How We Develop Our Developers
You might have previously heard about Learning & Development for employees. You might have heard that it’s important. You might also know that as the Tech scene continues to explode, Software Developers are becoming some of the most valuable hires to not only attain, but to retain as well. So why do so many Companies fail to support their learning needs?
It is true that genuinely good Software Developers, or Software Engineers, need to have the ability to learn on their own. We expect them to know how to efficiently and effectively use Google and Stack Overflow, not just for copying and pasting, but to actually know how to grasp the essence and match it to their exact needs. The problem that we see more and more, is that Developers don’t always have the time to learn something new. And the ability to learn something new is quite crucial for them for a variety of reasons that we’ll discuss shortly.
WHY is it important to invest in Developers’ Learning and Development?
Win Win - At Torii, we value a culture in which every employee feels that they are constantly learning and enhancing their professional tools. We believe by embedding this into our culture and values, that it will not only contribute to their skillset, it will also be beneficial to our code base, our Product, and our teams’ day to day productivity. Simply, ‘when you grow, we grow’.
When the Developers get the time to enhance their capabilities, they actually become better employees; they sharpen their coding skills, both theoretically and practically, and improve their soft skills which are required for their day to day collaboration as part of working within a team. This ultimately leads to writing better code, which makes it easier to scale the Product and team while adopting more healthy, consistent, and productive processes. The end result is that the Product will continuously be the best version of itself, for those using the Product and for those building the Product; even if the extra learning itself may “steal” some time away from their day to day work, it will ultimately decrease the amount of time it takes to build and solve any issues that may arise. A bonus with L&D programs is, when you invest in your team, they will invest in you–they are more likely to stay with the company longer and over time there is a good chance to attract more quality external talents!
WHAT brought L&D to the forefront?
Seeing how fast the Tech Industry is evolving, we knew we had to find ways to not only keep up, but be on the cutting edge of what are considered best practices. We realized that Learning & Development is something we really want to incorporate into our engineering culture and that it fits perfectly into our Organizations’ DNA. So we decided to start putting more effort into creating our Learning & Development Culture that encourages our Developers to take the time to learn something new! (or alternatively get better at something they already know!)
The goal was to help them become better Engineers (directly or indirectly) while maintaining our business and Product KPIs.
HOW did we do it?
Engineering Internal Meetups
Meetups are a great way to share knowledge and learn from each other. We started holding internal meetups for our entire engineering group once every 2 weeks. Each time, one or two of our Developers gets the stage to showcase an in-depth deep dive into their work. This is the place where they raise interesting challenges from their day to day or share best engineering practices in general. We plan those meetups in advance to make sure each Developer is getting all the help they need in order to feel confident about their content and to help them sharpen their messaging. In the end, it’s once again a win-win - for the one who’s on stage teaching and for the others who get to learn from them!
Just as an example, here are a few topics that were presented on our recent Engineering Meetups and we were extremely proud of our Engineers presenting them:
- Best Practices for Writing Readable Code (by myself to lead the way onward)
- Major Improvements Being made on our UI Repository such as adding TypeScript and Styled Components (by Tal Bereznitskey, our CTO)
- Better Synchronizing Methods Between all Engineering and Product Stakeholders (by Karen Trubovitz)
- How to be a Great Reviewer and Properly Perform a Code Review (by Oz Ben-David)
We also actively encourage our Developers to take some time off from their ongoing tasks and learn something new on their own. We call it “Develop Yourself” or “Personal Learning Time”. They are entitled to block half a day to develop themselves, once every month. Since we know their bandwidth tends to be busy, we wanted to make sure they actually take this time and use it to learn. It was important for us to get Team Leaders and Product Managers on-board with this initiative, and asked them to help plan these times in advance. We also wanted to make sure that they learn something that helps them in their day-to-day work so we started curating an internal content library which we call our Torii Engineering Academy.
We use Notion as our Knowledge Management tool for collecting and storing our content and training materials. This library contains knowledge about Torii’s specific domains with videos and tutorials our developers recorded, along with tons of internal articles and documentation. On top of that, our content library holds various videos and recommended resources for mastering specific frameworks and tech stacks we’re using (or should use), general engineering best practices, and essential soft skills for R&D. Lastly, we encourage them to create content on their own such as:
- Working on a training for our engineering meetups
- Documenting or recording themselves for Torii Engineering Academy
- Writing a blog post (like this one 😉)
- Working on a presentation for an external meetup or conference
That way, we keep growing our recommended resource pool and make sure there’s enough content for our next meetups.
To Sum Up
We believe creating this Learning & Development culture where our employees are constantly learning is a win-win for Torii and our employees. Not only do our Developers get to continuously enhance their skill set; sharpen their coding skills, and improve their soft skills, but as a result, our code base and our teams’ productivity will ultimately majorly improve our Product. We believe that by enabling our Developers growth, it will enable Torii’s growth as a business for our Customers and our current and future team. It is a goal to not only keep our current and future Customers happy, but to also invest into our people’s happiness and personal growth. Interested in finding out more about Torii and our team? Join us! https://www.toriihq.com/careers
And if you’re interested in knowing more about orchestrating your own internal Meetups and creating your own Engineering Content Library, check out our next blog posts to learn more!