We've partnered with AWS
As mentioned in my previous article on durable teams, over the years tombola has grown significantly. When I joined 7 years ago there were maybe 20 developers looking after 3 territories. Today we have over 150 developers and engineers looking after 6 territories.
From a technology and infrastructure perspective the evolution has been rapid. 3 or 4 years ago we migrated our on-premises infrastructure into AWS. Initially it was a “pick up and shift” exercise and a gradual migration to AWS native services. We have made huge progress and have seen huge benefits being 100% hosted in AWS and we’ve learned a lot along the way.
One of the big learnings was the cultural shift that being cloud native would cause. One of the most notable shifts was how our developers engaged with the underlying infrastructure. The lines between developers and cloud infrastructure are blurred heavily by AWS. In some cases, there is no distinction.
This has presented some interesting challenges. Our developers and infrastructure engineers are forced to work in a very collaborative way with automation being key.
Previously our infrastructure engineers would operate largely behind a help desk – “Can I have a new server?”, “Can you open port x?”. There wasn’t much crossover between our development and infrastructure teams and likewise with their respective development projects.
Nowadays our developers and infrastructure engineers form multi-disciplined development squads – everyone is very much closer to the product.
This is all great for our product. We see much better collaboration and innovation. Much more valuable conversations are being had with an improved open dialog and we have reaped the benefits of this as a business. Because of this, we believe that we, as a business, produce some of the most highly skilled AWS engineers in the region.
So how do we keep the skill levels and the engagement levels high with our engineers?
One thing we have is a unique culture around technology. Technology decisions are never “top down”. We make a point in empowering our teams to build solutions in the best way they can using the right tools for the job – and any tool is an option.
There are lots of benefits in this from a business perspective:
- We are always innovating at the front line of technology development.
- We have some of the most highly engaged and highly motivated technologists in the region.
- Our engineers get huge exposure to the latest tech allowing them to develop and learn quickly.
- We have a great working relationship with AWS
There are, however, some challenges that should be acknowledged:
- Our architecture can sometimes fragment
- Development of our engineers requires constant investment.
While we may call these last points “challenges” tombola are happy to invest in and manage these challenges because we believe the benefits hugely outweigh the challenges.
As an example of how we invest, we have just partnered with AWS to deliver a deep dive training course to almost 50 of our engineers. Everyone gets a place on this course, from our most junior new starters through to our most senior tombola stalwarts. We believe in creating a baseline of knowledge within the organisation. Everyone is trained to a certain extent using broad training initiatives like this one and then personal development is overlaid on a case-by-case basis. This creates a well-documented “minimum” level of knowledge and skill in AWS that can be assumed, along with a common vocabulary.
We believe there isn’t a better place to be an engineer in the North East. We have a unique technology culture that benefits the business as much as the individual engineers. We’re proud of this. We believe we are a great place to work, whether you’re a principal engineer with years and years of experience or whether you’re a graduate fresh out of university. You will learn and develop at tombola working alongside some of the best engineers in the region, all while being supported by tombola.
Come and join us
We have exciting plans for growth and are recruiting at all levels of experience to support that, if you would like to consider an opportunity at tombola please take a look our current available roles.