Mindecs Tech Careers Podcast #7 Esteban Michalowski from Altapay

AltaPay: Simplifying Payments

In the new episode of our podcast, we had the pleasure of hosting Esteban Michalowski, the Chief Technology Officer at Altapay, who is a seasoned full-stack software engineer and architect. With over 15 years of hands-on experience, Esteban has been instrumental in shaping Altapay’s technical and product strategy.

Altapay, based in Copenhagen, aims to make payments less complicated for its clients. With a team of over 40 members, they’ve been in the FinTech industry for a while.

 

Here are the key points from the podcast:

1. Altapay and Esteban: Our guest told us a story about how he became CTO at Altapay

2. How Esteban is hiring:  Esteban reveals why the test task is required in his opinion, even though many candidates don’t like seeing them in the screening process.

3. Team management: We discussed how to build and manage teams effectively so as to deliver winning products.

Conclusion

Esteban Michalowski’s journey from self-taught engineer to CTO exemplifies the power of continuous learning, collaboration, and strategic thinking. Altapay’s commitment to simplifying payments and fostering innovation makes it an exciting place to be. Keep an eye on Esteban and Altapay—they’re shaping the future of FinTech!

Enjoy the podcast!

Hire best developers with Mindecs!

Why you should consider offshore development team in Eastern Europe

Offshore software development in Eastern Europe is a hot topic nowadays in the modern IT industry. More and more companies choose to outsource software development and one of the most reasonable destinations are Eastern European countries like Ukraine, Poland, Belarus just to name a few. There are plenty of reasons why companies do so, let’s consider 3 the most important ones.

1. The great pool of talented software engineers.

This region can boast of having a lot of talented people involved in the tech industry.  A lot of modern young people chose the IT industry and study computer science related professions like software engineering, big data, applied mathematics, and others. What is interesting, the number of software developers constantly grows, thanks to high-quality tech education in the region. Professionals from Eastern Europe are renowned around the world for the high-quality job and they have achieved great results. Students constantly achieve great results in different international competitions and hackathons.

2. Convenient Geographical location,  English proficiency.

Eastern European countries have higher than average English proficiency, especially people who work in the tech field can boast of having quite a high foreign language skills. They are traveling a lot, open-minded and agile, they like discovering new cultures, learning more about foreign countries.
What is also important, this region has developed infrastructure and also has direct connections to cities in the USA. It’s very close to Western European countries, only a few hours difference in timezone. Traveling within Europe is convenient.

3. Cost-effectiveness.

One of the most important reasons why more and more companies extend their team remotely by development teams from this region is a cost-effectiveness. While a good software developer costs on average 100 000$+social package in the USA, here, you can hire an experienced and high-quality engineer with an average rate of 30-40$ per hour. It’s much cheaper, getting the same result.

Why Ukraine?

Ukraine is the biggest country in Europe.  A lot of gifted engineers live in this country. The great number of companies have R&D offices here, like Oracle, Snap inc, Samsung electronics just to name a few. The great number of big companies have outsourced to software development companies in Ukraine like Just Answer, Jabra, Just Eat and a lot of others.

5 Apps That Are Needed to Work Remotely

Nowadays it’s much easier to grow your team remotely than whenever before. More and more startups and even big companies are inclined to provide this opportunity for their workers to give them more flexibility with work and life balance. Moreover, it allows them to hire talents globally, from other cities and even countries and continents not just locally where they are based.

Obviously, there are plenty of advantages and disadvantages in hiring and managing people remotely. If you don’t have a culture of working remotely in your company and you are thinking about trying then it’s a great moment for trying. Let’s consider 5 apps that really would be helpful for this purpose:

1.Slack. The great app for communication of your team.

You need a great tool to keep in touch with members of your team. It can be any messenger you like let it be Telegram, Skype, Whatsapp or Slack. The last one has a convenient system for managing groups of your developers different channels and manage it really easily. One thing you should keep in mind that comparing to other ones, despite the fact that Slack has free plan, it’s quite restricted and probably, you would need advanced plan that is not free. It’s always up to you what to choose for your team, just try all the tools and see which one is the best for you.

Slack image

 

2.Google Hangouts. One of the best tools for video calls.

You would definitely need sometimes voice calls to discuss your project together with your team. It’s obvious so that we have to mention about tool like Google hangouts, as it’s convenient easy to use, all you need is a gmail account, it has a mobile app also and it works well with all of the Google apps what is an advantage definitely.

Surely, you can choose also other tools for this purpose like Skype, Zoom and others. The last one is great when it comes to large conferences. Skype is well integrated with Microsoft tools what can be a benefit if you use a lot of Microsoft tools.

3.Trello. Probably the best project management tool.

Definitely, you need a tool to manage your team. Trello is a great tool you can use to manage tasks for your team. It’s simple to use, provides free version and a lot of advanced features. There are also a lot of other great tools for project management like Jira, Asana, etc.  Luckily, we have enough great companies that help us manage our projects. These tools also can be useful not only for teams, but also for your personal usage to be more productive.

Trello image

4.Gitlab. Software development app you need anyway.

It would be a crime not to mention about version control tools. In 2019, you simply cannot allow not to use apps like Gitlab, it’s obvious. It helps your team to manage your code, keep track of versions, to build a flow of the development. This kind of tools are not special for remote programmers, but for programmers at all, no metter sitting close one to another in the office or being located in different cities.

What is also interesting, Gitlab is a unicorn startup, that recently reached 1 billion market cap and their team is fully distributed, all of them are working remotely.

There are a lot of alternatives to Gitlab if you don’t like it for some reason, like Bitbucket, Github and even other types of apps for version control.

5.Google drive. To store and share common docs.

We recommend for every project, to create a directory in the cloud so that every member of the team can access these documents once they need it. It’s not a good practice to share docs in messengers or sending them via email. You should be as organized as it’s possible and using Google drive is simple and helpful.

All you need to use Google drive is a gmail account and that’s it, that’s why we like it. You have 50 gigabytes of personal capacity in your storage. You can use Dropbox as well as your cloud storage for your common documents, it’s a great tool also that can be helpful.

 

 

Advantages of hiring remote software developers

It might be tough to find the right talent locally for your needs especially when it comes to software development. The great solution can be searching candidates globally and working with them on a remote basis.  Most companies still only hire developers who work in the traditional workspace, missing several opportunities:

1. Productivity

Not everyone is most productive between the hours of 9 to 5. Some members of your team are a better worker at night, early morning, or prefer splitting their day into two parts – from 8 to 12 and from 16 to 20. This is almost impossible for employees who are working from the desk in the office and a normal situation for the remote worker.

2. Access to top global talents

When a person who needs to commute to work is wanted, a company should spend money to relocate him/her or just restrict accessible talent pool to a specific area. On the other hand, by hiring remote workers it is possible to hire software developers in London, Berlin, and Kyiv in a way that they will be able to work on the same project.

3. Reducing resource costs

Talent who works at home does not require any office space, computing equipment, coffee, and covering of commutes. This money could be redirected to other spending or used as salary booster, which obviously will increase the productivity of every developer.

4. Time zones coverage

Hiring people from different parts of the world can improve the development and support team because of instant work. When a developer in Lviv is already sitting in cinema after the whole day of productive work, his colleague in New York can work on the same project, even the same task without interrupting him. Support team, which could hold problems during working hours of different Times Zone improves User experience because of resolving tickets without delays caused by the difference in local time.

To sum up, hiring remote workers is not an ideal solution for every company, but it could be easily customized to eliminate all disadvantages.

At Mindecs, we believe that every company can benefit from extending product team remotely and we provide a great opportunity to try scaling remotely with our no risk 2 weeks trial! See mindecs.com for more information and feel free to request a demo.

Top 5 issues when hiring freelancers


We can see that more and more companies are inclined to hire remote software engineers for several reasons, covered in this topic advantages of hiring remote developers.

Definitely, in 2019 companies should consider growing remotely, especially when it comes to software development, but many doubts if it’s a good idea as it has some risks. Let’s consider what difficulties you can encounter when you want to hire remote software engineers as freelancers or full-time workers:

1. Communication problems

There are a lot of different people from different parts of the world that are ready to deliver great products together with your team, but there are also plenty of people who don’t have enough experience in customer service attitude and this  can cause some problems and actually this is a reason why many people are even afraid of remote workers.

2. Choosing the right person might be a challenge and time consuming

It would take long hours to post jobs on freelancers marketplace, on different remote jobs board, maybe even search directly through social networks and this is just to get CV and profiles of candidates. After this, you have to spend a lot of time on interviews with candidates, try to understand who makes a good fit or doesn’t fit your team. This might be really tough, cost a lot and actually be time-consuming.

3. They might be unpredictable

Luckily, top 1-5% percent of freelancers or even more are reliable partners for you, but there are a lot of unreliable and unpredictable freelancers on the market that can disappear after few weeks of cooperation because of some reasons or be restricted in availability.

This is why companies like Mindecs exist – to suggest you only reliable and trusted ones with guarantees.

4. Price

We have interviewed a lot of engineers and sometimes we experienced that there are great software developers who request different rates. Sometimes, the developer whose hourly rate is 10-15$/h can be as good as his colleague with a rate of 60$/h. Surely, top-quality professionals know their value and their price and are prepared for paying accordingly, but if the one requests a lot doesn’t really mean that he can deliver really well in your case.

5. Less interaction with your team

As long as your team members are not located in one office, they might struggle to communicate efficiently. This is also one of the most popular reasons why companies are not keen to grow remotely. But nowadays, we are lucky to have a lot of great tools that help to work remotely( Check out our article 5 Apps needed to work remotely ) and it’s actually extremely easy to set up a great environment to work effectively remotely!

 

We at Mindecs believe in the distributed workforce and our mission is to help companies to build world-class development teams. It’s much easier to grow your team than you think, feel free check out mindecs.com and request a demo.

Angular or React? Or maybe even Vue.js…

When starting a new project it’s very important to choose the right technology stack and build the correct architecture. Fortunately, we have a lot of great open-source stuff that saves us a lot of time. Let’s consider the most popular front-end frameworks and libraries like Angular, React, Vue.js trying to consider the background of each, how is it easy to find qualified developers and learning curve. Obviously, there are no simple answer for questions like this, but let’s try to consider some important topics you should be aware when you have such a situation.

First of all, Angular and React are much more popular in use nowadays than the third competitor according to google trends and actually what we at Mindecs can see on the job market. What is interesting, Angular and React are almost equally popular.

React

Картинки по запросу react

React is an open-source JavaScript library for UI components started and maintained by Facebook. What is curious, it’s possible to create native mobile apps for platforms like IOS and Android with React and React Native. It has its own syntax JSX(JavaScript Extension) that empowers usual JavaScript, but you don’t have to use, it’s optional to use. You can also use JSX with Vue using Babel plugin. You have some learning curve to master React, but it’s not hard to get started with. As mentioned before, React is one of the most popular JS libraries at the moment with a lot of contributors and actually, a lot of developers that can work with this library. The library is used by big names like Facebook, Netflix, Uber, Paypal, Walmart, Instagram and plenty of other top companies.

Angular

Картинки по запросу angular

Comparing to React, Angular is an MVC framework, not just a library, it has more strong options and coding styles, conventions and this also leads to a steeper learning curve, but it’s also not that hard to get started with as they share the same idea of components based UI. Angular is a Typescript based and supported by Google being one of the most popular Javascript frameworks just like to React. It’s also worth to say that the first version of Angular and Angular 2+ versions are dramatically different what makes a challenge if your app was written on Angular of version 1 you should rewrite it to newer versions to make is supportable and up to date. There are a lot of great software engineers who are efficient in developing Angular apps, so it shouldn’t be hard to find a team member if you develop an app using this framework. Angular is used by companies like Google, Instagram, Forbes and a lot of big names.

Vue

Картинки по запросу vue

And finally, we get to Vue, to one of the most discussed and rapidly growing JS frameworks which was started by ex-Googler Evan You, who took part in the development of Angular when he was at Google. Vue.js is loved and appreciated for being easy to use, it suits well for building awesome UIs using HTML, CSS, and Javascript. It’s very easy to get started with and gives you a lot of flexibility. This is the reason why more and more companies start switching to Vue.js. It’s used by Adobe, Alibaba, GitLab, WizzAir, Baidu.

To sum up, all of them are really good choice. You can’t go wrong with either one and you can build great UI for your needs using any of them. Consider all these facts and make a decision which one suits your more and happy coding!

 

How to manage remote teams

Companies tend to hire more and more remote stuff and the topic of managing remote teams is becoming more popular. Managing a remote team is not harder than managing an on-site team, but obviously is a little different, we will try to cover main topics and show you how to make simple and effective. The main difference is here, you should be focused not on the process, but on the result. Just keep this simple fact in mind, that it doesn’t really matter where and how the work is being done, simply focus on the fact it’s being done in a proper manner and in a proper time and it’s cannot be achieved without a certain level of trust. In other word, when you hire remote workers, be sure you trust them undoubtedly, otherwise, you are likely to fail, this is where a lot of companies encounter problems in hiring remotely.

Set up the rules and conventions. Make it transparent.

The most important thing in managing remote teams is to set your expectations at the beginning. Every remote team should have its own onboarding process, it’s extremely important to set your expectations transparently and everyone who joins your team should be informed in a proper way. First of all, clarify what means “done” in your particular situation and in your particular project. For instance, let’s consider software development job as we help companies to hire software developers, clarify what does “done” means, does it means the task should be completed and passed through all the stages of testing, or does “done” means you completed the task tested it manually and sent for a code review, or does it passed code review and ready for testing or even it’s already deployed? It should sound very simple, and it is, but different people have a different sense of done and it’s OK, just clarify this and it would be easier. It’s also reasonable to explain your expectation in your management systems. Your onboarding process should include setting up all the necessary tools needed for the job, share your company culture and mission and keep in mind that the new person might need some time for getting used to your rules and expectation, as a good leader, be ready to help with it and then it will be fine!

Remote teams need regular communication

Keep in mind, remote works should give flexibility to your team mates, it’s very important and actually good as it makes your mates happy and more productive! At the same time, you should set up regular meetings, keep in mind, that your colleagues are probably going to have different time zones, so clarify what time period is overlapping as a good manager you should have it written somewhere on your desktop and keep it on eye and use this time period for all general team meetings and embracing the communication. Definitely, you should set your expectations how should your team communicate. It worth including “the communication” topic on your onboarding sheet for your newcomers. As a leader, you should also regularly give some feedback and help your people grow and meet your expectations.

Help your people grow, build the company culture

The most powerful thing for every company is it’s culture. As Richard Branson says take care of your people and they will take care of your customers and business. One can’t agree more here, obviously. Having the team remote, doesn’t mean you cannot build a great culture, vise-versa you can and you should as you need it more. Try to communicate regularly with your team members, regularly (for example quarterly) help them to clarify their goals and help them to grow or master new knowledge. Create a spam chat for your team where you will share and discuss some hot topics around the world, travels of your mates. Find some common interests, for instance, software engineers and geeky guys tend to play video games, why don’t you encourage playing together? Another great idea is to setting up some travels together, it doesn’t require all your team to go somewhere together, enough to start with small groups of 2-3 people, this way you will embrace setting up good relationships.

To sum up, managing a remote team is even easier if done correctly. Clarify your expectations so your mates understand their responsibilities, your onboarding process is very important here. Define your overlapping time period, set up the communication process. The most important here is a level of trust, hire people you trust and delegate them the work.

In house or outsourced software development team? Both!

 

 

the photo from
clinicaltrialsarena.com

Today, the idea that “every company needs to become a software company” is considered almost a cliché. Marc Andreessen penned his famous “Why Software Is Eating the World” essay in The Wall Street Journal five years ago. Nowadays, all of the companies are becoming a software company, the software revolutionized almost every industry, starting with taxi ordering and flights booking ending with food delivery. Even the most conservative industries, companies automate a lot of processes, analyze the market, improve customer service all with the piece of code.

Thus, there is a great demand in software developers and here are two ways to go, the first one, you can set up an in house team or outsource to nearshore or offshore provider. Both these approaches have some pros and cons.

Most people are inclined to prefer in house team and it’s quite natural. You have your team in front of you just sitting in one office, it’s easier to set up a communication, you manage directly everything that is happening. All in all, you can grab some bear on Friday with your mates!

On the other hand, it’s quite hard to find a candidate quickly, it takes some time and costs quite a lot. On average it takes up to 3 months to find the right software developer you need and 10-15 000 USD per hire if you ask a recruitment company to help you. What is interesting, the company spends a similar amount of money even if they hire on their own and it looks like the scarce in developers grows because the demand grows – every company becomes a software company nowadays.

What about outsourcing to offshore or nearshore provider? It some advantages and disadvantages as well. The biggest risk here is to run into a poor-quality provider, that would fail your projects, waste your money and time, unfortunately, it happened to many companies and after the bad experience, they are inclined to avoid this idea.

But does it mean everything is so horrible with outsourcing your projects to another company? Not, because of there plenty of startups and enterprises that have an offshore development team that helped them to achieve their results, providing high-quality products, saving them a lot of costs and time. Let us just name a few companies that have remote teams in Ukraine: JustEat, Lebara, Here, JustAnswer, Thomas Cook, Daimler AG, Similar web and many others. Thus, it’s not the outsourcing bad, there are bad providers. If you chose a reliable partner – you are going to benefit a lot and build great products to win the market.

How to choose the right partner? First of all, not only the partner matters but also your approach and the model of cooperation. We at Mindecs believe that the best working model is a staff augmentation model when the company directly interviews all the developers suggested by the offshore staffing provider and manages the development process directly using talents provided by a software development partner. In other words, in this case, the company uses remote software developers provided by the third party, just like their regular full-time members and takes part in hiring, managing and controls every developer they are billed for. In this case, you will extend your team flexibly with remote developers, that would cost less than in house team, producing the same result and minimizing the risks.

When choosing a vendor, pay attention to the attitude they approach your request, the proposal they suggest. It’s a great idea to check for some feedback of existing customers and even talk to them directly to ask for their experience. If your company is not a big enterprise corporation, then it’s more reasonable to consider small and medium-size development houses, where you can talk to Founders directly and make sure if the company has the similar values with your company.

To sum up, companies should mix both in house and have a reliable offshore development partner to grow effectively and produce great products. You need an in house team and strong CTO, Tech leads in a house that can set up the development process and then you would grow your product team easily both in house and remotely just like many companies already do.

How to hire top-quality remote software developers safely and at no recruitment cost? Mindecs Assured Quality Policy.

We at Mindecs, believe that the future of the work is remote. A lot of companies already provide an opportunity to work remotely, especially software development companies.

For example, it can take on average 2 months and 30 interviews to hire the right candidate in the USA, locally in your office. There is another option, like recruitment agency, with the fee of somewhere around 15% of the first year salary(15 000$). What is also interesting, on average software engineer works for the same company less than 2 years. For instance, an average engineer at Facebook works for 1 year and 11 months, for Uber it’s 1 year and 2 months. If we take into account these numbers.

On the other hand, companies can find great software engineers in another city remotely, or even another country remotely. Despite the fact many companies struggle to find the right candidates locally many of them are still not hire remotely because they are afraid of some aspects, like not knowing how to manage remote teams, we covered in one of our recent topics how to manage remote teams , and actually whether it’s remote or onsite you have to search and vet candidates what is also challenging.

How Mindecs help companies to hire top-quality developers with no recruitment fees?

We at Mindecs – constantly search and vet software developers around the world thoroughly on the most important tech and communication skills, and partner-up with companies who need software engineers suggesting them our best candidates, with no recruitment fee and flexible hourly contract with our Assured Quality Policy. Typically, our customers hire the first or second candidate we propose, so it leads to much less time on searching and screening, 2 months and 30+ screenings vs 1-2 weeks 1-2 interviews. In case we don’t have the right candidate, we search it in parallel with our partner company that requests that particular developer for free.

To help our partner companies to grow remotely, we provide our Assured Quality Policy. First, all of our developers are vetted professionals with proven experience. Second, with every developer we start with 2 weeks no risk trial period, you pay only if satisfied and provide this opportunity with our bi-weekly pay period. Third, we constantly communicate and review the performance of our candidates, together with the companies to help them grow.

We believe that the future of work is remote. At Mindecs, we try to make remote work safe and effective. Our onboarding process is simple, the company simply shares the requirements, we make our best to fill this position. Mindecs takes all the risks out of the game, helping companies to build world-class product teams and bring excellent products on the market.

Toptal alternatives and competitors, Mindecs

Toptal are the pioneers in the market of vetted professional freelance professionals. They were the first ones who came up with the idea of creating a network of vetted freelancers and the idea is really successful as their revenue exceeded 120m$ annually.
What do they offer? Toptal gives you access to their platform where you can get matched with the top 3% of freelancers in software engineering, design, finance, and law. All the professionals are vetted rigorously.

This is how the process looks like:

Картинки по запросу "toptal vetting process""
the image is fromwebsitehostingrating.com

As you can see, the process is quite tough and only 3% of all the applicants claimed to pass the whole process.

Everything looks great and the company overall has good feedback from its customers according to Trustpilot, but there are no ideal companies and the most negative reviews about their pricing (typically it’s in the range 60-200 USD per hour) and too pushy sales reps.

Here is the list of few alternative ways to hire a freelancer that meets your expectations:

Upwork

Картинки по запросу "upwork""
image from upwork.com

One of the largest freelance platforms. It’s easy to use, you post your project description or job requirements and get tens and sometimes hundreds of different bids and spend a lot of time considering different profiles. There are a lot of positive and negative reviews on this platform, you need to chose the right freelancer and actually everything depends on the performer you choose because they are not pre-vetted and you have to vet them on your own.

You can hire both individuals or agencies that are ready to help you complete your project, the pricing depends on location/ seniority level of performers and can be somewhere between 10-150 USD per hour.

It’s worth to mention that the company provides now Upwork PRO – which is a platform for cooperation with businesses, where the company selected it’s most trusted agencies and freelancers.

Mindecs

Картинки по запросу "mindecs assured quality policy""

Mindecs help companies to extend their teams with top-quality software developers. They are a network of vetted software developers, ready to join your team. Mindecs have similar vetting processes to Toptal and they are focused on the most popular niche developers like Node.js, Angular, Java, IOS, Android, etc. so that they can provide the best match in a matter of days.

What is interesting Mindecs has Guaranteed Quqality Policy what means you can be sure about the performance of the developer you requested because in case you are not satisfied you will not be invoiced, you pay only if satisfied.(read more here)

This allows companies to scale their team with confidence, they hire best developers as remote contractors with flexible terms of cooperation in a matter of days, not months as it takes on average. There are no recruitment fees.

If you are looking for scaling your development team with new developers, get in touch to receive few profiles for consideration and discuss everything more in detail.