I’m Zach Davis, the majority partner at Cast Iron Coding, and we’re hiring.
Cast Iron Coding is a web development studio housed in the Olympic Mills building in Portland’s Industrial Eastside neighborhood. Our small, close-knit team of seven full-time developers and a handful of part-timers and sub-contractors has been building websites (for mobile and desktop environments) and web applications for a great group of clients for the past nine years. We work with clients in many sectors, although we do tend toward nonprofits, foundations, educational institutions, and other organizations that touch on social responsibility and accountability.
CIC has been profitable since its inception, with year-over-year revenues rising by roughly 20%. From a business standpoint, CIC has never operated like most startups, having never relied on external investors or visions of a future cash-out. We do, however, subscribe to many development and cultural practices that are common at web startups. CIC is a company that values slow, stable growth. We are motivated by work that is in keeping with our team’s values and that contributes to our company’s long-term viability.
To this end, we carefully manage our projects such that our developers are able to work regular hours. This means we are often able to avoid overtime hours, a high-stress environment, and the last-minute pre-launch fire drills that are common at other agencies. Our mission is simple: work hard to foster a sane and collegial work environment that gives developers the freedom and support they need to deliver high-quality, reasonably priced, on-time solutions to our clients.
TL;DR: we need another programmer.
Ok, sounds good, but what would it be like to work at Cast Iron Coding?
1. Everyone on CIC’s small management team is also a developer. This means that your bosses will understand how to read the code you write, and will be able to understand the challenges you face as a developer. I am proud to say that CIC is not an “enterprise” environment in which you will receive a list of features from management and be expected to implement them without discussion. Instead, you will be invited to participate in planning sprints and wire framing meetings, and you will have a good deal of say in how development on a project proceeds.
2. You will not have a wall of internal project management between you and our clients. As a developer, you will often interface directly with clients, which means you will learn a lot about our clients’ problem domains. As a result, you will gain experience not just as a developer, but as a professional who is able to work with other professionals from a number of interesting fields. That said, on the rare occasion when you have to deal with a demanding or challenging client, a senior team member will always be available to help you navigate the situation.
3. We provide the tools you need to do your job well. Unless you can make a very compelling argument for why you require a Windows or a Linux workstation, you’ll be provided with a new iMac or Macbook, depending on your preference, as well as a new iPad for mobile development and testing. Most of the team work regularly in PHPStorm, RubyMine, SublimeText 2, and TextMate, but if you need other software to do your job well, you’ll be given access to it.
4. You will work with a team of programmers who are technically competent and who, additionally, bring a strong background in the humanities to their work. I have a PhD in English and wrote my dissertation on John Milton’s poetry. English, linguistics, anthropology, and computer science majors comprise our team, and everyone routinely brings the critical thinking and communications skills they learned studying the liberal arts and “soft” sciences to bear on their work at CIC. Team CIC includes a few musicians, a cooperative farmer / bee-keeper, and a few closet poets.
5. You will work in an environment where everyone is expected to embrace new
languages, new frameworks, and new development practices as a matter of course. To this end, employees are encouraged—I’d say required, but nobody is really enforcing it—to spend 10% of their time learning something new or working on a side project or a challenging internal project. Every couple of weeks we meet for lunch while a team member walks us through whatever he or she is working on. Past meetings have included presentations on Backbone.js, Sass, Meteor and Node, AWS, Rails apps, Chef, and Vagrant. While clients can be slow to embrace new trends, we believe we need to stay current so that we’re ready to bring newtechnologies to bear on our projects when the time is right.
6. You will be asked to fit into our loose implementation of agile development
methodologies. We track stories carefully for our projects using Pivotal Tracker. We eschew top-down specs and explain to clients that scope is often fluid and hard to pin down. We take an iterative approach, in which work is generally organized into week-long sprints. We follow Continuous Integration (CI) practices as best we can, and rely heavily on Jenkins, Chef, AWS, and XenServer for our CI infrastructure. We deliver often and work hard to make sure that work can be deployed to production environments in minutes, not hours.
7. You will participate in an informal team meeting every Monday, where we all touch base and review what we’re working on each week. You will check-in with a senior developer on a daily basis and discuss what you’re working on. The senior developer will do the same with you, and will give you insight into his or her projects as part of a natural mentorship process.
8. You will be given a reasonable salary, between 50k and 85k, depending on your experience—this salary will almost certainly be less than what a startup flush with venture capital or a much larger company with considerably more corporate structures in place might offer. That said, if you stay at CIC for a while and prosper as a developer, your salary will increase each year and you may be invited to participate in a profit sharing plan, which we rolled out in 2012. In addition to your salary, you will get a winter bonus each year and you will be given top-notch health insurance, including dental and nontraditional medicine. CIC will pay 50% of your health insurance, as well as 50% of the insurance cost for your partner and, if you have them, your children. You will also receive paid vacation and sick days, and a modest SEP IRA matching contribution.
development skill that we don’t currently have, and we can find a market for it
among our current and prospective clients, then we will branch out. In the past, we have done a lot of work with TYPO3 (a little-known but very powerful PHP content management framework with a built-in MVC framework); in the last year we have branched out to include more work with Rails, Sinatra, Slim (a PHP micro framework), and FLOW3 (a young but interesting, PHP DDD framework) on the backend, and Backbone, JQuery Mobile, and PhoneGap on the frontend. Right now, well over half of our revenue comes from Rails projects, and we expect this trend to continue.
Ok, I’m interested, but what will I have to give back to CIC?
If you’re still with me, it means you’re patient, which is good. We’ve covered what you can expect from us, now let’s quickly run through what we’ll expect from you:
1. We’ll expect you to really, really care about what you do. More important than how skilled or experienced you are (that part can be taught) is your commitment to the craft of development. When you build something that is scalable and works well, you will take well-deserved pride in it. When you build something that can’t scale or doesn’t work well (we all do this sometimes), you’ll be self-motivated to fix it so that it’s something you can take pride in. To this end, we’ll do the best we can—keeping in mind that capitalism compels us to do work for reasons other than joy—to provide you with projects that give you the opportunity to learn, to craft, and to succeed.
growth and prosperity of the company. We will expect you to already know how to use SCM in general and Git in particular. If you don’t know Git, that’s fine, but you’ll need to wrap your head around it quickly and get up to speed.
3. We’ll expect you to be reliable. Not everyone on our team shows up for work at 9:00, but people are expected to show up when they say they will. I’ll need to know that if I ask you to do something, you’ll do it or, if you can’t, you’ll communicate that to me or the project stakeholder.
4. We’ll expect you to be a life-long learner. Ideally, you would be a life-long student of web development in one form or another. If you don’t know how to do something, we hope you’ll be courageous enough to do the legwork and figure it out for yourself. If you’re working in the web and have made it this far through this post, then we’d bet dollars for doughnuts that you fit the bill.
Ok, I’m still here. What next?
First, if you think you fit the bill, I want to encourage you to apply. You might think that you’re too experienced or not experienced enough, but I hope you won’t let that stop you. If you like what you’ve read, we want to hear from you!
Send me your resume. This will tell me where you’ve worked and where you went to college (if you went to college; plenty of good developers didn’t). But it will tell me very little about whether or not you fit the various criteria I’ve outlined above. So write me a note introducing yourself (an email, a cover letter, whatever—I care little about the medium) and tell me why you think you’re a good fit for this position. I’d very much like to hear about how (and why) you came to web development as a profession.
I’d also like to see your code. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Hell, it doesn’t even have to be finished. If you don’t have code, show me something else you’ve made that you think is evidence of your creativity and artfulness. You’ll get big bonus points if what you show me is an open source project on Github, something that someone else has used, or a contribution to a larger project.
If you seem like a good fit, I will send you an email or give you a call. We’ll have you come check out our office, and you, me, and one or two other people from the team will head downstairs to Olympic Provisions and have a glass of something (beer/wine/soda/water) and a conversation.
This position is open now, and we are looking to fill it as soon as possible. We have projects lined up for the next 6-8 months for which we need additional developers.
I know it will do absolutely no good to say this, but if you are a recruiter, a robot, an outsourcing company, or a freelancer who is not looking to join us as a full-time salary employee, please please please refrain from contacting me. You will be wasting your time and mine.
Looking forward to meeting you.
Zach Davis, Majority Partner at Cast Iron Coding
Women and people of color encouraged to apply.
Email all correspondence and materials related to this job posting to firstname.lastname@example.org.