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Learn about the career path from Developer to Architect through Rafał’s eyes. For more than 10 years, he’s been developing in the Cracow branch and working with Sii Poland’s key clients

When he started his career, Sii’s Cracow office employed less than 10 people. Today, it is one of the company’s largest branches in Poland. The story of Sii’s development and his career path is told by Rafał Szczepankiewicz, Architect at Sii Poland.

Your career path at Sii began more than 11 years ago. How do you recall the first weeks of your work?

I first came across Sii by accident, at the end of the fifth year of my MA program, while browsing ads of companies looking for Java Developers in Cracow. The recruitment interview took place in a cozy office at 1 Retoryka St. After the meeting, I knew right away that I’d come to the right place and Sii was the company I wanted to be part of.

I remember my first weeks at work as intense and full of new, interesting challenges. On the one hand, I had to come to grips with Sii’s procedures and rules in detail, on the other hand, with client-side onboarding, training, and learning about my new project.

Over the years you’ve spent at Sii, have you noticed any particular changes in the company?

Over the past decade, Sii (including the Krakow branch), has changed beyond recognition. I remember the days when there were a few people working in our branch, now they can be counted in the hundreds. Our client pool has grown significantly over the years. Manual processes are also a thing of the past, today they’re fully automated, or you can do them on your own using SiiPortal.

You mentioned that the Sii’s Cracow branch has also gone through some changes. Tell us about them.

When I joined Sii, the Cracow branch was basically in its foundation phase. At that time, less than 10 people were working there. It had a cozy, virtually family atmosphere – we all knew each other well and met almost every week during the so-called “beer Thursdays”. After all the years, we still keep in touch with each other, and we also happen to meet in our free time.

Back then, the Krakow office was located inside a tenement house and consisted of just three rooms, connected by a corridor with access to the atrium. However, the branch was growing rapidly, so after a few months, we decided it was a good time to move to a larger office on Krupnicza St. However, the number of employees was steadily increasing, and soon this place too proved to be insufficiently large for us – and so together we landed on Wielicka St. Before we settled permanently on Tischner St., where the Sii Krakow office is now located, we changed location four times.

You started your career path at Sii as a Full-Stack Developer for an ABB client. What exactly did you do then?

My first project at Sii was Business Online, which I spent 4 years on. At the time, I worked on a web-interface application for collecting orders and returns for a client’s products. The application consisted of multiple modules and was written in several programming languages. As a Full-Stack Developer, I spent most of my time resolving defects that emerged during development and adding new functionalities to the project. It often involved making changes to multiple modules, such as the database, business logic layer, and UI. Looking back on my work on this project, I can’t forget the moment when we decided to rewrite the existing User Interface from outdated technology to a modern framework. These changes were implemented gradually over 10 months. We celebrated the completed migration with the entire team at a festive dinner together.

Later on, you moved on to Tech Lead, and then Architect responsibilities. Tell us about your tasks in these positions.

Based on my experience, a person working in the position of Developer is largely engaged in project development work. I mean both simple changes (e.g. fixing a defect discovered during testing) and more advanced features – a good example would be integration with a third-party system to enable credit card payments.

The Tech Lead’s role entails more advanced tasks. Day-to-day responsibilities include selecting appropriate programming languages, frameworks, and other tools. The position also involves responsibility for coaching developers on technical issues, for example, via code review or pair programming.

An architect is a person who’s very familiar with every aspect of the application the team is working on and is responsible for all technical issues related to the project. Importantly, depending on the stage of the project, the Architect’s duties can look quite different. At the initial stage of work, many decisions related to the choice of technology, as well as solutions adequate to the requirements of the project rest on their shoulders. In later phases, the scope of responsibilities evolves towards the development of the application and its documentation.

In the Architect position, you are currently working for a client specializing in travel technology. You’ve been involved in many projects in recent years ­– which ones do you remember especially?

Yes, I’ve been working for this client for almost 8 years. During this time, I’ve participated in the development of 6 projects. Each of them was developed by a different team, used varied technologies, and had a distinct purpose. This allowed me to grow in plenty of directions and allowed me to work in multiple positions. Of all of them, I felt most comfortable in technical roles, which is why I eventually became an Architect.

For me, each project is unique, but by far I spent the most time on an application developed in BFF (backend for the frontend) architecture using GraphQL and NodeJS. It was to be fully automated and natively deployed to GCP. It was an incredibly developing project for me, through which I learned a lot and gained valuable experience – I’m still using it to this day.

We already know that you deal with a lot of responsibilities and often also complex tasks at work. How do you recharge your batteries in your free time?

During time off from programming, I try to spend my time actively, preferably surrounded by friends – including people I met at Sii. I frequently spend warm days exploring the skies on a paraglider, hiking, or biking. Rainy weather, on the other hand, matches my other hobby – board games. In winter, I can’t miss the ski slopes. Besides, I love to listen to industry podcasts and audiobooks. I also run my own website, which you’re welcome to visit: https://www.rafalsep.dev/. So I guess you can say that I’m a man of multiple passions. 😊

Are you looking for a company that provides its employees with development at various stages of their careers? Check out our job offers, send in your CV, and join the Sii team.

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