To quote the owner of Sandfield, "I want to know that everyone that has worked at Sandfield leaves better than when they started". I think there’s a number of ways people improve or grow at Sandfield; through technical training, non-technical training, experiences and knowledge gained through projects, opportunities to grow professionally, and the relationships they form with colleagues and clients.
I want to give you a taste of what it’s like to work at Sandfield.
In 2015 we spent 2,727 hours on training so as you’d imagine we take this pretty seriously. Core to this is our technical development, where each week one of us presents either something they’ve researched, or presents something new in the project they’re working on (there are lots of different projects going on, so it’s nice to be able to share amongst the team). These sessions are not designed to make everyone experts in the topic, rather it exposes the team to the new technologies and allows discussion of its benefits or otherwise. The best place to try out a new technology is in a Friday training session, and not a client’s production system!
Industry events throughout the year are a good way of hearing from other experts and where an event would appeal to a large section of the team, we’ll invite tech companies to present at Sandfield which allows for a more targeted presentation.
You can’t have successful projects if you can’t communicate well, both with the client and within the team. And so communication is our second largest training effort. Most people quickly recognise that it’s useful at work and at home.
Leadership is another area we spend a lot of time. As the company has grown we’ve organically developed into teams and then teams within teams, and it’s been great to develop leaders during that process. Leaders are also crucial when embarking on projects with clients, both in terms of championing the project at the clients end, and also ensuring technical success.
The wellbeing of the team is important; are they looking after their physical and financial health? Over the years we’ve had a variety of consultants come in to give advice to the team, including: nutritionists, financial advisors, insurance advisors. Just recently we had St John come in to do a full day First Aid course.
Knowledge and Opportunities
We have small projects (that span weeks) and large projects (that span years). Clients in a wide range of industries (logistics, franchise, travel, gyms), using a wide range of technologies (web applications, SaaS solutions, RFID, Beacons, native apps). We do the requirements gathering, the user experience, architecture, management, development, testing, support, analytics. In summary we have a wide experience, and though most developers do the full Software Development Life Cycle, we also have senior experts throughout the business.
Some people like focusing in one area or system, and others like a variety. For some people they want the extra responsibility of leading projects and/or a team. For some it’s the Senior Developer or Architecture route. We’re lucky to be able to give most people the opportunities they choose, which can change over time - you don’t know what you don’t know.
At Sandfield we have a strong mentor programme, where junior or new developers are mentored by senior developers. This ensures quality and consistency across the company, but also allows junior developers to learn from experienced developers. Most of our current team that are mentoring interns were once interns themselves at Sandfield, and are now coached on how to mentor others.
At Sandfield we pride ourselves on building things efficiently and successfully. Most projects have their hiccups but I’ve been here 6 years now and cannot think of a project that has been cancelled or backtracked on. It really is something that we do well and the mentors within the company definitely help with this. This generates great job satisfaction for our staff.
The Social Side
It’s last in this list, but definitely not least. Social events are a regular occurrence at Sandfield, both as team events and company wide events. It’s a great way of bonding the team, or getting to know others in the company that you don’t work with often. It’s also a great way of exposing people to new activities (escape rooms, rock climbing, comedy festivals) or giving the competitive types the opportunity to be the company champion (bowling, table tennis, cooking).
We like to share company news at our company morning teas, share local cuisine at our Fun Food Friday’s, and just share a laugh at Friday drinks. There’s generally always something for someone.
Sandfield is a business, and a successful one. There’s definitely a culture of “there’s work to be done, so get it done”, but it’s a collaborative environment, a place you can have a laugh, a place you learn a lot, and there are a range of career opportunities to be had. There’s a lot to like about working at Sandfield.