Ensuring the Growth through Talent Acquisition

Marko leads our global team of talent acquisition professionals and plays an important part in ensuring that we have a strong talent base with the right skillset. Talent Acquisition team is there to make sure that – thanks to having skilled tech experts and other Nordcloud pros – we are able to deliver high-quality solutions to our customers.

Among many other things Marko is appreciated by his positive can-do attitude, human approach and team play spirit – he’s always ready to deliver and you can 100% trust he’s there with you. Here’s his story!

Where are you from and how did you end up at Nordcloud?

I have a long background from HR and recruitment related roles from mainly larger global organizations. So, when I was given a chance to join Nordcloud in spring 2018 I was eager to hop onboard to a frontrunner operating in public cloud industry. The strong growth mindset combined with agile ways of working helped my decision to join. Naturally very talented and easy-going colleagues proved my decision was right 😉

 What is your core competence? On top of that, please also tell about your role and projects shortly.

As an HR person working with people and supporting the growth of our business is naturally in the core of everything, we in Talent Acquisition do. My own core competence is within Talent Acquisition and Employer Branding. Engaging with talented candidates across the globe is naturally very important and something I find very valuable to me and the company. 

In my current role as Global Talent Lead, I’m responsible our Talent Acquisition functions. Luckily in this role I’m also able to roll my sleeves and support our business in their concrete recruitment needs. Also all the development projects, big and small related to TA are on my agenda. Very cool!

What sets you on fire / what’s your favorite thing technically with public cloud?

Being an HR person, I’m looking at things from a bit different “HR”-angle. The thing that sets me on fire is engaging with people externally and internally. Technically the most inspiring thing for me is the sheer speed the public cloud scene is evolving and changing constantly. New features in the systems and the ways we can bring added value to our clients amazes me every day.

What do you like most about working at Nordcloud?

The number 1 for me has been sharing my days with and learning from the talented colleagues in the company. No matter the country or role, everyone is very skilled and hardworking and bringing their best to the table in all occasions. This combined with the fact that Nordcloud is a very easy company to enter, everyone is warmly welcoming you to the team. Though not a start-up company anymore but the fact the startup mindset is still somewhat present in a good way (problem solving attitude, how to improve the processes and how to make a difference every day). Me like! 

What is the most useful thing you have learned at Nordcloud?

First of all, during my tenure In Nordcloud I’ve learned to know very talented new colleagues. From Talent Acquisition perspective I’ve learned a lot about how to scale up recruitment to make a difference and to support the growth of our company and business in the best possible way. 

What do you do outside work?

Having 2 kids (10-year old boy and 8-year old girl), wife and 2 dogs – family life comes as a high priority quite naturally. Whenever having time, different types of sports (crossfit, cycling, skiing, etc) are also very close to my heart. 

How would you describe Nordcloud’s culture in 3 words?

Open, Honest and Collaborative

Best Nordcloudian memory?

Those numerous after-works with colleagues after a hard day’s work. Just to sit back and relax 😉

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    From TAP to Azure UK team

    CATEGORIES

    Life at Nordcloud

    Tom Lloyd, Azure Engineer, talks about trust, pace of change and Ralph the Cockerpoo!

     

    Where are you from and how did you end up at Nordcloud?

    I live about 15 minutes outside of Cambridge, in a quiet (but great) town called Godmanchester. Having previously worked alongside Ian Sharpe (Cloud Enablement Lead) at a previous employer, he was forever raving about Nordcloud and saying I should apply. Knowing I was possibly not ready for a more senior cloud role, I thought my chance was missed, that was until I heard about the Talent Acceleration Program. After one interview I was hooked! I was lucky enough to be selected on the first Azure TAP track in January 2019, and I’ve been glad I was ever since!

     

    What is your role and core competence?

    I’m an Azure Cloud Engineer, working as part of our professional services team.  My core competence upon joining Nordcloud would have been Azure Infrastructure.

    The TAP program was a fantastic introduction to a great many Azure services and I’m now on a long-term project helping migrate an eCommerce platform into Azure Kubernetes Services, leveraging Azure DevOps. The pace at which public cloud evolves makes it difficult to pick a singular core competence, it seems to change daily!

     

    What do you like most about working at Nordcloud?

    The trust that Nordcloud places in their employees. We are treated as professionals, given the autonomy to manage our own time and if we choose to work remotely that is totally at our discretion  – as long as we are keeping our clients happy and delivering good work, how we go about doing that is up to you!

    In addition, the diverse nature of our workforce! Working with colleagues from so many different countries and backgrounds is great fun.

     

    What is the most useful thing you have learned at Nordcloud?

    You never stop learning. We are fortunate to have so many hugely talented people, in such a wide range of areas, lots of room for continuous professional development!

     

    What sets you in fire/ what’s your favourite thing with public cloud?

    The pace of change, ease of access to new technology and the agility it brings to both Nordcloud and our clients. Due to the fact you can get left behind so quickly, it constantly keeps you on your toes!

     

    What do you do outside work?

    Maintain a busy social life! I love to travel and experience new places. Pretty much any sport (whether playing or watching), football and golf primarily, I’m a long-suffering Arsenal fan. Trying (and often failing) to tame my crazy dog, Ralph the Cockerpoo. And, of course, a few beers when the opportunity arises.

     

    Best Nordcloudian memory?

    Successfully completing the TAP program. I loved it. The 6 weeks were fantastic, getting to visit new colleagues in our Poznan office, learning from genuine Azure experts and realising the move to Nordcloud was the right one was really rewarding. I’ve no doubt there will be more good memories along the way, but that sticks out for now!

     

    How would you describe our culture in 3 words?

    Professional, Flexible, Fun.

     

    How does Nordcloud UK differ from our other offices in your opinion?

    Having an office in central London, the best city in the world, is a major win for us!

    Seriously though, that’s a tough one, all Nordcloud offices are full of fantastic people and are unique in their own way. The UK team are a very close-knit group, full of true industry experts, that are great at what they do. I could not have felt more welcome upon joining, and I know colleagues that have joined since will feel the same.

     

    What’s your greetings/advice for someone who might be considering applying for a job in Nordcloud?

    Easy; do it! You won’t be disappointed. If you want to work for a company that provides interesting projects, trusts you to work as a professional and truly wants you to succeed, then Nordcloud is the place for you. I’ve never worked for a company that places such a high value in employee work/life balance, and that so often an afterthought for companies. Sounds good, right?

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      Global induction AKA New Employee On-boarding at Nordcloud

      For the past year, we have been planning and improving our induction process and so we recently implemented a new global induction strategy for Nordcloud. In this blog post, I’ll shed some light on our induction process and development opportunities.

      As we all know, sometimes things can get really hectic, there are multiple on-going projects, people are busy and yes, we get it, sometimes all the steps in the induction process are not the first things in mind – however, we truly believe that dedicated time and well structured steps for new employees’ induction makes a huge difference in the long run.

      That’s why we started with two clear objectives on what we work towards to:

      #1 Make a lasting impression and give warm welcome

      • We ensure a common frame to welcome new employees – while ensuring kick start is also a fun experience
      • Company vibe, ways of working and services are discussed with everyone regardless of role, site or unit while the most important part of induction, role based one, has also clear guidelines

      #2 Elevate tenure & performance

      • Global Induction frame is for 2 weeks, and we have a way to collect feedback – that’s built in for the first 6 months of employment
      • We want to digitise as many manual elements of induction as possible, and have repeatable content to ensure even more structured process and therefore ultimate business value.

      Nordcloud’s induction starts already in the recruitment process.

      It’s so important to know not only the role and tasks of a company you’re joining, but for example ways of working, company policies & services, culture & people, career development opportunities and of course the practical things like tools, dress code, benefits or schedule for your first days.

      ✍️ After offer discussions and signing employment contract, the new joiner is welcomed by our Talent Acceleration team and Hiring Manager via phone & email. It’s time for all the practical preparation (work permits, systems, tools, welcome swag, schedules etc). We will also send short introduction videos to get to know our people and plans already prior to official start date.

      On the first day, as with anyone always, there is a lot of information, yet excitement and many new people to meet. It’s time for the local welcome.

      📲 💻 We’ll make sure your systems and tools are all set up, give you a tour of the office and go through our Employee Guide. One of the cool things that we did with Trello is also Personal Induction cards where you can track your own induction process, make sure that you participate in everything that is planned for you in a time that works for you and this way you can already get used to the independent and flexible (but supportive) ways of working that we like. That said, your team lead and managers are also of course doing their best to make sure that you get all the information you need and they’ll also take you out for a lunch with your new colleagues.

      In the afternoon it’s time to start with our Global Induction sessions, giving everyone a chance to speak with our CEO about our vision, mission and strategy. This session is followed by another session with our Global People Operations Lead, who shares our history, values and career development opportunities as well as gives guidance to our daily tools. All of these are live meetings, but thanks to 2019, you can obviously join remotely too, via Hangouts.

      We use Slack actively for communication and you will be invited to all the relevant channels and get a warm welcome from other global Nordcloudians – it’s time for a short introduction about you and your role, but also about your hobbies and passions. Welcome new friends!👋 👋 👋 👋

      🤸🏽‍♀️ The first week goes past quick with global and local role-based induction sessions as you will get an understanding of:

      • our Customer Cloud Journey and our services
      • what our Product Areas & Service lines do and how you can select your focus area and contribute to it
      • your personal development plan involving trainings and certificates that you will agree on with your manager (everyone has an independent training budget and time off budgeted for learning & development).

      During the second week, you will get an idea of your role in the Cloud Journey. We will be:

      • agreeing project priorities
      • learning best practices and reference solutions 
      • learning about our productised services 
      • making sure your Nordcloudian CV is on point and all security policies are in place.

      Now you have completed your first two weeks and have a good overall understanding on all the important factors for your successful journey at Nordcloud.

      We have a bunch of great tools to systematically keep track of your happiness and well being as we go along. You can always follow up and contribute to your own and your teams’ journey with digital tools like Trello or Officevibe and we are continuously analysing data but most importantly, you have learned that at Nordcloud, we have an open and transparent culture where you can and should ask whenever something is unclear, or if you need any help with any matter or when you have ideas and suggestions to share!

      Our new set of values is well integrated to our ways of working – even in our induction process you can see us working towards common goals:

      We make a difference
      We win together
      We work smart
      We grow together

      Read more about our values and how they came alive here.

      If you’d like to hear more about our induction process, here’s a good article from one of our Senior Cloud Architects about his first 6 weeks at Nordcloud. You are also more than welcome to get in touch with Anna who coordinates our global induction.

      Welcome to #NordcloudCommunity.

       

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        From Azure padawan to Azure knight

        CATEGORIES

        Life at Nordcloud

        AzureWhiteboardDay_9

        Going into the Azure Talent Acceleration Program, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I knew that it would be an intensive learning experience but coming from a background of on-prem infrastructure management, I knew it would be extra difficult to get out of that on-prem mindset and into a cloud one.

        WEEK 1

        Week 1 was very interesting. We had the whole group turn up to Poznan in Poland. People coming from Finland, Germany, Netherlands and of course Poland.

        It was a great time to meet who we will be working with, what their backgrounds are and what they want to achieve in Nordcloud. With the team going out for dinner at Brovaria it was a good place to break the ice.

        I was nervous to say the least, with no idea what to expect, but we all just jumped straight into AZ-900 learning materials, with Jarkko (MCT) as our trainer for the first few weeks. Following the learning materials and the online labs, there was a ton of information to digest. To say it was overwhelming is an understatement, but over time as we started to pickup on those fundamentals, the materials started to become clearer.

        While week 1 was primarily an introduction to those fundamentals, Darek spoke to us about our career paths in Nordcloud, giving us an overview of what we can expect working here.

        We also took part in a workshop with Teemu (Azure Guru). This workshop was jumping ahead to Azure Architecture with small case studies. There’s an existing blog with more details covering that workshop here.

        WEEK 2

        We went into Week 2 expecting a similar experience. But this time it was a bit more in depth with Powershell. Remotely deploying resources through a few lines of Powershell code? Awesome. Being familiar with Powershell, it was my tool of choice as we went through labs. We also had the option of using this or CLI, which although looked intuitive and simple to learn, I’m a Powershell fanboy through and through, so I stuck with it.

        The labs were quite easy to follow, as they provided you with a step by step on how to achieve the goal. So, I, along with a few others in the group decided to try and perform these tasks using Powershell/ CLI instead of using the portal.

        This made it a bit more of a challenge, but it helped us learn much quicker.

        Later in the week were our self-study days to help us prepare for the subsequent weeks. Mostly using Pluralsight covering Git, Powershell, Docker and DevOps.

        WEEK 3

        With the first 2 weeks behind us, I was getting more comfortable with what was happening. Week 3 was focused more with classroom learning, specifically on AZ300. Although much of what was covered, we had already gone through in previous weeks, it was still good to keep our minds fresh with information.

        By this time, instead of doing the labs, Jarkko set us some challenges to complete with the information we just learned. Again, instead of using the portal, we’d be using Powershell/ CLI, maybe mix in some ARM Templates, or perhaps utilize key vault… adding bonus objectives with areas we hadn’t covered yet to help us learn the areas quickly. We enjoyed it, and it was fun coming up with different methods on achieving what Jarkko had asked us to do.

        Friday of that week though was the first kick off day to our case study. The case study would be the biggest focus for the following weeks.

        We were split into teams, representative of the cities we came from. The same teams we used in Teemu’s session.

        The case study was split into 4 phases:

        1. Design a solution for migrating a 3-tier web app to Azure.
        2. Implement the solution using the portal.
        3. Implement the solution using ARM templates.
        4. Implement the solution using Devops.

        Our first task, designing the solution.

        We had most of one day to design the solution. This took us back to our original task with Teemu for designing a solution in the cloud. All of us learned a lot since then, and felt that this time, our design was clear and informative.

        The key part was to remember that what we were designing, was what we were implementing. So, making it overcomplicated would impede us later. Keeping it simple was the way to go.

        WEEK 4

        This week we were primarily focusing on the next 2 phases of our case study. We had a day to implement our solution via the portal. It wasn’t too bad to get through. Using the portal to implement our solution was a great way to learn more features that we hadn’t used previously, but with that said, the knowledge we had already learned helped us get through the implementation without an issue.

        But on Tuesday, that was when the difficult part began. Implementing our solution via ARM templates.

        It wasn’t just writing out a single template and throwing it up into Azure, we needed to ensure that we were using features such as nesting and linked templates. The extra challenges made it extra difficult.

        It was tough, but at the same time the difficulty of the task helped us learn more about ARM templates.

        We were still split into teams, but that didn’t stop the groups from helping each other. We would often reach out to other teams to get their take on what we were struggling with and vice versa. After all, although we were in mini-teams, we are all trying to achieve the same goal. There is no shame in asking for help and advice, and it was great to see teams helping each other throughout the tasks.

        WEEK 5

        Our colleagues who were with us in Week 1 came back to Poznan in Week 5. It was great to see each other again after a few weeks. We took the time to go out for drinks to catch up as well as talking about what we had learned and how we accomplished the case study the previous week.

        Starting off the week with going out was a good idea considering what we were going to be learning that week.

        It was a very detailed and intensive few days of DevOps with Krzysztof, learning Azure DevOps, Git and CI/CD Pipelines.

        Considering our next task was to implement our solution using DevOps, the trainings we had were super helpful, and well taught. The lessons were tailor made to our group, and really opened our eyes to the possibilities behind CI/CD processes and automation.

        Once we had gone through these trainings and labs, we had half a day focusing on our soft skills. Hosted by a third party, it was primarily focused around public speaking, and getting us used to being able to talk openly to a large group of people. It was a nice break from the intensive technical training, as many of us were still processing the raw information provided to us the days before.

        And then came Friday, Kubernetes day. Piotr hosted a workshop not only for us, but for anyone who wanted to join. Going through the many subjects surrounding Kubernetes, performing labs using either our existing clusters from labs before, or using MiniKube.

        The workshop was once again super helpful.

        That evening though, it was nice to relax at an office party. The timing was great as we still had our colleagues on the TAP in Poznan who could join us. A fun party to get to meet and greet people who we hadn’t yet spoken to, drinks, pizza, it was great!

        Not to mention a couple of surprise birthdays on that day too with 2 of our TAP colleagues. An excellent evening that was most definitely needed, after a super intensive week.

        FINAL WEEK

        In our final week, we had the whole week to complete our DevOps task. This was truly a step up, as we had heard that in the past TAP teams had struggled with this case study. The intricacies in the task were difficult to deal with, but it didn’t stop us.

        Building our repo through to building the branches and pipelines… we found ourselves restructuring a few times as we were trying to automate the entire deployment.

        Once again, we were reaching out to other teams to get their take on certain methods and vice versa. We also had a lot of help from Krzysztof guiding us in the right direction.

        After multiple failures…

        We finally managed to get it working. We were super happy with what we had accomplished. The feeling of accomplishment was one of a kind.

        That afternoon we talked about the TAP, giving overall feedback and what happens next. We received our diplomas and now… fully qualified Azure Knights! Next step? Becoming an Azure Master.

         

        One thing! We haven’t planned a new TAP yet, however stay tuned since after holiday season it might happen again! So far, we don’t stop recruiting for Azure Cloud Architects in all countries where we have the offices. Follow the link here and check our current openings.

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          Talent Acceleration Program – Azure Whiteboard Day

          This week was the start of something special. An opportunity to grow my skills into a technology that I had never been given the chance to get into. The cloud is not just the flavour of the month, but it’s a revolution, and anyone who has worked in the IT industry can tell you that the cloud is next stage for all companies.AzureWhiteboardDay_1 I was lucky enough to be part of this program at Nordcloud, the Talent Acceleration Program. It takes in IT professionals with different backgrounds, some with a bit of cloud experience, some with next to no experience, but all with one thing in common – a drive to learn and be part of this revolution.

          Transforming into a Cloud Engineer in 6 weeks

          The program consists of 6 weeks of intense cloud training. By the end of it, you’re on a cloud implementation team as a Cloud Engineer. Sounds too good to be true right? Well… it’s true, and it’s pretty awesome. It just shows that the resources are valued more than anything else.

          I want to talk about a specific day that we experienced. But before that… a bit of context.

          Throughout the week we had been going through Azure Fundamentals (Introduction to Microsoft Azure for IT Professionals 10979). From subscription and billing through to creating resource groups and web apps. It was full on from the get-go. For many in the room, it’s completely brand new information. And there’s a LOT of information.

          After modules were discussed and explained by Jarkko Girs (Certified Azure trainer @Nordcloud), we had labs to perform a specific exercise based on what we had just learned. The labs were getting more and more difficult each time, but we are all still managing!AzureWhiteboardDay_2

          Modernize a company’s web app infrastructure

          But especially one day (Thursday of week-1 to be specific), was a fantastic learning day. None of us knew what to expect from that day’s session, but I think I can speak for everyone when I say that we all left with our heads held high and a much deeper understanding of what to expect with our day-to-day work.

          Teemu Tapanila (The Azure Guru from Nordcloud Helsinki office) ran the show. I don’t think I’ve ever met someone who smiles as much as he does… I think this is because he knew what we were in for. He jumped straight in with telling us that we’re gonna have interesting tasks to accomplish.AzureWhiteboardDay_3We were all assigned into teams. 3 members each. Referencing more to our location than anything else. I was Team Poznan. Felt like I was running for a national football team, but with only 3 players (would make an interesting match… but I digress). Our first task…

          Modernize a company’s web app infrastructure. We had reference materials, and after a short discussion about what the company has, what they want to achieve, it was our job to plan full architecture for this company.

          There were many technical details to this assignment which I won’t get into… but it made us think… what is this company not telling us? At least in my experience, clients never give you the full picture, or at least tell you at the last minute a change to the plan. It’s hard to break from that mindset.AzureWhiteboardDay_4After going through with the team, we kept asking ourselves “what about this, what about that”, “what do they mean by this” “do they really want that?”… It’s only now that I realize that maybe we thought too much about the task ahead, and should have taken it at face value.

          A blank board

          As we were going through, we had nothing written on our board. We were still too busy trying to figure out what the customer didn’t want while making lists of questions and answers. We looked around, whiteboards were already being drawn on, some crazy maps and architecture designs… we looked at ours. Time to start writing. AzureWhiteboardDay_5We got through it, and we had a good plan. Although, the way it was drawn on the board made certain things unclear, in which we were questioned about. It was expected.

          I genuinely felt comfortable about speaking out to the class… already been with this bunch a few days now, not a problem right? The moment that invisible mic was in front of me, and that imaginary spotlight was shining on me, I started to choke. Because I realized that while we were writing all this out, it made sense but when I looked at it now, it made no sense. So I tried to make sense of what we drew even though I knew full well what we had drawn.AzureWhiteboardDay_6It was a good plan. It could work, but… it would have been rather expensive. Luckily while talking, Pawel jumped in at a few moments to save me. I’ve never been a good public speaker.

          As we went around the groups, I’m seeing some amazing designs and thinking… why didn’t we think of that? I had a couple of questions for the other groups to try and understand their thought process behind their design. It allowed me to widen my gaze to more possibilities.AzureWhiteboardDay_7DON’T OVERTHINK NEXT TIME – I said to myself after the task.

          Teemu went through it all. Explained the “true” answer to the task at hand, and proceeded to explain what each element was in that answer. Incredibly enlightening.

          We then started talking about costs. Money is definitely an interesting subject when it comes to Azure, and although I think most of us knew the basics of it all – with using that Azure calculator – we really didn’t know where those costs were most effective. But it was fully explained, and I believe we all started to acknowledge where certain aspects of Azure Services can save the client a lot of money, and where some certain services (*cough* API Management *cough*) are just ridiculous in costs.

          We went out for lunch. A break after that intensive exercise was definitely needed.

          Migration to the cloud

          After lunch though… in my eyes we were given a much tougher task to accomplish. A full assessment and migration plan for a company with incredibly old, outdated on-prem technology to the cloud.

          For me, this was interesting. I’ve done migrations before, but not to the cloud. Only to new on-prem infrastructure. So I’ve got the client experience in dealing with such a hefty task. But on paper… migration to the cloud is a LOT easier than a domain migration. So it shouldn’t be too much of an issue, right?

          Phew… Luckily, both Pawel and Lukasz were on the ball. Pawel had already done a P2V migration before, and Lukasz definitely knew the best approach. With our experiences, we had this in the bag… Until we started overthinking again. I think we asked Teemu like 50 questions about what the client wanted.

          We ended up giving the client a choice. Do they want a lift and shift while they sort out their in-house development issues, or do they want to go full-on cloud. We were confident in what we presented. And luckily this time it was Pawel’s turn to talk.

          Apart from one quick change at the end of our design which got questioned, we had a good plan for the situation. And as we went around the room with the other teams, it seemed that everyone was on the exact same setup when it came to offering both a lift and shift or full migration (some offering both, some offering one or the other).

          It at least made me feel confident knowing that the whole room was on the same page with what we had learned.AzureWhiteboardDay_8If we go back just 4 days, I wouldn’t have been able to tell you what “lift and shift” was, and yet here we were, writing a design based off that method (not the cleanest method mind you, but it suited the task at hand).

          Teemu was an excellent and engaging teacher, and I do hope we see more of his whiteboard sessions in our time here. If anyone hasn’t experienced it, I highly encourage them to do so.

          Exercises like this really help to quickly pick up topics. You need to google for answers sure, but that’s exactly what anyone would do when they are stuck, even at a project level. And when you do, you learn quickly as to what tools and methods are available out there to help you accomplish what you need to accomplish.

          Kind Regards,
          Geraint Jones – Cloud Engineer @Norddcloud

          AzureWhiteboardDay_9

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            The Poznań Project – getting familiar with Azure

            CATEGORIES

            Life at Nordcloud

            Azure Talent Acceleration Program

            Me and two fellow Finnish Azure Padawans started our journey with Nordcloud on January 2nd, right after New Year 2019. The first two days went with introductions, getting to know the office, getting our equipment etc. Talent Acceleration Program itself started the following Monday, 7th of January, in Poland at our Poznan office. Our journey to Poznań started on Sunday at Helsinki Airport where we met the TAP leader Aki Stenberg and our trainer Jarkko Girs. The plan was to be at our destination in the afternoon but our flight from Helsinki to Munich was delayed and we missed our connecting flight to Poznan. So, we ended up waiting for six hours at Munich Airport to get to the next available flight, arriving in Poznan around midnight. We had accommodation sorted out, so we took a taxi from the airport to the Apartamenty Pomaranczarnia, apartment complex located in the centre of the city, where I shared a flat with Timi. The apartment was really nice and it was also located in a rather quiet street. After travelling for nearly 12 hours, the only good decision was to get some sleep. 

            First week in Poznań

            On Monday morning we met with Esa and Tom (from the London office) and headed to McDonald’s to get some McBreakfast. This became a habit, we ended up having breakfast there every morning. After finding the right entrance to the office, the day started with meeting six Polish guys joining the program and Aki’s welcome words. For the first time, the whole TAP-crew was together. The day then continued with some basic Azure stuff with Jarkko. The next two days were Azure Fundamentals training by Jarkko. Lots of good stuff with a bunch of slides and labs. On Wednesday evening we went to Restaurant Brovaria to have some food and (of course!) beer. It was a very enjoyable evening involving all TAP participants and a handful of our Polish colleagues. A light-hearted session was in order for the start of Thursday, pairing up and presenting a brief introduction of ourselves in front of the group (slight caveat; we swapped roles and presented as if we were our partner), very funny and a great ice breaker for the group. On Thursday afternoon the program continued with a whiteboard session hosted by Teemu Tapanila (The Azure Guru!).

            We were split into three groups in which we needed to come up with a solution for a client that provided us their needs and so on. Every group succeeded quite well considering the fact that we only had had a few days of Azure training. Great session!

            On Friday morning Matti Puolitaival (Senior Cloud Architect) gave us the first glimpse of our upcoming case study and Dariusz Dwornikowski gave a presentation around our potential career possibilities at Nordcloud. Another Azure guru, Slawomir Stanek, gave us a presentation regarding what it’s like to be Cloud Architect at Nordcloud. The week flew by and before we knew it, it was time to wrap up the week and head to Poznań airport for our flight back to Helsinki. Luckily this time the flight went much better and we were in Helsinki approximately at the time we were supposed to be.Project Poznan

            Few weeks in Helsinki

            Week 2 started in Helsinki from where we remotely joined classroom training delivered by Jarkko in the Poznań office. This week’s Azure training consisted of Microsoft’s 70-533 and 70-535 courses, both of which are now replaced with new ones (but the content was still valid!). Once again, multiple sessions involving slide decks and technical labs. Azure training was the key focus from Monday to Wednesday, until Thursday when the focus shifted to agile methods of working, including a scrum workshop. A self-study day was planned for the Friday, primarily watching Pluralsight training videos.

            Week 3 began in a similar vein to week 2, remotely joining the classroom training delivered by Jarkko. Thursday arrived which meant case study time! A brief morning kick-off quickly moved on to a planning meeting in our individual teams (the group was divided up into 2 Polish teams and the Finnish team, including their honorary Finn ‘Tom’). Team Finland came up with our high-level design quite quickly, initially drafting this on paper and then moving this into a LucidChart diagram. Once we received approval from our mentor that our design would work in practice, we were able to proceed with creating the environment (manually via the Azure portal). This work consumed the rest of Thursday and Friday morning. By Friday afternoon we were ready to present our progress to the other teams during the case study review. Our design was by no means perfect, but overall progress was good and the week had been a success. Time for a well-earned beer!

            Monday morning arrived, meaning week 4 could commence. Time was allocated in the morning for teams to finalise any outstanding tasks from the manual Azure build in week 3. By 12 pm this was complete, and then we got a 90-minute introduction into working with ARM templates by one of the Senior Cloud Architects. Now the case study started to get interesting! We were tasked with replicating the environment we created in week 3, but this time using only ARM templates to carry out our deployments. This was quite a steep learning curve for us all, many of the group had no prior experience working with ARM, but all 3 teams managed to create working templates and make good progress. Friday afternoon signalled another case study review. Team Finland had some slight problems with our templates, so we weren’t able to make it work by then. Not a major issue though, luckily the next phase of the case study wasn’t starting in week 5 and we had time to fix this. All in all, another successful week. It appeared working with Azure wasn’t quite so scary after all?

            Back to Poznań

            Week 5; DevOps time! Once again our journey to Poznań began on the Sunday from Helsinki Airport. We couldn’t have the same travel issues that we experienced in week 1, could we? Yes, we could! This time the flight from Helsinki to Munich was even more delayed than last time. Our flight left over two hours late, meaning yet again we missed our connecting flight to Poznan. To make matters worse, our replacement connecting flight was then cancelled too, a night in Munich for us then! Eventually departing Munich the following day around 1 pm, unfortunately, meant missing the first day of DevOps training. Top tip: don’t ever fly via Munich. Finally, we arrived in Poznań, finding the nearest Uber and heading to our apartment to meet Esa and Tom. 26 hours of travelling could only mean one thing, dinner at “bar a boo”, if you’re ever in Poznan, try it, you won’t be disappointed!Project Poznan On Tuesday we joined the DevOps training held by Krzysztof Knapik (only 1 day later than planned!). Another mixture of technical slides and intuitive labs. The training had been tailor-made for the TAP program, this was great. Team Finland managed to complete some outstanding tasks on Tuesday evening that had been left over from the previous case study, this meant we could fully focus on learning CI/CD pipelines!

            Krzysztof’s training continued on Wednesday and was completed by close of business, a really interesting and valuable 3 days. Wednesday was again chosen as the Padawan evening event, bowling and a few drinks was the plan, what could go wrong? After good fun bowling, mixed with dinner and beers, it was decided a group visit to the local shot bar was the best plan! The night was great fun, although the entire TAP-crew certainly appeared to be nursing a hangover the next day.

            Thursday was our introduction to security in Azure, held by Senior Developer Joona Somerkivi and Cloud Security Architect Joni Helle. The sessions were a real eye opener, the important lessons were to ensure you’re always in control and cover your ass! Joni Helle presented a really useful workshop/lab regarding how to identify security flaws in Azure and properly secure your deployments. Friday was Kubernetes day, a fast-paced introduction hosted by Piotr Kieszczynski. Most of the group were complete Kubernetes rookies prior to this session so there were lots to learn! The pace was difficult to keep up with at times, but it was great to get an instructor-led introduction to the platform.Project Poznan After the Friday session, it was time to return our key cards and say goodbye to all the great people at Poznań office (hopefully we get a chance to visit once again!). There were no Helsinki bound flights from Poznan on Friday evening, this meant a 4 am wake up on Saturday morning. We checked out of the apartment (which we had grown quite fond of in the 2 weeks we had stayed), returned the keys to reception, hopped in an Uber and headed to the airport. Our flight was surprisingly right on time, meaning we had nearly an hour to spend in Munich. The connecting flight to Helsinki was also on time and we arrived at Helsinki Airport around midday. A relaxing weekend was needed before the last week of TAP commenced.Project Poznan

            Final week

            Before we knew it, week 6 arrived, the final week of TAP. Starting on Monday morning with the DevOps case study kick off. Time to build some DevOps CI/CD pipelines, and once again deliver the environment we had created twice before throughout the program. Having learnt valuable lessons from the previous case study tasks (and, seeing how the Polish teams had worked), Team Finland managed their time much more effectively, minimising time spent in meetings and carving up the project into individually assigned tasks. We ended the task with a “mostly working” solution, some minor things were still missing by the time of case study review at Friday morning (again, not a major problem, the main point of the exercise is to become comfortable working with CI/CD pipelines in a “real-world” scenario). On Friday afternoon we had our final closing TAP meeting, Aki recapped what we had gone over in the past 6 weeks, the Padawans then had a chance to give feedback and discuss about the past six weeks.Project Poznan We did it! TAP Azure? Done! We got our TAP diplomas, and it was now time to prepare ourselves for assignment on real customer cases. The six weeks went by incredibly fast, lots to learn, at times very demanding, but equally rewarding and totally worth it. All ten Padawans concurring the TAP program was a great success. A huge thanks to Aki, Jarkko and everyone who was involved in the program – time to get started in the real world!

            Our Talent Acceleration Program

            More Cloud Training at Nordcloud

            Interested in Cloud careers – Apply here!

            Text: Jukka Loikkanen & Tom Lloyd, Photos: Jukka Loikkanen & Aki Stenberg

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              Pinja’s day at Talent Acceleration

              CATEGORIES

              Life at Nordcloud

              Hi everybody!

              You are warmly welcomed to follow my day in our Talent Acceleration team! 

              Who am I and what do I actually do, besides talking a lot while waving my hands and hanging out in Linkedin? And what is talent acceleration actually? Those are the things I hope to answer with this short story.

              pinja-nordcloud

              First of all I’m going to tell you a bit more about myself. You may call me Pinja, one of the Talent Acquisition Ninjas of Nordcloud. I joined the company in June 2018 and jumped on a fast-forward moving train of a rapidly growing tech company with huge potential to untap. This ride has been an absolute pleasure so far and suddenly I’ve found myself in the most interesting, new and exciting situations. Our growth has been impressive, and there is still a lot to do. For a recruiter and HR person like myself, this is a very challenging but especially rewarding situation to be in. As our company’s motto states, ‘we power up our customers’ business with an unlimited source of energy: our people”. This is people business to its core. For me, the feeling of getting things done and seeing some of my recruits walking around at the office with a Nordcloud hoodie on is the best possible reward.

              My background

              My own background is very far from tech savvy, but I claim to know something about people. I’ve always been intrigued by all things humane and therefore studying social psychology was a perfect match for me. Recruiting was a quite natural career path to take after that, as working with people is my greatest source of motivation. Matching great talent with new opportunities, seeing people step up their game when given the right chance and seeing the sparkle in their eyes while doing so is what makes me happy. The years working with tech recruitments have also created the little engineer in me and suddenly I see myself doing bits of coding stuff, fighting with Excel and reading about all things technical – you really are the company you keep!

              My regular day looks like..

              Well, honestly there isn’t a regular day! I do a lot of basic recruitments stuff, such as interviews, hunt and gather CVs and send out technical assignments, job offers and take care of our new joiners. I work closely with our managers and try to solve their business needs from a resource point of view. Our talent acceleration works hard to solve the need for people in a field where there are not enough cloud-skilled people existing. We have created our own solution for this and are training our own pros.

              Currently I am recruiting people for Poland and Germany, where we are offering a permanent employment and a full-time six weeks of training in Microsoft Azure to start with. This is a big project, where everything has to be orchestrated carefully, so I’ve been spending recently a lot of time networking with the right people, planning, researching and just testing things that could work out. This is ramping up growth and creating market entry at the same time, in addition to the normal recruitment activities.

              What is Nordcloud talent acceleration?

              The basic philosophy of this ‘talent acceleration as a strategy’ is to accelerate the skills and productivity level of new hires and existing staff too. Basically this makes it possible for you to hire into specific roles at an “underfill” level and rapidly accelerate new hires to full performance. Shortly put, it is critical for talent acquisition to create talent strategies that meet future challenges now, not next year. Job market, especially in tech, is in constant flux and shifting so fast that normal recruitment processes and traditional talent acquisition can’t catch up.

              PS. You can find me at Linkedin, feel free to connect there!

              Check our open positions here

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                Captain’s Log @ Nordcloud Talent Acceleration

                Ahoy there! I have just returned from week 1 of Nordcloud’s Talent Acceleration programme in Helsinki, 6-week AWS training course aimed at seasoned IT professionals to turn them into cloud experts with a mixture of classroom lectures, practical labs and real-world scenarios.

                Upon accepting Nordcloud’s offer, I knew I’d be joining with other new starters from around Europe in Helsinki for week 1, but where would we be sleeping? A hotel? A shared apartment?

                helsinki

                The accommodation details came through on email along with the rest of the joining members, a two-bedroom houseboat for the 5 Nordcloud students. It certainly looked cosy from the picture. I’ll say that I was a little apprehensive about sharing close quarters with people I’ve never met before. We coordinated our visit between ourselves over email and mobile messaging groups, arranging to meet up depending when our flights arrived in Helsinki.

                boat

                It turned out that I was one of the first to arrive, and I had been liaising with the boat owner to arrange picking up keys (or perhaps “on-boarding” is a better term here). I was greeted by a tall Russian with a big grey beard, a ship’s captain if ever I’ve seen one! He proceeded to give me a thorough tour of the boat’s quarters during which I placed my belongings in the prime sleeping spot. He then told me he would show me how to fill the water tank as over a week, it would run out. He placed a large hi-vis vest on me and said “you’re the captain now, Captain Terry…” He then said “follow me” and grabbed a hose from the side of the harbour, put it between his teeth and climbed down the side of the boat on a small ledge no bigger than 5cm. The weather was kind in Helsinki, however, I wasn’t too keen on falling and taking a swim in the harbour water. I told him I had a great view from where I was, and he proceeded to hold onto the boat with one hand and placing the hose into the tank, just above the water line. He said that if we had any problems with filling up the tank then we should call him… I was pretty sure we’d be calling him.

                UCN Terry

                Life on the open sea was good to us for the week, with the activities planned plus eating out together each evening, we didn’t spend too much time on the boat apart from sleeping. It was certainly a good way to get to know my fellow Nordcloud candidates. When we ran out of water midway through the week, I took captain’s responsibility to go and fill the tank and did so without incident. With the long list of things I learnt during the start of the Nordcloud Talent Acceleration course, boat maintenance was a surprise addition to the list!

                I have just booked my flights for week 5 meet-up in Helsinki, I await the accommodation email with interest…

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                  Meet our first graduates from Nordcloud Talent Acceleration

                  At Nordcloud Talent Acceleration, we provids a fast-track learning program enabling people to become a cloud expert in just 6 weeks.

                  Our first Cloud Engineer track kicked off in June 2018 and will soon be followed by two more Cloud Engineer tracks starting 27.8.2018 and 1.10.2018, and a Cloud Developer track starting 27.8.2018.

                  You can apply and find more information on these coming programs here.

                  University of cloud

                  Let’s talk a bit with the first graduates about their experiences on the training program

                  We asked the graduates:

                  1. Why did you apply for this program?
                  2. How does this differ as a training program, what is unique about Nordcloud Talent Acceleration?
                  3. What happens after the program?
                  4. Would you recommend this to your network and why?

                   

                  Harri Lakkala

                  1. For me this program meant a return to a more technical role. I have a background in IT across many roles, as a software developer, as a sysadmin, and my last role was working as a consultant. But I was interested the future and being on the cutting edge and learning about cloud services – Nordcloud Talent Acceleration program offered all this and a possibility to get real work experience in actual customer projects.
                  2. I think it is courageous and awesome that Nordcloud created this training program as I have not seen a similar program anywhere in Finland or even Europe.
                  3. From what I’ve understood, there is a real shortage of cloud professionals, especially of seasoned Cloud Architects at the moment. This program aims to tackle that problem both for Nordcloud and the trainees – it’s a real win-win.
                  4. What makes this unique is that you are a salaried employee from day 1 (including the training period), unlike in trainings supported by TE-keskus or others, and we get extensive AWS trainings with excellent trainers.

                  Read more on Harri experiences in Harri´s blog post ‘Taking the fast-track to become a cloud expert’

                   

                  Chigozie Nwogu

                  1. I am an I.T professional based in Stockholm Sweden, having worked previously within the area of Telecommunications and IP networks. I applied because of my interest in working with public cloud technologies, the opportunity to get trained by industry leaders in this area, and the career growth opportunities Nordcloud Talent Acceleration offers.
                  2. The quality of training has been great. What I especially find unique is that Nordcloud provides several non classroom based activities such as talks from management and sales teams, sessions with experienced cloud architects, and team bonding activities. This gives a well rounded educational experience.
                  3. After the training, my ambition is to be assigned to projects and become cloud ninjas within the shortest amount of time! 🙂
                  4. Yes, most definitely, I would recommend this program. Why? because this is a unique and great opportunity to actualise your ambition of becoming a cloud expert.

                   

                  Daniel Ssekasiko

                  1. I applied for Nordcloud Talent Acceleration because I wanted to acquire skills and experience  within the public cloud, I have worked with traditional IT-infrastructure mixed with software development along with projects in Electrical engineering/Telecommunications. With that basis, this program suited me perfectly. I have always had a lot of interest working with virtual environments and therefore Cloud Computing. When Nordcloud Talent Acceleration surfaced, I gladly took up the opportunity and applied.
                  2. Nordcloud Talent Acceleration is a special program compared to other training programs because of its carefully tailored fast track plan that only takes 6 weeks coupled with theory and labs to impact the participant with top notch skills within the cloud. The program exceeded my expectations because I didn’t think that this kind of training could provide me with these sorts of skills in such a short time period.
                  3. After the training, I’ll go into the Cloud industry to work with Nordcloud.
                  4. I would gladly recommend this, because it’s fast track plan that runs for just six weeks. Participants will receive well crafted theory with relevant on point labs equipping them with the right skills within the shortest possible time.

                   

                  Ilkka Kaartinen

                  1. I moved to London little over a year ago and started looking for a new job. Previously I worked as CIO of Eira hospital in Helsinki, Finland. Through various contacts I ended up in the training to get more experience in cloud.
                  2. This training program is really intensive and gets through in just few weeks modules that normally take up to half a year. I find the program very interesting and well made.
                  3. After the training I am continuing working with a client I have worked with throughout the program.
                  4. Yes, I would recommend this program, especially for experienced IT professionals. This is not a trainee program and it is suitable for anyone who wants to find new direction in their career. It’s also very interesting to see what different backgrounds the Padawans have as well!

                   

                  Philip Ejenarhome

                  1. I have always been interested in cloud and wanted to gain knowledge and competence in that field.  Once the opportunity to train and become a cloud guru in 6 weeks became possible through this program,  I did not have to think twice, I just followed my passion.
                  2. The approach to the training gives you a rich mix of theory and implementation and you get to put the theory to practice at once. You get the opportunity to participate in workshops with senior colleagues and the opportunity to innovate during the program. You’re also getting hands on experience with real life customer problems.
                  3. After this training I will continue working with customer cases.
                  4. I would recommend this, one million procent 🙂

                   

                  Petri Laakso

                  1. I have a background in traditional IT, but friends recommended cloud technology to me. They said it is the future and a good career move!
                  2. We have had time to get to know new theories and systems without any pressure and I can safely say the fast-track training program has been a positive experience. There is also time to catch up and get familiar with things. We have been given the tools for studying and learning, for example: AWS-accounts to actually test and try things yourself without having to cover the account costs oneself.
                  3. I will be working with a customer after this training, which means I am employed already.
                  4. I have recommended this program already to my network, especially to those who have the potential and interest in cloud.

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                    Taking the fast-track to become a Cloud Expert

                    CATEGORIES

                    Life at Nordcloud

                    Can you transform IT professionals into cloud experts in just 6 weeks?

                    – Well, I’d say Yes and No, but let me elaborate on that answer a bit. 🙂

                    I’m one of the participants in Nordcloud’s first Talent Acceleration program, which kicked off in the beginning of June. Nordcloud helps its’ customers to utilize the public cloud, but currently there’s a real shortage of cloud professionals, especially of seasoned Cloud Architects. Nordcloud Talent Acceleration is a fast-track program – lasting just 6 weeks – for training cloud experts from seasoned IT professionals to help Nordcloud mitigate talent demand.

                    After the training period ends in middle of August we’ll graduate to become Cloud Engineer, and start working in real customer projects, with the support of more senior staff members in the beginning. Getting real work experience in actual customer projects is a valuable thing, and one you can’t get with just taking cloud courses.

                     

                    From software developer to cloud expert

                    For myself, the program is a return to a more technical role. At the start of my career I worked couple of years as a software developer and later on part as a sysadmin, but my last role has been working as a consultant – in theory mostly helping customers with collaboration tools and B2B marketing, but in practice selling my expertise in a very wide range of topics related to digitalisation. I’ve done everything from doing studies and compiling reports to delivering trainings and public speeches but also some technical work as well.

                    All of us in the #1 program have several years of work experience in the traditional IT fields; most seem to come from a networking or a sysadmin background, but some have also programming experience. We will be going through several AWS courses (architecting, systems operations and DevOps), which comprise of both classroom training and labs, but we’re also working in small teams on a couple of case studies, i.e. architecting, implementing and automating an environment modeled after a real customer case (so called ”Lift & Shift” case).

                     

                    Digging deeper into cloud platforms

                    I’ve been following the developments in the cloud field, but never had a change to dig deeper into any of the cloud platforms, while working as a consultant on the application layer things. Getting familiar with Amazon Web Services has been very interesting, and I’ve been amazed about the possibilities virtual servers in the public cloud, containers and serverless offers. We have currently learnt both how to build modern server architectures in AWS by ourselves, and also started to learn how to automate infra creation as well. The thought that one can just store a complex server infrastructure in a version control system, and easily deploy that to any other region is mind-boggling – to say the least.

                    Nordcloud has also done quite a lot of IoT and AI / Machine Learning projects – which I wasn’t aware of before joining – and offers advisory services as well. As I’m always interested in new technologies and have consulting experience, I might lean into that direction in the future; let’s see.

                    So getting back to the original question – yes, I think we will be ready to work as Cloud Engineers after the program, but I’m sure there will still be a lot to learn and working with our experienced Cloud Architects will definitely help us get productive in a fast manner.

                    I’ll try to find the time to write another blog post or two about my experience later on, so stay tuned!

                    Harri Lakkala, Nordcloud Talent Acceleration Cloud Trainee

                     

                    BTW. If you are an IT professional working on the ”old stuff”, check out the Nordcloud Talent Acceleration websiteNordcloud has at least 2 more infra tracks coming up in August and there’s also a new Cloud Developer track. You are a salaried employee from day 1 (including the training period) and get pretty extensive AWS trainings, so becoming a cloud expert has never been easier!

                     

                    Harri Lakkala is one of the Nordcloud Talent Acceleration track #1 participants and a seasoned IT/Digitalisation Expert. This blog post has been cross-posted from Harri’s LinkedIn blog.

                     

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