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Blackbit celebrates: 15 years of Dennis!

We take a look back: In 2008, Steve Jobs presented the first iPhone - and Dennis started his job at Blackbit. In this interview, our Head of Application Development tells us what 15 years of Blackbit means to him.

Alles Gute zu 16 Jahren Blackbit, lieber Dennis!Hi Dennis, congratulations on 15 years at Blackbit! A long time in which a lot has happened. But let's start where it all began: How did you come to Blackbit and when did you start with us? Do you remember what was trending at the time?
I first heard about Blackbit in the GöTrain programme. The programme brought university graduates together with regional SMEs. I had my interview after just a few days and started my job at Blackbit a week later. At that time, there were few usable, ready-made software solutions for web applications. A large part was customised. Many agencies therefore developed their own content management systems, including Blackbit. Today, such systems no longer play a role. A new trend was customising and extending existing systems. This is how we still work today.

What position did you start in? What training or special skills didyou bring with you and what technology was current at the time?
I started as a web developer and focussed on the front end of websites that were implemented with our agency CMS Ikebana. I was already developing the CMS for the university website as a student assistant during my business informatics degree, which helped me a lot for this task. The technology was still simple back then, but every browser had its own peculiarities when it came to displaying websites. The biggest challenge was to make websites look and function the same on all browsers. Tools such as jQuery or the later Bootstrap were almost revolutionary in addressing these problems. Looking back, it is almost absurd how much effort was put into levelling out display errors in browsers. Fortunately, those days are over, but the entire web development ecosystem has become much more complex.

Dennis begann bei Blackbit als Web-Entwickler.What was your first impression of Blackbit back then?
Right from the start, I found the relaxed, friendly atmosphere to be something special. I felt welcome and valued and was given a lot of trust for my work.

Has working in an agency always been your dream job? If so, what made you choose this path?
As a business IT specialist, I didn't initially have an agency in mind at all. In my clichéd imagination, marketing people sat in meetings all day discussing web slogans. In reality, however, Blackbit's business is strongly IT-driven, technologically innovative and constantly evolving. What is traditionally associated with the term "agency" falls short for us. We are also consultants, strategists or - like me - tech nerds who find creative solutions to individual problems every day.

Die Atmosphäre im Team Blackbit schätzt Dennis nach wie vor sehr.What have been the biggest changes for Blackbit, the industry and therefore also for you?
The complexity of our projects has steadily increased over time, from smaller websites and simple online shops to complex integrated content and commerce platforms with connections to dozens of input and output channels. Something like this would hardly have been conceivable 15 years ago. In fact, it's hard to believe how much has changed in that time. It doesn't seem that long to me, but I'm surprised every time I look back. I think Blackbit's strength is that we have always been able to react quickly to the massive changes in the industry - both technical and non-technical.

What made Blackbit attractive back then and what is special about our company for you today?
Then as now, I think the atmosphere and the teamwork at Blackbit are exceptional. We are a unique team of specialists who work together closely, amicably and respectfully. Everyone here has the space to do their job in their own individual way. What counts is working towards a common goal and that we can all be proud of our work together.

What opportunities did and do you have to develop yourself? How would you describe your personal development?
I've always had a lot of freedom to try out new ideas, get actively involved in our processes and help shape Blackbit a little. Along the way, I've also learnt a lot outside of my specialist area, which has given me a broader view of projects and our customers. Professionally, I've had the opportunity to keep my finger on the pulse, continue my education and introduce new technologies at Blackbit. Every employee has a voice with us, we listen to ideas, try out a lot and keep what works. I've always found that very encouraging, to think outside the box about new developments and ask yourself the question: "Could this also be something for Blackbit?" Personally, I think I've become more pragmatic. Especially as a fresh university graduate, you only have a textbook idea of how IT projects should be implemented. You have to learn not to cling to these narrow guidelines, but to find your own ways out of practice that keep the goal - a great solution for the customer's requirements - in mind and ultimately achieve or even exceed it.

Time to put your work in the spotlight: What has been your greatest professional success? Which project do you particularly remember?
That's really difficult. There are many projects that I am proud to have worked on. But I particularly enjoyed working on viani.de. The project has been with me almost since my first day at Blackbit. On the surface, it doesn't seem that special, but under the bonnet it is very complex, integrates many different systems and is used along the entire supply chain. I now mainly take care of internal projects for the infrastructure in the background of our web applications. Working on and with Kubernetes is my current highlight in this area.Für uns ist Dennis ein Volltreffer. Schön, dass du bei uns bist!After so many years - can you give us one or two tips that you havefound groundbreaking/valuable/helpfulover the years ?
For the developers: Focus on the problem in front of you and work towards it consistently. It's easy to get bogged down in trying to predict all future eventualities and trying to find a solution for them. This is often not effective. Take one step at a time!
For everyone else too: Communication, as simple as it sounds, makes a huge difference. Give feedback when something isn't working well - and even more so when something is going great! Come up with ideas and make suggestions where there is room for improvement. Don't be shy and ask questions if something is not clear. The only stupid question is the one that hasn't been asked. And ask for help if you don't know what to do. A brief exchange can open your eyes and show you a simple way that you just couldn't think of before.

In conclusion: What was your favourite Blackbit moment?
Our construction site party when we expanded the Göttingen office. The bar was in my current office at the time. Maybe that's a model for the future. 😊

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