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Red Nova Labs' Developers Push Themselves toward Greatness
The other day, CEO Dan Miller was explaining at one of our rare company-wide meetings how Red Nova Labs has managed to be so successful. “We’re not a marketing company that does tech,” he said. “We’re a tech company that does marketing.”
We didn’t move toward technology out of necessity to keep up with a shifting market. We started in tech and moved into marketing as we learned how our skills could best be applied. Because of this, our team of computer engineers is at the core of Red Nova Labs and its success. They’re a group of incredibly intelligent, highly adaptable, and effortlessly skilled individuals who form the engine of our company.
With an ever-expanding toolkit revolving around our central programming languages PHP and Ruby, RNL has mastered the art of building websites as well as developing software. Our cloud-based infrastructure provides the flexibility necessary to stay on top of every detail.
“Our content management system is built and modified in-house,” said Joe Morgan. “It makes it really easy to fit in new things, and it’s convenient because it was built specifically for this industry.”
Because our infrastructure is so elastic, it allows us ample room to grow and experiment, which is why we encourage our engineers to be full stack developers. “We don’t do ‘just code’ or ‘just networking’ or ‘just hardware,’” said Morgan. “We do it all. It forces us to be very agile.” This agility comes in handy when we encounter a problem – instead of relying on one or two people, we have an entire team with the knowledge to tackle a wide range of obstacles.
It also gives each member of our team a thorough knowledge of the products they’re working on. “Each of us knows and has worked on every single part of our system,” said Eric Hankins. “From when a user clicks a link in their browser, through the signals traveling to our database, grabbing the information they need, and then all the way back to the response that loads the correct page – everyone has had their hands on each of those steps.”
“I love being able to work on so many different things,” said Hankins. “It’s different from a large company, which I’ve worked at before. You don’t get pigeonholed here, working on the same thing every day. We’re full stack developers. We get to put on different hats. It keeps things interesting.”
This drive to be a jack-of-all-trades is not something we impose on our engineers. They’re all natural explorers who love learning. “We’re always looking to improve,” said Morgan. “When something gets boring, we find a way to automate it so we don’t have to do it anymore. Or we’ll find ways to let clients change what they want, which is good for them and frees up more time for us. We’re just constantly improving and always looking for better tools.”
“As an engineer, you never get tired of learning,” said Hankins. “If you do, then you’re in the wrong line of work.”
This passion for learning is joined by a spirit of collaboration to create a truly enriching work environment. “I enjoy working with the guys,” said Ashley Sullins. “It’s like hanging out with friends. You hardly think of it as work at all. It makes me think of college with everybody just hanging out, working on homework, and having fun. It’s very laid-back and friendly.”
“It’s very collaborative,” said Hankins. “We have a chat room for all the developers, so if two people are working on a problem, a third person can jump in and help right away. Or they can read over the chat later on and get up to speed.”
"Everyone’s passionate about the product, the people, and the team,” said Sullins. “We all combine our strengths to create a really solid product.”
Sullins is our quality assurance officer and has a hand in everything that RNL makes. “As QA, I get to break the software or the website,” she said. “I have to have eyes and ears for the client, approaching things from a user’s perspective to find what works and what doesn’t work.”
Not only does this give her a unique perspective on the products we release, but it also allows her to continually grow and develop her skills. She thoroughly recommends quality assurance to those interested in software engineering but without a background heavy in computer science. “For a person starting their career, QA is a great way to move into development,” said Sullins. “I’ve learned so much since coming to RNL. Everyone is so willing to teach and let you learn.”
As collaborative, full stack developers, our engineers have pushed themselves to master a wide variety of tools, from HTML and CSS to Ruby and SQL and back again. From the front end and the back end, they have a grasp of all the necessary parts when working on our clients’ websites and management software. We offer them the freedom to pursue their own interests and the collaborative support to branch out to new territory.
Best of all, though, is that it’s just plain fun.
“It’s a lot like making a soap box car,” said Hankins. “Yeah, you have to put it together and spend all that time making sure everything works and runs smoothly. But then you get to ride it! That’s the coolest part about being a developer – you get to watch people actually use the things you make. There are credit card transactions being processed right now on programs I and other RNL developers created. That’s pretty cool.”
It is pretty cool. As a developer at RNL, you’ll be pushed. You’ll learn. You’ll do more than you thought you could. And you’ll improve every day. You’ll grow to love the team and the products. But most of all, you’ll do exceptional work for the sake of creating exceptional products.
If you’re interested in doing cool things with our development team, we’re looking to expand. Apply today!