Life at a tech startup – Meet associate Penny

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Penelope Sowden Associate Consultant
 

Tech is an exciting place to be, it’s a growing industry that’s always evolving and there’s plenty of opportunity to go around. But what is it like to work at a tech startup?

We asked Penny, who joined the Intechnica team as a philosophy graduate in June 2016, about her experience.

Were you actively seeking a role in tech start-up?

After speaking to a lot of recruiters yes, I was. I realised there was a lot of change going on in tech and it would be an exciting industry to be part of.

Working in a small company appealed to me as well. During the interview process I got to meet a lot of the senior team who made me feel assured that Intechnica is a very welcoming place to work. Everyone was really friendly from the off!

What did a day in the life of Penny look like when you first joined Intechnica?

When I first joined the business development team we were very much focused on outbound lead generation.

It was a huge learning curve after a philosophy degree. Even though I put my analytical thinking in to practice, we were taking on a lot of new information about the tech industry and needed to get to grips with the terminology to help us speak to prospects.

Experts throughout the business were really helpful and would often sit with me for hours, talking me through how our software product works and how it helps clients.

We also spent a lot of time shadowing senior team members at client meetings, which was a great opportunity to learn and experience what it would eventually be like to transition into that role.

How did you find learning about the technology?

It was quite technical, but the Intechnica team are all very helpful and were often able to explain things at a business level with real world examples.

Senior team members particularly, were always happy to give us graduates time to chat. So, although it was quite a lot to get your head round, everyone took time to explain and pointed us in the right direction to useful materials that the business would purchase on our behalf.

Even now, if we put a good case forward for a course, the business always supports us through it.

You’ve been with Intechnica through a lot of change and growth, how has that affected your day-to-day role?

My role has shifted from business development executive to associate.

Myself and Libby, who also joined Intechnica as a graduate at the same time as me, have both been able to take on a lot of responsibility quite quickly in these roles. For instance, we’re now responsible for scoping and costing client projects, carrying out client pitches and looking after the clients directly.

I think being part of a small team that’s growing quickly, means that everyone’s voice is heard and valued around the table. You’re given the independence to execute your ideas with the support of your team around you.

Would you say the same is true of working in a start-up?

Definitely, you’re friendly with people so you feel more confident being able to express yourself and I think people do really show a lot of respect for each other.

It’s a fun place to work and I think that helps make everyone feel relaxed. Particularly if you’re having a bad day or something goes wrong, there are always people there to pick each other up.

It comes down to a shared understanding that everyone’s learning and developing their skills in some way or other, so when you come in as a graduate, you don’t feel like inexperience is a hindrance. If someone doesn’t know something, another member of the team will. We can always figure it out together.

Penny Sowden

What does a day in the life of Penny look like now?

Now, I predominantly manage existing client relationships and grow accounts with comparatively less time spent on business development.

I spend a lot of time going out to see clients, getting their feedback on the work we’ve delivered and talking to them about what we can do differently next time. This helps us shape our assessments to ensure that what we’re selling is scoped correctly to the client’s requirements.

A really vital part of my role is attending networking events. Events are a great way to meet people in the industry and build your personal network.

Do you still receive support from the senior team members?

Absolutely. Projects aren’t always straightforward but it’s essential we deliver to the highest of standards, even in challenging circumstances. The challenges, and being supported through them by senior team members, help you grow in your role and also in confidence.

Have you transferred any of the skills developed in your role, to your personal life?

One of the best things about working in a start-up sales team, is the we’re all in it together attitude that everyone has, we all get stuck in and help each other out.

That shared objective and team mentality comes through in the level of support we get, and I find that I pass on the advice I’ve received from colleagues to friends when they face a challenge in the workplace.

Is having a shared objective beneficial when working in a start-up?

The business wants to grow and it’s really exciting that we’re all pushing towards the same end goal. There’s a shared sense that, while everything might not be perfect now, everyone is working as hard as they can to contribute and add value.

What do you enjoy most about your role?

I have a lot of independence day-to-day, I’m left to manage my own time and responsibilities. As long as you get the work done, everyone’s happy.

There’s a lot of visiting clients, problem-solving and new challenges to take on, so no two days are the same.

We also get to meet a variety of businesses, and it’s always really interesting to see how organisations apply technology differently.

Join the Intechnica team

We’re looking for ambitious individuals for a range of roles throughout the Intechnica team. If Penny’s journey sounds interesting and you’d like to join our growing team, talk to our recruitment team today or find out more about Intechnica.