25 januari 2024

Software Engineer Francisco Fonseca: 'Soft skills are just as important as hard skills'

Every year at ENTER, we provide a number of soft skill courses that help our employees to develop themselves further. An opportunity Francisco couldn't resist. In fact, a while ago Francisco attended the Problem Solving course. “Our Talent Manager Erica recommended the course to me when I first came into the office. I decided to take the course because I think it is important to keep developing on different topics. And the courses that ENTER provides I think are a good way to learn more soft skills. It also makes you a better professional in my opinion.”

That learning never stops soon became clear to Francisco. “I think that I’m very good at solving problems, but with the course I learned more about the different points of view and different ways to solve problems. Which was very helpful because of the environment that I work in. My coworkers are from all over the world and we all have different ways to do certain things. The course helped me understand that and gave me some insights into how to approach those situations.” The course was divided into two days and together with a group of colleagues, you get to solve different problems in different ways using examples. “On the first day of the course the instructor took quite a general approach on how to solve problems in your daily life. And then after that we discussed some problems that we faced in everyday life and different methods on how you could solve or approach those problems. Which was fun because we could relate to the problems and the different methods. You might have a different approach than your colleague, but through this course you learn about these different approaches and why one approach might work better in a certain situation then the approach you initially were going to take.”

“It was very useful in the sense that everyone knows a way to solve problems so even if you feel like you know how to solve a problem, you learn a new way of doing things. You learn to look at certain situations from a different point of view.” The group of colleagues who took the course with Francisco were not only multi-cultural, but also multi-professional. He explains: “With multi-professional I mean that the group didn’t only exist of software engineers but also people with different jobs. Because of this group dynamic you learn how a software engineer with a lot of experience solves problems or how a mechanical engineer solves problems. It was very interesting for me to see those different perspectives. You also learn how to interact with people who have like a higher role, so like a manager, but also how you deal and interact with clients.”

Time for change
Before moving to the Netherlands, Francisco lived and worked in Mexico, his native country, as a software engineer. His move to the Netherlands was not very obvious. He recounts: “I’m from Mexico and most people from Mexico who are software engineers move to the United States. I was personally not that interested in the United States. It is not that I dislike the country, I actually want to go there some day, but it wasn’t my dream to work and live there. I wanted to go somewhere on the other side of the world. One of my first options was the Netherlands because I already knew a few things like the cycling, the transportation and that the quality of life is very good here.”

Currently, Francisco has been living in the Netherlands for several months and is enjoying his time here. “I like the weather here, even thought a lot of people complain about it, I really like it. And that is because in Mexico we only have 2 seasons. When I first arrived in the Netherlands it was autumn and I had never experienced that.” Francisco may not have been in the Netherlands very long, but has certainly visited a number of places. Which is not surprising since he loves to explore. “I live in Eindhoven and whenever I have some free time I try to explore some parts of the Netherlands. So I went to Tilburg, Breda, Rotterdam, Den Haag and Delft. I still need to explore the north of the Netherlands. I also still want to travel to a lot of countries, but the most important ones are Japan, Indonesia and China. I enjoy those countries and their cultures a lot. Especially Indonesia. Here it is very different from Mexico, but I can relate to a lot things. So it feels familiar. That was also kind of surprising for me. That a culture on the other side of the world can be so similar to your own culture.”

From big to small
His choice for ENTER was also a very conscious one for Francisco. “In the past I worked for some big international companies. They gave me the opportunity to start working as an engineer. Even when I was a student. I will always be grateful to them but I didn’t enjoy it that much. The big corporate environment wasn’t for me and that is also one of the reasons why I choose ENTER. It is quite a small company with the ambition to grow, but not lose their identity during that growth. It makes it more personal for me. Especially with the human aspect that they have. At my old job I wouldn’t speak to anyone besides other software engineers and when I work at the ENTER office I make small talk with people from HR and Marketing for example. I wanted a more human environment and at ENTER I get that. It is something that I feel like I need and so far I really like it here.”