How these Austin startups hired game-changing developers

by Patrick Hechinger
July 6, 2016

Entrepreneurs are often seen as tech rockstars due to their grandiose keynotes and lavish lifestyles. But just like their frontmen counterparts, entrepreneurs often overshadow the true geniuses who are crafting the product.

If a gifted drummer or bassist is the backbone to a song’s success, it takes a knowledgeable listener to recognize their contribution. And the same can be said for the unsung engineers who craft a brilliant piece of software.

For every Jobs there’s a Wozniak and for every Daltrey there’s a Townshend.

But unlike these unheralded band members, your dev team needs to grow as your company finds success. So how do you find that perfect balance between staying lean and hiring who you need to take the company to the next level?

We spoke with established Austin tech companies to find out how they transitioned from a lone engineer to a small dev team while keeping everyone on the same page:

 

Christophe Ponsart, Founding Partner

What was the transition like when your company went from a lone engineer or co-founder to a team?

"Our goal was always to build a strong team that was scalable. We knew we'd have to start by first identifying some very strong leads that had a similar thought process as it relates to software development methodologies, technologies and culture. Once those key individuals were identified we focused on process. We knew we wanted to leverage pieces of Kanban methodology, so we went straight to the source and hired David Anderson for a deep dive training for the whole team. We leveraged this and expertise from across these team to define the process we use on our internal and client projects.

How did you craft a lineup of developers to meet all of your needs? 

In the first few months we were approached with opportunities across a multitude of technologies but we had to remain steadfast. We focused our lineup to support front-end web, back-end Java and more modern technologies across both. These technologies were picked based on where we saw our clients going and based on the types of projects we wanted to be involved in. These engineering skillets were then complimented with additional team members to support the rest of the development life cycle including UX/UI, Technical Manager, QA and DevOps.

What were you looking for in new hires during those early days?

The characteristics of an OnPrem member have remained fairly consistent since our inception. The individuals we hired tend to have three main attributes; passion, strong at their skill set and humility. All equally important. We focus on hiring people that love to learn and are as passionate about sharing that knowledge with others. In the early days, we focused more solely on senior engineers to ensure we had a strong team to successfully deliver client projects and also be the foundation for growing more junior talent.

 

David Perdue, VP of Development  

What was the transition like when your company went from a lone engineer or co-founder to a team?

"We hired a developer early on to work with the technical co-founder, so that initial transition was not very significant, We were looking for versatility, a culture fit with the founding team, eagerness to be involved in everything, and passion for building a great product."

How did you craft a lineup of developers to meet all of your needs?

"The first two hires were generalists. The next two hires were opportunistic — we had two seasoned developers come to us and snapped them up. One of them was backend and dev ops focused, the other was a great UI architect. From there we looked to build out a senior team that worked very well together with strength in our core technologies. Once we reached seven developers we started to look at specific needs, like full stack web app development, search technologies, machine learning, dev ops, and client-side technologies."

 

Another struggle of scaling your dev team is knowing if your product is performing as well as it should. To learn more about harnessing software analytics, check out what New Relic has to offer. 

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