Robin Knox, Managing Director at iZettle, on how CodeClan graduates have become an integral part of the company.
In terms of what iZettle (formerly intelligentpos) offers, Robin Knox summarises it as “an affordable, efficient and easy-to-use electronic point of sale (EPOS) for hospitality, food & drink and retail businesses.”
The idea behind iZettle was created by Robin and friend Paul Walton back in 2009, and has since developed into a company of over 40 employees operating from Leith in Edinburgh.
The daily routine for the Development Team begins with a morning cofee or tea, after which they review their tasks from the previous day and identify if there are any blockers.
“Around 10.30 in the morning we have a group meeting, in which we share any problems and our daily plan. After that everyone works on their individual tasks,” says Robin.
“This doesn’t mean that every person is at their desk focused on their work. There’s a very relaxed energy in the office where everyone participates in discussions and can speak with their colleagues if they have a question or they need advice.
“And obviously, in the meantime, they drink more coffee.”
A friendly environment
Robin feels that maintaining that friendly work environment is a key to his company’s hiring strategy.
“We’re really big on culture and having a happy team, so attitude is hugely important to us,” he notes.
“We’re also keen for our staff to continuously learn and be genuinely passionate about what they do. For example, each month our Development Team receives an allowance to buy books, so they can keep learning.
“We’re very lucky in Edinburgh to be blessed with a vibrant international scene, our team is from all nationalities and walks of life. It really helps us in terms of perspective. It’s hard to find good people but Edinburgh is a big place and full of talent.”
As for what makes a great developer, Robin believes life experience and a sense of the ‘real world’ plays a crucial part. “I can’t code, but what makes a great developer in my humble opinion is the ability to think in another dimension – the real world.
“Developers who know what it’s like to work in retail or hospitality can truly put themselves in our customers shoes. That’s not to say you need to have done it, it just means to build something great and easy to use, you need to imagine really hard!”
Experience with CodeClan
iZettle began working with CodeClan in August 2016 and Robin admits that he had been skeptical of the 16-week intensive programme in the beginning.
“Yes, hugely. We thought how can someone learn to code in 16 weeks and be ready for commercial development? We were so wrong, and the proof is in the pudding.
“We can go to the premises, meet and see the potential candidates in action as well as tell them a bit about what we do.”
The fact that the average age of our graduates is 31, and that they’re most likely career changers, is another benefit for iZettle.
“CodeClan students tend to have really interesting backgrounds and seem genuinely passionate about coding,” says Robin. “We’ve now taken on five CodeClan graduates, who we met at the various networking events, and they’re all doing great!”