Contents

SoftwareMill's 2021 wrap up webp image

According to biology scientific papers, turning 12 is a time of many physical, mental, emotional, and social changes. In 2021, SoftwareMill celebrated 12 years of operation and we couldn’t agree more with that statement! We grew, we changed, and we evolved, keeping our unique spirit alive.

So let’s wrap up the most important events that happened at SoftwareMill in 2021!

People & culture

Let’s start out with a category that has got the biggest impact on who we are as a company. 2021 was a year when our mission & and vision got shaped up (you can read more about it here), dividing into three main categories. Our goal regarding the team is to embrace individuality to build a collective tech mindset. This is what we did in 2021 to evolve in that direction!

Welcoming new people on board

By the end of 2021, we planned to grow to around 80 people and we’ve accomplished that goal with flying colors! Our team was joined by some fantastic Java & Scala developers, DevOps engineers, administrative specialists, and marketing & graphic design peeps. We couldn’t be happier to welcome those new SoftwareMillers on board!

The SoftwareMill team at the 2021 company retrospective meeting

Searching for and training a new generation of SoftwareMillers

For many years, we’ve been known as a company hiring senior and mid developers only. In 2021, we felt that our organization is mature enough to change it. Through those 12 years of our existence, we’ve acquired lots of skills connected with educating others, our SoftwareMill Academy materials have been continuously growing, and our clients send us clear signals that they would love to engage more of our engineers to their teams. So as the timing felt right - the first opening for Junior Scala Developer appeared on our website!

As I’m writing these words, we’re still recruiting the brightest engineering minds ready to become real Scala pros in the near future. If you think that you’re the right match - make sure to send your application as well!

Our other idea on how to raise the next generation of Scala experts was to start an entirely free-of-charge from Java to Scala workshops. Jacek and Michał (our SoftwareMill Academy coordinators) visited Wrocław and shared their knowledge with some ambitious Scala adepts there.

Throwing lots of whole-company integrations

Another really important aspect of our company’s culture is team integration - because working remotely doesn’t have to mean feeling alone! On the contrary - many of our team members claim that they have stronger connections with their teammates working 100% remotely than when they were working in the office.

In 2021, we had 13 Birrs (that’s how we call our whole company integrations), both online and offline. What did we do exactly? We played online escape rooms, had beer, wine, and whiskey tasting sessions, went hiking(and sailing!), saw the beautiful Krzysztof Krawczyk mural in Opole,visited the vineyard and many, many more! The jewel of our integration crown was definitely our 3-days long company meeting in Hotel Warszawianka, located by the wonderful Zalew Zegrzyński lake.

Want to be up-to-date with our company meetings and more SoftwareMill behind the scenes? Make sure to follow our Instagram profile here!

Thriving in written content

We’re very proud of our SoftwareMill technology blog where our engineers regularly and enthusiastically share their programming and system development expertise. 2021 wasn’t any different in that case, as we’ve released 95 new articles focused on topics like Scala, Java, TypeScript, DevOps, Blockchain, company culture, and more! In 2021, we also published a series of interviews with Machine Learning experts from companies like Zalando, Nvidia or Evorain. Worth checking them out here!

When it comes to the number of articles created, Andrzej Ludwikowski took our blog by storm with his Event Sourcing tutorials, becoming a real content king - congrats! 👏 He also shares his insights inside our SoftwareMill Academy Event Sourcing mailing series, so make sure to sign up & catch up!

In terms of traffic and general popularity, those are the 5 articles published in 2021 that you’ve liked the most:
1. Evaluating persistent, replicated message queues
2. Implementing event sourcing using a relational database
3. Scala 3 macros tips & tricks
4. What I've learned from Signal server source code
5. First look at Akka Serverless

Our experts don’t limit themselves to our blog of course, as their goal is to share their knowledge with anyone who needs it. In 2021, Maciej Adamiak, the chief of our Machine Learning department / ReasonField Lab Co-founder (more info about it soon!) spread his wings as a researcher, releasing 3 scientific papers at the meeting point of geography, remote sensing and deep learning. You can check them out here!

Engaging in outdoor campaigns

If you live in Poland, you’ve probably seen the bus/tram stops with NoFluff jobs posters promoting their IT heroes campaign. The campaign goal was to promote developers, who usually stay in the shadows - yet their code and work are truly changing the world we’re living in for the better! We’ve also engaged in this campaign, as an application made by Marcin and Michał truly helped the traditional brick-and-mortar store owners to not lose their income entirely, thanks to shifting their sales online.

But that’s not the only outdoor campaign we did! We appeared on bus and tram stops across the biggest Polish cities for the second time as our posters encouraged software engineers to work remotely forever. We’ve worked like that for over 12 years already and believe me, being independent of office buildings, constant “back to the office” / “work from home” commands, and moving your stuff back and forth feels very liberating. Does anything I’m talking about feel familiar to you? If yes - maybe it’s the right time for some change.

Offering diversified self-development opportunities

When you join the SoftwareMill team, you might expect lots of internal development initiatives! In 2021, we had 4 Tech Reading Clubs where we read one book together and discuss chapter after chapter in small groups what we think about it. Within the last 12 months, we covered books like “Design it”, “Implementing Domain-Driven Design”, “Streaming Data”, and “Kubernetes Operators”.

Prefer listening & watching to reading? Fear not - our Friday Market meetings enable you to learn from live (yet also recorded for later of course) presentations done by our teammates. Last year, we had 10 of them, on topics like “What’s new on Cats Effects 3”, “About the DGraph Database” or “MSK - Managed Kafka Cluster on AWS”.

But that’s not all! We cherish soft skills as much as the tech ones, so as part of our Soft Skills Reading Club and Leaders Forge initiatives, we’ve read another 7 books together! Among them were titles like “Never Split the Difference”, “Essentialism” or “Peopleware”. Fun fact - we’ve even trained our creativity by completing the Pixar storytelling course together - how cool is that?

Still not done with our internal development opportunities in 2021! We’ve invited some external experts to share their knowledge with our team - they came from the fields that we believe exploring will bring the whole organization the most benefits. As a result, we engaged in workshops connected with giving & receiving feedback, Event Storming, emotional intelligence, and public speaking.

So, as you can see, we don’t limit our internal development initiatives to the ones improving “only” your programming skills - we invest in you as a human being, hoping that will raise your general workplace happiness.

Becoming movie stars

Speaking about investing in our people - in 2021, some of our SoftwareMill teammates had a chance to test themselves in the movie industry. As actors, directors, and even… dancers! In general, we published 11 new videos on our YouTube channel in 2021, and 2 of them deserve some special recognition.

To honor one of our teammates who decided to leave our company for a new opportunity, Marcin Kubala shot a criminal video explaining his mysterious disappearance. A pretty big part of SoftwareMillers was engaged in the project proving that we know how to say goodbye with a bang!

If you'd asked us a year ago whether we’d consider shooting a music video promoting our very own, colorful jumpsuits - we would probably say “hell no, that’s crazy!”. Yet in 2021, that’s exactly what we did. Because is there anything more important in working 100 % remotely than cozy (soft)wear?! I don’t think so - so play out the video and experience some SoftwareMill Vibes through it!

Introducing the badge system

From more internal changes, we’ve introduced a new remuneration system, based on collecting badges. It is an effect of months of hard and very insightful work done by our Badges Working Group led by SoftwareMill’s VP of Engineering Tomek. Why have we decided to do that and why have we eventually chosen to ditch the flat salaries system? You can read about that in the articles written by our CEO, Tomasz Szymański - part 1 and part 2. More on that topic coming soon, so stay tuned!

Tech & community

We’re deeply rooted in the tech community from day one and we stay that way. Our mission directed at the tech community is to inspire and guide with true engineering. Check what steps we took to back up that statement in 2021!

Attending tech conferences

When some offline conferences came back in 2021, we were so relieved - cause we missed them so much! Combining offline and online tech conferences together, we attended 37 conferences & meetups in 2021 - 22 times as speakers! Among the most interesting ones were DevoXX Poland (a first big offline conference in Poland in quite some time!), Build Stuff in Vilnius, Wrocław JUG, ScalaCON, Scala Love in the City (where we invited you to go on Coding Adventures With Party Parrot) and Scale by the Bay [online].

Developing our Open Source Systems

Our Open Source Systems are our huge pride - giving back to the tech community and firing up its growth gives us lots of joy and satisfaction. In 2021, we updated 7 of our OSSs (tapir, sttp, magnolia, quicklens, elasticmq, macwire, and Fablo) 134 times!!! Speaking about Fablo - this is something that was born in 2021, already making lots of buzz in the Blockchain world!

What else do we like to develop as side projects to boost our creativity? For example - new programming languages! Introducing Shelly, where you can learn programming by drawing - or simply draw if you already know how to code. Try it yourself and let us know what you think!

A screen from Shelly’s inside

How to express how much you care about your Open Source System? Build the whole narrative around it and invite the tech community to have fun with you! As a result, our Party Parrot has gained a close friend from the animal kingdom when our tapir OSS Slack emojis were released! It was part of our Christmas gift to the whole development community so feel free to download them and use them during your daily communication.

Releasing quality & recognized inside the industry Newsletters

If you’ve known us for some time, you probably know that we run the biggest Scala Newsletter in the world, Scala Times. But that’s not the only Newsletter we run as we believe that delivering quality knowledge to your inbox is a great way to help you grow. To not limit ourselves to Scala, we continuously develop our other Newsletters and as a result - in 2021 alone, we’ve sent 105 mailings in general!

In 2021, we launched another newsflash -Data Times, a monthly dose of tech news focused specifically on Big Data, Machine Learning, and Stream Processing. Discover tech content software engineers like and recommend!

Winning a Hackathon

In December 2021, our team composed of SoftwareMill’s Blockchain pros Hejwo,Piotr,Jakub, and Szimano won the 1st place in a hackathon organized by the Polish Commission of Financial Supervision! After intense 40 hours of coding, they presented FABLOus reporting ledger solution powered by hyperledger blockchain. Congratulations to the whole team for making another HackYeah award ours!

Launching a new conference

We have a long history of organizing tech conferences as we simply love to meet fellow developers in real life! You probably know Scalar,the Scala conference we’ve organized continuously since 2014 already. In 2021, sadly, there was no Scalar but we used our forces to regroup and come with something entirely different!

Meet TypeVille, a Scalar descendant that will definitely make lots of noise in 2022. This one-of-a-kind, all-inclusive offsite conference in the Polish mountains will gather the whole Type Safety community in the wild on April 20-22! So if you are a Scala, Java, Haskell, Rust, Kotlin or TypeScript developer make sure to save your spot as a Speaker or an Attendee now!

Releasing the Scala 3 Tech Report

We stay on our toes regarding technology all the time - so when Scala 3 was released, we knew that it deserves some quality coverage from our side. As a result, the Scala 3 Tech Report was released, filled with everything you need to know about this major update. You can download it here!

Still, we are perfectly aware that there is a world beyond Scala (crazy, right?!) - so for the second time in a row,we’ve prepared a list of the most interesting trends to watch within the next 12 months. Curious about our perspective? Then read the article here!

Business & clients

2021 was a wonderful year for us and for our clients. Many of them expanded their teams with our developers, praising their creativity and exceptional technical skills. We also acquired some new ones who came directly to us knowing that we can ensure the quality of service and add value to their digital products. The third part of our mission is to proactively transform our clients’ businesses with technology. Check how we’ve been going in the right direction business-wise.

Acquiring new Clutch reviews

In 2021, we gained 5 new reviews on Clutch.co! We’re very happy that our clients are so satisfied with our services that they want to share their opinion about us with the world. We already know that we have the best developers in the world - nice to have something that double proves that ;)

Some of SoftwareMill’s Clutch.co reviews

Delivering software to our clients

Through the whole 2021, we’ve been actively developing software for 23 clients. The industries they are from varies greatly - starting from fintech, moving to healthcare, on the education ending. But that’s not all of them of course! Basically, we’re able to provide software solutions for almost every industry in the world, as long as we believe that it’s technologically possible. So the sky is the limit and if you want to discuss your idea with us - you know where to find us!

Starting new projects

5 new clients joined us in 2021, mostly from domains like Blockchain and Machine Learning. As we observe, our domain expertise is becoming more and more recognized among our clients, which pleases us a lot.

Conclusion

2021 was definitely a very adventurous year for all of us in SoftwareMill!. We’re looking forward to 2022 with excitement knowing that with our team - the best is yet to come!

Our 2021 successes are the results of keeping our company DNA alive. Want to know more about it? Download our Handbook for New Employees here!

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