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Meet Stéphanie Lebrun, Security Engineer at Sopra Steria Benelux, and currently working in our Red Team as an ethical hacker. “It’s a hard job because real hackers are very smart. It is a cool job as well because you have to be creative to find out how a real hacker would try to break the system”. Stéphanie thinks that someone who is dynamic, a hard worker, curious, and likes to have a good work-life balance would totally fit in with Sopra Steria.
What does a regular working day look like for you?
Our Red Team is a small team of 9 people, and our mission is to stimulate an adversary and test our client's applications, networks and systems in order to assess their security posture. Our activities include for instance web application penetration testing, working on active directory assessment, performing compliance tests, and preparing a phishing campaign. A project usually lasts between 3 and 20 days, so it is always a short cycle, and that is what makes my job dynamic – in 1 month, I can work on 5 different projects.
Within a project, there is always more or less the same timeline. It starts with a preparation phase, followed by the activity itself, where we for instance are given a website and we try to find its vulnerabilities. After, there is a reporting phase in which we explain what is problematic in the system, compute a severity score for each issue, and provide recommendations. The goal is then for the client to, based on this report, solve the problems raised so they can increase their security level. This way, it will be harder for hackers to break into their system.
The end goal is to make our client’s system more secure, and therefore also contribute to a more secure digital world. “It is impossible to find everything, and there will probably always be a gap that you are missing in the system, but we try to be as complete as we can. By repeating this kind of tests continuously, you can tend to secure systems as much as possible”.
What are the most important qualities for a Security Engineer?
I would say my job is quite technical, so it is important to have some security skills, but you should also be able to see the bigger picture and understand how a website or network works. In terms of soft skills, I believe communication, both with your client and team, is very important.
What projects are you currently working on?
I just finished a Static Application Security Testing (SAST) project in which we analysed the source code from our client to identify vulnerabilities. I also just finished a web application test, in which we tried to find out what is problematic from a security point of view in the client’s website. I am currently working on a phishing campaign. In this campaign, we created a phishing email from scratch, sent it out to our client’s employees, and monitored how many people opened the email and clicked on the links. Then, we shared some awareness material with them to inform people about the risks of phishing. Afterwards we will send out a second email to see if these trainings helped.
If Stéphanie could switch jobs for one day, she would like to have a job in the Communications team, because she believes this is a dynamic job in which she would be in touch with a lot of different people. Also, she could help organising cool events, like a sports tournament, a women-only lunch, or employee testimonials.
Were you always part of the Red Team?
I started working in Sopra Steria’s Blue Team in September 2021. This team is also called the SOC Team or the Security Operation Center and is responsible for protecting and monitoring the security of some of Sopra Steria’s clients. When there is an alert, the SOC members must investigate it, evaluate the severity and inform the right people or take further actions. At the same time, I worked on a development project in the Sopra Steria Toulouse team, where we developed a tool that aims to automate the tasks of Blue/SOC Team.
What do you like about Sopra Steria’s culture?
When I applied to Sopra Steria, I could feel that the company is very human, and this was important to me because I didn't want to join a huge company where you are treated like a number. Everyone in the HR team was nice, and I could feel that they were trying to find out if there was a match between me and the company, more than just selling Sopra Steria as a company.
Now that I work here, I can say that there is a nice and peaceful atmosphere, and I can always ask help to anyone. I have a good work-life balance, there is not a lot of pressure from management, and no one is telling me when to start or end my day. We are free in our projects and in how we are organising our day. If you want to, and you take the initiative, you can also change teams or activities. Red and Blue team members are young, and we have a lot of fun at work or outside of work.
If Sopra Steria was an animal, Stéphanie thinks it would be an entire zoo, because 1 animal is too restrictive. There would for sure be an elephant in the zoo, that represents our big projects in the Public Sector, like i-Police for example. Also, there would be a bonobo because this animal lives in an inclusive group where women also have their place, and this is also the case at Sopra Steria. And then there is also a polar bear that represents the caring aspect of Sopra Steria and the peaceful atmosphere.
Meet Francisco Montilla Enriquez, Solution Building Engineer at Sopra Steria Benelux. Francisco is a back-end Java Developer, working on the Fedasil project. “My goal at the end of the day is to deliver the best outcome with my team, and to provide well written, maintainable, and sustainable features to the client”. Francisco started working at Sopra Steria 9 months ago, after a friend recommended us.
How would you explain your job?
When you have a puzzle, you can see on the box what it would look like when it’s finished. My job is to assemble all the different pieces of the puzzle that will serve as the core base, so basically the edges. The end user doesn’t necessarily see my work, but it is very important that I put all different parts in the right spots from the start, to avoid any issues in a later stage of the puzzle. Then, when the edges are all in place, the front-end Developers come in, and they take care of the other aspects of the puzzle.
What does a regular working day look like for you?
My day always starts with a 9 AM stand-up meeting in which we discuss with the team what we did previous days, and what we have planned for the coming days. The rest of the day, I review codes from my Developer-colleagues, I develop new features based on the tickets I am assigned to, I test features and run them in our testing environment, and I keep our documentation up to date. On my project, I work in a team with 3 front-end Developers, 2 other back-end Developers, 2 Architects, 2 Business Analysts, 1 Project Manager and 1 Scrum Manager.
What are the most important qualities for a Developer?
I think about problem solving skills, because solving problems is what you need to do every day in this job. I also think about the ability to adapt or shift gears, based on the client’s request. You need to pay attention to details, and be patient, because coding can come with some frustration as well. You need to be resilient and able to prioritize, because you have a deadline for every feature.
What does the Fedasil project entail?
Fedasil is a project where we maintain and develop features for an application called Match-it that is used for the place management but also follow-up of the social dossier of asylum seekers – we call them beneficiaries. Fedasil’s job is to find the right house for every person, assign the right assistant to them, and find out what their needs are. Within the application, you have different tabs that represent different aspects of the beneficiary’s social dossier, like housing, children, school subscription, employment, etc. What I like about the Fedasil project is the real impact from a human perspective.
If Francisco could switch jobs for one day with someone else at Sopra Steria, he would like to switch with a Business Analyst, to see the complete other side of what he does, and to be more in touch with the customer.
What can you say about Sopra Steria’s culture?
Sopra Steria’s culture is very free and open. It is informal, and you can easily talk with everyone and approach your superiors, and I believe this is not the case in every company. I have a lot of autonomy in my job, and there is a lot of room to grow professionally, and as a person. There is room to express yourself and to share the ideas you have for future applications. Sopra Steria cares about its employees, and if you have something you want to discuss or that concern you, management listens to you, and tries to find a solution.
I believe people at Sopra Steria don’t want to stay in the same position, but they look forward to learning new things and technologies, so I would describe a ‘Sopra Sterian’ as someone who is eager to learn. Sopra Steria also makes this possible because they try to push people to train themselves.
If Sopra Steria was an animal, Francisco thinks it would be a cat. “At Sopra Steria, there is a friendly environment, and a cat is also a friendly animal – at least my cat haha. Sometimes, a cat can be very playful which very much aligns with Sopra Steria’s “Work hard play hard” mindset, so I see a link there”.
Meet Jingyi Qiao, Data Consultant at Sopra Steria Benelux. Jingyi joined Sopra Steria in the beginning of 2022 as part of her apprenticeship at KU Leuven. She studied Industrial Engineer, among other Masters and Post Graduate Programs, and now combines knowledge and expertise from all studies to create value in her job. Jingyi believes that “if you want to find your potential and have an opportunity to develop it, you should join Sopra Steria”.
What does a Data Consultant do?
In my current project, I am working on data visualisation. I use tools such as PowerBI, and Tableau to create dashboards for both internal and external use. Last year, we initiated the Green Up Sustainability project internally at Sopra Steria Benelux. We analysed our data of fleet and energy consumption and translated it into a dashboard that made it easy and simple to understand our carbon footprint and the environmental impact of Benelux entities. This project offers a potential solution to identify transformation levers to reduce environmental impact, and make data-driven decision possible and easy. Besides, I am working with two clients, and I support them in creating their dashboard and skilling up their teams on BI topics.
As a Data Consultant, it is important to listen to people and try to understand what they need, so we can offer them a suitable solution. I communicate frequently with my clients to check if the dashboard is tailored to their needs and requirements. Also, we check if we can provide potential improvements and look for best practices to incorporate. We are not just selling the product, we are trying to bring our experience and skills to clients and build good relationships with them.
I work closely together with Business Analysts, and I believe they are an important part of our team since they know a lot about the client's business and can help me create workshops that are specifically designed to meet their needs. And for the BI part, I also collaborate with Data Administrators and Data Engineers. They help clean and structure the data in a way that makes it easy for me to analyse and present it to the client. This allows me to focus on creating clear and informative reports that show the client how they can use their data to make better decisions. I really enjoy operating and bridging the technical and functional aspects of projects.
Can you explain a bit more what projects you work on?
I am working with 2 clients. The first client had a lot of data they wanted to analyse, but they struggled to find a qualified profile to help them build and skill up on business intelligence solutions. So, they hired us to provide our expertise. This client is also interested in our Green Up Sustainability project, so we created a similar dashboard for them that helps them track their carbon footprint and identify ways adapted to their business and organisation specificities. It was a standard process for us since we already had the knowledge and experience necessary to help them. By combining what we have internally with their requirements, we were able to deliver results that make their lives easier and have a positive impact on their business.
The second client in Luxemburg is an industrial company and we created some dashboards for them for their daily production. They were using a lot of Excel sheets, which were not efficient. We created dashboards for them that made it easier to see their performance, analyse and draw conclusions from their data. It was a good improvement for them, and they found it much more user-friendly than their previous solution.
I feel that all these projects have had a positive impact on our clients. It is rewarding to see that our work is making a difference in their daily operations and sometimes on a larger scale.
If Jingyi could switch jobs for one day with someone else at Sopra Steria, she would like to try a job in HR, because she is curious about what kind of profiles we hire, and she would like to try her best to encourage people to join Sopra Steria.
Why did you start working at Sopra Steria?
I met 2 HR Recruiters at a forum. I didn’t know Sopra Steria at that time, but they introduced what Sopra Steria does and what projects they work on, and it really attracted me. Then I got in touch with a Director at Sopra Steria, and he explained Sopra Steria’s projects more in detail and it was exactly what I was looking for. Once I joined, I immediately liked it here; I love working with people with diverse backgrounds on projects in different sectors.
Sopra Steria is a very international company, especially in Belgium, so I immediately think of the word diversity. I would also mention the words collaborative, respect, and support. I get support from my proximity manager, my team members, and also from people that I don’t know super well. We for example can ask questions in an online Community and people from other Sopra Steria countries will answer. We have a lot of people with great skills and potential so it is easy to find people who will know exactly what you are talking about.
I really enjoy working in my current role because I feel like I have a lot of flexibility and support. My manager gives me the freedom to structure my work in a way that makes sense for me, without micromanaging or requiring me to ask for permissions on everything. This allows me to be more productive and focused, and to achieve better results for the organization.
Another thing I appreciate about my role is that I have a lot of say in my personal development. I'm able to choose the subjects that I want to focus on and the skills that I want to develop, which is really empowering. My manager is always available to offer guidance and support, but they trust me to take ownership of my learning and development.
All in all, I feel very supported and valued in my current role. The level of trust and autonomy my manager provides is refreshing, and it makes me feel motivated and engaged in my work.
We combine skills and we bring them together to create value. At Sopra Steria, we see great value in having people with different skills and backgrounds work together.
If Sopra Steria were an animal, Jingyi thinks it would be a dolphin. Dolphins are known for their intelligence and their close-knit social structure, relying on one another for support and protection, just like we do at Sopra Steria. Additionally, dolphins have a unique way of communicating with one another through sounds and body language, which makes them different from other animals. Jingyi sees a similarity here with the field of IT and consulting, which is always changing and requires a special set of skills and knowledge to communicate with technology and other people effectively.
Meet Sana Hamida, transversal Programme Management Officer (PMO) in the Aeroline, Defence and Security agency at Sopra Steria Benelux. As a transversal PMO, Sana’s job is a bit different from other PMOs, since she is not taking care of the planning or budgeting of 1 particular project. Sana believes others should also join our Sopra Steria because “we work on interesting, challenging and impactful projects, you will have fun, meet nice colleagues, and get a lot of responsibilities”.
What does your job entail?
As a transversal PMO, I would say my job consists of 5 main responsibilities. First, my goal is to assess all the processes of all projects in our agency, and based on that, provide the PMO Community with the ‘best practices’ library of processes. To get there, I have to find out what is working well in each project, what can be improved, what is the same for each project and what is different.
Secondly, I am doing a quality check for all the deliverables of our SIS project. I proofread and improve all documents that should be sent to the client. For this, I can take advantage of my academic background as a translator. Thirdly, I am part of the ‘feel good’ team in our agency. Our job is to improve the onboarding process and wellbeing at work. We for example did something on World Compliment Day, and we organized a cultural lunch at the office. Fourthly, I support our HR team by working on the preparation of the freelance contracts in our agency. Finally, when one of our PMOs is out of office, it is my job to replace them. Therefore, it is important for me to be aware of what is going on in all projects.
In our agency, we work on big projects that have an impact on society, like i-Police, SIS, and sBMS. Even though I am not in direct contact with the citizens, I still feel that my work has an impact on them because my job makes our employees’ jobs easier, improves their wellbeing and therefore also their results.
What are the most important qualities for a PMO?
It is important to be open-minded, easygoing, and not shy, because you sometimes have to advise people who are superior to you on different topics. You need to help where needed, be rigorous, and well organized. Even though it is not necessary to have all the technical skills, I would say that it is important to quickly understand the technical jargon and processes.
If Sana could switch jobs for one day with someone else at Sopra Steria, she would like to do the job of Michel, our CEO. “I am working now on a lower level in the company and my job has nothing to do with the “real” business, or discussions about the financial strategy, so I would like to see how this works on the highest level. But I would only like to do it for 1 day, because it must be a very stressful job”.
At Sopra Steria, it is all about love. I really feel that people love what they do here, and are passionate about their job, trying to improve every day. There is a friendly and open-minded atmosphere, and everyone is always trying to help each other out and find a way to achieve our goals. There is for sure time to have fun at Sopra Steria, and because of this, I am even more motivated to do a good job. I can chitchat with my boss, and my direct colleagues became my friends. It is a good mix between working hard and having fun. We have a lot of freedom in our job, and I am very happy about this. I can work on my own, come up with my own ideas and create my own plans. The job just needs to be done in the end, but the way to get there is not micromanaged at all. However, I can always count our team lead’s support!
Every employee at Sopra Steria is assigned to a Proximity Manager who helps you with your personal and professional development. You have a lot of training opportunities, and it is also possible to follow trainings that are not directly linked to your job. For example, I found out that I am interested in Testing, so I had conversations about that with a Test manager, and now I know that I want to learn even more about this topic. When I started at Sopra Steria, I didn’t even know that being a Tester was a job as such, and now, who knows, maybe one day, I might even become one.
If Sopra Steria was an animal, Sana thinks it would be a horse, because it is a friendly and gentle animal, but it can also go fast when at a gallop. Just as Sopra Steria, where we have quite moments, but also challenging moments when it feels like you are in a race, and you have to go even faster to keep up.
Meet Benjamin Reichmann, Network and Security Architect at Sopra Steria Benelux (Luxembourg). Benjamin joined Sopra Steria in February 2021. His job is to analyse architecture dossiers, and work on building blocks that together form a fully secured solution for the client. Working on interesting projects with impact and having amazing training opportunities and the possibility to also grow personally are the main advantages of working at Sopra Steria for Benjamin.
What are the most important qualities for a Network and Security Architect?
You should be open to new ideas, able to work on multiple domains at the same time and have a view on all technology available.
What projects are you working on?
Currently, I am working on 2 projects for a European agency that has multiple solutions to create a more secure Europe.
The first project is a biometric processing system which provides services to other European systems. The other project I am working on enables employees and contractors to work on their systems without being physically present on site. This is done by implementing a system that uses small USB-tokens that create a unique password to log in on a remote computer after plugging it in. Both projects have a certain impact on the day-to-day European activities.
The scripts of both projects are very different and that is what makes it interesting: I am learning a lot about different subjects.
What does your team look like?
Depending on the project, I will be working in a team or on my own, but I always work together a lot with our Security team in Luxembourg that includes Analysts, Network Security Experts, and other Experts. Though we do not work on the same projects, we are always open to provide our expertise if needed. I also often collaborate with our Cloud and Technical Services team located in Luxembourg.
If Benjamin could switch jobs for one day, he would like the be the Chief information security officer (CISO), because he thinks it is a job with high stakes and a job that is quite challenging. Benjamin also likes the fact that the CISO is able to meet different teams at Sopra Steria and clients.
What can you say about Sopra Steria’s company culture?
When I think of Sopra Steria, I think of open mindedness, training opportunities, and people who are always willing to learn new stuff and elaborate on new ideas. We have a management that is quite easily available and ready to give people opportunities and more responsibilities if they ask for it. Management gives us the freedom to plan our days however we want to and to be flexible in our schedule, as long as the work is done in the end, and we deliver something qualitative.
We have a rather young team, meaning that we chat and laugh a lot when we are at the office so the atmosphere is really informal. I always say that “homeworking is the more serious part of the job” because there are less opportunities to joke around with colleagues when you work from home but despite a more volatile work-ambiance, we still have to thrive at a certain level of exigence.
If Sopra Steria was an animal, Benjamin thinks it would be a lynx, because Sopra Steria and the lynx are both rather effective creatures, they are agile, adapt to the environment and they both always keep their eyes on the end goal.
Our colleagues Sami Hallak (Business Analyst) and Estelle Huynen (Frontend Developer) work on Match-IT, a Fedasil application that manages the social files of asylum seekers in Belgium. By adding new features and improving the application’s workflows, they make it easier for the application’s users to handle the asylum files of an asylum seeker, which then also facilitates the entire asylum process. “The project is very rewarding because we know we contribute to making the lives of asylum seekers easier, even though we don’t see the direct impact of our work. You can say we have a positive impact on humanity”.
Can you tell a bit more about your job?
Sami: “As a Business Analyst, you analyse business needs and requirements on the end-user’s side, in which you compare the current situation with the preferred future situation. You find the middle ground between what the end-user wants and what is feasible in terms of capacity, timing, and budget. Furthermore, my job is to treat and complete tickets about bugs, improvements or new requirements that come from the client. I like doing what I do because I provide a concrete solution to all problems that come my way. We sometimes need to be very creative, as we must comply with all kinds of rules, such as GDPR for example. I would say it’s a love-hate relationship, haha.”
Estelle: “As a Developer, part of my job is of course coding and developing on my own, but it’s not only that. I also have a lot of technical meetings and discussions about feasibility with different members of our team because what the client wants is not always possible and it’s my job to imagine how far I can take a certain code. I personally like my job because when you see on your screen that what you did, works, and does exactly what you expected it to do, it just feels amazing. It makes me feel like a queen, haha.”
What are the main skills you need in your job?
Sami: “I am the one who’s regularly in contact with the client, but also with the end-user, and of course with our internal team at Sopra Steria, so it’s important to have good communication skills. I don’t think you necessarily need to have a technical background or knowledge about coding, but you do need to have an idea of what the limits of a certain idea or project are.”
Estelle: “I believe problem solving and communication skills are important for a Developer, because we translate a complicated technical language or code into a language that the client needs to understand. Creativity is also needed in my job, and with this, going beyond just what is asked by the client, based on the information you have as a Developer.”
Estelle: “In our team, we have 1 Architect, 1 Business Analyst on our side, and 2 Business Analysts on Fedasil’s side. We also have 2 Full Stack Developers, 2 Back-end Developers and 2 Front-end Developers, and there is 1 Test Manager that I am in touch with a lot.”
Sami: “And of course, there is the Project Manager and the Product Owner on Fedasil’s side that I meet and consult with a lot. We work on a volatile project in which I, as a Business Analyst, have a lot of different tasks. This is something I appreciate because I don’t think this is the case in a lot of projects. We also receive a lot of autonomy, so we can choose ourselves when and how we do certain things.”
How do you two interact on this project?
Estelle: “We see each other every day during our daily stand-up, and depending on the features we are working on, we see each other more or less. Most of the times, after Sami’s job is done, it’s time for me to get to work.”
Sami: “Yes, and during the development of a feature, Estelle will contact me if she needs some clarification. Then, when Estelle’s job is done, I will functionally review the features and contact Estelle if necessary.”
Why do you think others should join also Sopra Steria?
Sami: “Sopra Steria is a great place to develop yourself and your career. You get this feeling from the very beginning. Sopra Steria is both professional and informal at the same time, something which is quite rare in my opinion. I also feel the trust of my direct superiors, as well as higher management. They have faith in their employees to make the best possible decision. To be perfectly honest, I don’t have a single negative thing on my mind to say about Sopra Steria and I think this says enough.”
Estelle: “I agree with everything Sami said. One of Sopra Steria’s objectives is to give everyone a chance to proof themselves, regardless of their cv, and that also counts for me. I don’t have a university degree, but Sopra Steria still gave me the chance to start working here when maybe on paper I wasn’t the best candidate. It’s really your capabilities that count, and I appreciate this a lot. Linked to this, there are a lot of opportunities to grow within Sopra Steria. I get support to learn things and I feel trusted in what I do, so I feel good here. Sopra Steria is a growing company and we, as employees, can grow with it.”
Meet Amandine Van Grunderbeeck, Solution Building Engineer at Sopra Steria Benelux, but “this actually means that I am a Developer”. Amandine started working at Sopra Steria Benelux in February 2019 after one of her friends who also works here convinced her to join the company.
What does a Solution Building Engineer do?
When I first started at Sopra Steria, I was a backend Developer, so I was managing applications without a user interface, and my job was mainly to add new features, or to remove bugs if there were some. Since a year now, I am working in the frontend as well, so I am working on web development.
I have always been part of the same team, working together mostly with other Developers. I also always worked for the same client, namely the Ministry of Finance, but on multiple applications. All the tools that we are handling are working together and are used to process documents, like tax files, that need to be sent to citizens or companies. The applications are used to produce the documents, send them to the post office and check their evolution. If the application doesn’t work properly, citizens will not receive documents on time or they will for example receive a batch of documents twice, so I believe my job really has an impact.
Working on different applications is an advantage in my opinion, because each application has different functionalities, and different users so there is a lot of variety in my job and I can learn different languages, which is important for a Developer.
Some time ago, Sopra Steria Benelux gave me the opportunity to follow a training to become a Scrum Master, and I am really proud of this. So, on top of my general mission as a Solution Building Engineer, I am also handling tickets and issues that need to be processed and assigned to other Developers.
What are the most important qualities for a Solution Building Engineer/Developer?
First, you should be able to stay calm and focused. Second, you should be strong in analysing issues, and finding a solution quickly, because an issue can really have a big impact on citizens. Third, communication skills are also important, especially for the members in the team who handle the users.
How would you convince someone to join Sopra Steria?
I would talk about the friendliness, and the opportunities we have in our company. We can follow trainings and learn on the job and therefore easily grow, and I think this is important, especially for Developers. It is good to update your knowledge, because otherwise you can be stuck in a project.
If Amandine could switch jobs for one day with someone else at Sopra Steria, she would go for Michel Lorgeré’s job, because she would like to know what a day looks like for him.
What can you say about the culture and atmosphere at Sopra Steria Benelux?
At first, it can seem a bit scary to enter a company that has a lot of employees, but Sopra Steria is really like a ‘big friendly company’. Everyone is welcoming and the atmosphere is informal, which surprised me at first. In French we have the ‘tu’ and the ‘vous’ and in the beginning I was always saying ‘vous’ to people and everyone was like “no we don’t do that here, you can use tu”, even with colleagues I didn’t really know. Also, the management is open to ideas, and if you have a question, we can always contact them.
At Sopra Steria, you are recognised for the work you do, and I really feel appreciated here, since I get a lot of feedback, and I can easily get the material I need to do my job well. We have the freedom and autonomy to plan our day and work the way we want to, and I really like this.
If Sopra Steria was an animal, Amandine thinks it would be a cat, because just like Sopra Steria, a cat is a friendly animal – at least the cats Amandine knows.
Meet Julien Colmonts, Security Architect for our Cybersecurity Agency. Julien joined our company 7 years ago after graduating. “I think I am still young, but I am one of the oldest one here, haha”. Julien met Sopra Steria during a job fair and was proposed a job in Cybersecurity within European Institutions.
Can you tell us a bit more about your job?
As a Security Architect I am building solutions for our customers, mostly in the technical area of Cybersecurity. I also started building a Security Operations Center (SOC team) for Sopra Steria Benelux 5 years ago, building a mutualised service for our customers. This team evolved from 2 people to 10 people and from 1 customer to 4 customers. I was working as the lead Engineer in this team, but I am now leaving this team to fully work on the i-Police programme. It makes me proud to see that me leaving the team doesn’t have a lot of impact, since this means that we set up an autonomous team. I believe starting your career in this SOC team is a great opportunity, because you can discover production architectures of several customers, and delivery security services differently for each of them, thus learning a lot in a short period of time.
What projects are your working on?
I am mostly working for i-Police to realise the digital transformation of the Belgian police. Both federal and local police zones are moving from a decentralised approach where each zone is a separate information system, to a centralized approach that supports more collaboration between police activities. It is super interesting, because the platform that we are building will be used in every police car that you see in the street and it supports the police activities in all kinds of ways, from very basic cases like theft to very severe cases like terrorist attacks.
What are the most important qualities for a Security Architect and a team leader?
As a Security Architect, you have to aim at progressing and learning something new every day, and not being afraid to be assigned to something you don’t know anything about yet or to start a new project. As a team leader, you must trust your team, try to make people work together and treat everyone with respect.
Why do you think other people should also join Sopra Steria?
If you are a junior, Sopra Steria is a good company to start your career. You will work on very interesting projects, learn a lot and get the support you need from people with a lot of experience. On top, you will have the opportunity to change positions and activities. As a medior or senior I would like to point out that you will have the chance to work on interesting projects with large institutions and companies that work with interesting technologies.
If Julien could switch jobs for one day with someone else, he wants to be the director above him, to meet interesting people in the companies we work with and to have the opportunity to understand the mindset of other hierarchy levels at our customers.
How would you explain Sopra Steria’s culture?
Sopra Steria is a great place to work, because human skills and social interaction are important for me and both are present within our company. There is a good collaboration within the teams and it is always easy to find someone who wants to help you when needed. We really want to achieve things in team, but there is also time to celebrate those achievements. We for example organise afterworks in a bar, a Family Day, and a Great Place To Work party. I like that, because it is nice to see people in another context than at work.
I believe that a “Sopra Sterian” is someone dynamic who is looking for a challenge and this is good, because if you want to grow and evolve, you will certainly have the opportunity to do so in our company. What is good at Sopra Steria is that everyone is assigned a proximity manager that provides you guidance, so especially for junior and medior profiles, this is really an added value.
We have a flat hierarchy at Sopra Steria. You can for example easily discuss something with our CEO like he is a “normal colleague”. The management in general is very accessible as well and they always welcome your ideas as long as they bring added value to the company. On top, there is a lot of flexibility at Sopra Steria. The message that I try to bring to my team is that they are paid for a mission, not for hours. If at some point someone needs to adapt their work schedule, it is not a problem at all.
If Sopra Steria was an animal, Julien thinks it would be a leopard: we do some very impressing running sprints as well and we are able to accelerate quickly.
Meet Cristian Sanchez, Business Analyst/System Analyst at Sopra Steria Benelux. Before signing his contract in 2023, Cristian did an internship with us in 2022, also working as a Business Analyst. “My Master's degree provided me with extensive theoretical knowledge in business and technology. However, I also gained significant practical experience during my two-year internship”.
What is the difference between a Business Analyst and a System Analyst?
Although the roles of Business Analyst and System Analyst are broad and may differ slightly depending on the type of project and the methodological framework adopted, there are some differences between the two. A Business Analyst focuses primarily on analysing the client's business needs and processes. This role involves understanding business requirements in depth, defining requirements, and proposing solutions to improve business processes. A Business Analyst often works at the interface between the business and technical teams, ensuring that business needs are correctly translated into technical solutions.
The System Analyst, on the other hand, focuses more on the technical aspects of IT system(s). This role involves analysing and working on their configuration and integration and ensuring that the solutions meet the defined requirements.
I work on a subproject of i-Police, and more specifically, on one specific COTS. A COTS is a ready-to-use system that the users concerned by the business will use in their daily jobs. This system has already been developed and our job is to adapt it to the business needs. This involves analysing the COTS documentation, discussing specific new concepts with the system supplier, taking part in training sessions to find out which 'out of the box' concept can be used, and taking part in demonstrations to introduce the COTS to our key stakeholders.
Within this project, I am most in contact with following 2 key stakeholders:
What are the most important qualities for a Business Analyst?
I would say that a Business Analyst needs to have a mix of hard and soft skills. First, we need to listen to the client to understand what their needs are. Then I think that having an analytical mindset is maybe the most important skill, because we need to verify all the time what the added value is that we can bring to the client. Since you get in touch a lot with different stakeholders, we need to adapt our communication based on who is in front of you.
What project are you working on?
The project I have been working on since I started at Sopra Steria is i-Police. In this project, we are centralizing police processes and information in one place (for the users) and making it accessible only to the right person with existing access. The project is striving to better manage the access control of this information to determine who can access what information and who can’t. Additionally, we need to consider how to use all this information to improve the jobs of our police officers, whether in the field or at their desks.
Citizens might not feel or see much impact from our work; it’s more about the police officers themselves, as there will be less paperwork and a major part of the processes will be digitalized.
I feel that Sopra Steria has a real family culture. You are not treated as a number, but as a real person. I feel a lot of guidance, already during the onboarding process as well as during my internship. Since joining the team, I have found everyone to be incredibly friendly, which is a major factor in why I chose to come here and why I continue to stay. My interactions with my project manager have been particularly encouraging. If I have any ideas or suggestions to enhance my work, I am free to share them. This environment fosters a sense of freedom to openly communicate, which I greatly appreciate.
I already convinced 2 people to join Sopra Steria, highlighting to them that it's a company where you can work on numerous significant and fascinating projects, for example collaborations with the Federal Police, the Defense sector, and various European institutions. These projects underscore the diverse and impactful work Sopra Steria is involved in.
Meet Sébastien Nys, Service Delivery Manager at Sopra Steria Benelux. Sebastien started working at Callataÿ & Wouters in 2004, before this company was acquired by Sopra Banking Software. In 2018, he transferred to Sopra Steria, specifically to take over the client he is now responsible for. “I have been working for the same client for several years now, and every year we have the same objective, namely increasing our footprint. However, every year, the way we get there and the issues we encounter are different, and this is what makes my job exciting”.
I manage all operational activities of Sopra Steria at our client’s side, meaning that I have to make sure that the commitment taken in the contract during the sales part is properly delivered to the client. This goes together with making sure that our consultants are happy where they are. I am the Service Delivery Manager for 1 client, the biggest banking group in Belgium, and we have around 100 Sopra Steria consultants working for this client. In my job, I can rely on a delivery management team. Each member of this team is responsible for one or more of our client’s departments where Sopra Steria is present. To support our client, we work on activities related to infrastructure (network and window systems), activities linked to data, and we take care of almost all non-core banking applications of the client, amongst which SAP applications.
My main focus is following up on our teams’ deliveries through different governance instances. To do so, it is important for me to be close to both the client, and our consultants, who encounter different issues every day. It can be consultants who are not happy in their job or who are not performing at the expected level. We also have teams working in India and Spain, so it is important for me to keep proximity with them as well, since they are fully part of our team. Despite my experience, there are always issues that still surprise me and that we have never seen before. Making sure our consultants are happy is a full-time and important job for me, because when they are happy, the client is also happy.
On top, I also support our sales team with extending the business with our client, and I make sure we reach the financial targets we have set up. This is of course the final objective in the end, but this is only possible if our consultants and the client are happy.
What are the most important qualities for a Service Delivery Manager?
I would say that soft skills are the most important ones: you need to be a good leader and a good communicant towards both the client and your consultants, but also towards other departments of Sopra Steria like legal and HR. For technical skills, I guess experience in project management is the most important one. On top, resilience is needed as well; you need to be able to adapt to the speed and pace of the customer.
If Sébastien could switch jobs for one day with someone else at Sopra Steria, he would like to experience being the HR Director (but only for 1 day), because in this job, you have a lot of connections with other employees who have the same issues as the consultants working on his project.
I started working at Sopra Steria as a junior, and I am now leading a team of 100 people, so I would say that for sure there are opportunities to evolve here. This is also one of the many reasons why I stayed at Sopra Steria after all these years.
Sopra Steria is a big family and a safe place where you can speak freely and express your needs and feelings. The atmosphere is informal and the vibe between colleagues is very nice. There is of course some pressure to reach your objectives, but it is pressure within a good spirit. Both are key elements to enjoy my work, and I believe this is a unique feature of Sopra Steria, since this is not always the case in a big company. We organise from time to time small events with our team and twice a year, we have a BBQ or dinner.
Meet Pauline Lachérade, Business Analyst/Consultant at Sopra Steria Benelux and European Affairs student at Sciences Po Paris. Pauline wanted to work with European Institutions on European digital transformation projects and see European affairs from the point of view of the private sector, and that is why she was attracted to Sopra Steria Benelux. She first did a traineeship in the Homeland Security and Defense Business Unit in 2020, and an apprenticeship of 1 year in the Consulting department, before she was officially hired in October 2021.
Were you always a Consultant at Sopra Steria?
I have worked on 4 projects involving 4 different public bodies at European and national level, and I switched between being a Business Analyst and Consultant. As a Business Analyst, I was a translator between the business part and the technical part of an IT project. I had to refine business needs in cooperation with business owners and define use cases and user stories. Being a Business Analyst was at first entirely out of my comfort zone, and very challenging, but I learned a lot in experiencing the challenges of large IT project involving various stakeholders and using different methodologies.
I am currently ending a mission as a Consultant on a HLS & Defence project of the Ministry of Interior in France. Our Team accompanied the client to coordinate and support the implementation of European regulations on European Information Systems at national level. We had to define business needs and interact both with the technical and strategical part of the project to conduct the test strategy and design the roadmap according to the upcoming EU legislation on European Information Systems. Even if the work I do in this project is at a very little scale, on 1 European Information System, in 1 only country, I have the feeling that my work really has an impact.
Besides this project, I am also working on European funding, and I am part of the EU task force at Group level.
What are the most important qualities for a Consultant?
When you start your career, you arrive in a new ecosystem, and you are talking to experts who know their topic very well. You need to learn quickly, be a good listener and observer and have strong communication skills. You also need to have confidence to bring your ideas and propositions to the table.
Why do you think other people should join Sopra Steria?
Sopra Steria is the place to be if you are curious about IT and want to grow every day while working on topics in projects you never thought you would work on. You will join a dynamic team, have flexibility, and be part of something that is evolving. You can also join well-known, bigger companies that are already settled on the market, but what I like about Sopra Steria Benelux is that we are growing and that you can be part of this evolution.
If Pauline could switch jobs with someone else at Sopra Steria for 1 day, she wants to be the Public Sector Business Unit director.
Diverse, open and friendly, at all levels of the company. We have the freedom to do our work the way we want to, and there is a lot of flexibility. We work hard, but there is definitely time to have fun at Sopra Steria, for example during afterworks or the GPTW party that was organised in Chalet Robinson. I would say that Sopra Steria Benelux really listens to junior profiles when they have ideas and the management is accessible and really trusts us, and this is very important for me.
At Sopra Steria Benelux, you will have the opportunity to work on a lot of different projects, so you must have this kind of willingness to change and to learn about various topics.
Sopra Steria has a strong focus on trainings, so they really want employees to grow. Having a Proximity Manager helps with this. My Proximity Manager and I sit together to see what I want to do in the coming months and years, inside Sopra Steria but also outside. I am for example in a very specific situation, because I am working and studying full time and the company really supports me in this, and I believe this would not be possible in another company. I think this is really a great system.
If Sopra Steria was an animal, Pauline thinks it would be a turtle, because Sopra Steria may be moving slowly, but we are always on track and moving forward. Sometimes it may take some time before an idea really kicks off, but in the end, when you put a turtle against a rabbit, the turtle wins.
Meet Sofiane Chami, Solution Building Engineer at Sopra Steria Benelux, but working more as a Machine Learning Engineer and Data Scientist, focusing on AI-relatedtopics. Sofiane first worked in Marketing, then studied Computer Sciences (with a specialisation in Algorithmics and AI), and then joined Sopra Steria. “My education gives me the fundamental ideas and knowledge I need in my job, but I mainly learn and improve on the field by trying things.”
What does your job entail?
My job is to come up with innovative ideas and applications to help customers utilise AI solutions. My days are filled with coding, debugging, and testing, and when I am stuck, I do some research on what has (not) been done before. I also check what is happening with our client’s partner companies, and we try to develop tools that secure the infrastructure of these partner companies. I would say that for my job, it is important to be patient, meticulous, and structured, but you also need to be able to explain something in a simplified way so everyone can understand.
My personal goal is to finish my projects and have them up and running. If you get there, you often created something from scratch the way you wanted to, and this makes you feel euphoric. The most interesting thing about my job is that I can try and create new things, and I have total freedom to do it and to push technology as far as I want to. I like the fact that I am working on cutting-edge technologies: you can do a lot of cool things with AI, it evolves all the time, and it is just fascinating.
What projects you are working on?
I am currently working for EUROCONTROL, more specifically in the EATM-CERT cybersecurity team, on 2 projects that are completely different, and both very interesting.
When a company is hacked, their documents can be leaked, and we are currently developing a tool that can analyse those documents to see if it is aviation related or not and to see if there are sensible information concerning us. This is my first project, and I recently started working on a second project which is more of a research project, where we try to predict which threat actor is responsible for a hacking incident by using federated machine learning. Knowing who is responsible for a hack allows us to verify for potential vulnerabilities they are known to use. Once we know how they proceed, we can try to predict and even prevent hacking. The challenge of this mission is that to do that we will need data we can’t see and are located in different companies. This project is incredibly challenging and enriching at the same time, and “you might be surprised how many attacks are done”.
Sopra Steria’s culture is open-minded, and freedom is something that is very much present here, more than in other companies. There is no micro-management, and there is hardly any pressure. The atmosphere is also informal, and I like it like that. There is no corporate lifestyle, we don’t need to wear a suite, and we can talk with colleagues about anything. The wellbeing of employees is important, and managers notice when you did something good, and they recognise you for it. On top, there are a lot of tools to improve your skills and receive certificates, so there are for sure enough opportunities to grow at Sopra Steria.
If Sofiane could switch jobs for one day with someone else at Sopra Steria, he would like to work in the Cybersecurity team doing pentesting himself. “Breaking into companies without other people knowing… If I had the skills, I would love to try it for 1 day”.
Why should others also join Sopra Steria?
Very briefly, we get opportunities to evolve, there is a nice working environment, we receive a lot of recognition, Sopra Steria has a good career framework, we get a good salary compared to the market, and we have nice benefits.
Meet Radu Mihis, team leader of 3 Incident Managers and 5 Service Desk Agents at Sopra Steria Luxembourg. Radu started working at Sopra Steria 4 years ago as an Incident Manager for the European Commission, on the Directorate General for Informatics project. “Even after working all these years for the same client, I still discover new things every day. My job is very dynamic, and no 2 days are the same.”
My main responsibility as team leader is assuring that my team, the MSP II team, is always up to date with their tasks and skills. When needed, I can also take on the role of Incident Manager or Service Desk Agent myself. I compare my team to the Emergency Room of a hospital. Service Desk agents do the triage, or first level analysis, and manage easy cases, while the Incident Managers handle the critical ones. Once our investigation is done, we coordinate with other specialised teams that need to act and resolve the cases. An example of a crisis is an application that doesn’t work properly anymore. It is our job then to investigate all the layers of this application and see what layer causes the issue.
In our job, we don’t only solve crises, we also try to prevent them from happening, by using change management, problem management, configuration management and monitoring improvement. We, together with other Commission units, are responsible for everything related to IT within the European Commission. At the end of the day, our job is to make the client happy. To do this, we work together every day with different stakeholders, like vendors, developers, and end users.
Most of the European Commission applications under our supervision are visible to EU citizens, so I believe our work is important and impactful.
What are the most important qualities to do your job?
As an Incident Manager, I would say that stress management, patience and having an analytical mind are the most important skills. You don’t need to be an expert on a specific technology, but you need to know a little bit of everything. A team leader should lead by example, have patience, and good crisis management skills. On top, you should be helpful, and be a “people person” who knows how to balance having an enjoyable but diligent atmosphere.
If Radu could switch jobs for one day with someone else at Sopra Steria, he would like to work in HR, since he is a “people person”. He thinks it would be interesting to meet many people and analyze them during interviews. “As HR, you see candidates throughout the entire application process, so you really can detect candidate’s good qualities and/or pain points”.
What can you say about the culture of Sopra Steria?
Sopra Steria has a diverse culture, and therefore you meet people from everywhere. Everyone is also open to this diversity and respects each other. When I started working at Sopra Steria, I received a warm welcome, and my integration went very smoothly. I have a good relationship with my colleagues and with management, and my team is very dynamic. People overall are openminded, easygoing, and willing to help or give advice.
When you have an idea, you are free to discuss it with management and your team, and you can be sure that people will listen to you. This combined with a lot of training opportunities, I would say that it is for sure possible to grow and evolve at Sopra Steria.
If Sopra Steria was an animal, Radu thinks it would be a Komodo dragon, because it’s an animal that has a purpose and that knows how to get there. Slowly, but it gets there, with more knowledge than others.
Meet Sacha Maricau, Solution Building Engineer at Sopra Steria Benelux. Sacha studied Computer Science, did an internship at Sopra Steria, graduated in 2019, and started working here immediately after. “In school, you only learn the best practices, but clients always have different requests and restrictions, so it is important to offer them a tailored approach and provide them with the best solution possible”.
I mainly work on back-end development in Java, and now for 1 year also on a front-end project within Angular. The key task in my job is creating applications, but our team does more than just that. We also do research on other applications to see what the best solution for our client is. We analyse and test applications as well, we solve bugs, and we meet with clients directly from time to time to present our work. I like the fact that I do more than just developing, because I don’t know if I want to be a Developer all my life. This way, I can experience a bit of other tasks as well, within the same job.
What are the most important qualities for a Solution Building Engineer?
I think being a team player is the most important one, because every problem and every solution is different, and no one knows everything. Therefore, you must work together with your colleagues in order to learn new things. Having the right technical skills can also help, but you also learn them on-the-job, from other colleagues, and via formal trainings, so it is not the most important thing. On top, I believe that understanding the business from your client is necessary as well, since this can help with the creation of the application.
What client are you working for?
My client is IBZ, or Federal Public Service Interior. Our team is responsible for producing and managing the central system behind the chip on the electronic identity card. Municipalities use this system daily, and our job is to make sure the system works. To that end, I believe my job also has an impact on citizens, because everyone has an ID card, and uses it all the time.
If Sacha could switch jobs for one day with someone else at Sopra Steria, he would like to be a Business Analyst, because he likes the contact with the client.
After I did my internship at Sopra Steria, I applied for a job here and I really liked how the application process went. It was fun, and not stressful at all. People I came in touch with listened to me and I felt comfortable with HR and the management. The atmosphere is very informal – it is like talking with friends – and you can talk about any subject. People care about each other, and everyone is appreciated, no matter your level or title. If I have a problem with project or a colleague, we can always talk to someone to ask for advice.
At Sopra Steria, I feel very much recognised and rewarded for my job. My colleagues and superiors often tell me that my work is important and impactful, and this is important for me. There is also always room to present new ideas, to your team leader and the management, or even directly to the client. Because of this, I feel that it is possible to grow. In my case, this is mainly thanks to my team leader, because he is always very supportive, but also thanks to my Proximity Manager, because he helps me decide what trainings could be relevant for me.
If Sopra Steria was an animal, Sacha thinks it would be a bee, because bees work together as a team, and they support the ecosystem. In addition, at Sopra Steria, we produce honey in the beehives next to our office, so this makes it easy to see the link.
Meet Mohamed Elhouderi, Infrastructure Engineer for Cloud & Technology Services at Sopra Steria Benelux. Mohamed started working for us in October 2016 as a Junior System Engineer after we approached him. “Since then, Sopra Steria and I enjoy our time together and the company really feels like my second home”.
My main job is to maintain the infrastructure of our clients. I work mostly for clients in the banking sector. I believe curiosity, and patience are the most important qualities for someone who does my job, because not everything you want to achieve, will happen in 1 day.
A regular working day when I started as an Infrastructure Engineer was mostly exploratory work: I discovered the environment of the customer, solved issues and managed users or I was involved when a system crashed. Now it is more Research & Development, so I am exploring new products and solutions that could be relevant for the customer.
I work together with different job profiles, like Developers who have to see and explain the bigger picture, Analysts who must tell us what the client needs are, or other technical profiles who come to us where there is an issue so we can try to resolve it.
What projects are you currently working on?
I am involved in instant payment systems, currently for 5 different banks. Because of these systems, banks are able to wire transfers instantly. My job here is to maintain the platform that collects these exchanges, so that we know exactly when the payment has been done. The setting up of these systems is now finished and the application is working on its own and we hardly ever hear any issues about it. I have been there from the start, and this product is now being used as a model for other products, so this of course makes me proud.
I am also supporting another client who wants to migrate his own application platform hosted on virtual machines into a container solution. This is challenging, because we are learning about the new platform ourselves while teaching the customer about it.
Why do you think other people should work at Sopra Steria?
At Sopra Steria you can follow trainings, you can learn a lot, you can switch projects if you want to, you can talk freely with management, people really listen to you, there is a great atmosphere, people are very friendly, we have a lot of fun, … So come to us!
If Sopra Steria was an animal, Mohamed thinks it would be a mammoth, even though they are extinct, because it has a fur that warms you, and a herd that guides you. Mammoths live in some kind of big family, just like I do at Sopra Steria.
What would you say the culture at Sopra Steria is like?
Sopra Steria is a group of likeminded people working together to achieve the impossible. We have an entrepreneurial mindset, and we have the freedom to think about ideas, present them and in the end, implement them. There are a lot of opportunities to grow at Sopra Steria, you just have to knock on the manager’s door, and they will listen to you.
I would say the atmosphere is more informal. I really enjoy the time with my team. We do some activities together, like watching a movie, hiking or biking, or go to each other’s wedding. I feel very lucky because of this, since “it is the neighborhood that is important, not the house”. I also feel very much appreciated by this company, since I am always asked about my opinion about anything, and I can share it honestly, and people also appreciate this.
A ‘Sopra Sterian’ is helpful, respectful, and will try to help you with anything. I always tell others that Sopra Steria is a company that will really try to understand you when you would have a (personal) problem.
If Mohamed could switch jobs for one day with someone else at Sopra Steria, he would want to work in Communication, because he thinks the job can be quite hard, since you need to collect information from everywhere and talk to a lot of people get what you need.
Meet Yann Perronnet, Project Manager on lease to DG TAXUD for Sopra Steria Benelux. Before starting at Sopra Steria, Yann was also working for this client at his previous employer. When they finished a contract with DG TAXUD, his previous employer didn’t have an interesting offer for Yann, so he decided to leave the company. In 2014, Yann got in touch with Sopra Steria Benelux after Sopra Steria just won a big project with DG TAXUD. Since Yann already had experience with this client, Sopra Steria proposed him to work on the newly won project.
My job is to give advice and recommendations to the client, so I have a lot of meetings – mostly online – with colleagues in different countries, like Romania, Poland, Greece, but also non-EU countries like Japan and the United States, and I really enjoy the international aspect of the project. My main tasks are doing document reviews, and reviews of technical offers, giving technical presentation, and coordinating with various stakeholders that are responsible for configurations items.
“I always worked for the same client but in different positions and on different projects, and that is what makes it interesting”.
Do you believe in the impact of the project you are working on?
The entire DG TAXUD project has a huge impact on European citizens in general. DG TAXUD deals with a lot of different aspects, and provides all kinds of different businesses, and this is what makes it interesting. During one of DG TAXUD’s contracts, Sopra Steria Benelux for example developed a system that allows tax information exchanges of American citizens that are located in Europe. During another project for DG TAXUD, Sopra Steria also contributed to an application for veterinary certification changes. So, every time an animal crosses a European border, there should be a relevant form from an official vet, and that is where DG TAXUD plays a role. Also, every time you see a truck on the road, chances are that it uses one of the systems that has been provided by DG TAXUD.
If Yann could switch jobs for one day with someone else at Sopra Steria, he would really like to be in the shoes of his Country Manager. “It’s quite big shoes to fill”, but Yann is curious to see what a Country Manager does.
First of all, Sopra Steria Benelux offers interesting and challenges projects. There are many job opportunities as well: I have seen some interesting success stories of colleagues who started as an intern and who are now certified trainers in the organisation who train people more senior than them. On top, Sopra Steria Benelux has always been fair with everyone.
I think it is important to enjoy work as much as possible, and also have a life next to work, and this has always been possible for me, even though sometimes I have to work crazy hours. Being such a big company – and getting bigger – Sopra Steria Benelux has always remained the human aspect. After all these years, I still enjoy work and working with the people around me, and this is something you can’t find everywhere. One example is that we never worried for 1 minute during covid times about anything, because we knew Sopra Steria would take care of us.
There are a lot of opportunities to grow and develop at Sopra Steria, but you do have to seize the opportunities yourself. I for example got the chance to develop my skills to be a good Project Manager. In the beginning, I had no idea how to balance workload and how to use management tools, but Sopra Steria was very patient with me while learning all of this. I was always given the tools to do what I needed to do and I feel that people who are higher on the ladder than me, are always ready to listen to me.
Why do you think Sopra Steria is a great place to work?
Like I said, the human aspect is important. You can have lousy customers, and complications with work, but at the end, you are interacting with humans, and I feel that Sopra Steria really understand this. Our management doesn’t ignore of deny problems we might have and that is very important. The fact that we had no issues at all with any HR related issue during covid times, means a lot to me.
If Sopra Steria was an animal, Yann thinks it would be a chameleon, because of the changing powers this animal has: Sopra Steria is changing all the time, but in its core, it stays the same.
Meet Vittorio Fidanzia, Programme/Project Manager at Sopra Steria Benelux for our Homeland Security Business Unit. In June 2017, Vittorio started in our company as a Test Manager for a project at Fedasil (Federal Agency for the reception of asylum seekers), and soon became the Project Manager of the same project. He is currently working as a Programme Manager for public European and Belgian customers (eu-LISA and Registre National). “Working on 2 different projects is challenging, because you face different approaches and deal with different challenges, but it’s a good way to stay connected with the company’s business”.
Can you say some more about the 2 projects you are working on?
The first project, Eurodac, deals with the maintenance and the evolution of a large-scale IT system managed by eu-LISA, a European Agency supporting EU Member States in the treatment and management of asylum seekers’ demands. When an asylum seeker crosses one of the European borders, he/she can be checked via the Eurodac system. This system is able to identify through appropriate biometric fingerprints matching if the person has already introduced an asylum request to another Member State before. This is an important exchange platform for both Member States, to determine which Member State is responsible of treating the asylum request, but also for law enforcement authorities to prevent, detect and investigate terrorists and serious criminal offences.
The other project is called Belpic, an application that is responsible for managing the delivery of the Belgian electronic ID card. Sopra Steria Benelux has been working on this project for a very long time I often say that “everyone has Belpic in his wallet”. On top of the regular work for “Registre National”, we also commit to drive the customer towards new horizons, such as the virtualisation of the identity formats.
What are the most important qualities for a Project/Programme Manager?
Firstly, as Programme/Project Manager you are responsible of driving and steering your customers in the best possible way to address the needs they are facing. Additionally, you are one of the entry points of the company for the customers, so the quality of the performance is an advertisement for Sopra Steria’s work, which can influence the company’s global reputation.
Also, I believe that creating harmony and cohesion in your team is very important and a real catalyst for the team development and performance. You should offer guidance to your team and play a ‘glue role’ to make them feel part of the journey and Sopra Steria’s core values. On the other hand, you need to make sure that the customer is not too invasive towards your team, so you should be the frontier between what happens “outside” and “inside”.
If Vittorio could switch jobs for one day with someone else at Sopra Steria, he would try the HR team, because he just likes to work and get in touch with new people and have a view on “where it all begins”.
What can you say about Sopra Steria Benelux’ culture?
I would say that the easiness of interaction is one of Sopra Steria’s unique features, as at any level in our company, there is a friendly and joyful atmosphere. I really feel part of a community, not just a company, and this is a remarkable aspect that is not typical for every company.
A person who works at Sopra Steria is open-minded, can think outside of the box, is creative, and has a lot of imagination. Until today, and apart from the official processes, I was never told how to do my job in a specific way, even when I was a junior Project Manager; we really get the freedom to express our creativity and ideas.
Sharing information is also something that is very valuable in our company, and this results in the fact that I never had the feeling that something was unachievable.
I feel part of an engine that is working well with the help of everyone, and this is one of the basic reasons why Sopra Steria Benelux can be defined as a great place to work. There is a very convivial environment, we have the freedom to bring ideas that are really considered and evaluated, and we have a lot of autonomy, which for me, is one of the biggest strengths.
If Sopra Steria was an animal, Vittorio thinks it would be a chameleon, because a chameleon is famous to be versatile and Sopra Steria Benelux shows to be a versatile company
Meet Stéphane Dessy, Solution Architect at Sopra Steria Benelux. After graduating, Stéphane asked some of his friends who were working in IT if they had fun in their jobs and if they could work on interesting projects. None of them found both criteria in their jobs, except 1 friend who worked at Steria (before the merge with Sopra). That is why Stéphane chose to launch his career at Steria in October 2012. In his first mission he worked on a project for the Ministry of Finance as a Developer. In 2017, he left this customer as a Junior Architect.
What does an Architect do?
I used to be a Java Architect, and I am now evolving into a Solution Architect. My job is to translate business requirements and the high-level design provided by the lead Architect into a technical solution that can be put in place by the Development team and other operational teams. The architect in IT is basically the same as an architect in designing a house. We make the plan, and we tell the Developers and Technical Operators where all parts should go and how they integrate with each other.
I also work together with Business Analysts, because they are the ones who spend a lot of time with the customer to refine the business needs and rules we must include in our solution. And since finding the best solution for the client is often a matter of trade-offs, I also have to discuss my vision of the solution with other (Enterprise, Application, Network, Infrastructure, Security, Cloud, and Data) Architects.
I am currently only working for eu-LISA on SIS II. All their core business systems now have their own biometric engine and work in isolation, but in the future, they will start to exchange information and there will only be 1 biometric engine, namely sBMS.
SIS II is a huge project because it is related to the security of the Schengen area. It has therefore an impact in terms of security on about 500 million people. I like the project because of this impact, but also because the technologies I can work on are very interesting.
What are the most important qualities for an Architect?
I would say that the biggest ones are having the capability to develop an abstract vision of the customer’s business needs and being able to divide this vision into highly cohesive and decoupled rational blocks in order to build a puzzle. Since we do not only communicate with internal teams, but also with the clients, having the right communication skills is also important for an Architect. On top, you should be curious, able to question your design choices, and keen to learn day after day.
If you want to have a long-term career in the same company, where everyone is friendly and respectful, management is accessible, you can have challenges, and a good work-life balance, Sopra Steria is for sure one of the top companies. We offer all of this and for me, this is what makes Sopra Steria a Great Place To Work.
There is this culture of friendliness, and I don’t think you can find this just anywhere. I really feel that we are a big family with our colleagues, and during all my years here, this was always the key point that made me stay in the company. You can speak frankly to anyone, including management, and if you have a problem, you will always find someone to help you.
There is also this entrepreneurial culture, so it is very much possible to take your career into your own hands, and to grow. People working at Sopra Steria really believe in the ‘Culture of excellence’ and I believe this is one of the key points of Sopra Steria’s success. There are a lot of opportunities to grow in our company and not only vertically but also horizontally. First, we have different platforms where we can follow a training, and since I am curious and love to learn, this is a big advantage to me. If you say that you need a training, people will really listen to you. Second, every employee is assigned a Proximity Manager to help see your potential, find out what skills you are lacking, help you grow in the way you want to while trying to stay aligned with the company expectations. I would say this role is the most important concept in Sopra Steria.
If Sopra Steria was an animal, Stephane thinks it would be a bee (colony). Just like everyone else at Sopra Steria, bees work hard, and they evolve in their role inside the colony. While working to survive, bees accomplish a critical mission for the sake of many other species and the overall ecosystem. By delivering value to critical customers like the European Commission, Belgian government, or the Belgian police, we at Sopra Steria are working for the sake of society. A bee in itself is fascinating, but no bee can survive on its own. It is only by working together that Sopra Steria will succeed.
Meet Gilles Doyen, SAP consultant (ABAP developer) at Sopra Steria Benelux since January 2021. Gilles already knew the SAP team before joining because some of his friends are working there. When he saw Pierre Blauwart (Agency Director of SAP at Sopra Steria Benelux) needed someone to build a Security Department, he was sold.
What is your goal as an SAP Consultant?
My main job is to work for customers and implement the code they need for their business purposes. I am also creating a Security Division for SAP. Depending on the project, my tasks are a bit different. For a project for a well-known bank in Belgium, I mainly work on their real estate module. For other projects, my task can be more specific. For example, I help one client whenever they have support needs on their emergency request solution or when there is a bug in their programme.
I really like that I can work on different projects at the same time, because my days never feel the same. There is a lot of diversity in my job, and it is fun because always doing the same thing in the same area would be boring after some time.
My mission as an ABAP Developer is to make the client happy, to respect their development needs, and to implement a future proof solution for them. As a Security Consultant, my goal is to know all the different tricks and techniques to be good at my job and to be able to improve myself.
What are the most important qualities for an SAP Consultant?
Being independent and autonomous and having the right adaptation skills. You should be able to learn the things you need to do in your job by yourself, because you can never learn at school exactly the situations you will be in during your job. This is really a mindset you need to have, and if you have this, you don’t really need to study IT, you will do great in this job anyway.
What achievement are you most proud of?
At Sopra Steria, we already had a Security Team but not for SAP specifically, and I was asked to build this SAP specific Security Team. It was a lot of work, but I had enough support, and I am very thankful for this opportunity. It was challenging, because I had to do a lot of things that I didn’t do before, like handling the budget, and managing people. We are not yet fully ready to look for customers and to start their projects, but we are getting there, and I am very excited about this.
Why do you think other people should join Sopra Steria?
First, working at Sopra Steria is fun. On top of that, you have a lot of diversity in your job. This may be challenging at times, but you will get the help and support you need, and, in the end, you will have a great sense of achievement.
If Gilles could switch jobs for one day with someone else at Sopra Steria, he would take the job of a Penetration Tester. This is another job in Security where you are basically hired to hack into the system of a company.
Culture and atmosphere at Sopra Steria
The SAP team is quite a young team, and everyone gets along very well, so I would say that working at Sopra Steria is like working with friends. The atmosphere is also rather informal. Even with our management, there is no “mister director”, and we call all management and our CEO by their first name. In my opinion, this is one of the strongest points of Sopra Steria. I would say working at Sopra Steria means working hard, but also playing hard, because the fun part is definitely present. For me, Sopra Steria just really is a great place to work, and I feel proud of working here.
A “Sopra Sterian” must have good adaptation skills, because there are always surprises at work or things for which you have to find a creative solution. It is also important to take your future into your own hands, because there are a lot of opportunities to grow at Sopra Steria, but you have to take the initiative yourself.
If Sopra Steria was an animal, Gilles thinks it would be a monkey, since you never really know what to expect but in the end it always turns out to be fun. It is like a “fun chaos” sometimes.