January 24, 2024
5 Minutes

Our CTO Jaffa on hiring Lead Developers and the art of leading a Stream Team at Ellie

Siiri from TalentBee

Navigating the tech landscape as a Lead Developer at Ellie requires a unique blend of technical acumen and leadership finesse.

Our CTO, Jari “Jaffa” Jaanto, has recently onboarded Andrey Artemenko, a seasoned coder who now steers one of our teams as Lead Developer. This hiring process has illuminated the distinct traits and competencies that are instrumental for our expanding team.

As Ellie carves out its place on the global stage, disrupting the industry with our innovative SaaS tool for data and metadata modeling, we're steadily adding more seasoned coders like Andrey to our ranks.

In this blog post, we delve into Jaffa's reflections from the hiring process and his forward-thinking strategy for shaping Ellie's development team with great Lead Developers.

Practices Jaffa has implemented to create an environment where Lead Developers can thrive

“At Ellie, we have a set of strategies that align personal and company goals, fostering an environment where Lead Developers can advance in their careers. I believe it’s important to construct a framework that respects individual life objectives and encourages growth towards them while working with us”, Jaffa says.

For instance, you might join as a Lead Developer in one of our stream teams but aspire to become a Development Director in a few years. Here, you'll have the opportunity to focus on honing specific skill sets and gain insights into how projects are managed.

“The path to growth varies, some may want to evolve as leaders, others as experts. As Ellie expands, it offers room for its people to grow alongside. Senior team members often have diverse career development goals, but what they share is ambition. They care about how a hiring company can support them in their journey”, Jaffa says.

Jaffa says that Andrey joined us because his personal goals and Ellie's objectives were aligned.

“As we grow, say to 300 people, there will be different roles to step into and challenges to overcome in a scaling environment. For example, at my previous workplace, we had a Development Director responsible for coders. At Ellie, we're determined to create a similar space for career growth and evolution”, Jaffa says.

Andrey joined us as a Lead Developer because his personal goals and Ellie's objectives were aligned.

What qualities or skills does Jaffa look for when hiring for the Lead Developer position?

When hiring for the Lead Developer position, Jaffa seeks individuals who thrive in a fast-paced environment, as opposed to those accustomed to a corporate setting. It's akin to field leadership in a battle, where swift decisions and maneuvers are crucial, rather than moving from one meeting to another in a traditional corporate scenario.

“Skillswise, a strong emphasis is placed on development. The ideal candidate is a die-hard developer with an inherent love and interest in coding. This passion helps them connect with other developers, celebrate code, and deliver impressive results. This role is not simply a management position; it encompasses human leadership but leans heavily towards providing technological support to developers”, Jaffa says.

Culturally, finding a match is vital. We appreciate individuals coming from a start-up background, people comfortable with the rapid pace of change and capable of handling uncertainty. They should harbor a desire to release products and focus on end-users, thinking about how we can deliver value to them.

“By Andrey's standards, Ellie is not as much of a startup as promised - he sees us as still too corporate and believes we should be more agile! We're working on that. Andrey possesses a deep technological knowledge, has a desire to get things done, and has experience in various dynamic environments”, Jaffa says.

A few things we’ve done to become even more agile:

  • We've implemented strict deadlines and actively reflect on and adapt our work methods.
  • We're bringing customer understanding to developers because if developers don't understand customer needs, they begin to focus too much on team tasks and code-related issues.
  • We're making active efforts, such as training, and people have started to think more about delivering customer value.
  • Developers are rotated through sales meetings to bring the customer closer. Our culture is moving towards being more customer-centric, seeing the customer as the real leader.

“Developers need to know what they should be coding. There should always be tasks waiting for them. We don't believe the right way to build a career is just by coding tasks; we want our people to understand customers”, Jaffa says.

What is more, when an external developer comes in, they might bring many solutions, thinking outside the box.

“We want our developers to become excellent problem solvers for our customers! Having also worked as an independent consultant, I've seen the value placed on problem-solving. Clients ask how to solve a problem, they don't just order code.”, Jaffa says.

Jaffa thinks it’s important to hire those who solve problems, not just those who excel in JavaScript. This has led to the fact that we've received external feedback praising our startup-style approach.

“If we only concentrated on making the code fancier, nothing goes to the customers, the company doesn't succeed, business doesn't grow, and eventually, we run out of work. This is the reality if people only focus on how to make the code more impressive. It can even lead to redundancy negotiations. That’s why we focus on our customers so heavily!”, Jaffa says.

Lastly, what kind of a recruitment process can you expect when applying for developer roles at Ellie?

When applying for the developer positions at Ellie, you can expect a recruitment process that's swift and decisive.

“We learned from our experience hiring Andrey that quick action can be advantageous! This agility in our process enabled us to meet him shortly after his application in-person at our office, which we value highly. Once we recognized his potential, we made a rapid decision and confirmed hiring him on the same day”, Jaffa says.

We believe that an individual is more than their CV. In roles like Lead Developer, establishing trust and building strong interpersonal relationships are crucial.

“This is why our recruitment process is designed not just to assess your skills and experience, but also to understand who you are as a person”, Jaffa says.

As we gear up to recruit more people to our tech team, we're carrying these learnings forward. We're looking for someone who doesn't just fit what's written in the job description, but who will also resonate with our team and our values.

So, if you're ready to take the next step in your career, we'd love to hear from you!

Check out our open positions>>