What Do 8 South Wales IT Employees Look For in an Employer?

( Post 22 of 25 )

Last week, we published this: What Do 16 South Wales IT Employers Look For in an Employee?

Now it’s time to turn the tables…

WDYLF in an Employer montage“What do you look for in an employer?” We asked this question to 8 developers, engineers, consultants, etc. native to the South Wales region. Some work for small, up-and-coming startups while others work for medium-sized agencies and large companies.

We hope that employers (not just in South Wales, but anywhere in the world) will read the responses and take them into account when they are employing for IT staff of their own.

All of the answers are below, sorted alphabetically by surname. And just like last time, right at the bottom of this post, we have summarised our findings based on the most commonly-given answers – a roundup summary of sorts. Have fun reading them…!

Mark Bird photoMark Bird, Graphic Designer at Buy As You View

Buy As You View provides finance for household goods such as electricals, furniture and appliances. Mark also has a personal porfolio site at designmb.co.uk.

Having recently joined Buy As You View, I was looking for an employer where hard work and results were recognised and rewarded. In previous jobs I felt that very often working extra hours and going beyond the call of duty had become the norm and, as such, had become very much a one-way street. At Buy As You View I still have the same work ethic and I do go above and beyond what is expected of me but it has been recognised and rewarded. I enjoy a great relationship with my line manager who is very flexible with me should I need to do the school run or leave early occasionally, because he knows that should he need me to stay late or work in the evening, I will. I think it is important to have that mutual respect and flexibility because it creates a positive atmosphere within the team of wanting to work hard for the cause but with a good work/life balance too.

I think it is important to have that mutual respect and flexibility because it creates a positive atmosphere within the team.

I was also looking for an employer who would listen to my ideas and who would offer me a career progression if I wanted to move up. This is important to me so that I have something to aim for rather than feel as if I was stuck in my current role.

Finally, I think it is important that you enjoy your job because I think the best way to ensure an employee performs at their best is if they are passionate about what they are doing and they enjoy doing it. I feel lucky that I have found this at Buy As You View.

Peter Carless photoPeter Carless, Front End Developer at Big Mallet
@xanthestudios | @big_mallet

Big Mallet is a digital agency specialising in Drupal. Peter also offers branding, design, and development services in his own right at xanthestudios.co.uk.

Common questions that I have been asked in interviews are “What are your aspirations?” and “Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?”

The answers I have given have always been the same and based around the following points:

  1. An environment that I enjoy going to
  2. Work that I enjoy doing
  3. The ability to support my family
  4. The chance to develop both professionally and personally

Many people may see this as a lack of ambition but I’m at the point in my career where these are the important factors to me in choosing an employer; this isn’t to say that I would automatically turn down an offer of leadership and responsibility. But I’m a developer and hacking code – especially HTML and Sass – is what I enjoy doing.

Gavin Davies photoGavin Davies, Automation Engineer & Consultant at Radify
@gavD_UK | @radify

Radify offers web application development consulting. Gavin is also a freelance software developer: gavd.co.uk.

In choosing to work with a company, I look for flexibility first. I’m someone who is ill-suited to the starched collar of the corporate world, so remote working and flexible hours are an absolute must. What drives me is building efficient systems with smart people; to me, the corporate world simply seems to get in the way of that with its endless bean-counting and lumbering movement. As such, I’m absolutely delighted to have found Radify.io – we are a tight distributed team who solve interesting problems with technology. I love to be fully engaged in an organisation rather than being compartmentalised – so full stack development, as well as opportunities to speak at conferences and contribute to blogging output and so forth is essential to me.

What I love about Radify is the continuous improvement. We are very intentional about what we do and frequently take a step back to look at what we do, why we do it and how we can do it better. There’s a clear sense of progression and to me it’s very important to always be improving.

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Back in the Day… Nathan Sivapatham: “How Things Have Changed”

( Post 21 of 25 )

Following on from a couple of posts earlier in the month looking back at how IT has evolved over the last 25 years (the first one from our friend David Jones; the second one from us), we finish off our ‘Back in the Day…’ series of posts with this guest blog contribution from Nathan Sivapatham, who has been working in IT – mostly as a DBA (Database Administrator) – since the 1980s.

By gum. How things have changed.

Nathan Sivapatham 1990 image

Nathan in 1979

Back in the spring of 1979 I had this thought: I needed to plan for my future. I did a lot research in the local library in Windsor. I also talked to many friends who were working in various industries. Some of them worked for multinational companies whilst others worked for the local health authority.

I came to the conclusion that I wanted to study Accountancy. It was a big decision and I managed to secure a place at a local Technical College – it was popular and attracted students from the wealthy and well connected to those in the Middle Eastern oil industry. After the end of the first year, I decided it was not for me. Time to start all over again. After a lot of soul searching, I decided my future was in IT. I had a tough time convincing the Head of IT faculty that I was committed to the next 3 years of the course. Somehow I succeeded.

I had to finance my own education because I was an overseas student from the old Commonwealth. I worked hard, working nearly 50 weekends in the first year to pay for my lodging and tuition fees.

Only two [Harris computers] existed in the whole of the UK. Neither the ICL nor the Harris computers exist now apart from in a museum.

The college was busy replacing the old ICL mainframe computer with an unknown brand computer: Harris. Only two of them existed in the whole of the UK. I did not realise until later that it was a good omen for me. Neither the ICL nor the Harris computers exist now apart from in a museum.

I did well to find a work placement with the RAF where the other Harris computer system was in use. I developed a unique database application in COBOL language based on an academic white paper from an unknown research engineer. It was almost certainly the first working database within the RAF that focused on saving the Harrier jump jet pilots.

You can actually find an old sales brochure for the Harris 500 online. According to the PDF’s title, it’s from January 1980:

Harris 500 brochure snippet screenshot

Screenshot of part of the first page of the Harris 500 sales brochure
(Click to enlarge)

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Out of Office: Why Are IT Professionals Leaving the Office to Work From Home?

( Post 20 of 25 )

This is a post by Holly, who sometimes writes for us at Computer Recruiter.

ONS figures chart

(Click to enlarge)

Teleworking, remote working, homeworking – whatever you call it, one thing is true: working from home is on the rise in the UK. In Q1 2014, 13.9% of the UK’s total workforce were working remotely. That’s 4.2 million British home workers across the country.

The number of Brits now working from home isn’t just rising, it’s now hitting record figures. Today the UK has more teleworkers than ever before – a rise of 1.9 million since 1998. Although a rise in the number of people in employment plays a part in the surge, the advent of ever-better technology has played a very significant role.

Technology & Remote Working

Increasingly fast and dependable broadband access has made working from home a viable alternative to working in the office. Meanwhile, the development of cloud computing has rendered “the office more accessible than ever before – from any location. Tools, documents, collaborative platforms, SaaS – these crucial tools of the trade can be used from virtually anywhere, at any time, making taking work out of the office easier than ever before.
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Running Tech Events in South Wales – An Interview with Joel Hughes

( Post 19 of 25 )

The inspiration for this post came about after I attended Port80 Localhost in August 2014. Joel Hughes – who runs the event – was talking to an attendee about how South Wales has come along in terms of IT-related events, whether they be one-offs, regular meet-ups or annual conferences. Given that Joel is very active on the event organising front, I wanted to ask him some questions about his events as well as his experiences running those type of events within the region…

Joel Hughes photoFirst thing’s first, please introduce yourself! If someone asked you what you do, but only gave you 60 seconds / a few sentences to do so, what would you say?

My name is Joel Hughes and I run a web design company based in Newport, South Wales. We focus on helping busy business owners make sense of all things digital. Working with them to create online presences which really add value to their businesses.

What events do you run in South Wales?

I run two bigger conferences – Port80 and The Business of Web Design (a.k.a. tboWD) – plus some quarterly Port80 events called Localhost.

How does the Port80 conference and the Port80 Localhosts differ to tboWD?

Port80 has a broader remit than tboWD. tboWD is specifically about the business side of freelancing in the web industry or running a web agency. Port80 is more about design & development skills; less business-focused.

I was at a recent event of yours when you said that you ran the first proper web/tech event in South Wales, a few years ago. Is that true? What was the event and how did it go?

Ah, ok, in which case, I didn’t really mean that the way that came across. What I meant to say is that I was surprised that there were no web conferences in South Wales and, therefore, I decided to put one on myself. Now we have a much more vibrant scene, which is cool.

Have you found that turn-outs at your events have improved over the years? If so, do you think it’s because more people are entering the web/tech industry in South Wales, or that more people are willing to head out to hear and learn about things related to the industry (or perhaps a combination of the two)? Or another reason?

Hmm… Turn out has always been pretty good and has not changed much, to be honest. I think getting your name established as an event does help though.

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A Look Inside… PayZip, a Payment Management Startup in Cardiff

( Post 18 of 25 )

Jaymie Thomas of PayZipFollowing on from our post taking a look inside of Nudjed, I spoke to the CTO – Jaymie Thomas (@jaymiethomas) – of another South Wales-based startup: PayZip, which is based in the heart of Cardiff’s city centre. Jaymie’s previous company – Red Apple Software – recently announced that they had merged with PayZip, which had previously developed the platform. In addition to talking about the reasons behind the merge, Jaymie kindly talked us through their preference on location, tools and more…

Firstly, what is PayZip and why would people use it?

It’s an easy way for community-based clubs to manage member payments.

Running any club or society involves volunteers’ time and dedication. From our own experience, we understand the challenges faced by those collecting money from members. Using PayZip, club organisers and treasurers can easily request money by email and the club’s members can pay securely online or by cash or cheque if they prefer. Because PayZip supports both desktop and mobile devices, payments can be taken in-the-field – literally!

PayZip MacBook Pro screenshot

PayZip’s dashboard on a MacBook Pro
(Click to enlarge)

Because PayZip’s dashboard is always completely up-to-date, organisers can take the financial pulse of their club – and can send payment reminders to everyone who owes money – with just a click of a button, saving them valuable time each month.

How did you develop PayZip?

It was originally an idea to help bodies like The Scout Association manage their memberships as a whole. It had a different name back then, but we had everything in there: next of kin, medical information, dietary requirements, as well as the ability to make member payments. After iterating on this idea through a couple of versions, we learned that most clubs already handle the personal information another way and that the payment element was the one that they struggled with – and not just the scouts, but every club, society or charity. PayZip was born.

Why is PayZip based in the centre of Cardiff, and in FoundersHub (a coworking space) in particular? What are the benefits of being in such a space?

We used to have our own offices on the outskirts of the city and whilst we had plenty of room, there was very little there to inspire us, and contact with other on-site teams was limited. Working from FoundersHub means that we’re right in the city centre, which is easy for holding meetings, plus with the varied crowd working from FoundersHub from day-to-day, we’ve met some great people – indeed, this is how we met and hired Luke, our Lead Developer.

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