Getting to Know: Tech

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Forward by Blake Thomas, Apprentice Program Supervisor

One of the worst feelings I’ve had in my career is to sit across from someone and realize during the course of an interview that despite their interest and passion, they’re missing key qualifications.

My peers and managers at Enova have discussed the possibility of an apprenticeship program off and on for years, always with the same inevitable conclusion: “Yeah… but now is not the right time.” Recently, one of our call center representatives, Stacy Mullins, applied for a position as a software engineer. She had taken classes and done some work on her own, but in the interview it became clear that despite her spectacular drive and an abiding interest in software engineering, she was simply too green to be successful in the role.

I wasn’t excited about that result. It took us time, but after reaching out to Stacy and making arrangements to get her access (and receiving the attention of Joe Mastey, our Manager of Internal Learning), we realized that the right time is right now, and with that, we had our first apprentice.

We hope to broaden the program over the next year by refining it and adding a few spots, but we’re taking it slow and devoting as much care as we can to the process. I cannot communicate in words, or, frankly, anything short of a parade with a jazz band, how excited I am to see our first Enova apprentice succeeding.

– Blake

How did you come to work at Enova?

I truly believe that it was fate that led me to Enova. Prior to working here, I worked as a telephone recruiter for a third-party human resources firm. Work had become very scarce — I was averaging just 20 hours per week and my circumstances were dire. I was reluctant to seek employment through a staffing agency, but I decided to give it a try. I was introduced to Enova through Advanced Resources, the staffing agency in our building. I started working in the CashNetUSA call center as an Application Support Technician in November 2012, before being officially converted in March 2013. My ultimate goal has always been to work in the software engineering department. They have a reputation for grooming developers of various skill sets and helping them master core principles and best practices of software engineering.

What do you do at Enova?

I am a Software Engineer Apprentice. I am currently in Joe Mastey’s LevelUp training, which consists of multiple software challenges that prepare developers like myself to work on more advanced real-world projects. The LevelUp course covers advanced topics and concepts specific to the actual tools used by Enova developers. Topics range from testing to building complete web applications. I also work with a team of other developers in training. We conduct daily code reviews, providing each other with constructive feedback on any given project.

What’s the best part of working at Enova?

If I have to choose something other than the Nutella crepes on Monday mornings, I’ll choose the people. There’s no way I can encapsulate everything in a few sentences, but I am so privileged to work with such an intelligent group of people. The department that I work in follows Enova’s core values to the heart, and Top Talent and Teamwork certainly sticks out in my mind when I think about the people I work with. Several people have played a pivotal role in advancing my professional growth and development. My co-workers are eager to help, willing to lend an ear when I’m not feeling my best, and most of all, they want me to succeed.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

I don’t have any particular preference in terms of location. It is important that I live within walking distance from a body of water. It’s been this way since I can remember — I simply can’t function knowing that there isn’t water nearby. I tend to gravitate toward the lake when I need to decompress and get away from the everyday “noise” in the world.

What are your top three desert island must-haves?

Assuming I’d be on said island for a short period of time, it would be the perfect opportunity to finish up personal side projects. I’d have to have my laptop. This would allow me time to write, listen to music, and read. For the longest time I’ve wanted to write and illustrate a children’s book, so I’d definitely have to bring a pack of pencils and drawing paper.