One common trait among Bubblers is a hunger for learning. Everyone works on everything, and if you don’t know how to do something, you’ll gain access to knowledge through mentorship, training, and professional development. Feel free to use your development budget of $3000 on things outside of work hours that will aid in your own progression. Our developers have attended conferences like Ruby Kaigi, RailsConf and DockerCon, and have taken classes to deepen their expertise.
Redbubble has a structured format for guiding personal growth and the engineering team even determines compensation using a development framework, rather than negotiation skills or salary history. This helps us avoid those really awkward and uncomfortable salary negotiations while creating a level playing ground for all to succeed.
Our commitment to personal growth is embodied in the approach we take to learning and development, mentorship, and even in our company values. Our company value of “Be real with yourself and others,” encourages employees to take our commitments to each other seriously, give feedback, and treat ourselves as whole people at work.
We’ve put several programs in place to empower every Asana to grow personally and professionally—and recognize that the two are very closely intertwined. These are just a few of our company-wide programs to support employees’ growth:
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Everyone needs the time and space to learn by doing, and because we place a high value on learning and personal growth, we are deliberate about providing both. In a more structured way, everyone has regular 1:1s with their managers to discuss how they want to develop. To direct our personal development, we also give and receive 360 feedback twice a year. Everyone at the company is encouraged to attend conferences and share resources that will help their peers also develop new skills.
On a company level, we host bi-weekly Lunch & Learn sessions, have book and blog clubs, run blameless 5 Whys whenever something goes wrong, have an all-company offsite twice a year to go deeper on improving how we work together, and conclude most projects with a retrospective to draw out any lessons on how to improve.
As a new hire, you will start off by working with your manager to determine which areas you want to grow: technical mastery, bias to ship, mentorship and collaboration, systemization and automation. Do you want to become a React expert? How about leading projects to deal with potential scammers via understanding message intent or devising some interesting application beyond Bayesian classification? We will match you with projects that align with both your personal career goals and the business objectives for the team. We also provide stipends for conference attendance and online courses.
For one, there is a strong culture around learning whether that means attending tech meetups, conferences, or taking online courses. We provide a $1,500/year stipend for personal development whether it’s used towards further your education or expanding your networking. Our Lunch & Learns are another way that we encourage continued learning. Engineers pick different topics to present on and get to teach the rest of the team about anything from new industry trends to deep dives into specific topics. We also have an Engineering Book Club, where past books have included Solr in Action and Clean Code. We see opportunities to learn in everything we do.
If continuously learning is important to you, you’ll never get stagnant at DataFox. We have a lot of interesting technical challenges. We do machine learning and natural language processing; have a ton of data that require scaling our databases, backend systems, and data pipeline; and are constantly working to automate our customers’ grunt work. We’re fast to adopt open source technologies without bureaucracy and we keep to date with technologies (ie. moving from CoffeeScript to ES6). Getting bored at work is one of the most dreaded things and we promise it’ll never happen here.
We are an incredibly learning-forward team. Everyone at the company is an avid student and together, we have created a unique learning environment at the workplace. Every other week, we have an Expert Night where we invite an expert in to teach the entire team about something. Whether the topic is sales or Elasticsearch, the Expert always teaches the entire team about something pertinent to our product.
Prior to founding Sonar, Neeharika was involved in teaching and sponsoring Rails School because mentorship holds a special place in her heart. She explains, “Neither of us [cofounders] have a CS degree and neither of us became software engineers on our own. We got help from friends and mentors and believe in learning by teaching and learning by doing. We value the fact that we don’t know everything and want all of us to be growing, improving, learning continuously.”
Our senior team members pair with junior team members every day on projects, design docs, and code review. As an organization, we also back that up by:
We also support a tuition reimbursement program where employees are eligible for a tuition reimbursement benefit (up to a few thousand dollars per year) towards educational courses in a field that relates to their current position at Braze.
Formally and company-wide, we organize biweekly Lunch & Learns on a range of topics from Population Health Management to Lean Startup Principles to SF Recology Initiatives, and we provide a library budget upon joining to help share individual learnings with the whole team. Everyone also receives a yearly education allowance to use for training, conferences and books. Informally, we support and encourage a lot of interpersonal knowledge and feedback sharing, an obscene amount of question asking, and the pursuit of passions outside the office walls! For an inside look, our VP of Engineering Linda often speaks to how Medisas encourages her to stretch her limits and grow.
At Routific, our team members have a lot of flexibility with their schedules. While we try to all be at the office between 10 a.m and 6 p.m. on weekdays, team members take the opportunity to work remotely when it suits them and we have a “Work From Home” tradition every Wednesday. We provide stipends for courses, conferences, or workshops that our employees wish to attend.
At a recent all-hands, we shared stories about personal growth. One of our full-time engineers, Jonathan, talked about how he first started out as an intern at Routific: “I was just a co-op intern, but I was trusted to work on the core algorithms,” Jonathan said. “The founders flew the entire team, including me, to Chicago to participate in the Techstars program.”
We also commit to personal growth and development in a very public way, in line with our core value of transparency:
At a recent company-wide feedback session, each team member wrote down a few lines of feedback for every other team member: one thing they should keep doing, and one thing they can improve upon. We went around the room and shared this feedback – publicly – with one another. The person receiving the feedback was encouraged to say ‘thank you’ out loud because receiving feedback is like receiving a gift. It is also important not to become defensive and start explaining. Just listen, acknowledge, and be thankful.
After we received this feedback, every team member wrote down what he or she wanted to actively improve upon, starting the sentence with: “I commit to…” We collected everyone’s commitments in a document, printed it, and stuck it on our kitchen wall. Our commitments are public, and our team members give each other permission to help them and to hold them accountable.
We try to make our team members as robust as possible. Since we straddle all of the different products at Postmates, everyone is exposed to and gets comfortable working across the stack. The ability to try different things and get experience with different aspects of engineering allows people to make informed decisions about where they want to grow their careers and develop their interests. Take me (Rick) as a prime example. I joined as an iOS engineer, did backend, moved into management, and now I’m working on backend again.
The engineering org at Postmates also has performance reviews (once every 6 months) which we take very seriously. There is a standardized set of levels which helps identify exactly how you can get better across all of the engineering competencies. They are designed to help each person move towards their personal career goals and identify how managers can support them. If you want to become better at your job by attending a workshop or gain expertise through an online course, we not only encourage you to do so but we’ll also fund it.
One of our engineers built a product that weighs team’s predictions based on how well they’ve performed on predictions in the past. We now use as part of product planning and overall decision making (for reference read this). We take constant improvement and challenging our own biases very seriously.
Every member gets a yearly stipend to go to conferences, take online courses, or purchase books. We encourage people to speak at conference and we’ll even cover your expenses. G Adventures also has an amazing Learning team, which creates modules to help staff with management, negotiation skills, and personal development (among other things). We’ve also recently partnered with Lynda.com to open up their entire catalogue to our employees.
Our focus on personal growth also extends to our technical blog. We want to make sure engineers have the opportunity to develop their writing skills and increase their presence in the community, especially the Python community in Toronto. Our regular Lunch and Learns also encourage developers to share and teach others about something they learned or recently released. G also does various company-wide Lunch and Learns about new trips we’re going to sell.
We also host tech meetups, Ladies Learning Code sessions, and other outreach events that are geared towards our staff and others in the community. For example, every winter we do a "Christmas in the Community" event where we host a Christmas party for the local youth. As part of our "We" vacation days, we also try to schedule events like helping out at the local food bank or youth center.
We act as a software development department for our clients. We understand that the success of every project is all about reliable people. It is essential for our employees to grow with the company. When joining us you can expect technical and soft skills workshops. We tend to organise them monthly. Most recently we learned about effective communication methods and hosted SQLServer expert who presented a column store index for us.
We also attend IT conferences together like SQLDay or .NET Developer Days. Each piece of code is reviewed by a teammate before merging. This improves code quality, and encourages team members to share their knowledge and expertise.
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Angaza believes so strongly in mentorship that we deliberately scale our hiring rate to our mentoring capacity. If we feel we can’t provide the proper support for our engineers to grow into confident and independent colleagues, then we’ll dial back until mentoring bandwidth increases again.
As you can see, we expect a lot from our senior engineers. Not only must they be strong technically, but they must also be able and willing to help grow the next crop of leaders. In return, senior engineers have the opportunity not only to hone their own technical skills (spearheading our most challenging projects), but also level up their leadership skills, and convert to a management track if so desired. And while it so happens that our senior engineers each average ~15 years of industry experience, it’s demonstrated depth and breadth that we care about, not length of tenure.
From individuals pairing on a specific problem to our bi-weekly engineering practicum led by our CTO, our culture is infused top to bottom with a commitment to helping engineers maximize their rates of personal growth.
Whether it’s product management, UX, management, or a specific expertise, we work closely with the individual to get there. Currently, we only have one hands-on engineer, so the room to take on a lot of responsibility is tremendous. Libby joined our team as a graphic designer, but she realized through working here that she prefers to work in client facing roles and move projects along, she now is an account strategist.
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Whenever we need to uplevel our knowledge, skills, and abilities, we leverage outside experts and consultants. When we first started in 2015, ML were getting more accurate and AI was becoming more accessible to developers. We weren't experts ourselves, so we hired one as a consultant to help us ramp up our timeline. Together, Daniel and the consultant built face identification models (matching faces) that work on adult faces. Our models perform as well as the ones in leading academic research papers. Now we’re working to train the model to perform face identification on baby faces - a unique challenge!
Joining Precious is an especially good opportunity for any developer that wants to apply their current skill set while also learning about computer vision.
We provide a $2500/year stipend for professional development. You can attend classes to become more masterful in a given field or acquire new skills. You can also use it to attend conferences, network with people from all over the world, and gain exposure to all corners of a subject. Each employee also has a $1500/year stipend for personal growth. Learn the fundamentals of hip-hop, to play golf, or take guitar lessons -- anything goes as long as there is an instructor.
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We have a Learning and Development team that is responsible for developing the growth of individual company members. Our L&D team regularly hosts workshops on performance management, giving feedback, retention, diversity, and unconscious bias, just to name a few. Some of these workshops are opt-in and some are mandatory. We partner with a third party called LifeLabs that hosts programs and teach our L&D team to conduct programs on their own. Lastly, we contract with Gold Spring which is a network of professional career coaches. Flatiron pays for up to 4 sessions so that you can get coaching from someone external to the company in identifying and navigating your personal goals.
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We all have other side projects outside of our “9-to-5.” Employers typically discourage their employees from working on side projects, or at least it seems as if people are shy to share this information with their managers and coworkers. We couldn’t be more different here at Monograph. We have mini show-and-tells that happen organically, and as of now, it feels like they happen 3x a week. Perhaps this is because our founding team is comprised of three architects, where everyone shows each other their ideas by physically “pinning it up.”
At Monograph, you have to work on a side project. If you don’t want to, expect us to encourage you to and even put some pressure on you by buying you a domain. To us, side projects are canaries in the coal mine. The company benefits from your working on a side project just as much as you do, and truthfully, all of our SEO mastery has come from our side projects. We have a 4-day workweek so that there can be an abundance of side projects. Here are some:
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Every employee gets 12 days per year for personal development. Software developers, for example, can work our open-source toolings, internal toolings, or come up with their own ideas on what to work on. In addition to that, everyone is provide with a budget for visiting conferences and workshops. For the last 10 years, we have hosted an internal company conference once a year and since about 4 years we also host a public version called the unKonf, an unconference for web- and software development in our office in Mannheim.
Personal growth means something different to each person and everyone faces different obstacles in reaching those goals. Box has a number of groups that organize monthly events that aim to build community and provide support. For example, the Women in Tech group organizes internal events, sends female engineers to Grace Hopper Conferences, and has various tracks that include community outreach, networking, and career development workshops. Other groups at Box include Pride, Black Box, and Latin, to name a few. We also host Coffee Conversations where speakers are invited to speak about their career paths and provide insights about their personal journeys.
Learning and development is also embedded into our engineering operations. We have Agile Coaches who closely mentor individual teams as they adopt Agile practices, providing feedback and answering questions as they help the team deliver high quality more efficiently. There is always something to learn and we expect everyone to be growing during their time at Box.
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We have some of the world’s best academics and advisors helping us to navigate a complex industry, and we don’t expect people to turn up and have all the answers. We’re constantly learning, and learning to learn. One way that we share information is through our monthly showcase where team members show off what they’d achieved, or have learnt that month.
Our two co-founders - Jesse and Jiameng met at the startup company builder Entrepreneur First, and are committed to the growth mindset. Jiameng is also the organiser of the London Applied Deep Learning meetup, we encourage employees to not only attend these events but also to speak at them.
Beyond that, we’re part of a big family of Entrepreneur First network. You have the opportunity to meet and make friends with the best and most ambitious startups in London.
We run internal workshops at Medium ranging between technical classes and brown bags (so that engineers can learn and contribute to different parts of our stack) to leadership training for those who are interested in pursuing a management career path. If employees have interests beyond what we offer in-house, they can take advantage of our education budget to further their career development via online courses, conferences, or books. We also offer guided in-office meditation and yoga classes as well as a fitness reimbursement to support mental and physical growth. We’re serious about personal development, which is why we published our engineering growth framework in full.
As one example of extraordinary personal growth, one of our engineers TJ joined us directly from App Academy. Less than two years in, he is leading our largest product development project this quarter.
Hustle is in its hypergrowth phase which means two things: everyone is growing with the company, and you will be given as much responsibility as your are willing and able to carry.
We recognize the importance of cultivating a supportive environment that nurtures learning and growth. We believe strongly in 1-1 mentorship, strong and detailed PR reviews, allocating time and money every year to conferences, workshops and training and anything else that can further your learning. Finally, we don’t have any artificial promotion schedules or limits. This means that if you do new things, carry more responsibility, and grow as a person and professional, you will be recognized and rewarded accordingly.
Labor Automation Cloud Platform
New York, Toronto, and Lexington (just outside of Boston)
While WorkMarket has budget allocated for training, conferences, and the like, a great deal of the personal growth happens through mentoring, both through peer-to-peer and manager-IC relationships.
More remarkable is how much the individuals at WorkMarket value professional development. Unlike most companies where Human Resources is the main driver behind professional growth and educational opportunities, many of the growth initiatives at WorkMarket are self-organized (i.e. grassroot). Management supports ands foster these initiatives with the budget and resourcing as needed, but they are largely driven from the bottom-up.
One example is the emergence of internal talks, a speaking opportunity outside of the normal sprint demo, product-centric flow. It was started by a member of our engineering team, and we maintain bi-weekly open forums for presenters to get help, coaching, and feedback on improving presentation style and materials. It’s an informal workshop, and it works. Members have gone off to present at other meetups and industry events, and have even contributed to technology publications.
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If you don’t grow - your team doesn’t grow. If your team doesn’t grow - the product doesn’t grow. If the product doesn’t grow - customers are going to go somewhere else. Take time to pursue your passions that will continue to bring you and your life a sense of purpose and balance.
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Beyond these reviews, we stress an environment of continuous feedback and constant learning. Whether it is lunch and learn sessions or attending relevant conferences and training sessions, learning new languages and technologies has helped our employees grow at Relay. Moreover, with the help of continued management support and training, multiple tech employees at Relay have taken the initiative to become more well rounded developers and learn new languages or skill sets that align closely with their overall career objectives.
We incorporate a lot of opportunities for collaboration, code review and you will work very closely with the other members of the team. We always try to push developers with harder challenges and couple it with support from our CTO and others on the team. Through our performance reviews and 1-on-1’s we keep track of your growth and help you get to where you want to be, both in the short term and the long term. Not everyone wants to or is supposed to become management, so we try to accommodate for independent contributors too. The most important person for defining the growth trajectory of your career is yourself, and we are there to support you.
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Our bi-annual performance-review is an opportunity to have a very open, honest, and focused discussion on strengths and areas of development. It’s a 360-degree feedback process, which consists of a self-reflection, peer-feedback, and a follow-up 1:1 conversation with your manager. GustoFIED is not just a reflection of previous work - we also use this as a time to look forward and help Gusties develop both professionally and personally.
Our engineers also have a $1,500 annual learning and development budget. Engineers have attended classes or workshops, worked in new parts of our stack, and attended conferences. Many of our engineers have even been featured in media and at technology conferences. At Gusto, personal growth isn’t just something we think about twice a year with GustoFIED — it’s every day.
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Engineers at Blockstack are encouraged to run with their ideas, and there is no shortage of opportunities for engineers to take on here. We are still a small team working towards a new frontier and encourage a culture that challenges the status quo. As an engineer, we hope you'll seek out more responsibilities and will never limit your ambitions. We want everyone to push themselves as they push the world towards a decentralized internet.
We also pay for engineers to go to conferences. For example, one of our engineers is attending and likely presenting at Scaling Bitcoin 2017 - Stanford University. We host conferences as well (see Blockstack Summit 2017), and have an extremely collaborative workspace.
People in LoyLap have different domains of expertise, so training means having someone able and willing to impart that knowledge. For example, an iOS dev expanding his domain may learn the Android SDK with the Android dev overseeing it. We also encourage our employees to make time and participate in community events. Some people attend a weekly programming book club, and we also have members participate in activities like five-a-side football. We celebrate the interests of our employees and hope to continue this culture of development both inside and outside of the workplace.
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We’re a very experienced team, much more so than the average startup, and we all regularly take on new roles and learn from each other. We’re committed to personal growth out of necessity, and also because we love it in our own lives. On a small, start-up team, you need people willing to try everything, and the team needs to create a safe place for people to try new things. We couldn’t get everything done any other way.
Our current, four-person team shares over 90 years of professional work experience, and each of us still seeks to gain insight and growth daily. There are few things more professionally gratifying then seeing a teammate accomplish something new, or better yet, helping them do it.
When you first join our team, you’ll be matched up with at least one mentor based on what we learn about you in our hiring and onboarding process. New employees meet one-on-one with their mentor weekly (and anyone else they’d like….). These meetings are just to run through the events of the day/week, and are often taken outside during short walks and coffee breaks.
We genuinely want to see everyone on our team grow, learn, and mature during their time at Sensor Tower. As an engineer, you don’t need to work at a given company, you should want to work there. We are especially conscious of this because we are a self-funded company. We don’t hire for the sake of growing our numbers and improving optics for investors. We don’t believe that hyper-growth without profitability is how we should measure success. Our focus and investments are in our team and in our product, because those are the foundation for healthy, sustained growth.
As developers, we have a wide range of interests and at mindmatters, we’re encouraged to pursue them. Some people have hardware projects, while others are interested in topics like programming Alexa skills. Some people want to work on building internal tools for the company to use, like a dashboard to track working hours or a tool to log vacation days. Of course, we also have interests that extend beyond engineering, which is why some of us have started special interest groups for things like brewing beer.
The flexibility we have to decide when, where, and how much we work allows us to pursue our personal interests and learning. We also have an annual educational budget of 1000 € for people to get training and attend workshops, seminars, or development conferences in Germany (or other European countries).
We don’t focus too much on individual contributors but certainly support a career trajectory for engineers who want to grow into team lead roles and manage large projects. At the end of the day, if you can prove yourself, then you’ll get the chance to do it. We are an early-stage startup and have been growing slowly and steadily since our inception (2012), which means each person has the ability to shape the direction and future of the company in a significant way. We also support personal growth outside our office walls, providing a $1000/year stipend for educational development, whether it’s for a SQL class or Landmark. If any of this speaks to you, or if you have any questions, please reach out!
You’ll also find Coffee Meets Bagel on San Francisco’s 2018 Top 20 Startups!
We want all of our engineers to progress personally, both in their technical and collaboration skills. One concrete example of this philosophy is our Tech Lead rotation. We rotate a Tech Lead per project so that all engineers get better at project timeline estimations, coordinating and collaborating with other teams, and leading other engineers. When an engineer has become a great Tech Lead, we ask her/him to mentor new Tech Leads. As every engineer grows, we all benefit.
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