It’s day four of the Bristol Technology Festival and today’s theme is ‘play’. Read on to discover our view on the importance of allowing space for play in software development.
As the next generation of software developers makes its way into the world of work, a new wave of creativity and enthusiasm can be felt across the industry. Although software development is sometimes wrongly seen as an unimaginative industry, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
The ability to think laterally and harness creativity are key skills we hire developers for. It is these traits that will enable them to come up with innovative solutions that help us to ‘imagine the impossible’ for our clients.
It all starts with passion
Many of our software developers joined the profession because it fuses their passion for computing, gaming and coding with the technical challenge of creating new software and applications.
Our Associate Software Developer Cristian Voroneanu’s interest started when he came across an online game built on open source. This spurred him on to try implementing his ideas. He spent many nights playing with the server, his excitement growing with each implementation. “The harder the programme was, the more interested and motivated I was to find a solution for it,” Cristian says.
A key ingredient for innovation and wellbeing
Play, imagination and creativity are essential for solving impossible challenges and building the clever, innovative solutions our clients require to become leaders in their sectors. Technology is changing all the time, so developers need to be open-minded to new things and able to constantly learn and adapt.
As well as being helpful for work on client projects, play is essential for our mental health too and something adults don’t do enough. Mental health is something we care deeply about at Amdaris and it’s why we’ve invested in Unmind, a digital platform that offers clinically backed tools to help our colleagues manage and prevent stress, anxiety and burnout.
Creating the right environment
As businesses find themselves competing to attract and retain the best tech talent, having a company culture that encourages playfulness, supports autonomy and provides opportunities to grow is more important than ever. According to our Senior Software Developer Oleg Rotar, “Amdaris is a company that listens to and responds to their employees. This creates a great environment for work and development”.
Our state-of-the-art offices feature spaces and games (PlayStation, ping pong, chess) designed to inspire Amdarians to shift seamlessly between strategic thinking and play. We aim to create a positive work environment where everyone feels comfortable sharing ideas, taking risks, making mistakes and having fun, as well as working hard.
We deliberately include beautiful social spaces in all of our offices and hold regular parties and events for Amdarians to enjoy some much-needed switching-off time together. This helps boost morale and is essential for enhancing the interpersonal bonds needed to build great teams and collaborations.
Encouraging other passions
We encourage Amdarians to have hobbies outside of work. We believe it’s important for everyone to pursue their passions and find that, when they do, they return to their desks energised, refreshed and able to work more effectively.
Recently, for example, Amdaris provided our Senior QA Engineer and mountaineer Oleg Gavriliuc with the opportunity to take part in an ascent of Mont Blanc alongside our client EMIS’s CTO Richard Jarvis to raise awareness and funds for PANS PANDAS UK. The ascent proved to be an incredibly hard challenge that preparation, teamwork and determination helped them to succeed at. Oleg raised the Amdaris flag at the summit and it’s been great to see how much the experience has meant to him.
Learning and play
The current tech talent deficit is not just about a shortage of people, but a shortage of top skills. This is why we’ve invested in the Amdaris Internship Programme. This programme sees the brightest new talent with maths or physics degrees apply to be nurtured by our most skilled Senior Mentors. On the programme, interns learn about our business practices and innovations and, perhaps most importantly, they are given the chance to play with the technology we use.
For example, we recently partnered with financial services company Stripe and interns can do integration and development exercises using Stripe’s technologies. This opportunity to play beforehand means that, when they join us on projects, they have a fresh, creative way of looking at challenges and can inject new ideas. This keeps our Seniors on their toes and encourages everyone to get out of stale, reductive ways of thinking and to keep an imaginative and innovative perspective.
Our Hackathons also help promote creativity, as well as encourage new ways of thinking. Our recent Hackathon saw five teams in three different locations challenged to showcase their technical prowess in creating innovative prototypes for a desk booking app. Each solution was scored not only on its usefulness, effort, completion or product relevance but also on features that showed creativity – such as design, originality and presentation.
The bottom line
Including play in everyday work life has many benefits. It doesn’t mean taking work light-heartedly. On the contrary, striking the right balance of work and play can not only help instill a vital sense of well-being and joy, but it can also create space – both physical and mental – for open-mindedness and creativity. These are required if you truly want to push beyond the conventional and imagine the impossible.