[Meet the Team] Interview with Kanchan

by Oct 15, 2020News

BeCode is a team of 40 motivated people who do their utmost to offer a high quality training to our learners. Therefore we invite you to join us behind the scenes and meet our team.  

Today, we meet Kanchan, our Head of Region in Flanders. 

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
“I hate that question, do you know that?”(Laughs)

Why?
“Because it’s such a strange question. What do you want to know?”

Tell us about your childhood, your studies, your previous job…
“Okay, I will start with my previous job. We’ll see if you still want to know what my childhood was like afterwards. My professional career can be divided into three paths. The first is where I studied computing and started to work as a programmer. I’ve worked as a programmer for 12 years before I came to Belgium. When I arrived in Belgium in 2012 I decided to make a career switch, which is the second path of my professional career. I started working in project and service management, so no programming. I do miss it though. The third path of my professional career is at BeCode, which combines my passion for programming and my experience in project management with a social mission. That’s my professional career in a nutshell. “

“Before starting my professional career, I studied electronics engineering back in India. I lived in Mumbai and have done most of my schooling there. Most of the schools in India choose English as their main language, so my education was in English. After electronics engineering, I’ve followed a training program such as BeCode’s, a six month course where I was trained in advanced computing. I didn’t learn 4 programming languages, but 12 such as CSS, C++, Javascript, XML, PL/SQL, … I don’t even remember all of them anymore. But that’s how I’ve gotten into IT from electronics engineering.”

Why did you decide to join BeCode then?
“I saw an ad on LinkedIn, which was posted by Karen. Back then I worked at Accenture and Karen had been there a couple of times to give a lecture as an inspirational speaker. Some colleagues encouraged me to talk to Karen about the ad, because they thought it was something for me. Even at Accenture I’ve worked on inclusion and diversity in the company, which gave me a lot of energy. So when I talked to Karen and I learned more about the project, it felt like the perfect combination of my programming skills and my project experience. Also, it’s a project that focuses on introducing people to IT. But it’s the social mission and Karen in particular that made me accept the offer at BeCode. It’s not about the drama or fame that comes with changing people’s lives, but I’m somebody who likes to help people. It can be a rotten day, but if I’m able to help someone, it makes my day so much better. Even in the role I am in today, I’m still in touch with my juniors. I know every single one of them and they know that they can always contact me. I will always find a way to help them, even if this means going out of my way to do so. That’s how I’m getting energy from my job. BeCode is giving it to me ready made, so that’s why I decided to work for the company.”

What do you like the most about BeCode?
“Like I said, I love to help people, but sometimes I help a bit too much. I have been told at home that I sometimes have to protect myself first since people are not always grateful when you help them. But to be honest, I don’t do it for the gratitude, but because it makes me happy. That’s why I’ll get out of my way to help people. I get that chance here everyday, so that’s what makes me so happy at BeCode.”

And what challenges are you facing in your job?
“There are all kinds of challenges, but I don’t like that word. I’ve told Alex and Sarah during my job interview that I don’t like the word “challenge” because it makes me feel like you want to achieve something and then get rid of it. For me, every problem is an opportunity to improve. If you have a stable job without any problems, you’ll not grow as much. If there are ups and downs, you’ll learn a lot of them. Problems are a way of character building. Everything I’m able to resolve for myself, my team or my juniors, makes me feel good. I do believe that if we work together to face it, we can feel the gratitude together instead of just looking at it as my personal achievement.”

“But there are all kinds of problems that we are facing at BeCode. Whether it’s keeping or partners or juniors happy, whether it’s dealing with complaints. Covid has opened our eyes to a lot of things. We can work remotely now and we were happy about it in the beginning, because you can get a lot done at home. But at home I don’t take many breaks, I’m eating behind my desk, I’m going to pee when I absolutely cannot hold it anymore, so I’m actually working more. It’s not even working from home anymore, it’s more living at work. But coming to the campus and meeting people is a form of energy. All of us actually wanted to be on campus. Seeing the situation, it was not easy to realise this, but that’s where the challenge lies. I found it amazing that I had the opportunity to be able to look for a solution. You never get to be part of the crisis management team in a big company. The opportunity to manage such a crisis and find a learning model that would satisfy our partners and students, is something you’ll not get in a corporate job. It also taught me a lot, which is for me more important than facing a challenge and overcoming it.”

What’s the best thing that you’ve learned about yourself since being part of BeCode?
“When I was working two or three years at Accenture, there was a training just for women. In that training we got to know ourselves better, and got to learn more about our limitations and strengths. As I told you earlier, my character is built on the obstacles that I had to overcome. I always knew that I was resilient and I always knew what I liked or not.”

“At BeCode I didn’t learn anything new about myself, but I have been reassured that I’m a team player. I love to work with people, so I’m not leading my team, but managing my team. They can express their opinions and I’ll take them into account when making a decision. I don’t take the decisions for them, rather with them. My team appreciates that a lot.”

“In the ten months that I’ve been working here, I’ve been so happy. If I’ll tell my team today that I’ll need some help, they will not care whether it’s between 9 to 5, they will help me anyway. When they see me online at 8PM, they will tell me that I am not supposed to work at that time and ask me to shut down my computer. For me, it’s really an achievement to have a team that cares that much for you. My belief that you cannot do everything alone and that you need a team to achieve something, has been strengthened.”

“Every problem is an opportunity to improve”

“Everyday there is a little fire to fight, but every fire makes you stronger”

What has been your favorite moment at BeCode so far?
“It is difficult to choose just one moment. For me, small things matter. Bigger things will always be there, but they don’t necessarily make you happy. When someone tells me to shut down my computer at 8PM or when they involve me in a discussion, these things matter to me. When I had my intermediate evaluation one of the remarks was that I don’t care about the problem and just try to find a solution for it anyways. I don’t mind doing anything that needs to be done. I’m a getting things done kind of person and when someone sees that, that’s what really counts.” 

“I don’t care about, I really hope you will not put that in the interview.”

Everything you point out, will be included. 

“Then you can tell Karen, I will also write her an email, that I’m okay with not meeting any of my KPI’s or targets. But if someone in my team would be unhappy with the way we work or if he or she doesn’t feel like I’m supporting him/her enough, that would make me really unhappy. KPIs are important and necessary, but they come secondary for me. People always come first since they are the ones that make everything possible. You can have a campus and the best equipment, but people are the ones that make it happen. If you have no marketing department, you have no juniors. If you have no coach, you do not need juniors.”

“I do hope that everyone feels that way about their team. We are a small company and you know everyone. It’s a big difference from corporate life, because there, people are only an email adres or a voice to you. To me it’s very important to know your team.”

If you had to summarize BeCode in only one word, which word would it be?
“That’s difficult, one word. What BeCode means to me or what it stands for?”

What it means to you.

“If I have to put it in one word, I would say opportunity. It’s an opportunity for me to help people, it’s an opportunity for our juniors to get a second chance at having a new career in IT, it’s an opportunity for us to be the smallest catalyst in making the change in people’s life.”

Is there something you would like to add?
“No, that’s how I feel about it. Even though you sent me the questions in advance, I didn’t think about the answers. I would give you the same answers in my sleep, since it’s really how I feel about it.” 

“Everyday there is a little fire to fight, but every fire makes you stronger. Like in, I don’t know if you are both Harry Potter fans?”

Yes.

“Do you remember the Prisoner of Azkaban? When Harry thinks that his father is making the patronus charm across the lake, but it’s actually him who is doing it? I can relate. If I have dealt with a problem before and I was able to find a solution, it’s easier to do it again.”

“I’ve never worked in the social sector, so the entire thing was new to me. But I’m someone who will jump right in it and is willing to get her hands dirty. To me, that’s the best way to learn. Whether it’s making posters or organizing a salesforce workshop. I’m not only excited for that workshop for the juniors, but also for myself. I want to live a life where I’m enthusiastic and curious, because unless you know what the juniors are learning, you can’t help them. You cannot convert a registration in a candidate if you don’t know what the juniors are doing once they have applied for the training.”

“I think that one of the reasons why Karen chose me is because of the combination that I was bringing. And this is actually the best way for me to combine my two passions.”

Amazing, thank you!

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