The Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) title is awarded to specialists who are very devoted to the community centred around Microsoft technologies. The group is composed of around 4 000 technical experts and community leaders in 90 countries. Damian Antonowicz, Architect at Sii Poland, is one of the few people with this title in Poland. On a daily basis, he works in the internal IT department and leads the team creating an app that will be used by more than 4 500 people across the organization.
What is the Microsoft MVP title for you?
Damian Antonowicz: MVP is awarded by Microsoft to people who actively share their knowledge with others. Of course, Microsoft MVP has never been a goal in itself for me – without it, I would still be involved in knowledge transfer. My main motivation is a simple willingness to share experience gained when carrying out commercial and private projects. I also see it as a repayment of the debt I owe to the community who allowed me to get useful knowledge from blog posts or presentations at conferences. Many times such knowledge, acquired completely for free, was useful during my projects.
How did you get interested in Microsoft technologies?
D.A.: I became interested in them during my first year at university. In class, we used different kinds of technology from different suppliers, but I was most impressed by the technical capabilities of Microsoft. With the C# programming language and the .NET platform, it was possible to create desktop, mobile, server and web applications. And using Microsoft IDE, i.e. Visual Studio, was pure pleasure. I also liked the community of enthusiasts of these technologies. At my university, there was a .NET student group, of which I became a member. Being part of the group gave me the opportunity to learn from others, but also to try my hand at sharing the already acquired knowledge. Among people outside of the university who interested me were MVPs sharing their experiences at that time. The Microsoft technology-centred community is large and active – there’s always someone to learn from!
What does your daily work at Sii look like?
D.A.: On a daily basis, I manage the team developing our internal mobile application – SiiApp. I’m a leader and an architect in the team. My day-to-day duties include the verification of technical works performed by developers and preparation of tasks for implementation in the next projects. I also cooperate with analysts, designers and architects on designing the functionalities of new SiiApp modules according to the requirements we receive.
What gives you the greatest satisfaction in this project?
D.A.: Definitely positive feedback from SiiApp users. The project aims to facilitate and improve our daily work. Knowing how much the work of my team contributes to the satisfaction of our workers motivates me to do even more.
How will the application facilitate work at Sii?
D.A.: SiiApp is a mobile app that allows us to handle administrative matters with ease, regardless of whether we are currently at our desk. With it, you can, for example, send absence requests or accept them if you are a team manager. SiiApp also involves a module for working-time reporting. In my opinion, it is very useful because thanks to our app this activity becomes easy and pleasant. Having with you an appropriate device, you can even report working time on public transport.
You work in Sii’s Internal IT Department. What skills can be developed there? Who would you recommend such a job to?
D.A.: Above all, when working in the internal IT department, we get the opportunity to work on systems that support the operation of an organization employing more than 4 500 people. This teaches you how to design an architecture that will allow systems to be maintained for years. You also need to take into account changing technologies and start planning different processes, e.g. migration, in advance. People who like the combination of technology and business will feel great in the internal IT department as this work allows you to develop the ability to translate the complex world of technology into a simple language. You have to be able to adequately present the possibilities, but also the limitations of the technology used in the project. The role of IT is to support business and respond appropriately to emerging requirements. Certainly, such work also enables the development of soft skills, the importance of which is often underestimated in the case of programmers’ career – and they are just as important as technical skills.
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