Money is never the only reason why a job is great. You could earn a million dollars a year but hate your job while a skilled barista on $37,000 a year loves hers. A job is great when it ranks highly on multiple factors that are important to you.
Competitive pay is one of those factors, sure, but there are many others too. Judging from the results of the 2019 HackerRank skill report, the 2020 Stack Overflow survey, and our own experience, these are the 5 most important factors developers look for in a job.
Who you work together with and what values those people stand for play a crucial role in how much you'll enjoy a particular job. Most of your time awake is spent working, so you want to make sure you work in an environment where you feel good, an environment that aligns with your values.
X-Team has put a significant amount of effort into creating a culture that inspires and motivates its developers. We have bounties, collectibles, games, events, X-Outposts, and much more. It's the reason why an X-Teamer loves being an X-Teamer and why our employee churn rate is incredibly low.
We go the extra mile because it's not as easy to create a strong culture for a remote company as it is for an office-based one. You have to be much more intentional about it when you're remote. But we want to make sure that every new hire feels part of a vibrant community, regardless of whether they ever meet an X-Teamer in person or not.
This is a big one. Being able to organize your workday however you like, being able to drive the kids to soccer practice on Wednesday afternoons, being able to work from a coffee shop a few days a week, etc. The list can go on. Developers love a job that gives them at least some flexibility.
Flexibility is the name of the game at X-Team. Organize your day however you like and work from wherever you want. As long as you deliver the results expected of you, we don't care how it's done or how long it took.
That's why we're vehemently opposed to software that automatically tracks your time, measures your activity level, and takes screenshots of your screen to make sure you're working. It limits a developer's flexibility and there's no trust in that environment. It's an absolute no-no in our books. Instead, we value results over time spent doing something.
Learning and Development
Developers don't just want competitive pay, great company culture, and flexibility. They also want to get better at what they do. They want a job where they can learn, whether that's through the job itself or through the learning opportunities a company provides them.
It's easy to stop growing once you're out of high school or university. You're no longer in a framework that pushes you to learn. So you can end up not learning new skills for decades on end. It's not good for your career as a developer and it's not good for you as a person either.
Imagine playing the Witcher and never learning a new skill throughout the whole game. Not only would it be impossible to finish the game, but it wouldn't be much fun either.
X-Team gives its developers $2,500 a year to spend on doing more of what they love. We call it the Unleash+ budget, and we encourage our developers to spend at least part of it on learning new technologies and improving their existing skills.
It's not because you have a flexible job that you'll have a good work/life balance. Sometimes, a company gives you all the flexibility you could possibly have, but so much work and so many deadlines that you barely have time to breathe between projects. Developers realize this and consistently rank work/life balance high on the list of important factors in a job.
We believe that motivated and inspired developers do their best work. But motivation and inspiration come easier when you have time to relax. We want our developers to create the lifestyle they want, and that means we need to give them enough time to do so.
While you cannot ever fully predict the workload of a particular project, we always try to find the right balance between work and life for all our developers. In fact, we actively encourage our developers to share what they're doing in their free time. Not everything needs to be about work.
Developers have a unique set of skills and they want to use those skills for something cool, something useful, something important. They want to work on interesting problems that challenge them.
We're proud to work together with some of the biggest brands in their respective industries, such as Twitter, Fox, Coinbase, Riot, and Kaplan. Their problems are often big, complex, and challenging. Something our developers can really sink their teeth in.
There you have it. Competitive pay is important, but so are company culture, flexibility, learning and development, work/life balance, and interesting problems. Any developer who has a job that ranks well on each of these factors will be a very satisfied individual indeed.