Two years ago, Andreas Hjelming, Vaimo's Vice President of Software Development, invented the Active Career Coaching Program, which he initially designed for developers and UX designers at Vaimo to help them advance in their fields and move forward in their careers. Staffan Palopää, Vaimo's CTO and cofounder, has also contributed to the program and nowadays, Björn Gustafsson, Development Manager in the Vaimo Stockholm office, maintains the ACC Program. The plan was to create a clear path for Vaimo employees who wish to reach more senior positions at Vaimo, and to help Vaimoers achieve their professional goals, step-by-step. Vaimo takes an active interest in its employees' personal growth as a professional by investing in them and this is an enormous benefit for those considering a career at Vaimo.
The ACC's objective is to provide the clear opportunity for a person working at Vaimo to evolve, to learn new skills, and to become better in a specific field. It's meant for an individual's personal development and gain, but it's also in Vaimo's best interest for its employees to gain knowledge. The ACC is there for those that are considering changing their role or for those who wish to further their technical skills and expertise. The purpose of the program may be for a person, or the program “trainee,” to learn something while trying out another role, such as a scrum master. If the Vaimoer is already a scrum master, they can utilise the program to improve their knowledge within the role. Of course, it's possible to apply for the position without the ACC, but the program promises to make the trainee a better scrum master. With this program, Vaimo hopes to support its employees on their career paths. For those interested in joining Vaimo, the ACC presents an exceptional chance to join a company that offers dynamic positions.
Different Tracks for Development
The program is designed with the trainee's interests at heart; it can be made into a custom program, depending on what the trainee wants to get involved in or to become better at. The program is composed of several different premade “tracks,” or content manuals that one can follow. The tracks are constantly evolving as more trainees enter the program. At the moment, Vaimo has separate tracks for frontend, scrum master, performance, and management. The tracks are essentially guides that the trainee works through with a coach, but the trainee is the one who is required to do the heavy lifting. The coach is there to guide rather than instruct and is also encouraged to modify the tracks to fit the particular user.
Challenges with Some Roles
There are some roles within Vaimo for which it will be impossible to make tracks for, such as for a system architect. For this role, the trainee would need a mixture of learning programs in performance, meeting clients, presenting projects to them and speaking their language, handling big projects, analysing how to solve various elements, and finding problems and bugs in new environments. In such a case, the performance track is just one step of the way.
How to Get Involved with Coaching
At the moment, Vaimo offers several different internal certification programs that can be utilised in the Active Career Coaching Program or as individual certifications. The programs have a focus on practical experiences within each area and one may be more detailed than another. The way a Vaimoer can get certified is to select a program and speak to his or her direct manager to get a designated coach. The position of coach is open to anyone at Vaimo who feels they have what it takes to guide someone in a particular field. Björn himself coaches several people at once and handles management and performance tracks. Regular meetings are then arranged with the coach during which the trainee demonstrates his or her skills by showing the work they have done in each area and answers questions from the coach. A trainee meets with their coach every two to four weeks and the program lasts an average of about six months. The program concludes with an exam in the form of a presentation or a short thesis. When the coach is convinced by the final presentation that the trainee possesses all the skills necessary to become certified in a certain program, then they will receive the certification. For those potentially interested in working at Vaimo, the prospect of eventually entering a coaching role is a unique opportunity that is multi-faceted in its benefits, from gaining management experience to learning alongside the trainee.
The Future Plans of Coaching at Vaimo
This is an initiative that requires a lot of energy to keep alive, and that means coaches need to volunteer and be proactive. Hopefully, the number of tracks will grow, so that interested participants can have different options and that Vaimo can also improve upon the existing tracks and make them more attractive for its employees and potential employees alike. While at the moment, the tracks are still only designed for developers and UX designers, it is up to the other departments within Vaimo to establish tracks of their own. The more trainees there are using a track, the more possibilities there are for improvements and for creating a larger library of knowledge for Vaimo. If you are interested in joining Vaimo's team of experts and possibly adding to our knowledge base through the ACC, then please visit our Vaimo career page.
“While the ACC Program doesn't promise to be life-altering, it does guarantee to impart new knowledge and make the participant better at their job. That makes a big difference for people, and that's what makes it successful.”
- Björn Gustafsson, Development Manager in the Vaimo Stockholm office