Ryan Jones from Jobber and David Moise Discuss: “Attract More IT Candidates by Letting them Know You Invest in Technology.“ We also talk about giving people autonomy, ways to attract talent, and why it pays to invest in technology.
Today we are talking with Ryan Jones. He’s the VP of Software Engineering at Jobber. Ryan, can you just do a quick introduction of yourself and Jobber? Sure. Absolutely. Thanks for having me on. David. I’m Ryan Jones. I’m the VP of Software Engineering here at Jobber. I’ve been in software development for about 15 plus years. I absolutely love it. And yeah, I’ve been growing the team here at Jobber for the last two years. Okay, great. Now I’m talking to a lot of different people about just challenges that companies are having with technical hiring and just some interesting things that companies are doing and some that we talked about before. You were really big into the what’s the developer experience? What do they do in their job? Can you talk to that a little bit? Yeah. So the developer experience is a critical part of an engineer working and building software, and it starts right when they join Job or when you’re doing your onboarding getting your environment set up. Getting up and running and being efficient is something that an engineer wants to be able to do right away. I’ve worked at places where it could take anywhere up to two weeks to get up and running. At Java here, we target under 4 hours, and so they’re able to get up and running and ideally ship code that day. And that’s just a signal for engineers while they’re working in your environment. That the care that TLC that you are putting towards your environment and the tooling. It just really resonates with them and it makes them really want to work there. Wow, that’s interesting. Getting code done or on board it in 4 hours writing code that day. I’ve not heard that one before. Now that doesn’t just happen. There’s an investment in technology, there’s automation that’s going on. Walk me through that. Walk people through that. What can they do to be more like you? Absolutely. It does take an investment, and it’s something that we really have near and dear to our hearts. Here at Jobber, we spend at least 22% of our Department effort just on investing in our technology. In this particular instance, you talk about automation. A good example is part of that environment set up is one or two clicks you’re up and running. The next step is when they go to deploy the code RCI. Our continuous integration and continuous deployment takes that code and deploys it all the way through that. Automation is so critical, but you have to make sure to put that effort into your teams to get the pay off long term. And that’s something that we continue to do here. We keep that machine running. The thing that I would highlight is it’s a continuous process. The code base is continually evolving. Your environment is continuing evolving. You need to continue making that investment to make sure it pays off long term. Okay. That is great stuff. That is inspirational just to hear what you’re doing. Tell me more about the tech stack that you guys have there when we’re going to hire as an overall, we’re not targeting specific skills, but as kind of what I would say gravy in terms of the skills that we are looking for. They’re kind of what I call the heavy hitters in the industry right now. They’re react native GraphQL and Ruby on Rails. Those are kind of the skill sets, and they’re in incredibly high demand right now. And that’s really what we’re looking for. If someone out there is looking at this and have those skills, we’d love for you to join the team. And we talked recently, AI is kind of creeping its way into your radar here. Can you elaborate on that? Yeah, we talk about that investment. And one of the things that we’ve been putting a lot of effort into is piloting a tool called GitHub Copilot. And what it does is it uses AI and machine learning to really help your engineers develop faster. And you could think of that current developers workflow as they run into a problem. They go to Google, they search for the answer, they get the answer, they come back. But it’s about flow. The second that developer leaves your workstation and goes out to the browser, their thought process has just gotten lost. And what Copilot does, it allows you to get solutions right into your editor, and you’re able to just pick those solutions and use them right away. So you’ve knocked off three or four steps of your workflow. And that’s something that we’re just really testing out, pressure testing. There’s still lots of rough edges because it’s relatively new, but we think it’s worth the investment and really understanding how it works. That’s a very interesting thing to do, which leads into something else that we talked about before. You mentioned how when you bring in developers, you want to give them autonomy. You don’t want to sit there and tell them what to do. Sounds like what you’re doing with the AI is kind of feeding into that or just emphasizing that more. Yeah, absolutely. Autonomy here at Jobberg is something that is so critical a lot of places. What they’ll do is go out and they’ll hire engineers and they’ll hand them a schematic and say, build this. In my opinion, that’s just a total miss. Where you really need to engage your engineers is you actually need to engage them when you’re building the schematic, really working with them and including it in the process, just saying, hey, do this thing. No one really likes to work in that type of way. And engineering is no different. You need that engagement and collaboration. And that’s something that we do here a ton. So when we’re working within our product teams, they’re heavily engaged with our product team, our product managers, our designers, and even interacting with the customers all the time just to make sure they’re really part of the decision making process. Now someone out there watching is hearing that and thinking, how do I measure what people are doing? How do I figure this out? Everyone’s off doing their own thing. How do you manage that? Yeah. I think when it comes down to the customer interaction, by engaging with the customer often and once a week, reaching out and really getting that feedback loop and creating that feedback loop, that’s where we’re able to get a lot of the insights. And it’s something that’s just baked into our DNA. They help build the product roadmap, and really it creates a great product that a lot of the small businesses are able to use and be successful. So the customer feedback is part of the KPIs and part of the measurement system. Am I hearing that correctly? Absolutely. Yeah. So that’s a great way of looking at it. Let’s get the customer feedback. Let’s get the customer interaction, see how it’s affecting the roadmap and seeing how the development teams are running up against it. Exactly, yeah. Very creative. So I’m guessing that there’s a lot of people who kind of want to work in an environment like this. It’s still tough to find people out there. What are some of the things that you’re doing to try and attract people to you? Telling them about the technology is clearly going to work if they can hear the message. But you mentioned, like hackathons and sponsoring things like that, something that you’ve done. Yeah. So we’ve had a hackathon every quarter for the last five to ten years since the existence. And what that allows our teams to be able to do is really take the ideas that they think that customers will like and be able to build them within a day or two. Our most recent hackathon was two days. And just teams being able to go off and just let their creative juices flow and come up with solutions is absolutely incredible. And it’s something we facilitate here. There’s no demands. It’s not like they have to ship it, but then we’re able to actually see that creativity and what we could do for customers. And in some cases, we have shipped that and customers have used it right away. So it’s one of those mechanisms where we’re able to just really keep our teams cohesive and engage and collaborate and let those creative juices flow through. And we see it in the solution. Increasingly, we’re hearing companies just they’re struggling to find technical talent. They’re struggling to find ways to attract them to come to their companies. And when I’m hearing someone like yourself saying, we’re going to invest in the technology, we’re going to invest in the automation, you’re going to be productive very quickly. It’s such a different experience for that technical person to say, yeah, this is a place I want to be. This is a place I want to spend my time with. So Congratulations. Keep doing that. Thank you, David. I appreciate that. Anyway, Jobr who should contact jobber who’s your target? Why should people call you? Yeah. So we’re looking for hiring engineers. We’re looking for 50 more this year. We’d love for you to join the team. We’re looking for front end and back end. Full stack. Mobile developers. We talked a little bit about the tech react react native GraphQL, and Ruby on rails. I’d love to have a reach out and I’d love to chat you’re going to have some people calling you after this one. I think so. Congratulations. Great, David. All right. Thanks for your time. I appreciate it. We’ll be in touch. Thank you so much. Bye.