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How our software engineers maintain personal growth

Posted by Chris Bonnar on July 27, 2020 08:22:07

Here at Enable, we believe in continuous development. This doesn't just apply to our software, it also applies to our employees. We are committed to personal and professional growth, which is why we continuously dedicate time to improving our technical abilities in key areas. The result is a team whose knowledge is widely shared between individuals, all of whom are confident in developing software to solve complex problems.

The induction process for new software engineers

  • Who we recruit
As a growing software company, we are particularly focused on recruiting high achievers in numerate subjects, with 66% of our employees holding an undergraduate degree in either Maths or Science, and 41% attaining a Master's or PhD in their chosen field of study. With this level of outstanding technical skill and discipline, our team can translate that knowledge into highly effective business solutions.

When a software engineer begins their career at Enable, they embark on a six-week training program to develop the skills which are necessary to contribute to the development of our software products. We recognise that people from a variety of technical backgrounds have developed a variety of skills, which is why we dedicate this time to ensuring that all new engineers feel confident using the tools and technologies which are utilised by Enable, regardless of their prior experience.

  • Skills workshops
The induction process involves daily workshops, each of which are led by a member of the engineering team who has an advanced understanding of a particular topic in a key technical area. Topics covered include programming languages, software frameworks and design concepts, and some workshops cover best practices and procedures. Not only do these workshops help new engineers to develop a detailed understanding of key topics, they also provide an opportunity for our experienced engineers to fine-tune the soft skills required to lead training sessions and effectively communicate complex ideas to others. The development of these skills helps to prepare our experienced engineers for the the next stages of their career at Enable.

  • Dedicated self-paced learning time

Outside of workshops, new engineers will engage in self-paced learning, which will typically be on topics covered in training sessions. This provides our engineers the freedom to structure their time to suit their current ability and experience, and to adopt methods of learning which are best suited to them. After certain topics have been covered in training, a programming challenge will then be set which allows the opportunity to apply what has been learnt in a more practical setting. The end product of the programming challenge is then reviewed by an experienced engineer, who will provide feedback on the work using our standard peer review process.

Continuous development beyond the induction

The six-week induction process is only the start of an engineer's training journey at Enable. In fact, continual investment in growth, knowledge and mastery is embedded in our core company values. That's why our engineers regularly have time dedicated to developing their knowledge of a particular topic, which may be relevant to an upcoming software project or is perhaps simply of interest to them. Our 4:1 working week facilitates this perfectly, as training could be included as a ‘supporting activity'.

  • Programming challenges
Some training topics may be more suitable for engineers with more experience. That's why our programming challenges aren't exclusive to our new engineers. We found this form of practical training to be so effective that we continue to dedicate time to developing new challenges for the new technologies that we implement in our software products.

  • Skills assessment
Enable is committed to personal and professional growth, which is promoted in regular one-to-one sessions with managers. Engineers are able to discuss with their managers areas in which they would like to develop, and plan how to achieve their career goals through training and other activities. Time is also dedicated to allowing engineers to self-assess their ‘skills matrix', an individual record of how competent they feel across the range of tools and technologies that we use. This allows training to be streamlined to areas where it will be most valuable.

  • Distributing knowledge amongst the team
At Enable, training isn't just about the individual, it's a redistribution of knowledge amongst the team. We host skills workshops and group sessions in which members of the team can share their knowledge and expertise with others. For example, we regularly host software product training sessions for members of the team to become familiar with a project which may be new to them. We also redistribute knowledge through the use of a shared library of notes which contains information on a range of key technical areas. This library is continuously updated and contains resources which members of the team have found to be valuable during their own training.

As a SaaS company, we take pride in how our teams work collaboratively towards a common goal. Through targeted training activities, we ensure that key knowledge is shared between our technical and non-technical teams where there are common areas of interest.

  • Research
As new technologies emerge or technical uncertainties arise, we conduct research as the first step towards increasing knowledge in the team. Ideas for new areas to research are raised by our engineers who keep up to date with the latest software industry news. Members of the team regularly attend conferences for software engineers, for example NDC London, which allows us to challenge and improve our technical knowledge and processes.

Final thoughts

Continuous development drives the work we do at Enable, which is a reflection of our core company values. Our approach to training ensures that our engineers are equipped to take on complex software challenges and deliver solutions of a high standard, whilst also working towards achieving their personal career goals. As we grow and change as a company, one of the most important things we can do is invest in the growth of our people, so that they can be confident in developing the best possible software solutions.

To find out more about a career at Enable, click here.