Meet the leaders — and the tech — behind these fast-growing dev teams

February 22, 2018
it team
photo via shutterstock

Hidden beneath the beautiful app interfaces and website designs we’re so accustomed to are labyrinths of code authored by elite developers. These coding crews constantly adapt to today’s tech trends and demands, even if that means diving in to rewrite yesterday's programming. At the helms of these teams are seasoned software leaders with years of experience, laser-focused on building out both platforms and dev teams.

We wanted to get to know these captains of code a little more to learn what technologies power their platforms, which tech challenges they face and how they hire for new teammates. 


Jimmy Bogard
Chief Architect

As a software consulting firm, Headspring is adept at adapting the technologies the team uses to meet the demands of client projects that span the gamut.

According to Jimmy Bogard, Headspring’s chief architect, the team uses Microsoft .NET for application and service programming, Xamarin for mobile dev and React for front-end projects; internally, they rely on the Atlassian suite of tools like Jira, Confluence and Hipchat.

And that’s just to name a few.

From Bogard's vantage point, dealing with clients and technologies of every stripe has paid off for Headspring — but it hasn’t come without its challenges.

“A lot of our projects involve rewrite or architecture migrations from existing, legacy business applications,” Bogard said. “In many cases, the hard part is figuring out how we can tease out different functions, decouple them and redeploy them in smaller units — but do it without having to do a ground-up rewrite.”

In order to do so, Bogard said the team coaches clients to think about software assets as products instead of projects. This line of thinking, he said, can lead to better support infrastructure behind small, incremental builds while still maintaining their existing production applications.  

“It can take time, but then there’s usually this tipping point where they say, ‘Ok, this is great — let’s go faster,’ and that’s when you know you’ve delivered a great solution,” said Bogard.

Looking ahead, Bogard said one of the team’s biggest internal tech projects involves consolidating Headspring’s custom-built apps to platform-as-a-service-level cloud services. Additionally, they’ll be moving a majority of their core build and deploy tooling off of Appveyor and onto VSTS.

“Externally, we’ve got several large microservice re-architecture projects underway with our clients, helping steer them through decomposing their monolithic business applications down into a set of lightweight, loosely-coupled, autonomous services,” he said.

Headspring continues to hire, with open roles in development, project management, marketing and human resources. Relevant experience is necessary, but Bogard said they really look for how candidates will contribute to Headspring’s culture.

INTERVIEW TIP: Learn Headspring’s five core values and be able to reference specific examples from your life and work experience that exemplify each one.


Andy Michaelis
VP of Engineering

To power Modernize’s matchmaking marketplace, which connects homeowners with qualified contractors, VP of Engineering Andy Michaelis said the company relies on technologies built on a LAMP and LEMP stack, and NPM and REACT on the frontend. As the team continues to innovate, Michaelis said Laravel — an open-source PHP web framework — will play a larger role at the company as the team develops its API stack with continuous deployment and automated testing.

“We are building out a series of APIs this year that are consumed by our partners, front-end websites and internal systems,” Michaelis said.

But growing a business doesn't come without its fair share of hurdles. To Michaelis, one of the biggest tech challenges his team has addressed is dealing with code that's no longer supported on their platform.

“We've had to revisit a lot of our legacy code as we've pushed to support continuous integration and deployment,” said Michaelis. “This has enabled our team to move faster and with more confidence.”

As a company, Modernize has grown aggressively over the past couple of years, now boasting more than 120 employees in its downtown office off Congress Avenue. Even still, the company continues to expand and has openings for developers, data analysts, sales reps and marketers.

To join Michaelis’s team, he said it’s important that candidates show a love for both learning and for challenges — in addition to writing good, clean code.

What’s it like to work under Michaelis? We’ll let him to fill you in:

“I'm laid back and always in flip flops,” said Michaelis. “I love the challenge of balancing technical debt and launching great products while still enjoying the journey."

INTERVIEW TIP: Modernize embraces weirdness and authenticity. Be yourself and be able to prove you can code.


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