(Photo by Sam Markowitz)
This article is sponsored by Chariot Solutions and was reviewed before publication.
Software consultant developer James Kent was happy to trade in a hectic work travel schedule for flexible local office hours when he joined the team at Fort Washington-based Chariot Solutions in late 2017.
“I first found out about Chariot through some conferences,” said Kent. “This was my top choice in terms of Philadelphia-area businesses.”
Just over a year after joining the tech consulting firm, Kent was able to take advantage of Chariot’s newest benefit: paid maternity, paternity and family leave. It’s just one way the firm has continued to stand out as a place where employees — “Charioteers,” as they like to call themselves — can balance the professional with the personal.
“I was ready to settle down and we were thinking of having kids,” said Kent. “At Chariot I was lucky enough to get to combine paternity leave with vacation to take time with my family.”
In the office, Kent is emblematic of Chariot’s learning environment and the company’s ability to hire employees who not only bring with them a set of honed skills but also an enthusiasm for professional development.
“A large part of consulting is not necessarily what you know now, but it’s about whether you’re willing to pick up and do something new,” said Kent, who came to Chariot with a background in React and Scala and now counts TypeScript as one of the skills in his toolbox, and says he looks forward to learning something new with each client. “As long as you show willingness to learn and continue growing, I think that’s more important than what you’re doing at that particular moment. If you have an interest in learning and continuing to do so, you’re probably a fit for Chariot.”
But Chariot has room for specialists too, said Kent.
“No matter how broad you want to be in your learning, you’re going to end up doing some things better than others, and so there is room for those people with specialties here, and that’s great because that’s how other people learn,” he added. “You want to learn from the person who knows the technology really well.”
In a recent interview with Technical.ly at Chariot’s offices, Kent described some of his recent work with the company and shared how he’s grown as a software developer since becoming a Charioteer.
How does professional development take place around the office?
There’s the more formalized process of sharing knowledge between people at Chariot, which is what happens on Chariot Day. There’s also more commonplace learning that happens day to day — for instance, through reaching out to people on Slack.
I have a few coworkers who are currently working on React projects, so when I have questions on anything they have implemented or done before, I generally reach out to them in person. There are also conferences, of course, and last year we had a small conference that we did in Philadelphia called SPA Day, on single-page apps. A number of us built the same application in three different front-end tools and frameworks — React, Angular and Vue — and we compared and contrasted how you accomplish the same thing with the different tools and frameworks. That was a real learning experience for me, and also an opportunity to share a lot of my knowledge.
What are some of the ways that you’ve grown professionally at Chariot?
I’ve picked up a lot of different skills here. I’ve found myself in situations where I’ve done a lot of CSS and styling, and that’s one of the places where we’re striving to get more people. I’m also learning a lot more about how to package software and the more continuous delivery of front-end assets, and how you get those things to production. In my current role we are working on re-orchestrating our path to production.
What can a new consultant expect when they become a Charioteer?
There are very few people at Chariot who will work on more than one client at a time, and most developers here will be dedicated to just one project where they can invest their full amount of time.
I’ve been with my current client for about a year, though I did some smaller things for Chariot in the beginning when I was “on the bench” and not yet assigned to a full-time client. At first, I was working on an application and now I’m on the team that manages the platform itself, so even within the client I’ve switched gears. It’s provided continuity and also enough change to make things interesting.-30-
To understand what it takes to be a data engineer, start here
COVID Alert PA app launches to help track the pandemic’s spread in Pennsylvania
Streets Department’s new PickupPHL app lets you track trash pickup in real time
‘The Culture Delivered’: Philly startup Black and Mobile appears in Pharrell and Jay-Z’s ‘Entrepreneur’ video
Sign-up for daily news updates from Technical.ly Philadelphia