Alex Shmyga, Tech Lead
Developing software to control thousands of wind parks, solar farms, and other energy assets. Sparring with the business. Working with the latest tools. Tech Lead Alex Shmyga’s job at Eneco has plenty of rewards. But in the end, he does it all for his son, as he explains in this blog.
My first interview with Eneco felt good right from the start. That was in part because of the stories I heard from the people I met. The architects, engineers, and product owners. They told me about Eneco’s energy sources on land and at sea, and how they come up with the software to automate the management of those sources. They do this with the Virtual Power Plant: an innovative platform that Eneco uses to control its assets efficiently, and to help keep the Dutch energy supply in balance.
I saw the passion in their eyes as they told me about the platform. And I thought their story was downright impressive. The VPP project is very ambitious, and the scale and complexity make it an exciting challenge for any IT specialist to help build the platform. In fact, it was exactly the kind of challenge I was looking for. On top of that, it involved the energy sector; a fascinating branch that’s developing at a rapid pace. Long story short; I was excited.
But it was the second story I heard that really convinced me. Eneco wants to be CO2-neutral by 2035, and everyone here is motivated to achieve that goal. It moved me when I heard that. I’m a father, and I hope that my son can grow up in a green and clean world. So, how great would it be to contribute to that with the solutions we’re developing?
I started working at Eneco as a Tech Lead in the Digital unit in February. It’s a fast-growing group of tech experts from a wide range of disciplines, who all work towards the same sustainable goals. Including via the Virtual Power Plant I mentioned, which we keep expanding to support the energy transition.
My discipline is software development. I’m part of a team of 6, including developers, engineers, and product owners. We work Agile, which means we start each day with a brief stand-up. We look back on the work we did the day before, discuss the challenges and solutions, and decide on the action items for the day ahead. As a Tech Lead, I try to shield the team from the details and help them focus on the bigger picture.
The daily stand-up is the only constant. The energy landscape is changing so quickly that every day is completely different from the last. Whether it’s sudden developments in the market or new propositions we need to adapt to: I’m never bored here for a second.
Before joining Eneco, I worked in ‘regtech’, short for regulatory technology. We worked within strict frameworks, and I was curious how that would be at Eneco, given that it’s such a big company. Fortunately, I found we have a real startup culture. Everyone is ambitious and eager to explore new ideas. So you have the stability of a corporate, but the freedom of a startup.
And like a startup, the lines of communication are short. I’m always in direct contact with the business, which I really appreciate. As engineers, we get carefully prepared briefings from the product owners, but we can also sit down at the table with the business developers themselves. For example, if we have questions about their propositions, or want to go over our ideas. That really speeds up the process.
There’s also room to make technical decisions on our own, too. If someone has an idea that makes sense, then we don’t debate and dissect every detail. Instead, we put it to the test and make corrections later if we need to. That’s led to some real breakthroughs in the past. And the same applies to the tools we use. We have access to the latest technologies. But if we have a good reason to bring in other tools as well, then that can be arranged. Anything to help us develop the best solutions.
So I have every reason to smile from behind my laptop. And I haven’t even mentioned the most important thing: the people I work with. They’re all talents who set the bar high but are also helpful and reliable. Together we create a work environment that feels pleasant and comfortable. Which is exactly what we need to achieve the goal we all share: a climate neutral Eneco, and a healthy planet for my son and his generation.