative approach: looked at the corporate website and read articles by ThoughtWorks leaders like Roy Singham, Martin Fowler, Rebecca Parsons and many others.

In a certain way, I could’ve written an anthology with all the information I had acquired! I was intrigued by what I had read and wondered if I had what it takes to make it. There was only one way to find out - I had to apply!

I submitted my resume on the website, and a recruiter got in touch with me. I later discovered that this is the best way to apply for a job at ThoughtWorks. We talked about my experience and my intention to work at ThoughtWorks, and had a pleasant conversation about my career and my goals. Once this step was done, we started the process that changed my life.

Interviews

ThoughtWorks operates on a 3-pillar business model, in which all pillars hold equal weightage. We believe that these pillars are the foundation of everything we do and form the basis of every decision we make.

The first pillar, P1 represents a sustainable business - meaning that we run a financially stable company. Martin Fowler says “Money is like oxygen; we need it in order to live, but it’s not what we live for”. P2 is the pillar for software excellence. We are the proponents of cutting-edge technology and wish to push the envelope for ourselves and the industry. P3, is the Social Justice pillar. We aim to impact society using technology. We want to make a difference in the world using the power of software, a tool that we are so passionate about.

At the end, all pillars help us stay balanced and defines what we do and who we are as ThoughtWorks.

Keeping these pillars in mind, there was a technical and values-based interview round. The technical interview, which was first, was exciting because it was a relaxed conversation, yet deeply technical. I learnt a lot and this gave me the full picture of what was in store. I never doubted during the process that this was what I was looking for.

The P3 interview was tremendously engaging. There were moments during which my honesty and my values were tested, but at the end it was a pleasant conversation. At that time, I hadn’t understood what it was for, but now I consider it to be one of the most important interview discussions that I’ve ever experienced. It aims to ensure that every person who joins ThoughtWorks is aligned with the company’s vision. Every person here is not just an employee, they are like a family. We have differences, but we have lot of commonalities as well, which binds us together.

Code Exercise

This was an exciting step through my process - I needed to show my technical skills. This exercise is when ThoughtWorks assesses the candidate through the P2 lens. What could be a better way to evaluate your technical skills than to see a proof of your magic? They sent me a few exercises and I had to choose one. I chose the one I liked most and gave it my best. You don’t get all the time that you wish; just a couple of days to complete and submit it. What a challenge! It was exciting and I did it to the best of my abilities, abiding by all the instructions that I was given. Once it was ready, I sent it back and waited for a reply.

Code Pair

For the pair code interview, I was more relaxed as I thought it was just a review of my code. When I got there, two ThoughtWorkers received me and informed me that this was not just a review of my design and logic, but also an exercise to improve my code with their help. It was a huge privilege to have two fellow developers share their knowledge with me. Although nervous, I explained my code in the best way that I could, and they in turn taught me some Agile and TDD concepts. Within minutes, I watched these concepts transform from theory to practice and I was blown away! It was enriching to be surrounded by top professionals who were willing to answer your questions on coding, a dream for any developer like me.

Why ThoughtWorks Changed my Life

The Offer

At that time, I could only think about working at ThoughtWorks. I knew that things had changed forever. I was excited and impatient all at once, till I got the call. When I received the offer, for the first time in my life, I was going to join a new company without any doubt in my mind. Having gone through the interview process, I felt a feeling of security and was convinced that this was the best choice I could make.

It’s been seven months since I joined, but I still remember my entire interview journey very clearly. I also remember my days prior to joining ThoughtWorks and realizing how much I wanted to work at a place like this. I always think about the privilege and responsibility of being a ThoughtWorker.

The entire experience was much better than I imagined. I have an incredible place to work and am surrounded by exceptional people, who genuinely want to know you and who care about you. This is a place where there is a healthy ambition for growth, learning, innovation and for creating opportunities. People are encouraged to break all conventional paradigms, reinvent themselves, and do something for the world around, by using the most powerful weapon they have, their passion for technology.