Developer to Developer:
In Their Own Words
An interview with Jeff, Senior Developer
The thing I’m looking for when I think about company culture is how everyone interacts or talks to each other. In some places, it’s centered around departments, it’s us against the rest of the world. In my opinion, Skyward is more about the people than the work in contrast to places that prioritize the work over people.
In addition, what’s the vibe of the office? Is it casual? There’s always a spectrum of professional to casual. I’ve never worked anywhere where it’s super professional by design. It’s totally valid, but not something I want to inflict on myself.
What makes for a positive work environment?
Not pointing fingers or assigning blame. It makes it easier for people to speak up and talk more openly. Certainly, another thing would be an acknowledgement that things happen outside of work and making affordances, cutting people slack.
How would you describe the culture at Skyward?
Generally it’s pretty laid back and friendly. It’s not us versus them; we work together to figure out the best way to solve a problem we’re having. My friends will talk about how things are going in their workplace, and someone will harass or yell. Is that normal? Not at all. But to them it is because a lot of workplaces are like that.
What personality types do well here?
If you don’t have a ton of ego, you would do well here. If you have a good work life balance, if you’re curious and you want to explore, you will be rewarded for that.
How important is culture vs tangible benefits?
For me, it’s pretty significant. You’d have to offer me at least 50% more money to get me to work somewhere else in a lousy environment. You have to think to yourself, this is where I’m going to be spending the majority of my time, so it’s that much more valuable to me.
What do you need to do your job to the best of your abilities
Certainly, I need the right tools from a technical perspective to achieve what I need to do. I need the authority and at least some freedom to be effective and do my job well. In other places, I’ve not had that, and it’s a frustrating experience and leads to me leaving. Emotionally, where I can openly and freely be an idiot. I love being the guy who says I don’t know, explain that to me, and not feel like, “why don’t you know that?”
Why should a developer come here instead of somewhere else?
When I started here, I had a choice of going somewhere more established for a lot of money. There were just 5 people here at the time, and I often reflect back on where I’d be now if I hadn’t made this choice. I have had a variety of experiences that I wouldn’t have had otherwise. You wear a lot of hats. It’s a multiplier for how much value you will bring to any other company. You will pick up a lot of skills and a variety of skills because we don’t pigeonhole you into one particular role. At more established shops, they have very dedicated teams to each role. The next stage in your career is to expand your horizon and see the whole software development lifecycle. That’s something you get here very quickly compared to shops with 50 people or above.