The DevOps mindset
‘I’ve been interested in tech since I was a kid. My first job was as a Junior Network Administrator, responsible for the wires and cabling for computer networks. I was also taking a bunch of Cisco Networking Courses, and it’s there that I found my passion for IT technologies.
‘Once I discovered DevOps, I wanted to learn as much as I could about it. I liked the idea of working on both sides of the field. You have to understand the development side, but also have the operations mindset to make implementations work in practice. The field changes all the time, so I still keep in touch with my former Cisco instructors and friends in the IT field, to stay up-to-date on the latest developments their students are working on.’
NN’s diverse workplace helped me grow
‘Starting my DevOps job at NN was really exciting. I was thrilled by how diverse the organisation is. People from all different countries and backgrounds work here, so there are always opportunities to learn new things and see things from new perspectives. And that’s the best way to grow. I try to never miss an opportunity for a beer or a coffee with my colleagues. In those moments, you make connections and uncover resources that you didn’t even know you needed.
Learning never stops here
‘NN really gives you the freedom and flexibility to work on your own development. I’ve held a couple of different functions within DevOps, and was even a Scrum Master for a while. That helped me realise that I truly love the tech side of the job. There are plenty of opportunities for me to grow my skills here. Every day is new and challenging. In this industry, security is a #1 priority. We maintain critical applications, that manage payment transactions. So, if our stuff doesn’t work, someone doesn’t get their pay check. There is always room for improvement, for more speed or more security. NN gives me the freedom to decide how to best use my skills to make the user experience as strong, safe and stable as it can be. Whether that’s taking a course, writing a new code, inviting more members to the development team, or exploring new systems. It’s an environment that encourages constant learning, which really suits me.
‘I’m also advancing my coding skills in my free time. I meet with a group of friends three times a week to practice coding, and we surprised a lot of people at a hackathon, because we were almost an all-female team. Some guys joined us, but the girls were pretty much in the lead. But after a while, they stop seeing us as girls, and just see us as great coders.'
The insurance industry definitely isn't boring
‘For me NN is an ideal place to work. The diversity of my colleagues, the way they have accepted and welcomed me, the opportunities to grow, it all comes together. Some people might think that working in tech for an insurance company sounds boring, but it’s definitely not. The size and scope of our work, and the added levels of security and regulation make it complex and challenging. You really have to stay on top of your game, and every team I work with really appreciates the knowledge and approach I bring to the table.’
Life in the Netherlands
'There are so many things about the Netherlands that are different than Romania. Like the food, for example. I eat a lot more vegetables now that I live here. And I love riding my bike to work and social activities. But also, I think Dutch people appreciate the importance of work/life balance more than Romanians do. They understand that when you have a happy, healthy private life, you can perform better at work. And I’m learning a lot of new skills. I’m trying to learn Dutch, which is pretty challenging, but I’m determined to make it work. And given my new, more active, outdoor lifestyle, I’m also learning to skateboard. I think it’s a really fun and interesting way to get around.'
‘If you’re thinking about working in the tech field, and DevOps in particular, I encourage you to give NN a chance. It’s a lot more than just an insurance company. It’s a place where you can really be yourself, and where there are always new opportunities to grow.’