(Photo by Marianne McGinley)
In her spare time, developer Stephanie Vizzi enjoys the satisfying, meditative hobby of sewing and fixing clothes.
“Life is a learning process,” said Vizzi. “I’m learning to take more time for myself — to go to the gym, study, relax with my cat.”
Vizzi’s methodical and inherently independent nature ended up making her a great fit at Baltimore-based custom software company SmartLogic, where she began as an apprentice and was later hired on as a full-time developer.
SmartLogic’s intimate office — overflowing with leafy plants and natural light — is host to an especially quiet work setting, which represents the company’s culture of being self directed and managed.
“I give SmartLogic major points for how much independence we’re given,” said Vizzi. “Our management has confidence in us as employees, no matter what level we’re at, and that in turn makes us confident.”
Vizzi, like many other members of the team, was also motivated by SmartLogic’s commitment to only work with progressive, best-in-class tools and software languages, like Elixir/Phoenix.
“It’s just a great place for learning and developing,” she said. “We’re allowed a long leash to develop in our own way, to write code in a way that reflects how we think and what we know. We’re encouraged to keep learning, studying and working on your own projects.”
Read on to find out what other benefits of working at SmartLogic have kept Vizzi on her toes.
What is a typical workday like for you?
I work on a lot of different projects. The work is always rotating, which is fun because there’s often a change in the tech stacks you’re using from day to day.
In the morning I get organized and prepare for our standups. We always customize the interactions we have with clients to fit the needs of their projects. We’ll include them in our daily standups and talk strategy. We work through all of the details with them.
Then I spend most of the day developing. We have team meetings, but we try to keep them brief.
Talk to us about the internal culture at SmartLogic.
At SmartLogic, everyone is very independent. The company puts a lot of confidence in its team and does not micromanage, which is really nice if you enjoy that style of work. There is some teamwork — when we have roadblocks, we talk — but the majority of our time is spent heads down, developing independently.
The office is typically quiet. We socialize a bit, but we also value that we have an open office space where we can get a lot of work done.
Currently our team is made up of 12 people — that includes the president, director of development, an office manager, marketing associate and product designer. The rest of us are developers. Everyone is really supportive and has different interests and areas of expertise. You can turn around and ask anyone on the team for help. It feels really equal. There’s no micromanagement, there are no walls between people.
What is SmartLogic’s approach to learning and development?
A lot of our development is approached informally but we’re encouraged to keep learning, studying and branching into new stacks. It’s a “get your hands dirty” style of growth and learning.
For instance, I’m mostly a front-end developer. During the times when we need updating to be done on the back-end, they’ve allowed me to go in and poke around to see what I can do, so that I can learn. A senior person is always available to me for support.
Management also encourages us to write blog posts, be a part of meetups or to work on side projects. And they’re super open to new ideas. They’re game to try something new rather than play it safe. We would never risk doing something for a client we’ve never tried before, so we are enabled to experiment outside of our billable hours as part of our professional development.-30-
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