We speak to one of our Technical Support Engineers, Ugur Gecgil, about moving from Turkey to Estonia to join Veriff, his career path, and how he's finding life in a new country.
Ugur is the Technical Support Engineer at Veriff. He is originally from Turkey and moved to Estonia to join the company back in 2019. His everyday work involves collaborating with different departments and making sure that our technical setup is all in order. His engineering career started in Turkey, where he attended university and worked in an international company for five years. Our conversation went well! We talked about his interests, hobbies, everyday life, and career path so far. Enjoy!
I decided to become an engineer during my years of high school. It was primarily because of the environment I was in - people around me had a massive influence on the career choice. For example, I saw how my cousin was a successful engineer. Also, reading various stories from different professionals helped me realize that I wanted to target an engineering field. I wanted to know more about Automation, Robotics, and Software Development.
I applied to study Control Systems Engineering at university in Turkey and take the Computer Engineering course as my minor study program. These courses helped me to develop my interest in the engineering field and search for new opportunities.
During the last year of my university, I started searching for an internship. I had two sectors in my mind for that - I wanted to focus on either embedded systems or building automation systems. So I started researching companies in Turkey that could give me an opportunity to kickstart my career. I was reading various articles, sending out emails to different people to find the perfect match. Finally, I found one company in Istanbul that offered me a summer internship to learn more about programming industrial controllers. My job was to primarily deal with PLC (Programmable Logic Controller), installing and troubleshooting of server side applications and also create a custom integration between servers or logical controllers - it was a pretty diverse topic.
After the internship, I had a chance to work in that company full-time. I spent five years there, where I experienced working in many different engineering fields - I developed skills and understood various topics. I also had a chance to travel a lot and share experiences on an international level, which helped me learn more about different factories and how they operated.
There were lots of different challenges we had to deal with in these five years. Especially when we had to travel a lot worldwide and solve multiple automation problems, it was an amazing learning experience for me to try out different angles of the engineering field. However, at some point I realized that I had to change sector to learn new topics, go deeper in engineering and get a fresh experience. I started researching the new job opportunities in different European countries and approached various international companies for that.
When I finally decided to change company and start a new journey, I wanted to focus more on a role that would let me be more involved in product development and have a more hands-on experience with tech. I wanted a new challenge that would drive me to learn new things. For that, I was looking for different opportunities, mainly in Estonia and Germany. I applied to a couple of companies in Estonia because of the wide choice of engineering field opportunities. Veriff was one of them. Finally, I chose to concentrate on Veriff because of the smooth hiring procedure, exciting product, and amazing growth opportunities within the company.
It was definitely a hard decision for me to leave my previous company after working there for five years. This decision pushed me out of my comfort zone because I joined a new sector. But I decided to take on this challenge and I believe I made the right choice. I loved the questions they asked me during the interview for Veriff, so I was sure that this was an amazing opportunity from the beginning.
The number one thing I like about Veriff is the people that work here. Both personally and professionally, it is amazing to collaborate with them and share different responsibilities. Everyone here has great competence in their field, and it is exciting to work with them. I have seen lots of times when the people of Veriff have their side-projects going on outside the work as well. It is also very interesting to see that and understand how diverse my colleagues are.
I think all of the Veriff values are really well-thought and important for the company. The one I feel the most aligned with would be ‘Always come with the solution’. For me, it has always been interesting to see how different people approach and solve problems. I believe this mindset helps our company to scale and come up with effective solutions daily.
I enjoy traveling to different Estonian cities because I really like nature here, especially during the spring and summer. I try to explore new communities and expand my network because there are many international people working and studying in Tallinn. For me, it's interesting to connect with them.
I came to live in Tallinn at the end of 2019. The lockdown started soon after that, so I didn't have the opportunity to join many communities but I'm still in the exploring phase, discovering new things here daily and meeting new people.
There are lots of differences between Turkey and Estonia when it comes to everyday life and people. For example, the way they work, behave, and communicate are different, and it's really interesting to explore and spot these kinds of cultural differences.
I like playing chess a lot! Especially during the lockdown period, I was actively connecting with people online and playing it. I also enjoy cooking, because I like to try out different recipes and prepare nice meals.
“Crime and Punishment” is one of my favorite books by Dostoevsky. I would definitely recommend anyone to read it. Also, there is one book about diets in Turkish that I really like.
I prefer Mac because it's a UNIX-like system.
It is very important to talk with experienced people in this field. Some things are not always the way they seem to be, and having these conversations with industry professionals will help you create the right expectations about your future.