Meet Thomas, Head of Product in a creative developer team
Thomas did Le Wagon Brussels in 2017. Today, he is an expert in Ruby on rails and Head of Products at Seraphin. For him, Le Wagon's family and our entrepreneurial spirit made all the difference in his career. He talked to us about his job, the intrapreneur spirit alive, and how he's rocking it!
"I manage products from the idea to the launch, and I code 60% of my time."
Thomas is an enthusiastic guy, definitely busy but the kind that will always find time to listen to new ideas, stay open to new challenges. He has been working for Seraphin for 2 years now, the first 100% digital insurance broker. They automate and simplify the buying process and management of your insurances.
This very successful startup came to life in 2017 and is now ranked amongst the best 100 insurtech startups in the world. And you can find a bunch of Le Wagon alumni there.
Thomas is at the head of product and web app design. That means that he defines and slices up the product creation for his dev teams. But he still works on infrastructure, pure development, and internal bugs until the different products or features are launched. This takes up 60 % of his role at Seraphin.
"A creative developer team is an asset for the growth of a startup"
The rest of his time Thomas is also responsible for the marketing engineering in Seraphin. It's a significant asset for the growth of any startup today. Indeed, new marketing products such as SEO automation are increasingly challenging and tech-oriented and that's where the dev team can help innovate.
A big team of 8 developers in a startup of 24 employees can really make a big difference in the efficiency of other units. And at Seraphin, they use them wisely! Not only for marketing.
The day Thomas answered our questions, he had to find a very quiet place at his office to escape the in-house hackathon his company was running. Because developers like to automating everything, they can also help other departments work in a better way. And that's exactly what this in-house hackathon was about: gamifying and automate the sales'department administrative tasks, add a bit of fun, and last but not least: upskill the junior developers of the team.
Thanks to an on-edge tech team, they have always a bit of advance and have managed a huge growth for the last years.
"We are entering the scaling part and this is very exciting", says Thomas.
"What you learn at Le Wagon is also an entrepreneur mindset and that mindset doesn't leave you."
Before joining the Bootcamp and find a job at Seraphin, Thomas has had 2 years of experience in tech consultancy for ING. He has always liked understanding the world of finance and management and closing the bridge between business and tech. But, at that time, he felt like something was missing. In a big company, he felt frustrated not to see the impact of his work. He had the conviction he needed to start something new and Le Wagon was a good fit to gain tech skills and meet the right people. And that's what happened.
After Le Wagon, another alumnus offered him to join the team of developers at Seraphin as a full-stack dev. The dev team was still at an early stage but they started to develop internally a great tool to keep and train the juniors. They developed a process and a platform to onboard those developers, and they trained and upskilled as many as 12 Le Wagon alumni - and others - since.
"The entrepreneurial spirit is in the DNA of Le Wagon compared to other schools", Thomas says. "And that is a great asset for a creative dev team! That also creates a powerful network of alumni."
For him, there was a before and an after Le Wagon. "It was my launching pad for the entrepreneurial world and I don't see myself leaving. One year at Seraphin means 3 in a big company in terms of learning. If you are in a restraint environment, you are going to cap. In fact, I dream of spending 2 years in Silicon Valley to continue learning and because we are still very far behind. But we are building a European ambition, the level will rise."
Also, even if he has no plan to leave Seraphin now, he has an entrepreneurial ambition that he could see himself starting in 3 - 4 years.
Some piece of advice
Thomas explains that what he loved is the immersive concept of the Bootcamp, which is similar to learning a new language intensively. "Those who really immersed themselves came to be super good devs after 6 months - 1 year. Not especially those who had some prerequisites, but those who committed fully". He continues saying that there will be more intense learning months, even after the Bootcamp. "But those months will enable you to break the myth of tech. And once this barrier is broken, you can come back to a normal life. And that becomes a game." Come and play then!
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