What it’s like to be a SoftwareMiller
Joining a new company is exciting but it makes questions pop up. If you're about to make a career change, what are the factors that will help you choose a new company? When recruiting, we often hear that what's really important to candidates is to be a part of a team that works well together and helps team members learn.
Are we a team like that? Definitely. But instead of telling you about all the benefits of joining us (and some of them are here but the list could go on 😉), we decided to share a more personal take on that. I've asked our team members — those who've been here for just a month, a quarter, a year, and even more than ten years (yep, 10 years!!) to share the reasons why they came here in the first place and what's keeping them here. And I'm sharing some of my reasons, too.
Getting on board
Even before you become a SoftwareMiller, after we've seen your CV, we want the recruitment process to leave a good impression. We're thorough, so the recruitment process takes from 2 to 4 weeks and involves 5 stages: CV screening & survey, interview, recruitment task, code review, and lunch. If you're looking for more details on how we hire software engineers, you can check this article by our VP of Engineering, Tomek:
But here & now, I want to focus on how people find the process.
Łukasz, our Backend Developer shares his thoughts on the technical call:
It was the best technical call I've had so far. I felt comfortable and could tell that the guys wanted to get the best out of me, not just kick me where it hurts. Non-typical open questions allowed me to share my thoughts on project-related matters.
Bartek, Scala Software Engineer says:
The recruitment task gives you space to showcase your skills and sets no limitations when it comes to choosing the stack. Whenever I had a question, I could just ask the recruitment team and they would get back to me promptly.
Joining a new company
Moving past the recruitment process! We're in the first week at SoftwareMill now! How exciting! Remember the last time you had your first day at work? How was it?
Personally, I was over the moon to join the team, but at the same time, I was a little withdrawn and nervous about how the team would see me. I wanted them to like me, you know ;) Maybe some of you can relate?
No need to worry about that, though. Upon joining us, new team members don't land their first project right away — the first week with us is a 'cultural' week when we want our new colleagues to get to know the company, our values, mission, decisions, and meet as many people from the team as possible.
What's more, during the first months at SoftwareMill, all new team members have their Guardians - people who support the onboarding process, share knowledge, provide answers, and are just there for their new colleagues when they enter the new environment. If you've already read our Handbook for New Employees, you know all about it — but it's not like we just let ourselves go after the first few months!
You might find this interesting:
After the initial 3 months on the job, we ask around for feedback. That's the time when you can tell us all about your experience with us so far: what you liked and what you think should be improved. The Guardian also collects feedback from the people you've already worked with. Sharing feedback is very important to us and everything that's said is published on our Wiki and available for all team members to read. So... want to hear a little about our first 3 months? Let's just look at a few examples before we move on:
The coolest thing about SoftwareMill is definitely the company culture and freedom in choosing our projects, technologies we work with, solutions to explore. I appreciate the fact that we can make many decisions on our own, within smaller teams and we don't have to wait until someone else decides for us. Another thing, quite surprising at first, is the full transparency: having access to all the information in the company makes any decision-making easier.
- Mariusz, DevOps Engineer
In another company I worked with, team building was practically non-existent, so I was pleasantly surprised that I had an opportunity to meet so many people here within my first week in the company! Having the first week to settle and learn more about the company is a great idea, if I jumped right into a project, I would've never learned these things.
I like the fact that I get to choose my equipment and what I get is really high-end to boost my work. No tracking software or whatever, there's trust and we simply treat each other like adults.
- Rafał, Frontend Developer
What's the best thing about SoftwareMill? People! We're fully remote but team building is high on our priority list, we make time to build great relationships at work. There's room for informal chats and jokes, too. On top of that, there's really high seniority in the team and it's awesome that there are so many opportunities to learn from them and exchange experiences,"
- Łukasz, Backend Developer
Past the 3-month mark
After the first 3 months, the Guardian role changes, and we all (every team member including board members) have Buddies. The Buddy role is in part similar to what the Guardian does, but it's more long-term — as Buddies, we gather feedback for our friends, make sure they're doing ok with their tasks, check up on how they're feeling. Just so we don't miss a thing even though we can't meet face to face on a daily basis. How's that beneficial to our team members?
Here's what Iza, our Digital Marketing Strategist thinks:
At the very beginning of joining the SoftwareMill team, I had a thousand questions in my head. How do self-organized teams work? What does communication in a 100% remote company looks like? Where to look for information that's essential for me as a newbie? And last but not least - What is the company's general vibe & culture? And I got answers to most of my questions after just one day spent with my Guardian. He dedicated 4 hours of his working day to tell me all about the company's ways-of-doing, answer all of my questions, and simply introduce me to the organization I’ve become a part of.
When you join a new company, you might think that you don’t want to mess with those hard working people by bugging them with your “silly” questions. Newsflash: your Guardian is the person that you SHOULD be asking about all those things! How to proceed with your invoices? What kind of software should you install? What does the “BIAB” shortcut on Slack mean (yep, I asked this and FYI - it means Back in a Bit and is used when someone is leaving work for some time during the day ;) )? They are here for both major and smaller matters, happy to help you to acclimatize well in SoftwareMill.
What I like about this Guardian concept is that they play the role of your “silent partner”. If you’ll need them - you can simply reach out. But if you don’t - they won’t bother you much. It’s as far from someone “controlling you” as it can be, so I’m really glad that we have this role introduced in our company!
As for myself, I'm super happy that I've had the support of a dedicated person. I appreciate the Buddy role - when I want to chat about something, be it work-related or even something a little more personal, I have this person I can rely on. See, a Buddy is not your team leader, so whenever I want to chat about my ideas and professional development, I can count on my Buddy bringing in a new perspective. When in doubt, I reach out to my Buddy. And the cool thing is that I see my Buddy is interested to hear me out and willing to share his experiences and ideas with me.
You might find this interesting:
And the fun begins!
How time flies! After you've been with us for 3 months, you've learned a lot about the company and the team, now fun begins! Well, OK, it began on Day 1, but it continues even after years...
While growing is fun and we're always super happy to welcome new SoftwareMillers onboard, we also make sure that those team members that have been with us for a longer while are also happy. How do we do that? Again, it starts with hiring. We hire new team members beyond skills and look for people who are passionate about their work, want to share knowledge and learn. To make sure we're helping them stay motivated, we run a quarterly "Barometer" survey where we ask all team members about their satisfaction levels with their team and project and ask them to share details about what they enjoy and what they'd like to change.
Of course, that's not the single thing that keeps people here for years — there is no single reason at all. Why have people worked with SoftwareMill for many years? Let's see!
Lech Głowiak, Scala Engineer:
I joined SoftwareMill in 2020, and have since noticed a few elements that I really enjoy about the company. First, remote work is really well-organized. Thanks to having been all-remote for a long while, SoftwareMill hasn't gone through the sudden work environment switch that has recently been a difficulty to many organizations. I also appreciate the high seniority and level of knowledge of my coworkers and the fact that there are growth opportunities for everyone. Even though the company has grown quite significantly and will soon become a 100-people team, each one of us still has an influence on the company like it was before.
Michał Grandys, Backend Developer:
I came to SoftwareMill in 2019. The things that I find most valuable about working here is the possibility to grow professionally, the company's transparency, and working with experts. Working here, I have to opportunity to collaborate with people who have excellent tech skills, and that's not something that's granted in every company out there. I like that the company is focused on helping the team develop, giving us opportunities to do things outside of our project work, e.g. helping in the hiring processes or contributing to open source. We're also encouraged to participate in tech conferences and it's cool that we have paid days off for that, and there are other benefits like incentives for writing technical blog posts.
Łukasz Lenart, Senior Developer:
I've been working with SoftwareMill since 2009 and it's been quite a ride. I think I was the third person ever to join the team and at that time, it felt a bit crazy to leave a job at a big company to join a newly created company with 7 people on board. Having spent over a decade here, I can say that taking this risk paid off.
I see the biggest value in the people that work here, or used to work here. I've had the chance to meet really interesting people who are not only specialists in their field but also are driven by a passion for what they do, and that doesn't have to be about coding. Looking at the IT industry, it's not common to spend over 10 years at one company and sometimes I realize that it's been a long time since I last changed something professionally, but I haven't found another company that would fit my needs as well as SoftwareMill does.
Adam Richter, Frontend Engineer:
Since 2020 when I joined the team, the thing I found the most impressive about the company is the organizational structure that welcomes and encourages proactivity and participation in making decisions. It's also a plus that people here have got remote work all worked out, so it's not a challenge. We have growth opportunities, engaging projects, and a well-organized structure, but at the same time, we're still a company where everyone's opinion counts. Even though we're growing, we still have an actual impact on what's happening in the company, which is a great thing.
Wow, that was a lot! But we all hope that our stories will help you see whether we're the kind of people you want to be around ;) And if you want to learn more about us, our values, the way we work, check our Hiring FAQ where we answer some burning questions and download our Handbook for New Employees to get a feel of what it's like to be a SoftwareMiller.
Ready to meet us? Apply here!