Finding talented embedded software engineers is no easy feat!
The skills gap in the software industry is a well-documented one, but add this to the fact that we work in an even smaller niche (embedded software), and you’ve got a bit of a problem.
Embedded software requires knowledge of C, C++ and C# programming languages, and a passion for understanding how things work. We work with electronic devices in a huge range of sectors (from Medical and Internet of Things, to Automotive and Military!), which also requires a lot of transferrable skills and above all, a serious dedication to quality.
Finding talent in this industry is difficult, but there are a number of ways we work with budding embedded engineers to help bridge this gap!
School, College & University Careers Visits
Several of our engineers regularly help out at local Code Clubs in Primary Schools, which aim to spark an interest for this incredible industry for children as young as eight years old!
As well as this, we’re often invited to demonstrate and talk at careers fairs at schools, colleges and universities around the country! It’s always exciting to see the next generation get excited about the endless possibilities of embedded software.
Community-led Training Programmes
As a member of Software Cornwall, we run regular training courses alongside other local technology companies that are totally free for people to sign up for! These include the Easter and October schools that run in the school holidays, aimed towards 15 to 18 year olds with an interest in coding, and the Agile Summer School, which is a 2 week intensive programme for more experienced programmers (of any age!) wanting to get some valuable commercial experience.
University Course Involvement
We’ve had the amazing opportunity to help Cornwall College and Plymouth University with building specialist software courses for their students. Having a commercial input on these programmes is incredibly important to ensure the students are learning hireable skills that are relevant to the current industry!
Work Experience & Apprenticeships
We currently have three Apprentices here at Bluefruit, and will be looking to take on more in the near future! It’s a great way for people to learn and gain invaluable commercial experience simultaneously, and provides them with an opportunity to become part of a great company early on.
Of course we’re also always open to those interested in gaining experience here, either as part of school work experience, or of their own accord.
When we get applicants, we’re not the kind of company to look straight to the Education section of their CV. Obviously qualifications in Software or related subjects are great for demonstrating an interest and ambition in the industry, but what we really want to see is a passion.
Plenty of our current employees started out in completely different industries to what they are in now, but the reason they are here is because they’ve demonstrated a real enthusiasm for software by learning and experimenting in the spare time, and working on hobby projects because they wanted to (rather than because they had to, for a course or for work).
Our recruitment process involves doing a coding exercise on a platform called Cyber-Dojo. We love seeing people who get excited and are up for the challenge, and who work through the exercise carefully with a focus on quality rather than speed.
Paths for Growth
All our employees have options for career paths and growth here at Bluefruit; usually people will come in and start as Test Engineers, working their way up to Junior Software Engineers, Senior Software Engineers, and potentially Team Leads!
With regular one-to-ones and a family-feel structure, we make it easy for people to be able to come to us if they’re unhappy with their progress, or if they feel their skills aren’t being utilised. We make sure it’s very open here, so that everyone gets heard!
Loyalty via a Nurturing Environment
We strive to make our company a place where people really want to come to work. From our flat and friendly structure, to our flexible working hours, gym membership and ‘chill-out room’, creating a nurturing, fun environment is seriously important to us!
Using the methods above requires time and resources on our part, but it means we’re consistently creating and nurturing a pipeline of passionate, skilled engineers who could end up being the future leaders here at Bluefruit!