The Growth of a Stable Kernel Software Engineer
January 14, 2019
Software is becoming a critical part of every aspect of businesses, leaving consultancies, companies with internal development teams, and startups in constant competition for the best development talent to help bring ideas to life. Many companies boast great perks and benefits to attract this talent.
When I was ready to explore a new chapter in my professional career, I knew I wanted to be somewhere that I could learn and grow as a developer. When I found stable|kernel, I read about some great perks and benefits. These ranged from fun perks like a dog-friendly office and a fully-stocked fridge to opportunities for professional growth such as working with new technologies and attending conferences. It’s hard to know these days, when companies advertise great perks, whether they’re legitimate or empty words. I’ll admit, during my interview process I had some doubts. This place almost seemed too good to be true. I eventually decided to take the leap and accept a position here, and I’m glad I did.
At this point I’ve been with stable|kernel for just about a year, and I’ve grown tremendously. I don’t think I would’ve seen this kind of growth in my time here if the company didn’t so strongly invest in the people that work here. Here’s a peek into what it’s like to be a stable|kernel software engineer.
A Focus on Each Software Engineer’s Future
The stable|kernel culture of training and growth starts with our CEO, Joe Conway. Joe was the author of the well-known iOS Programming: Big Nerd Ranch Guide, which helped train developers across the nation, a lot of these developers coming from big brands including Facebook, Apple, IBM and more. Joe’s desire to help others grow is embedded in the culture here, which is why one of our four values is to learn and share.
The importance of the “learn and share” value has been evident in my time working with other engineers here. The engineers here are incredibly talented, empathetic, helpful, supportive, and willing to take the time to work with others. From my first day here, I’ve felt empowered to try new things, be experimental, and ask stupid questions. Knowing that I’m surrounded by a supportive team has helped me feel safe doing work that is out of my comfort zone. My developer colleagues and even those from different departments are always there to help me through challenges, answer questions, and give honest, helpful, feedback.
In continuing on our learn and share value, one of stable|kernel’s incredible benefits is sending employees to conferences and paying for all of the expenses. I haven’t settled on a conference for myself yet, but in my time here I’ve seen others attend WWDC, Google I/O, and other conferences across the country with trip being generously expensed. This isn’t a one and done offering – employees are able and expected to attend one conference a year. With just around 30 people working here, that’s an incredible investment to ensure each employee, regardless of role, can learn and grow within their profession, ready to bring new ideas back to the company.
An Emphasis on New Technologies
One of the things I love the most about software engineering is there’s always more to learn. I love learning new technologies and have wanted to avoid situations where I spend all of my time working with a single framework or technology.
One of my favorite things about stable|kernel is that we are offered plenty of opportunities to work with new technologies whether that be on client work or internal projects. We have engineers who came here as iOS developers and have moved into doing Android development or web development, and vice versa. I joined with frontend and backend web experience, but have already done some mobile development in my time here. Even within web development, I’ve been able to use languages and frameworks that are new to me, which I enjoy immensely. To know there are opportunities to branch out, and that I won’t always be working with the same technologies, is incredibly exciting.
In addition to exposure to new technologies through cross training, we’re also able to work with Aqueduct, our open-source server-side Dart framework. I’ve had the pleasure of both using and contributing to Aqueduct. There’s something incredibly unique and exciting about the ability to not only use and contribute to a framework, but to have immediate access to those that have built it. Aqueduct has been gaining quite a bit of traction recently with the creation of Flutter, and we are working closely with the Google Dart team to continue to iterate on these technologies.
Opportunities Beyond Development Skills
While I’m incredibly passionate about growing my development skills, I don’t want to stop there. It’s important I’m growing in skills beyond development itself. stable|kernel has offered immense opportunities to push myself in several areas.
One of the great ways to grow beyond development itself is through sharing what we know with the development community through writing blog pieces. What I appreciate most is that these endeavors are backed by the support of an awesome team – I’ve never been asked to do something new and been thrown to the wolves. Blog posts go through as many rounds of collaboration and feedback as necessary for the writer to feel good about what they’ve written. At one point, I was pretty stuck on coming up with a topic for this blog piece, but had great support with developing it to a published state.
We also have several opportunities to share our knowledge by speaking at conferences. We’ve team members speak at conferences over several years locally and nationally. This isn’t something I’ve done myself, but I look forward to opportunities in the future. I’ve told some teammates it’s something I’m interested in, and I’m grateful to know they’ll hold me to it when the time is right.
stable|kernel is not a siloed and walled-off company. We all have our job titles, but there are several ways to get involved with the business beyond building out features. I’ve had opportunities to be involved in the sales and estimation process, which was a great experience. It helped me grow in communicating with clients to more effectively identify their needs. To me, opportunities like this hold great value in contributing to my overall growth.
It Doesn’t Stop Here
I love development, but I’m not interested in doing the same thing everyday. At stable|kernel, I’ve found constant opportunities for growth in many areas. I’m already a far more skilled and well-rounded developer than I was a year ago, but it isn’t going to stop there. There are so many ways for me to keep growing, and I’m excited to keep it up as a part of a team that encourages and values it.
I hope I’ve done some justice in conveying how much support and growth potential there is here at stable|kernel. If you’re someone interested in constant growth – who wants to be pushed out of their comfort zone in a supportive way, empowered to try new things and ask all the questions – check out our hiring page. We’d love to hear from you.