Bentley Systems’ Kaunas, Lithuania Office Attracts Top-flight IT Specialists
Photo: “Bentley Systems”.
A strategy that was shaped five years ago has become a reality today. When US company Bentley Systems opened an office in Kaunas, it announced its intention to hire about four dozen IT specialists in the next few years. Today, about 50 of them are working together with teams, creating world-famous software applications.
Bentley provides innovative software to advance the world’s infrastructure – sustaining both the global economy and environment. Bentley’s industry-leading software solutions are used by professionals, and organizations of every size, for the design, construction, and operations of roads and bridges, rail and transit, water and wastewater, public works and utilities, buildings and campuses, and industrial facilities. Its offerings include MicroStation-based applications for modeling simulation, ProjectWise for project delivery, AssetWise for asset and network performance, and the iTwin platform for infrastructure digital twins.
ProjectWise, for example, was used on the reconstruction of one of the world’s largest oil refineries in India, where over 2,000 professionals from several dozen companies in five countries worked simultaneously on the project. The application enabled the multidiscipline project team to operate smoothly, communicate effectively, and share files seamlessly, ensuring that each team member had access to the latest version.
It is on projects like this one that Bentley’s software development center in Lithuania, with one unit in Kaunas and a second in Vilnius, works.
“Our colleagues in Lithuania have the opportunity to live where either in Vilnius or in Kaunas and work in whatever department they choose. So, naturally, colleagues switch offices. Kaunas residents will move to Vilnius or, more often, Vilnius residents move to Kaunas,” said Girėnė Ščiukaitė, talent attraction manager with Bentley Systems.
Proximity to KTU a benefit
The manager responsible for attracting young talent makes no secret that Bentley came to Kaunas because of Kaunas University of Technology (KTU) and its IT specialists. “In Lithuania, we are the veterans among all the foreign IT companies. Our Lithuanian department has been operating for 15 years. Initially, working in Vilnius, we grew as much as we could, but when more companies established businesses in Lithuania, we saw that having an office in Vilnius alone was no longer enough. It was also difficult to attract KTU graduates from Kaunas. For years we have observed a situation where IT students start working while completing their studies, and after graduation they establish themselves in Kaunas, working with companies located there. This is why Bentley set up a branch in Kaunas – to be closer to KTU and their well-trained specialists.”
The strategy has paid off
The final decision to establish a Kaunas office was made at the Bentley’s headquarters in Exton, USA. Immediately, the new office in Lithuania attracted experienced programmers and software analysts.
“They were people-mentors, experienced professionals who could nurture younger colleagues. And, of course, we started accepting interns from the very beginning. To this day, we offer both mandatory university internships and invite students to work during summers after the third, second, or even their first year of university. We even had student interns who came to us because of our cooperation with the Kaunas University of Technology Gymnasium. In this way, we provide an opportunity for them to try this work and see if this is what they want to do in the future,” said Ščiukaitė.
This is the first professional experience for students where instead of programming tasks in a university, they are gaining actual software development experience. Meanwhile, Bentley has the opportunity to grow new talents, especially since it has already perfected this process over the years. Of the nearly 50 employees currently working in the Kaunas office, more than half started as interns. This proves that the initial strategy that led to the branch’s establishment in Kaunas turned out to be the right one.
A personal mentor for each intern
Every year, five-to-seven students are invited to intern at the Kaunas branch for at least three months. They are attracted by the opportunity to do actual work on real projects. Moreover, each intern is assigned a personal mentor who assigns tasks, helps to implement them, improves their skills and knowledge, and introduces them to corporate life.
“We consider the intern and the internship successful if, after a month and a half, the student already saves more time for the mentor by doing simple tasks than by receiving them,” said Ščiukaitė.
Another way that Bentley introduces new colleagues to the company is a special two-year rotation program, which they attend after their internship.
“During the rotation program, the programmer changes the team, product, and technology. Every six months in each team, they get a new mentor. We do that because we have noticed that during these rotations we grow much faster and people become better specialists, and gain a much wider outlook.”
A look at the students
As competition intensifies, both for experienced professionals and for young people entering the labor market, companies are forced to have a wider outlook and try to increase the number of IT professionals in the future. To contribute to the cause and stimulate the market and its growth, Bentley supports the Informatics section of the National Student Academy, the organizers of the Lithuanian Student Olympiad in Informatics.
“We decided to look where the future programmers are and how we can contribute to their development. After hearing that KTU Gymnasium was looking for a sponsor of a class focused on computer science, we did not hesitate to support them. We invite students to open days and introduce them to the professions we have here in Kaunas.
The most amazing thing is that seven of those students who met us during the first open days, have become fulltime colleagues.”
Although this summer of the pandemic has slightly changed the usual internship procedure, the company is already preparing to invite students for mandatory university internships that are developing the future specialists both for Bentley and for the entire Kaunas and Lithuanian IT community.