More than a paycheck: What engineers really look for in a job

by Kelly O'Halloran
December 19, 2017
austin startups
photo via shutterstock

While money makes the world go round, it’s not the only thing engineers seek out when evaluating a new job. As it turns out, room for growth, the opportunity to make an impact and team culture play equally as important roles as potential paychecks.

With that in mind, we spoke with a few local engineers who shared what they look for when they're on the prowl for a new job — and how those traits led them to their current gigs. 


 

Charles Wagner
Senior Director, Software Engineering

Charles Wagner joined HomeAway 11 years ago and is now senior director of the software engineering department. For Wagner, the ability to make a meaningful difference at work was a huge factor in him joining the team — and continues to be the best part of his job.


What were some of your top reasons for joining HomeAway?  

There are three things I look for in a job: learning, opportunity and believing in what I do. HomeAway has it all. We use science and technology to help people find the perfect vacation home for their next getaway. We bring friends and family closer together with technology. I believe in our product and our purpose.


Why was that important to you?

Some people dread going to work — for me, the prospect of learning something new every day makes going to work exciting. It helps us grow as individuals, and as my team and I grow as individuals, HomeAway grows as a company. It’s a beautiful thing.

Of course, learning shouldn’t occur in a vacuum. Opportunity allows for new challenges and fresh experiences — being part of a rapidly growing company like HomeAway means there are always new career challenges to take on. Learning new skills helps you stay ahead of the innovation curve. Above all else, believing in what you do is so important — it allows you to be your best every day.


How is your work meaningful?

Becoming a father helped me foster a sense of pride that my job lets me build technology which brings families and friends closer together. As an engineer, I’m proud that we challenge the status quo with disruptive technology. As a leader, I’m proud when HomeAway employees turn potential into reality.

 

 

Elben Shira
Software Architect

When Elben Shira joined Spredfast six years ago as a software architect, he said the company was just a 10-person “scrappy” startup. While Shira said he was enticed by the nature of the Spredfast product, what initially grabbed his attention was the team and the ability to work on multiple projects that interested him.


Why was company size important to you?

When you join a big company, you often get shoehorned into a certain role. That’s not bad — maybe that’s just where the company needs you. You can certainly thrive in that way. But at a small company, and I think even at Spredfast now, you get a chance to move around, to tinker, to work on things that interest you and help move the business forward. There’s no time for projects that don’t matter — you are always working on something significant and important to the company.


How is your work meaningful?

We’re in the social media space, which is this huge, engulfing ocean. As a brand, you either drown from its many leviathans or you find a way to thrive. We get to build tools that help you navigate those waters, and to flourish, both from the customer service and marketing side. So when I see businesses of all types, from financial to airlines to fashion to sports, use social media well thanks to the tools that we’ve built, that’s a lot of fun.


What's the best part of your job?

At the end of the day, we all want to work on something significant and to do it with people we enjoy. When we build some new feature, or fix some little niggle, our efforts really do multiply and empower all of these people all around the world. It’s nice to know that because of what we’ve built, they get to go home to their families earlier, or prouder, because we’ve helped them be better at their jobs.

And of course I get to work with a great team of people around me. I think everyone at Spredfast understands how much we all need each other in order to do this really hard task. We don’t believe in the superhero mythology, the superhuman that is able to solve giant problems—and that’s a really good thing.

 

 

Jim Given
Software Engineer

Software engineer Jim Given joined Opcity in May, and he said the best part of his job is how quickly he’s been able to make an impact. Given said he can write code in the morning and ship it to production by afternoon.


What were some of your top reasons for joining Opcity?

I interviewed with quite a few companies, but Opcity just stood out. Early on it was clear that Opcity had built a solid team of smart engineers from top tech companies in Austin. Opcity is also one of the fastest-growing companies in Austin, and I knew that kind of high-velocity environment would be a great place for me to develop my engineering skills. I also liked the team culture which puts a lot of trust in team members to make decisions. And when mistakes do happen, the team emphasizes learning rather than finger-pointing.


Why was that important to you?

I wanted to make sure I’m investing in my future career. Working with a strong team of experienced engineers teaches you strategic ways to think through and solve difficult problems. Often times you can think up multiple solutions, but it’s hard to know what is the best solution that balances speed, quality, and scalability. I wanted to be in an environment where I could see veteran engineers solve difficult problems.


How is your work meaningful?

Opcity uses technology and data science to help online customers through the home-shopping process. I didn’t know a lot about the home-buying process, but I’ve since learned the process can be scary for a lot of people. It is great to work on a product that helps people through one of the biggest decisions they’ll face in their lifetime. It feels awesome to know that we are helping people find the home of their dreams.

 

 

Dane Schilling
Senior Consultant

Before joining Headspring three years ago as a senior consultant, Dane Schilling said he worked at previous companies that lacked room for growth and with people who didn’t share his passion for learning. These two factors led him to Headspring.


What were some of your top reasons for joining Headspring?

I joined Headspring so that I could challenge myself and grow professionally. I was also very excited to work with passionate people.


How is your work meaningful?

At Headspring, we are always delivering and finishing projects. We strive for “done done” in everything we do so we are free to move onto the next challenge. This is meaningful because we are helping our partners complete their mission.


What's the best part of your job?

The best part of my job is working with talented passionate people who help me succeed every day.

 

Jobs from companies in this blog53 open jobs
All Jobs
Finance
Data + Analytics
Dev + Engineer
HR
Marketing
Operations
Product
Project Mgmt
Sales
Content
Sales
new
Spredfast
Austin
Sales
new
Spredfast
Austin
Data + Analytics
new
Opcity Inc
Austin
Developer
new
Spredfast
Austin
Sales
new
Opcity Inc
Austin
Developer
new
Opcity Inc
Austin
Developer
new
Opcity Inc
Austin
Developer
new
Opcity Inc
Austin
Developer
new
Opcity Inc
Austin
Sales
new
Headspring
Austin
Marketing
new
Spredfast
Austin
Marketing
new
Opcity Inc
Austin
Marketing
new
Opcity Inc
Austin
HR
new
Opcity Inc
Austin
Developer
new
Headspring
Austin
Sales
new
Headspring
Austin
Project Mgmt
new
Headspring
Austin
HR
new
Opcity Inc
Austin
Content
new
Spredfast
Austin
Operations
new
Opcity Inc
Austin
Sales
new
Opcity Inc
Austin
Developer
new
Opcity Inc
Austin
HR
new
Opcity Inc
Austin
HR
new
Opcity Inc
Austin
Operations
new
Opcity Inc
Austin
Sales
new
Opcity Inc
Austin
HR
new
Opcity Inc
Austin
Sales
new
Opcity Inc
Austin
Sales
new
Opcity Inc
Austin
Developer
new
Opcity Inc
Austin
Finance
new
Opcity Inc
Austin
Marketing
new
Opcity Inc
Austin
Product
new
Opcity Inc
Austin
Finance
new
Opcity Inc
Austin
Data + Analytics
new
Spredfast
Austin
Sales
new
Opcity Inc
Austin
Developer
new
Opcity Inc
Austin
Sales
new
Opcity Inc
Austin
Sales
new
Opcity Inc
Austin
Operations
new
Opcity Inc
Austin
Operations
new
Opcity Inc
Austin
Sales
new
Opcity Inc
Austin
Marketing
new
Spredfast
Austin
Sales
new
Opcity Inc
Austin
Operations
new
Opcity Inc
Austin
Sales
new
Opcity Inc
Austin
Marketing
new
Spredfast
Austin
Developer
new
Spredfast
Austin

Austin startup guides

LOCAL GUIDE
Best Companies to Work for in Austin
LOCAL GUIDE
Best Software Engineer Jobs in Austin
LOCAL GUIDE
Coolest Tech Offices in Austin
LOCAL GUIDE
Best Sales Jobs in Austin
LOCAL GUIDE
Best Perks at Austin Tech Companies
LOCAL GUIDE
Best Data Science & Data Analyst Jobs in Austin
LOCAL GUIDE
Best Marketing Jobs in Austin
LOCAL GUIDE
Women in Austin Tech
Developer Jobs
View 246 jobs
Design + UX Jobs
View 24 jobs
Marketing Jobs
View 80 jobs
Product Jobs
View 46 jobs
Sales Jobs
View 191 jobs
Data Jobs
View 37 jobs