18/03/2024 • ACA Group Team

Life at ACA: "Opportunities always arise at the perfect time"

Many school graduates take their first career steps at ACA Group. And they often stick around for a long time. Annelies Faes is one of them. She started at ACA as a developer and is now a subteam tech lead and coach. In this interview, she explains how ACA offers plenty of opportunities for young IT professionals. 🎓⬇️

Annelies Faes at work

Hi Annelies, can you tell us when and how you joined the ACA Group?

"I got to know ACA during my time as a student in Leuven. Carl Salaets, who was a few years ahead of me, enthusiastically shared his experiences about his internship at ACA. His stories about the unique culture, values, and vibe at the company triggered my curiosity. When I had to find an internship in 2016, I was sure: I had to get into ACA. I didn't even apply anywhere else. So, you can imagine my excitement when ACA confirmed my placement!

During my internship, it quickly became clear that Carl's stories were true. I felt right at home at ACA. A year later, I was offered the opportunity to start as a developer in the 'Collectiv' pod (ACA’s custom software development team). That was more than six years ago, and I'm still happy here."

You started as a developer, you say, but you've since taken on a new role?

"That's right. Today, I'm the tech lead of one of the two subteams in our project team. This means I coordinate the operations of our subteam and maintain the technical overview of the application we manage for our client amfori. The application is so extensive that we're divided into teams because it's impossible to oversee it as a whole. I serve as the point of contact and the link between our subteam and the rest of the project team.

Additionally, I still work as a developer, although I consciously try not to be directly involved in developing stories anymore. My main focus is on supporting the team as best as I can to ensure everything runs smoothly."

How did the transition to your new role as subteam tech lead unfold?

"In my first few years, I worked on various short and long-term projects. I also spent some time in the mobile team. Thanks to this variety and the opportunity to switch internally, I gradually discovered what I find interesting and where my strengths lie.

Since 2021, I am working on the sustainability platform of amfori. About a year and a half later, I was asked if I wanted to become the subteam tech lead for this project. Although I had the ambition to progress, I needed some time to consider it. The assurance that I would receive the necessary support, especially in the beginning, convinced me to take the leap."

Annelies Faes and Tom Nuttin

You mentioned the positive stories you heard about ACA during your student days. Now you've been working here for over six years. What do you find so great about working at ACA?

"Several things. Firstly, I love the professionalism and the customer-first approach that prevails here. The focus on quality is real. Everyone is 100% committed and feels personally and as a team responsible to provide the best possible solution for the customer. Additionally, I'm continually amazed by the camaraderie within ACA. There's always someone willing to help when needed, not just within our team but also beyond. Moreover, you're encouraged here to take initiative and suggest your ideas."

You've been working on the application for the client amfori for a while now. Do you find enough challenges there to keep your work interesting?

"Oh, absolutely! Every new feature block brings its own set of challenges. It's rarely straightforward. It always starts with the question: 'What is the exact need of the customer, and how can we best solve and implement it in the existing application?' There's never a one-size-fits-all solution; it's always tailored. The quest for the best possible solution and actually achieving it is very rewarding."

ACA also organizes a lot of team-building activities. Do you participate in those?

"Definitely! Nowadays, there are many fun activities organized. The annual weekend with the entire ACA team is always the highlight. I remember my first ACA weekend in Porto very well. I hadn't even officially started yet, but I was already invited to join. That weekend was one of the most memorable editions so far 🥳. Not only the location and the beautiful weather but also the fun activities and the vibrant nightlife in this world city made it unforgettable."

ACA weekend in Porto

How do you see yourself evolving within ACA Group in the coming years?

"Now that I'm comfortable in my role as a subteam tech lead, I'm looking forward to taking on the additional role as a coach in the coming period. We have a large team, and when someone new joins, they are coached by someone from our team.

As a coach, you act as a sounding board for your colleagues and work together on the areas they want to improve. The opportunity to become a coach came at the right time for me, as it always seems to happen here. Opportunities always arise when I feel ready for them. I'm excited to provide additional guidance and support to future colleagues."

Do you want to experience the career opportunities at ACA Group? ⭐