Engineering Diversity: the Art of Innovating Independently Together

At Scality, we take pride in creating a very inclusive environment, bringing together different perspectives, experiences, and ways of solving problems–driving true innovation by hiring a very diverse, talented, engineering team that has been developed with an eye toward the immense benefits of diversity.

Talent can come from anywhere. Because they come from different backgrounds, their perspectives are different.  Diverse teams tend to–have to–look beyond old-school ways of thinking and make objective fact-based decisions, because fact is where their experience converges. Focusing on diversity has helped fuel innovation by encouraging engineering teams to think outside the box.

Those of you who have seen the Pixar movie “Ratatouille” hopefully remember this memorable quote from Anton Ego:

Not everyone can become a great artist but a great artist *can* come from anywhere

Good coding is a work of art. At Scality we have been able to find talent from all walks of life and bring together smart, talented professionals who represent cultures from all over the globe, and backgrounds that bring a variety of perspectives.

When you have a diverse group of employees, you are simply able to offer more to your customers and to your business partners. We have had great  success discovering, and ultimately, hiring, engineers from very diverse backgrounds via hackathons. Hackathons are a great congregating point for reciprocity, human interaction, hiring and nurturing first-time users on our open source projects.

Hackathons encourage community. In fact, Scality’s engineering team members have volunteered for every Scality-hosted hackathon with uninhibited enthusiasm, to help brainstorm and guide the participants. The learning flows in both directions — our engineers help the participants brainstorm and solve their technical problems, and the participants share new perspectives and give our teams the opportunity to meet new developers…even potential new colleagues.   This way, our engineers an opportunity to get to know potential candidates better, gain exposure to them and hardest of all — determine a good cultural fit. Determining a good cultural fit is very hard,  time-consuming and often hit-or-miss. Hosting hackathons enables us to come closest to testing a candidate’s capabilities of handling challenges in the workplace via project-based challenges while giving us an opportunity to increase awareness about the company’s core values, our inclusiveness, our diversity and work culture within the developer community.  Millennials today are the largest proportion of the workforce.  They are influencing marketing brands to be more socially responsible, and, similarly, they tend to ask for more from their employers than just “a job”.  Millennials seek out empowerment and purpose on the job. Joining the right company, with core values that align with their own is a very important deciding factor for millenials as they select their next employer.

Participating in a Scality-led hackathon is a great way to connect with the engineering team at Scality, see how they work and get an understanding of what their goals are.  A hackathon combines networking with ‘vetting’ for a two-way audition of sorts, so that both the company and the candidate can make a more informed decision when and if the time comes to consider employment. Hackathon participants are challenged to showcase their talent, test their capabilities to deliver under pressure and to prioritize, scope out problems, focus on what’s really important and to solve problems fast.  Teamwork is often part of the formula as well. In the end, teams are most often amazed at what they’ve managed to accomplish in a short period of time, and , in many cases, working with people who were strangers prior to the event.  In addition, participants get to have a lot of fun, network with other participants and make new friends. Prizes? Sure, there are usually prizes to win at the conclusion of the event, but it’s likely that the most memorable thing participants walk away is the experience itself.

Scality-sponsored hackathons are often centered around using Zenko, a multi-cloud  data controller that we developed and made available as free open source software under an Apache 2.0 license.

Zenko provides data access–in native formats–to Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform and on-premises or cloud deployments of Scality RING distributed object & file storage using the AWS S3 API. Zenko also provides cross-region replication to AWS, Azure, Google Cloud Platform and Scality RING. Zenko will soon deliver search capabilities on and across clouds managed via Zenko.

Take a look at Zenko. Visit www.zenko.io where you can launch Zenko in your own free sandbox, or download it on GitHub at github.com/scality/zenko.

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