There’s a generalisation that working as a developer is an unsocial pursuit, suited exclusively to introverts and people who prefer to work in isolation.
For the team at dxw, this certainly isn’t the case. They pride themselves on a culture that is inclusive, collaborative and where everyone is encouraged to use their voice.
Having claimed the ‘Best Place for Developers to Work’ prize at the techies - which was sponsored by Jobbio - Harry Metcalfe, founder and managing director of dxw, spoke to us about how the company nurtures dev talent.
“Many firms say they’re all about nurturing talent but then spend all day every day looking after their clients, dxw is different: we have a four day week for client projects and use Fridays for company-focused work,” he said.
This company-focused work can include anything from internal projects to skills-building workshops, to experimenting with new tech tools.
The development team consists of the head of technology, the head of technical operations, one technical architect and a number of developers and systems administrators. Harry says that working on multi-disciplinary teams really accelerates employee learning and development.
“Our developers are able to work on a range of client projects and solve different kinds of problems and challenges, rather than being pigeon-holed into a single area,” he added.
Another benefit which contributes to the development of the team is their ‘conference perk’ in which the company pays for employees to attend a conference - not necessarily related to their role - but just something they’re interested in learning more about.
Other perks include a company pension, a cycle to work scheme and childcare vouchers, as well as social outings like team lunches, pub quizzes and games nights.
The company also has a growing library where employees can request books they feel will help them grow in their role. Harry says this is a valuable resource for encouraging self-learning among the team.
Harry describes the working environment as relaxed but focused. Developers work in sprints and have regular team catch-ups to discuss the progress of projects.
There is also a buddy system in place where developers are encouraged to talk through any challenges they’re experiencing with their “buddy” in order to preempt future problems.
In addition, the whole team goes on a retreat to reflect on the overall performance of the company. Harry says open discussion and collaboration are core to the company culture and an integral part of what makes dxw such a good environment for developers to work in.
“There’s a constant supply of exciting projects to get involved in and plenty of inspiration and support from colleagues,” he said.
Flexibility is key at the company with employees enjoying 10am starts and remote working. Burning the midnight oil won’t get you ahead here, Harry says the company believes in promoting realistic work objectives and deadlines.
“We’re serious about working at a sustainable pace and not presenting employees with impossible challenges; so working late or out of hours is strongly discouraged unless there’s a pressing or short-term problem,” he continued.
Dxw has already hired six people over the last three months and is currently looking to fill a variety of roles including operations engineer, user researcher and a number of developers. Harry says with the recent launch of dxw cyber, they’re really going to be focusing their recruitment drive on cyber security in the coming months.
The hiring process involves an initial screening call followed by a meeting of a few members of the team. Then, all going well, the candidate will be brought into the office to work for half a day to assess their skillset and compatibility.
Harry says this is also a good opportunity for potential developers to figure out if they will enjoy working on this rapidly expanding team. His advice for interested candidates is to “go for it!”
“This year we’re celebrating our 10th anniversary and we’re growing more rapidly than ever...if you want to work in a collaborative, supportive company we’d love to hear from you,” he said.