• Engineering

My first day at vbu.tech

30th June, 2021

I'm about to start my first day at vbu.tech. A health insurance company. Not exactly a glamorous type of employer, as I can see from the reaction of many colleagues and acquaintances from the IT environment. Yet I made a conscious decision to take this path at the beginning of 2021. I have been making software for over 35 years. Starting with computer games, my own failed startup in the 1990s, warehouse management systems, analysis software for semantics in texts and some more. The digitization of government, administration and public services is a challenge I was eager to take on.

Philipp picks me up at the entrance and takes me to the fourth floor to the Platform Team. I meet Roman again, with whom I've worked a few times before, and am immediately welcomed into the relaxed atmosphere in a friendly manner. Despite Corona, several employees have come to the office, curious to meet the new guy. I recognize some faces from the interviews, others I haven't seen before. 

Philipp hands me two boxes with my work equipment: MacBook Pro 16" with 32 GB RAM and an iPad. eSim if I need one. A quick signature and I can get started. 

First, roughly set up the computers. Private use is allowed, local admin rights of course. Authority? I've worked in start-ups that had stricter rules. 

After an hour, Philipp comes by again. He tells me to go down the hall, to get my access card. "Können Sie mir Ihren Namen sagen" ("Can you tell me your name?"). It's the first time in my professional life I've been addressed in such a formal manner. In German, there is a special form of politeness address, the "Sie". It is not usually used in IT in Germany. There, I only know the less formal "Du". Slightly confused, I offered Mandy the "Du" and she immediately accepted.

Back at work, Niklas, Domenic and I start our first session. They briefly explain the system setup to me. Very much new, there is a lot to learn. Although I am a Java developer for over 25 years. Kotlin, Vert.x, Dart and Flutter are still new to me. Docker is not new, but Kubernetes is absolutely new territory. I've heard of Helm before but only have a blurry picture of the possibilities. The terms are just flying around my ears. My thoughts, summarized: awesome! So much new stuff to learn. The platform technology is damn far ahead without taking too big risks.

Fast Forward: the first month will soon be over. I don't regret joining vbu.tech. The team is terrific, open to ideas and willing to learn all the time. Philipp, our Agile Coach, leads through the process in a calm and relaxed manner. The fact that the first sprint with me went completely to shit: no drama. In the retro, everyone involved behaved in an extremely professional and constructive manner. That's all I can say, because "what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas". Just this: great team and I'm looking forward to the challenges ahead.

Sascha Kohlmann
Senior Backend Developer