Wednesday, 23 February 2022

A Reflection on My First Eight Months at Rightpoint

Neli Mintcheva, Associate Developer
Culture

In June of 2021, I joined Rightpoint as a Software Developer, a year and a half into the COVID-19 pandemic. During that time, I was completing my Bachelors in Computer Science and Economics from New York University’s College of Arts and Science remotely and had the opportunity to intern at a startup in Connecticut during my final semester. Though it was tricky navigating a new environment in my final year of college given the economic and social impact of COVID-19, I was fortunate to start my new role at Rightpoint only one month after my graduation. 

 

During my first two months here, I, among four other graduates, completed Rightpoint’s Jumpstart program, an 8-week training course geared toward giving participants a foundation in Magento and PHP. Up until that point, I had mainly worked with Java, Python, and C (some HTML and CSS as well through internships), so I was grateful to start learning about Magento. Throughout the Jumpstart program, time was also allotted for us to connect with colleagues with diverse expertise on a weekly basis to learn about the different roles at Rightpoint, such as product design, management, and QA. 

 

Once completed, we were each placed on a team. Though it was bittersweet since we all worked closely together, I was excited to branch out and work with clients. In August, I was placed on the Strategic Engagement Group (SEG), where I have focused on maintaining different client sites ever since. Additionally, I work on maintenance items such as completing Magento platform upgrades and enhancing different sections of the sites as per clients’ requests. One of my favorite projects thus far entailed completely revamping how the search function works for one of our clients. Depending on the product type, the user would input the Stock Keeping Unit (SKU) into the search bar and go directly to the product with its attribute values preselected.  

 

Looking back, I’ll admit that the transition from university to the workplace was tough for me. Prior to starting at Rightpoint, I was accustomed to working late at night. During college, I would complete a shift at my internship or teaching job before 2:00 PM, then attend classes until 4 or 5 (some days even until 8:30 PM) and then finally finish any assignments upon arriving at home. There were days that I’d even go to gym around 9:00 PM just because of how my schedule lined up. Because of this, I felt most awake at night.

 

My habit of working—or really being most productive—at night brought on a few problems, the main one being communication. Though I would work continuously throughout the day, there were a few projects that wound up unfinished. Knowing that I tend to work better at night, I continued to work on them in the evenings. Sometimes, my schedule worked in my favor, and I was able to finish the project, but in some instances it hindered me. Many of the projects required someone else to review the work for completion. As a result, schedules had to be shifted and QA had to be pushed back, creating inefficiencies and miscommunications between my team and the client. 

 

Despite this, everyone at Rightpoint has been incredibly supportive and willing to help in those and all other instances. My strategic engagement manager (PM) worked with me in the beginning to minimize those miscommunications. I also attend biweekly meetings with my team lead to discuss any improvements or receive any feedback, which I used to launch myself into the following week. With my team lead, we reviewed current projects and I received feedback that I found extremely helpful when conducting my daily tasks. Like my mentor from high school used to say, “be a sponge and try to absorb any sort of feedback, good or bad.” 

 

In addition to the feedback received from my PM and functional lead, I also participated in the “Bridge Something Commerce Mentorship” program here at Rightpoint. The program is geared towards connecting you with someone more experienced in the company, who provides insight and advice throughout the first few months of your career. I was lucky enough to be paired with Yasemin Hizal, a Human Resources Manager. She, amongst others on my team, has been pivotal to streamlining my transition to Rightpoint as we discuss any feedback I’ve received and set goals for the future.

 

Finally, I also prioritized building a new daily routine to complement my remote position. 

Departing from my tendency to continue working past business hours in training, I now set daily, scheduled goals to ensure completion before the business day ends. Moreover, scheduling personal tasks into my day right afterwards, such as going to the gym and/or cooking dinner has ultimately helped me compartmentalize my time. 

 

At the same time as I navigate a new work/life balance, I’ve been able to delve into old hobbies and also introduce new ones into my life. For instance, I’ve been swimming competitively since elementary school, a hobby which I wasn’t able to continue during college. With my new schedule, I’ve been able to make it to the pool at least twice a week. I’ve also begun cooking more often, exploring traditional styles in my family’s Bulgarian cuisine. In the future, I hope to teach myself guitar with online resources. 

 

Overall, though, with the guidance and incredibly supportive nature of Rightpoint paired with the work that I put in on my end, I believe that I have found my place. I’ve noticed myself communicating more effectively with my team and clients, all while being able to shut my laptop after business hours. As I complete various tasks more efficiently, I’ve found myself asking for more responsibilities in each project that I complete. 

 

Along the way, it’s been clear to me that everyone wants you to succeed, and that sense of community has made projects all the more enjoyable throughout my time here at Rightpoint.