“We’re on a mission to digitally transform the AEC industry” – Karol Jędruszek, Software Developer at VIATechnik

VIATechnik is a virtual design and construction company with a mission to digitize the built environment. They have nearly 200 employees across multiple offices. How do they cope with distributed teams? How do they care about employees’ development? Read the interview.

Tell us more about VIATECHNIK – what is the history of the company?

KJ: VIATechnik was founded in 2012.  We’re on a mission to digitally transform the AEC industry through a unique blend of virtual design services and software development. We have been trying to bring new technologies into the construction industry for the past 10 years now. The company has multiple offices in the United States, one in the Philippines, and since last year – one in Poland!

But the creation of the Polish branch is pretty much a history of pure luck. One of our executive managers contacted me on LinkedIn one day, basically asking if I’m interested in collaborating with VIATechnik on some projects.

I was in a place in my career where I needed a change, so I suggested that I can work with VIATechnik as a full-time employee. I really wanted to be a part of something totally new, like building a great developer team that will tackle any project thrown in its way. The company was immediately interested in that and within a year we went from a one-man team to six people collaborating on multiple projects. And we’re continuously looking for more great people to work with.

Now that I look back at it, it’s pretty crazy. Sometimes recruiters struggle to get any response from candidates they reach out to on Linkedin and we as developers often tend to ignore them. But that single message went from my employment to a fully working software development team with some amazing people in it.

Also read – 10 rules of creating a good IT job ad

What kind of technologies are you working with and why?

KJ: The technologies we use depend on the project at hand. On web projects we use Angular and node.js combined with AWS products to quickly deploy our applications. We’re also doing lots of big and small plugins for Autodesk Revit and other CAD software where we utilize .NET Framework along with WPF and MVVM patterns. This is our basic stack that proved solid for the applications that we create, although we sometimes find ourselves working with other technologies like Vue.js or GraphQL, in order to fit into our client’s workflows.

The projects we do most of the time are pretty unusual. Almost in every project, we need to jump into 2D and 3D web frameworks like three.js or Pixi.js in order to generate something on the web. So usually our projects are like a puzzle with lots of scattered pieces that we need to bind together to bring value and transform our client’s business.

Do you have your unique organizational culture?

KJ: Our software development studio is still in the process of creating our own organizational culture. We want to create a team that communicates well with each other, and takes ownership and pride in their work. Our structure is pretty flat, even though we might have different positions and experiences, we’re working as equals and try to help each other as much as we can. We’re also totally open to new and exciting ideas from newcomers, so any new employee is encouraged to throw in his thoughts on how to make our work environment even more awesome.

Employee development – how do you care about this area?

KJ: We love to support our employees in their journey as developers. We have multiple projects where we touch upon many different technologies like AWS and Azure products, three.js, Generative Design, or Autodesk Forge. If an employee has a concrete idea about where she sees herself in half a year or more, we try to steer her in that specific area. Also, we can support our employees in obtaining new certifications and skills.

I think this is one of the best things about our company. We want to hear from our employees about how we can help them in achieving their professional goals. And then we’re just trying to plan that out so that both sides get the most of that journey.

How do you cope with distributed teams?

KJ: Distributed teams are our bread and butter, as in our projects we connect developers and managers from multiple different time zones (the United States, Philippines, and Poland). We try to find as big of a time window to work together as possible. Usually, we are trying to create project teams that are close within a single country so that the collaboration is as painless as possible. That’s also why we are looking for new developers in Poland, to increase the competencies within this team in order to tackle new challenges with ease.

The Polish team is now one year old and during that time we’ve never had any problem with working 100% remotely. The work hours in our team are pretty flexible.  Some of our employees have kids they have to take care of during the day, others like to jump off to the gym during the day for a quick workout. We’re always doing our best to create a workplace where everyone can manage their personal life and deliver some great code to our projects.

What is the most important characteristic for you in candidates?

KJ: In our projects, we touch upon lots of different problems in the AEC industry. Every project is different, so we need our candidates to have a decent degree of autonomy, to be able to figure out the best way of approaching a specific problem. We’re not looking at years of experience but rather at the combined skills and expertise of every candidate. We’re looking for people who want to create a team of people who trust each other when creating software and are ready to shake up the AEC industry a bit.

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