From intern to solution developer:
Q&A with Suraj Ranjit

  

Suraj Ranjit started as an intern here in 2014, and now works full-time as one of the solution developers.

In this Q&A, he shares some of his background and what it’s like to start out and work at Sandfield, some common misconceptions about getting into I.T. development, and how he's getting ahead.

 
What were you doing before you started at Sandfield?

“I loved maths and science at highschool and had not considered a career in the I.T sector.
I was studying maths, science and opto electronics in my first year at Uni. Then I did a summer school paper in computer science, I got a good grade and decided to investigate further. Having a background in maths and science and logical problem solving made compsci a natural fit. I was able to change my major to get a BSc in Computer Science without needing to stay longer.
After that I decided to look into postgraduate studies. I honestly hadn’t even considered being a software developer, I didn’t think I could do it because I’d done more theoretical papers in programming rather than any practical projects - so I was thinking about less technical roles within IT”

 
How did you come to apply for an internship here?
“I met Ana, a software developer at Sandfield, and learnt a bit about the company from her. I explored the company website and applied for an internship.
I was a bit reluctant to apply initially, as I was conscious I lacked industry experience and practical programming skills. But in the interview, it was emphasised that Sandfield views internships as an opportunity to grow these skills - they’re looking for candidates with the potential and aptitude to learn and grow on the job. So don’t be afraid to apply if you don’t have the perfect set of technical skills - if you’re hungry to learn and are a strong team player, then these technical skills can be learnt on the job. I think real world skills - communicating well with clients and your team - being able to collaborate, means you have a lot to offer in becoming a fully rounded software developer”

 
What did you do as an intern?
“I started working on in-house web projects and R&D projects involving prototyping. It was good to work on a variety of areas that had useful applications to the real world. I felt like a valued part of the team and my ideas were listened to, with really insightful feedback.
As developers, problems arise a lot - and I learnt it’s important to stay calm and methodically find a solution. My mentors also gave me the opportunities to feel safe to make mistakes and learn from them”

 
What were some highlights of your internship?
“A highlight was the mentorship I received, I always felt well supported and like I was being taught by some of the best in the industry. I liked how approachable everyone was and how passionate they were about continually learning and sharing this knowledge.
I liked the flexibility of hours. A Sandfield internship is different in that you can integrate study with the internship, it’s not just a 'summer internship’ - this flexibility is really useful. You also feel like there’s a realistic chance of a job at the end if it’s the right fit for both you and the team.
I enjoyed having the ability and satisfaction that comes with solving real world business problems through software development. I like that what I’m doing adds value”
 

"I think real world skills - communicating well with clients and your team - being able to collaborate, means you have a lot to offer in becoming a fully rounded software developer" 

 
 
Why did you decide to become permanent?

“The internship gave me the confidence to want to progress as a developer. I also really liked the people who work here, so saw some great mentoring opportunities for growth and also socialising with a good group of people”

How has your career progressed since being at Sandfield?
“I was put on the Mainfreight team and assigned to a number of different technical and business tasks over time to continue developing these skills.
Sandfield doesn’t have a ‘backroom’ with business analysts and sales people, developers are the whole package here and that holistic set up really appealed to me. I like that you get to see a project through from set-up to completion - you have ownership and can shape the progress and outcome, I think this means a better experience for the client and also for me as a developer.
They’re good at letting you pursue your passions here. After the first year, I shared that I enjoyed working directly with clients and liaising on requirements, so I was assigned more of this type of work and found satisfaction in using the agile methodology to work on projects together”


What has been a highlight of working at Sandfield?
“Working on the rollout of Mainstreet - Mainfreight’s new domestic freighting application customised to US, AU & NZ specifications. 70,000 shipments move through the system weekly in NZ alone. We have the client team, 10x core developers and some external developers who work on the systems - so it’s a lot of collaborative work. Having ownership of one of the areas of this rollout was cool, and gave me the skills and confidence to work in an intense and high pressure environment with high stakes”.