Developer training is key to client satisfaction
Any expert on client satisfaction will tell you that thriving customer relationships are built on practices like showing empathy, personalizing your communications, and setting realistic expectations.
To be sure, those are all worthy efforts, and at iTechArt, we observe every one of them. But it’s also the case that for us, delivering results for our clients often flows from an additional priority: keeping our developers happy.
Happy developers who stay for the long haul, after all, are at the heart of our incredibly low attrition rate.
What keeps our developers so happy, you ask? Well, it’s not just the cool company swag, or the hip offices in fabulous cities, or the football tournaments that keep them tucked in the iTechArt fold for years on end. It’s more our irresistibly robust training program.
Through an array of opportunities, our devs learn from those who joined iTechArt before them and share their experiences with newer hires. They grow with their projects, and with their assigned clients. That spirit of learning and growth breeds loyalty in the ranks, even when recruiters approach our engineers on a near-daily basis.
It also cultivates stability. The "soak it all in" environment at iTechArt winds up having a profound effect on the services we deliver to clients every day.
An esprit de corps rooted in learning
Our training program is organized along two tracks:
- Long-term partnerships with universities that get the most skilled, eager, and ambitious engineers in our door; and
- Frequent training opportunities that keep devs engaged and growing once they're officially with us
Our aggressive commitment to employee enrichment means our developers are consistently absorbed in their work and on their toes. They welcome challenges — the thornier, the better. They find the diversity of our clients and the sophistication of the problems they’re solving to be intellectually stimulating. And as our clients and our client roster grow, our devs grow, too.
It all starts with hiring
iTechArt's standards are legendary when it comes to hiring developers. No matter the regional market, we're known for hiring the best of the best. Sometimes that means courting seasoned engineers who have already made their mark elsewhere by working on innovative products or with successful startups. Other times it means identifying, cultivating, and recruiting up-and-coming talent at top universities before they graduate so they'll join TechArt once they finish their degree.
Young engineers from all over Europe and Central Asia know about our outreach events and activities, which operate as feeder and incubation programs. We conduct multi-pronged efforts on university campuses and among student groups that get students networking, connecting, and talking with each other — and with us.
Here's a sampling:
- We host fast-paced, speaker-led meet-ups in inviting event spaces in cities around Central and Eastern Europe. These meetups are open to anyone who is interested, they cover topics ranging from engineering to marketing, and we’ve seen it again and again: They're an excellent opportunity for participants to learn, network, and build relationships outside of school or the workplace.
- The iTechArt Student Lab offers academic lectures and "chalk talks" along with hands-on programming courses in things like Scala, Salesforce, Golang, and Machine Learning and gives engineering students access to iTechArt mentors who are building rewarding careers. We've awarded more than 1,000 Student Lab certificates to date. Plus, Student Lab participants have access to internships that deliver real-world development experience.
- A speaking and training program that sends iTechArt and outside experts onto campuses for lectures, workshops, and productive face-time with promising students. We've conducted more than 40 such events to date.
- Robust training across platforms including AWS, Google Cloud, and Salesforce.
Launched in February of this year, iTechArt’s internship program in Poland is emblematic of the value we place on our relationship with undergrads. We partnered with the City of Łódź to create a pipeline for local students so they can earn places at our Łódź headquarters. These students gain valuable workplace experience, hands-on training, and direct access to mentors from the ranks of iTechArt’s mid- and senior-level engineers.
The results of iTechArt programs like these are clear: Since 2013, more than 2,200 students in nine countries have participated in our internship programs alone. We've hired more than 1,150 of those — just over 50% of our interns — a testament to just how committed we are to top-notch pre-career training.
Students who can't commit to our immersive or in-person programs can still benefit from iTechArt podcasts for students, which feature advice on topics like:
- Preparing for an interview for an IT company
- Preparing a CV
- Internships at IT companies and how to sign up for one
- Career progression in IT (i.e., "junior," "senior," "lead," etc.)
- Lean, Agile, Scrum, and Kanban
- Careers in QA testing
- Careers in business analysis
- OOP (object-oriented programming) and why every developer should understand it
- The importance of soft skills and how to build them
Our relationships with students not only introduce us to the strongest talent but also build loyalty to iTechArt. It's a two-way street: We get to know young engineers at a critical moment in their careers and they get to know us long before joining our ranks. That "getting to know you" approach means we get to hire the best talent before any of our competitors do, and the students land with an organization they know and trust at the very start of their careers.
We keep them interested once they’re on board
Let's state the obvious: Keeping devs happy is key to the stability and reputation of the entire company, not to mention to the success of our clients. Devs are most likely to stick around when they have room to stretch their professional legs, bring their best thinking to the job every day, and approach each assignment with vigor and elan.
To that end, we invest heavily in one of the industry's most ambitious and comprehensive in-house training and development programs.
Three goals drive our efforts:
1. Keeping our engineers at the top of their game, so they can deliver the best to our clients.
2. Consistently challenging our engineers, so they feel engaged and motivated to generate new ideas.
3. Building positive associations with our company, so people want to stay and grow with us.
Once they're on board, our engineers have access to an all-you-want buffet of information, knowledge, and education through various channels, including:
- Regular formal training
- Newsletters and industry publication articles
- Peer-to-peer information swapping and idea exchanges
- Extensive developer-to-developer training in specific platforms and tools
As our engineers grow their skills, they gain the confidence they need to not only handle but seek out more complex tasks. This comes with a nifty side benefit: It's often the case that our young engineers cut their teeth with clients that are startups. Then, as those clients go through funding rounds, and as the accompanying engineering challenges evolve, clients find that those same early-days engineers are primed to advance along with them as they scale — and they benefit from engineers who have a certain degree of intimacy and understanding of the clients that would be impossible to cultivate otherwise.
We constantly create new trainers
Also setting us apart: our programs for engineers interested in sharing their knowledge with young developers. We fortify the technical expertise of these trainers-in-training with soft skills they can use to grow in their jobs, advance their careers, and branch out into new areas as they gain expertise and ambition. The programs we run produce sophisticated professionals with powerful project management and leadership chops.
Since 2020, more than 1,000 iTechArt employees have taken training courses, and more than 500 have qualified for recognition with iTechArt Awards; nearly 200 of those have completed the highest-level courses.
We conduct internal soft-skill training in tiers:
For the newbies
A beginner's course teaches enrollees about the basics of corporate communications, emphasizing public speaking, which is invaluable given how often our engineers participate in standups with our clients. Participants also learn to break projects down into manageable pieces, set tasks, deliver and receive feedback, and evaluate skills and outcomes. This level introduces new engineers to the basics of mentoring and coaching so they can one day serve in those roles for others.
The second soft skills module helps trainers with at least one year of experience. Trainers at this level learn how to keep audience attention during presentations, make complex ideas accessible without dumbing them down, and understand and embrace the power of storytelling. Trainees develop emotion-management skills and learn how to field questions in live sessions. Those who complete this level of training receive a training certificate.
The third level of soft-skill development is designed for those who plan to make training and coaching a regular part of their work at iTechArt — or even the basis of their career. In this tier, participants work at an advanced level on public speaking, project presentation, internal communication, and situational management so they can guide teams and clients through complex scenarios.
iTechArt is widely recognized as a professional environment that attracts ambitious, brainy engineers who want to be challenged within a supportive community. We're known for our genuine commitment to a growth mindset. Anyone who works with us will tell you this company isn't the place to coast.
We get the best because we offer the best: the best training, the most intriguing engineering puzzles, and a fertile professional environment where critical thinking is encouraged and prized.
All of this fuels our truly notable retention rate. And it means that our clients consistently get the most efficient, ingenious, and creative work in the business. Definitely results worth bragging about.