Intuit Again is an initiative that provides an opportunity for technologists to return to work after taking a break in their career for caregiving purposes. This platform not only gives candidates a chance to work at one of the “Best Companies to Work For” (#1 in India, #13 in the U.S.), but it also provides technical and other training to sharpen their professional skills.
We talked to Rada Despotovic (pictured above, far right), a software engineer who went through the program in Spring 2018, to learn about the highlights and challenges of going back to work.
Intuit: Where did you work before you paused your career?
RD: My last corporate job was with Apple as a senior back-end engineer for their online store. I worked on two highly visible components – customer account management and order workflow.
Intuit: What were the primary skills you used in that job?
RD: Enterprise Java, Oracle relational database, REST web services based on Spring MVC, and NoSQL data stores such as Oracle Coherence.
Intuit: Why did you pause your career?
RD: I took a break from work to spend more time with my family and recharge my batteries after working a very demanding job for almost six years. I also wanted to try something different, like pursuing small business ownership and taking interesting technical classes that I previously had no time for.
Intuit: What were the biggest challenges you faced when you returned to work?
RD: One of my challenges was around usage of tools that were not widely accepted before I took a break, such as GitHub or Docker. But honestly, just like any other new employee, it did not take me more than two to three weeks to get completely familiar with them.
Intuit: How did you feel about your primary skills when you returned to work?
RD: I felt great. I have always believed in myself and I did not feel disadvantaged. During my break, I became a certified solutions architect for Amazon Web Services and a big data architect for a distributed database called Cassandra. I also became a certified developer for Hadoop ecosystem, another big data platform, so all those accomplishments helped me feel more competent.
Intuit: What new skills did you develop after joining Intuit Again?
RD: I learned Kafka messaging platform and DynamoDB development and administration while working on a data-loss prevention project. I’m polishing my presentation and listening skills as there are a lot of demos and team meetings on a daily basis.
Intuit: How did people help you overcome challenges?
RD: We have hundreds of Slack channels to talk about anything, including channels for specific projects and technologies. I had a great mentor through Intuit Again and we continued our friendship later on.
Intuit: What are you working on now?
RD: I work on back-end systems for QuickBooks Online universal search. I integrate our microservices with other parts of the Small Business group and I help bring performance and stability to our production deployments.
Intuit: What would you tell someone who’s thinking about applying for Intuit Again?
RD: Go for it! You’re going to receive a lot of support. We have such a great team, starting with Tracy Stone [head of the Tech Women @ Intuit initiative]. We met many Intuit executives at our bi-weekly meetings, starting with the CTO who had a special budget just for us. They were all personally invested in our success.