November 9, 2016
Notes from #Q4orce: Learning and Hustling as a Full Stack Developer
Alex Bukengolz, Full Stack Team Lead, remembers his first interview with Q4 in March 2014, when the head office in Toronto’s Liberty Village neighbourhood was a quarter of its current size. When he returned for his second interview, a wall had been knocked down to double the office’s square footage. More than two years later the space has doubled again, and Alex is astonished by how quickly Q4 has grown since he started with the company.
Q4’s growth is owed at least in part to its full stack development team, which is responsible for the efficiency and speed with which Q4 releases new features for its products. At Q4, a full stack team member may specialize in front-end development but knows some back-end and UI — and everyone is given the opportunity to learn new stacks.
Some of the full stack team’s most recent projects include developing natural language processing, machine learning, and building a financial NoSQL Big Data and Data Search cloud.
Q4 Desktop uses natural language processing and machine learning to create the best product in its class.
Q4 introduced full stack to its team roster four years ago with the goal to establish a team that could handle a greater range of requests than exclusively front- or back-end teams could. (Our full stack team is growing. Check it out). Full stack team members are involved in the entire life cycle of Q4’s features, from roadmap to final testing, which allows Q4 to be in constant release mode. For a full stack team member this translates into accelerated learning and growth opportunities. As Q4 releases by feature, the team remains focused on agility by being open to working in different languages and sometimes adding new stacks based on the specialty of a new hire.
Alex Corotchi, Director of Product Development, runs six development teams at Q4 and stresses the importance of maintaining a “bottom-up” culture throughout company growth. “A Q4 developer is not only a coder,” he says. “Every developer at Q4 is involved in creative development because every person we hire brings a fresh perspective to the company. It’s a huge priority for us to continue to seek employee input as Q4 grows, so that we’re always innovating based on current trends in the field.”
Full stack developers are responsible for every stage of Q4 Desktop development.
So what can a full stack developer expect from working at Q4? “A sense of ownership of their work, as Q4 owns everything it builds rather than working with vendors as a proxy company,” says Alex. For developers looking to build something from the onset and be directly responsible for improving a growing product list, Q4 offers an amazing professional opportunity.
While Q4 takes great care to recruit people with the right skills to get the job done, Alex says he is equally interested in working with people who may have rockstar skills in one area and a thirst for new knowledge.“Even though we’ve grown so much over the past two years, we haven’t lost the great culture we worked so hard to build,” Alex says. “Every employee teaches us how we can be better, how we can improve on what we’ve built. Every employee we hire brings something new and exciting to our team.”