A leading, tech-driven online retailer and an S-SA client of many years had one of the largest team of Software Developers in the North West.
Their primary language? Ruby on Rails.
Enjoying incredible success and substantial year-on-year growth they constantly outgrew office-after-office, innovating a constant stream of new product ideas and launches. This led to an ongoing requirement for experienced, mid to senior-level Software Developers to join their team on a permanent basis.
As a purely online business, technology is their passion, but people are their business. So, recruiting, engaging, and retaining people with their cultural DNA was always their primary objective, especially with longevity in mind.
With the Ruby on Rails market being very contract-driven, finding available and experienced developers who fit that profile was a constant issue.
Whilst that specific experience in the marketplace was scarce, we knew that raw talent in the Manchester area was abundant. The issue was bridging that gap between fantastic potential and being a production-ready Software Developer.
Therefore, a classroom-based scheme was devised, and the Ruby Academy was born.
The idea was to give Junior Developers of varying backgrounds – whether it be graduates, college leavers or even, more experienced engineers from different industries and job types – a platform to learn commercial-standard, Ruby on Rails from the ground-up in an intensive, 5-week course based onsite at their offices, before being inducted into the team under the mentorship of a Senior Developer.
S-SA Digital was the natural choice to partner with on this programme.
Search and select a group of 8-10 Junior Developers who have a genuine passion to follow a career in Ruby on Rails development, to join as full-time employees.
Whilst technical knowledge was a factor – candidates had to demonstrate knowledge of basic software engineering principles – our assessments were based primarily around culture fit and key values. This included attitude, aptitude, passion for tech, career aspirations and general ethos.
Diversity and inclusion were also at the forefront of our selection process; we worked with the client to help design an interview process that ensured people of all backgrounds and disabilities were given equal opportunity to showcase their talents.
Our client also wanted to readdress their gender diversity, with a focus getting more women into their engineering teams.
Schemes we are passionate about and were incredibly proud to be part of.
After an exhaustive process, we successfully delivered a team of Junior Developers on multiple occasions. This allowed the Ruby Academy to be a hugely successful and repetitive part of their hiring process helping them grow and regenerate the development team steadily and organically with motivated, passionate people from all backgrounds, improving staff retention considerably.
The gender diversity percentage was improved, with several female developers successfully passing the course and becoming key members of the engineering team and talented people with disabilities were given opportunities after being overlooked by other companies.
Many of our hires are now in senior management roles within the engineering team and hiring more developers themselves.