When passion and practice make perfect – Inspiring sharing from two Software Engineers of the Year!

During our 20 years of operation in Vietnam, NashTech has always been an employee-focused company. For us, our people are the core of our business and because of this, NashTech organizes an annual ‘Employee of the Year’ award to express our gratitude to our outstanding Nashers.

To continue the series, let’s find out about the 2020 ‘Software Engineers of the Year’: Mr. Sang Luu and Mr. Dung Nguyen.

Sang Luu – Dare to take risks and never stop learning

Joining NashTech via our Direct Entry program, it has been two years since Sang became a Nasher. It all started with a sudden beginning that lead Sang to where he is today.

Recalling the story from just a few years ago, Sang shared that, at first, his passion was directed towards another field – not technology. But along the way of pursuing this initial goal, Sang accidentally stumbled upon the technology field and it was then that he found his true passion! Everything was new and challenging because he had moved into the tech space from a very different sector, but the more he learned and explored the intricacies of technology, the more passionate he became and was and excited to know more. Now, his goal and orientation is to become a full stack developer.

Sang says that his decision to move into the technology world, and also his decision to apply to NashTech, can be described by one word. Destiny. Sang recalled that he was walking through Etown (where our Ho Chi Minh offices are located), when he was drawn to the advert for NashTech’s Direct Entry Program. At that moment he remembered that he had heard about NashTech from a friend and he was filled with excitement and he knew then and there that he would apply for a job at NashTech.

During his career there have been many obstacles to overcome which have required Sang to put a lot of effort into researching and doing self-study. There was a time when his team needed to work 10-12 hours per day to accomplish urgent deadlines or when he received challenging tickets that needed to be resolved. What helped Sang to successfully overcome these it is to learn more, research more, challenge yourself and dare to ask.

He is also being very humble when sharing about the ‘Employee of the Year’ award. He said that although he was very happy, he felt a bit shy since there are many people who are more talented and have more experience than him.
Sang also shared some personal tips that have been the golden compass for his career, which is that you need to clearly determine your passion and capability before taking any job because, for him, if you don’t have passion, you won’t be able to give 100% energy and deliver your best.

Dung Nguyen – Practice makes perfect

Dung’s journey at NashTech started two years ago with the Direct Entry program and he is currently working as a Software Engineer.

Recalling the reason why he chose to become a Nasher, Dung shared that when he was a student, NashTech had come to his university to organize an event. On that same day he became very interested in the company and, after the event, he went home to do more research on NashTech. After collecting lots of information and completing his research, Dung felt that NashTech was a perfect match for him, and so he decided to apply right away to become a Nasher.

Briefly sharing about his position, Dung said just like other Software Engineers at NashTech, his responsibility mainly focuses in coding and writing programs. He is currently working in the Application Maintenance Support (AMS) team which is quite different from other projects. Besides coding, Dung is also involved in various tasks including testing, reviewing code and deployment.

Sharing about one of the most memorable moments during his journey at NashTech, Dung recalled an occasion when his team was working to a go live deadline on a project. It was his first go live in a project and it made him nervous. Fortunately, thanks to good preparation and hard work, the project ran so smoothly and perfectly that his team got many compliments from the client. On that day, his team decided to order food and held a small party in the office to celebrate this unforgettable team milestone.

Besides being a developer, Dung is also a sports lover. “Although I might look a bit chubby, I’m actually a fan of sports, especially football”

Expressing his feeling when receiving the ‘Employee of the Year’ award, Dung feels extremely happy and proud. He feels that his hard work has been recognized by the company. This has become a strong motivation for Dung to keep positivity and strive to be better.

Dung also shared his advice for young talent on their career path: “Experience everything you can and practice every day because practice makes perfect!” He says that, at NashTech, there are many training courses which provide you with precious and useful knowledge that each and every Nasher should take the opportunity to acquire more knowledge and make the best out of it.

Mastering your online interview: Useful tips and tricks

It is no wonder that interviewing is the most intimidating part of the job application process.

Whether it is because you live far from work, or due to the Covid-19 social distancing policy, there are many ways to wow your employers in an online interview. Although a virtual interview often comes with many challenges, when done right, it can provide unbeatable advantages.

In this article, we have collected some useful tips that will help you prepare and perfect your online interview skills.

Before the interview

Careful preparation is an important element for any interview, but it is especially critical for a virtual one. The video call is an open window to your personal life, so try your best to be professional, on time and organized.

Dress to impress

Just because you’re on video doesn’t mean you can slack off on your appearance. Dressing conscientiously will communicate your level of professionalism with the interviewer.

You will want to be just as formal as you would be in an in-person interview. Dress yourself with clean, smart casual. We recommend wearing solid colors though, as stripes and complex patterns can appear ‘glitchy’ on the video.

Set up your environment

When you go into an office, the company and your interviewer are in charge of the physical setting, but for a video interview, you are.

Most importantly here, pay careful attention to your background. Keep it blank, uncluttered and move all distractions so they don’t interfere with the camera focusing on you.

For lighting, try to avoid any direct backlighting or light shining directly over your head. Besides the natural light, you could add a lamp to one side or in front of your face to get your whole self well lit.

Additionally, don’t forget to silence anything that could interfere with your conversation, including your phone and notifications on your computer.

Check your devices

In this day and age, technology can be overwhelming and with online interviews especially, you need to feel comfortable using whichever meeting platform your prospective employer prefers. Once you’re familiarized with the software, make sure that your webcam, headphones and internet are fully working.

Keep in mind that it is preferred to do your video call on a laptop, as joining a call from a mobile phone can come across unprofessional if not done properly.

One day before the call, you can cut down on technical difficulties by testing out the setup with the same software and hardware you’ll be using for the interview. Make sure that you have a backup plan, whether it is a spare headset or an extra line of internet connection.

During the interview

Eye contact

Appropriate eye contact speaks of confidence and self-esteem. However, making eye contact during an online interview is more difficult than you might think. When answering questions, you will need to focus your gaze directly into the webcam instead of the computer screen. Avoid looking at yourself or the interviewer on the screen because it will show that your eyes are looking elsewhere and may create a feeling of disconnection.

Body language

Reading body language through a video is hard, so be especially aware of your nonverbal cues. It’s distracting and feels off-putting to fidget, swivel the chair, or leave the frame during the interview. You need to sit straight, hold your head high, and be cheerful to show your interest and excitement.

Note-taking

Also, try to take hand-written notes! Keep a notebook nearby so that you can jot down questions or key takeaways from the interview without having to disrupt the flow of the conversation with loud typing.

After the interview

Once you have finished the interview, be sure not to abruptly end the call. It is best to let the other side leave the conversation first, as you may hang up before the interviewer think of something that they want to ask you. After the call, a brief follow-up email that shows your thoughts and appreciation is just as important as in a physical interview.

Want to discover more tips on the recruitment process? You can read our previous articles on ‘Writing an impressive CV’ and ‘Making a good impression in a face-to-face interview’. 

How to keep surpassing yourself – perspective from two Technical Architects of the Year

Every year, to appreciate the contribution of our dedicated teams, NashTech holds an annual award titled “Employee of the Year”, which is introduced to Nashers demonstrating exceptional performance and competency.

Today, let’s discover the inspirational stories of Mr. Hiep Nguyen and Mr. Long Chang, the two excellent Nashers who have earned the “Technical Architect of the Year 2020” title.

Hiep Nguyen – Be determined and motivated

Hiep Nguyen joined NashTech in 2017 as a Technical Architect. Being full of energy, he always maintains his healthy hobby of trekking while striving for new knowledge via self-studying.

Looking back on his 3-year journey with us, Hiep said that NashTech has an extremely nurturing and supportive environment that he couldn’t find anywhere else. To Hiep, NashTech is the ideal place for him to advance and mature his technical skills .

“My team and I are so grateful for all the kindhearted support and valuable resources that we received to tackle all the missions.” – Hiep Nguyen.

With the experience in handling complex software implementations, Hiep is currently assigned to a large international e-learning project, which applies many new and challenging technologies. However, despite the challenges, he and his peers believe that this is an excellent opportunity to master the new technological fields. Hiep Nguyen also expressed his great appreciation of working with a proactive team that always shares a same sense of spirit with him.

Talking about his success, Hiep said that the most important thing to bear in mind is maintaining self-determination. Having passion for all the work you do is the key to overcome any obstacle!

“The award is both a gift, and a motivation that keeps me courageously facing new challenges.” – Hiep sharing his thoughts on the title.

Long Chang – Learn new things and don’t forget who you are

With prior 5 years of coding experience, Long joined NashTech in 2013 and chose to follow the path of being a Technical Architect. As one of our most excellent Nashers, he has been nominated for the “Employee of the Year” multiple times, and 2020 marks the first time he has received it.

Sharing about his journey with us, Long said that his initial expectation was that the working environment would be the same as other outsourcing firms. However, the longer he worked at NashTech, the more he appreciated the great level of care and support that Nashers receive. The nurturing environment of NashTech and the chance to handle foreign projects has given him room to enhance both of his technical skills and soft skills,

When asked about the most memorable experience at NashTech, Long recalled when he was on the team of a sophisticated client project. To meet the tight deadline, over the course of 3 months, he and his teammates had to frequently work overtime until 10-11pm.

“Despite the stress and tension, I was happy to see that everyone still enjoyed tackling the challenges together.” – Long said.

Long Chang shared with us that he has a great passion for coding. He also shared his ambition of architecting and developing applications that would be beneficial to society. Currently at NashTech, Long is trying out his ability in other technical fields besides coding, as he still finds himself surrounded with many new areas to learn and pursue.

Experiencing new technologies and improving English skills are the key to excel yourself.

Concluding our interview, Long described the three things that keep him working at NashTech. They are:

  1. The opportunity to express his ability
  2. The access to trending technologies
  3. Excellent benefits for long-term employees.

Thanks to these two wonderful Nashers, Mr. Hiep Nguyen and Mr.Long Chang, NashTech can keep striving for new technological advancements in the ICT industry. We would like to express our deep gratitude to them and other talented Technical Architects for their great contribution and dedication.

Giving back to society – NashTech’s social contributions

Inspired by the rapidly growing economy and the innovative people in this wonderful country, NashTech decided to set up its first office in Vietnam in 2000. Vietnam has an open-minded, productive IT labor force and the government is very conducive to doing business, particularly in the technology sector, and this plays a big role in our success.

Thus, we believe that as a company, we must put back into the community that has been so supportive to us.

Besides being dedicated to providing software development solutions to international clients, NashTech has been keen to support the improvement of many wider social issues. With a strong commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility, we endeavor to support the development of a better community and a better Vietnam!

NashTech and the IT community

Since NashTech first started operating in Vietnam, helping to promote the Vietnam’s IT sector has been at the core of our company’s operations. At NashTech, we also take pride in supporting the growth of both national and international IT communities.

We’ve partnered with many universities in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi in an effort to provide students with academic knowledge and real-life experience of the ICT industry. Through NashTech’s Internship, Direct Entry and Fresher programs, both seniors and new graduates can have the opportunity to access hands-on skills training from our leading experts. It is our goal to nurture future talent by helping them to understand the market and their future career path, especially in the fast-paced IT environment.

Nashers sharing job opportunities at Job Fair 2020 – HCMC University of Science

Nashers, our beloved talent, believe in the value of sharing their passion and experience to the IT community. From 2011 to 2020, four excellent Nashers have received the prestigious Microsoft ‘Most Valuable Professionals’, a title given to the community leaders who proactively connect people with common interests in advanced technologies. Our dedicated Nashers also actively engage in technology forums, seminars and conferences to share the latest insights to the ICT industry.

NashTech and society

Community Day is a trip hosted annually, which allows Nashers to express their love and kindness via a wide range of charitable activities. Proceeds from the Flea Market, an event that allows Nashers to trade a diverse range of products, are collected to raise the charity fund for our Community Day. Then, carrying the message of “Give small love, you will receive great happiness”, we seek out worthy social projects in need of help and support.

In 2019, we expressed our deep contribution to the Sapa Hope Center and the Maison Chance, two non-profit projects who provide under-privileged Vietnamese children with housing, health-care, education and vocational training. For the Sapa Hope Center, Nashers in our Hanoi Development Center have raised a total of 20 million VND for the infrastructure improvement as well as lots of warm clothes, books and other necessities. For the Maison Chance, NashTech Ho Chi Minh team was able to donate 1,000 notebooks along with 500 confectionery and milk items. These two activities are the representation of what have become a part of NashTech culture – sharing love and spreading care.

 

NashTech Community Day 2019 at Maison Chance Saigon and Sapa Hope Center

NashTech and the environment

At NashTech, we deeply understand that caring about the environment is our responsibility. As such, our employees are encouraged to reduce plastic waste, turn off unnecessary electronics and efficiently use paper, in an effort to create a green and clean workplace that leaves the lowest ecological footprints.

In addition, 2019 marked the first time our kind-hearted Nashers came up with the idea of the “NashTech Green Market” event. Through the sale of unique recycled and environmentally friendly products, the event promotes a “Go Green” lifestyle among Nashers in addition to raising funds for charity.

NashTech in Covid-19

The global pandemic struck us all very hard, yet we understand the importance of caring and sharing in such unprecedented times. Inspired by selfless healthcare workers, the NashTech ‘Kind Action Campaign’ was launched to collect donations which would be used to purchase medical facilities and equipment in Vietnam. From 25th March to 6th April 2020, a remarkable 269,831,000 VND was raised from our warm-hearted Nashers.

During the difficult days of social isolation, free meals are also carefully prepared by our kind Nashers, which are given to people in need with an aim to share the anxieties with them.

 

NashTech giving free meals in partnership with Maison Chance

As this tough time continues, NashTech “We Share Love” spirit certainly will keep spreading to the unfortunate, most affected people in the community.

Words from the Captain – Heartening conversation with Cuong Nguyen, Managing Director of NashTech Vietnam

Not many people are lucky enough to have the chance to witness the growth of a business from scratch. This makes the following story a unique one.

Every great business starts with passion and drive and so did NashTech. Mr. Cuong Nguyen – Managing Director of NashTech Vietnam shared with us his experiences with NashTech in last two decades in Vietnam and his 15 years as a ‘Nasher’.

Key milestones behind his 15-year journey

Cuong Nguyen is a post-graduate of Hanoi University of Technology in Applied Mathematics and Computer Science and has over 23 years of experience in software development. With a passion for technology and certified management skills (PMP), Cuong joined NashTech in 2005 as Project Manager and was one of the first employees of the company in Vietnam.

Cuong remembered that, back then, NashTech was still a small representative office of Harvey Nash Group PLC and most of the software development projects were delivered using NashTech’s partners. However, the Group Board soon decided to establish their own development teams as part of the growth ambitions for NashTech, starting with the acquisition of Silk Road, a British Software Development and Business Process Outsourcing company in Ho Chi Minh City.

“This was marked as one of the most important milestones for NashTech in Vietnam. It was also a significant milestone in my career path since I was promoted to Software Development Manager and in charge of software development for NashTech. This was a very exciting and super busy experience for me personally”. – Cuong Nguyen recalled about the very first days of NashTech.

In 2009, after the former Managing Director went back to his country, Cuong was appointed as Managing Director of NashTech.

“This was quite an amazing journey for me and for NashTech in Vietnam. From just a few people back in early 2000s, we now have over 1,700 members in the NashTech family.” – Cuong shared.

As years gone by, witnessing the growth of the company, Cuong expressed his pride in how both NashTech and himself has come so far and gained so much despite all the tough times.

In the very first days, we barely had anything. We built everything from scratch. A 15-year-journey with NashTech is a challenging yet fascinating one. Building processes, well established systems and employing the talented team we have today is the most remarkable achievement for me.

NashTech – Home is where the heart is

Sharing the reason why he chose to join NashTech, Cuong said it was about being in an environment where he could pour himself into learning and advancing his career.

I learned about new technologies, new domains from our clients all over the world, the way my managers manage and develop business and the way my colleagues manage projects and people. I also learned from our partners. So many talented and hardworking people around that I could learn from.

Cuong also admitted that what has kept him at NashTech for more than 15 years is its autonomous culture where people can contribute to the team but can still implement their ideas independently. There was a time when Cuong worked 18 hours/day, 6 days/week after the acquisition of Silk Road but he was still full of energy because he knew that NashTech gave him the autonomy to do the things that he believes it is best for the company.

“NashTech to me acts as a family. My heart and mind are always with this family and I love to see it grow every day.” – Cuong sincerely shared.

Encouragement came at the right time and became a special memory

There were many significant achievements and milestones that Cuong had at NashTech throughout his 15 years here. The acquisition of Silk Road which made NashTech become a Limited company in Vietnam, the successful achievement of CMMI Maturity Level 5, or the expansion to 500, 1000 and then 1500 people milestones in Vietnam. Each of them is a precious moment which could not be forgotten and it would take pages to list out all the memorable moments.

But for Cuong, the most memorable one turned out to be very simple. In 2005 when he first joined NashTech, and was just learning the ropes, he received an encouraging email from Graham Davies – the Head of Representative Office at that time about an issue that Cuong dealt with a client in a project.

Perhaps on your career path you may have received many encouraging comments from a manager or colleague. But sometimes there are some special moments which you remember for a long time afterwards, especially encouragement that comes just at the right time will motivate you a lot.

Words from the Captain

Cuong revealed that NashTech’s working environment is an international environment where people are encouraged to be open-minded, think out of the box, and dare to step out of their comfort zone.

As long as you work hard, try your best, dare to pursuit your passion and dream, nobody can definitely become somebody!

He also gave us an inspiring motivational message to beloved Nashers: “NashTech emphasises the fairness and opportunity are open to everyone who are capable to take it. Therefore, to all Nashers, dare to say your opinion, work with passion and right attitude, work to make our clients and international colleague know that Vietnamese people are great and work with a pride being Vietnamese”.

Looking back at these precious moments is just like watching a movie that makes you feel nostalgic, yet really proud. It is thanks to the amazing leaders like Cuong Nguyen that NashTech has been able to get where it is today. Cheers to the 20 years we have had and here’s to many more to come!

How to sharpen your problem-solving skills

Everyone is born a natural problem solver, but:

Do you feel jittery making tough decisions? Are you often at your wits’ end handling problematic situations?

If it’s knowledge, it can be acquired. If it’s a skill, it can be improved. All tough problems have a solution, it’s just a question of figuring it out.

Give yourself a break, we’ve got you covered. Make your problems a breeze with these 5 brilliant DOs and DON’Ts to sharpen your problem-solving skills.

1. DO change your mindset

Mindset is the frame of mind. It’s the sum of beliefs, opinions, and thoughts that you have about the world and yourself. Think of mindset as a lens through which you filter reality. Changing mindset is hard but it’s important that you don’t always see problems as something terrifying that you can’t overcome.

Problems are not always rocket science. Not overstressing yourself sounds straightforward but it is our nature to perceive difficulties as obstacles to be surmounted. Amid anger and anxiety often comes blurred vision.

Try to liberate yourself from seeing problems as frustration instead of opportunities by shifting your perspective. Take our advice and avoid lingering on any negative first glances. What you should focus on are the learning chances and long-term self-development.

2. DO get to the root of the problem

Dealing with problems is like baking a cake. You can go straight into the kitchen without a recipe or the right ingredients and do your best, but the end result is unlikely to be tasty!

Believe it or not, the tendency to come up with an immediate solution means adding fuel to the fire in many cases. Even if it’s urgent, first, step back, identify what actually happened, the nature of the problem and the involved parties. Don’t just jump in with both feet.

Here’s the 5-step process for problem-solving, which focuses on digging into the details of an issue to understand its underlying causes. By answering the suggested questions at each stage, you can get to the root of any problem and map out solutions easily from there.

(source: mindtools.com/pages/article/newTMC_80.htm)

3. DO break the problem into smaller problems

Big problems are nothing more than a collection of minor problems. Managing tangible tasks is less ambiguous than tackling the trouble as a whole.

Charles Conn, co-author of the book Bulletproof Problem Solving, believes most problems can be solved by first, “very clearly formulating what the problem is” and second, “showing the structure of the problem using logic trees.” This approach allows you to get into different aspects of the problem while preventing you from being uncertain of not knowing what to do.

Logic tree, or issue tree, can come in various forms. You can use this example of logic tree by McKinsey & Company or other visual methods of breaking down the complex problem into simple component parts.

(source: mbacrystalball.com/blog/strategy/mece-framework/)

4. DON’T undertake everything yourself

Don’t be afraid to seek outside help. Gather your team and get as much manpower to step in. People are willing to give help much more often than not and they won’t think less of you for needing assistance. It’s always the last resort to handle everything yourself.

Also, try to communicate with all involved parties, be it the clients or whoever with interest affected by the matter, and allow them to share their perspectives. Ensuring that every voice is heard not only helps you get to the result quicker but also allows the solution to be more objective.

5. DON’T forget to look back and celebrate

After the problem is solved, should you just forget the settled problem on which much effort is already spent?

No, take your time, try to think of better alternatives to undertake the past problematic circumstances. By doing this, you will keep exceeding yourself in dealing with problems after each case. Appreciating your accomplishments is also a skill, it helps to reinforce your confidence to triumph over future harsh situations.

Feeling more confident now? Why not put your problem-solving skills into practice? At NashTech, we are trained to excel in providing solutions to business obstacles. Join us and be a Nasher today.