Why You Should Work Here

May 13, 2013

We’re looking to hire great developers. We know you have your choice of employers, and I’d like to explain why being an SD Elements developer may be the right match for you. If you’re unfamiliar with us, SD Elements is a product of Security Compass. It’s a security requirements solution that helps development teams build security into their software from the start. You can learn more about us from our website: www.sdelements.com. You can see some of our open source code such as integration plugins here: https://github.com/sdelements.

We’re not a venture-backed company. We’re boot-strapped, which means all of our money comes from selling products and services to customers rather than outside investors.

We offer our employees the ability to have a meaningful impact on the world. We believe it’s a fantastic time to be in technology, but insecure software threatens to dampen innovation. Major advances in fields like healthcare and utilities can greatly improve our lives, but not if those advances leave us vulnerable. So many of the security incidents we hear about can be traced back to insecure software: vulnerable web applications, malware exploiting vulnerabilities in desktop applications, and software with flaws on network devices and operating systems. Despite over a decade of best practices and tools to improve the security of software, there are still too many incidents because of known, preventable defects like dynamic SQL and use of insecure string operations.

We want to change that. While it’s no silver bullet, we believe security requirements will make a big difference and SD Elements is leading the way here. We’re not alone. Our clients range from large technology companies and global financial institutions, to medical technology companies, utilities, telecom, media, public sector and transportation companies. Last year we grew over 300% and we’re on track to continue that growth rate. It’s an exciting time to be here and we want you to be part of that excitement. Apart from the exciting growth and opportunity to really have an impact on improving the state of security, there are other reasons you may want to work here:

  • Developers work with an incredibly talented group of people. I am fortunate and humbled to work with people who are much smarter than I am. There is something exhilarating about being part of a group of people who could collectively solve almost any problem. The chance to work with them is, in my opinion, the most rewarding part of the job.
  • Customer satisfaction is paramount. Everyone is focused on goal #1, which is to super-please our customers. We know finances are important, but we really believe that ecstatic customers eventually lead to all other goals including revenue growth. Because we are boot-strapped, we can devote all our attention to customers and not investor requirements.
  • We don’t believe in top-down management for software development. While there is some organizational structure in the company, we think the people closest to the ground make the best decisions. Decisions are either made in groups or by the person most qualified to make the decision. Although you may not always get your way I can promise your opinion will always be heard and respected.
  • The role of management is to coach, listen, and be compassionate. We sit with team members individually to find out what the company as a whole can be doing better, and how we can reduce impediments to getting work done. In addition, we believe in transparency throughout our operations. We have an open-door policy at our meetings: You have the ability to get involved with any part of the business that you find interesting.
  • Team members have flexibility in their schedules. While we ask that everyone comes into the office three days a week to help build a strong team dynamic, nobody monitors when people come into or leave the office. We are only concerned with consistently delivering value to customers.
  • Developers have 10% time, which means spending one day every two weeks on a project that helps you learn. We actively encourage open source development during 10% time, and our developers have used the time to build awesome tools like Let’s Chat . In addition, we have a monthly hackathon where developers work together to build up tools that improve our work. These times give developers a chance to learn about new technologies that they find interesting and that can enhance their careers.
  • We believe in writing good software. Every commit has testing coverage, followings coding guidelines, and is peer reviewed. We understand what technical debt is and take it seriously. As you might expect, we take software security more seriously than most development teams and regularly eat our own dog food by using SD Elements as part of our development process. Since everyone in management has a development background, we understand the value of good software engineering practices and we don’t believe in recklessly building unmaintainable software.
  • We are focused on fixing and solving, not pointing fingers. We believe that blaming people leads to risk aversion, a CYA-attitude, and a culture that breeds politics. Team members feel safe in admitting to mistakes, because they know our focus is on learning from those mistakes rather than penalizing people for them.

Because we’re boot-strapped, we can’t yet offer some of the office perks you’ve come to expect from venture-backed start-ups, like free dry-cleaning, daily catered lunches, or unlimited yoga classes. If you’re judging a workplace primarily by its office perks, this isn’t the right job for you. If, on the other hand, our values speak to you, then drop us a line at careers@sdelements.com. Anyone can make claims about their corporate values, so I invite you to ask any of our current employees about their candid opinion as part of the interview process.

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