When Softjourn was founded, we felt that the core of our company’s growth should come from maintaining an investment in the emerging generation. Through an extensive training program, we’ve since cultivated a continual pipeline of talented people. Young professionals have much to bring to the table, including new ideas, enthusiasm and an eagerness to learn. The more experienced programmers who teach them gain the opportunity to develop their skills and grow into leaders. We can’t emphasize enough the role that hiring and training plays in the success of our projects and relationships with clients.
Developing the next generation of bright programmers is such an important part of what we do that we’re partnered with the National Technical University in Ivano-Frankivsk, Ukraine, where our software development center is located. Many students are in a five-year master’s degree program in computer science or other software engineering related disciplines. One of our Project Managers is an instructor at the university as well. Many interns come in as third or fourth year students. They work for us as junior programmers while finishing their degree, and then become a part of our regular development team. This preparation process gives them the opportunity to develop their skills under the guidance of experienced software professionals, and gives us the benefit of their enthusiasm, and gives them time to get up to speed on Softjourn’s methodologies.
Our training program is equal parts trainees and trainers. Developing future managers and project leads is another benefit of integrating training into the work environment. Team members who volunteer or are “volunteered” to take on the role of mentor get the type of hands-on experience that’s essential to management training. By training others, mentors learn how to lead a software development project before they’re officially in the position. They’re managing another person and taking responsibility for someone else’s work. They learn to communicate on their feet, so their non-technical skills evolve naturally. Employees interested in management know they can best demonstrate their potential to lead and work with clients by doing a knockout job at training our newest software developers. A senior developer in Softjourn also has taken on the responsibility to liaison with the National Technical University. He continually presents to the students’ different topics which aid in their development, as well as talks with them and mentors them on their technical interests whether it may be java, or .NET or mobile development.
Communication is a primary concern of many prospective clients. Therefore, non-technical skills are among the most important qualities for the emerging generation of software developers to cultivate. To be successful in this industry, we’ve pushed the communication skills of every person at our company. That means not just English language skills but skills in working with clients. It’s our priority to grow team members who are capable of putting themselves in the clients’ position. It’s not enough to ask a client what they need. Our people ask the questions that help pull out essential information for a project, and they realize the concerns a company may have in working with remote software developers. As a company, we’re able to relate, and that’s what keeps our clients coming back.