our team on a break

Hiring Explained by Daniela | HR Manager

Hiring new employees represents a key process at BrightMarbles. A carefully planned process ensures that the team comprises the most passionate and fully engaged people who aspire to be the very best.

Robert i Marko

Daniela says:

We spend eight hours working with a team of people we need to rely on, trust they will do their tasks, and clearly and openly communicate with them. When it comes to selecting our new colleagues, we keep a close eye on the whole process and put extra effort into choosing the right teammates.

What “Right” means

Sharing our values is the first and foremost.

Ownership. We expect our future colleagues to be proactive when it comes to tasks and solving issues. When you do something, you work on it from start to end, and you’re done when the job is done. If there’s a problem, you’ll find a way to fix or pass it; you won’t quit. And even if this sounds like something you do on your own, we believe in teamwork. Calm, clear, and professional communication. Equal opportunities for personal development for all our people, and absolutely zero tolerance for discrimination. We want to create a safe environment for all our colleagues, for them to be able to reach their full potential.

Selecting our new members

When it comes to selecting our new team members, there are a few steps, but they depend on the position. To make things clearer, we will focus on the two busiest positions we fill – Software and Quality Engineer.
There is a bit of a difference in the selection process since we require different skills and traits necessary to do the job well. Let’s dive in!

Hiring Software Engineers

A software engineer is a person who is responsible for communication with the client, a team, and of course, for delivering a code of high quality, according to our internal quality guide.

We assess technical expertise and soft skills/personality traits such as assertive communication, honesty, flexibility, etc. The hiring process has a few steps and takes about 2-4 weeks.

Depending on your seniority level, you will start with a test, after which, if everything is alright, we’ll schedule a technical interview. We try to have two interviewers of similar technical backgrounds present, to preserve the objectivity of the interview. The next step is an HR interview, where we talk about previous experience and boring old HR topics. Throughout the whole process, every step has its purpose of assessing a candidate objectively on essential criteria. And of course, we will keep you posted about everything we do after every step.

Hiring Quality Consultants

The next position we often hire is Quality Consultant or Test Engineer.

QA fills a special place in our hearts. They are in the first row when it comes to communication with a client. They ensure that our clients are satisfied with what we’ve delivered. Not only code and product, but also the whole experience of collaboration and mutual communication. So, as you can imagine, this is a crucial role for us.

With this role, we skip the technical test and go straight to the technical interview to assess a candidate’s technical knowledge. The next in line is the HR interview, where we focus on a few different traits and skills.

Reach out

Whatever or whenever you need more information about the process, you can always reach our People Operations manager, and she will be glad to answer the questions:

Feel free to look around our open positions.

Hiring while working remotely icon

Hiring while working remotely

Much has changed in the past few months, and companies had to adapt their processes while keeping their regular business up and running. One but not the only process that had to be adapted was hiring. Conducting the process online from start to finish is the safest way to hit those hiring goals.

This is the story of how we, in BrightMarbles, conduct the hiring process during the current event.

Hiring while working remotely icon

During these past seven months, while we work remotely, we’ve welcomed 14 people to our team and interviewed a few times more candidates.

When applicants apply or are recommended by some of our employees, the first step is scheduling an online test. This is, of course, if we have an opening matching the applicant’s profile.

The test is used to estimate the candidate’s basic programming knowledge, the knowledge not related to the specific technology, or experience. This test was previously done in our office. Candidates would come and fill out the test while getting to know them better and accustom them to the company. Since the test is now done online, we use other occasions to present the company.

Our CTO reviews every test. If a candidate did well on the test, we would schedule a technical interview. The interview form is the same as if it would be in regular times, except it’s done online, via Skype, or Hangouts. Two interviewers with similar professional backgrounds always interview the candidate. We want to have two different people present, due to the objectivity of the whole process.

Again, if everything goes well on the interview, and interviewers agree, a candidate is scheduled for an HR interview. This is the interview where we get to know a candidate better, and we discuss the necessary soft skills and employment terms. If everything goes well for the final time, a candidate receives a written offer in their email.

Zoom call icon

The process might take anywhere from one week to one month. We try to keep it as short as possible, but it’s not always achievable.

That’s it. Small tweaks made the process a lot safer for everybody involved. We will further refine our hiring tactics to achieve a process that’s as pleasant, objective, and accurate as possible. As for candidates who didn’t pass our selection process, we keep them updated, and we give our best to provide them with an objective reason why they didn’t pass the selection process as possible.

A year in Bright Marbles from a perspective of Lead Test Engineer icon

A year in BrightMarbles from a perspective of Lead Test Engineer

In the previous blog, we wrote about the developer’s perspective of a year in BrightMarbles. This time, we bring a bit different perspective, a Lead Test Engineer perspective.

A year in BrightMarbles from a perspective of Lead Test Engineer

Meet Miloš. He is a guy behind our QA department. He was the first Test Engineer we employed, with the mind to develop a whole department with his help. A year after Miloš joined in, our QA department counts four fantastic experts in their fields, working on projects for clients, helping them get the best experience, and the high-quality product that makes our service premium.

So, Miloš, how was your year?

“I joined BrightMarbles in June last year, and when I look back and see how much things have changed, I’m proud that I was a part of that change.

What does being the first test engineer in the company means? It means there are no processes or procedures regarding testing. Therefore, I saw creating and implementing them as part of my main job, besides working on a client project. Not long after, the demand for testing tasks succeeded the capacities of one person, so we employed another test engineer.

The good thing about BrightMarbles is management. And no, nobody held me on a gunpoint to say this. 😀 You can discuss your ideas and suggestions with the CEO freely, and if it fits the overall goal of the company, you will be given a chance to realize them. So, at my initiative, the scope of my role broadened, and I’m heading in a slightly different direction.

This level of trust and encouragement makes me feel good about what I do.

Regarding the current structure of the QA team in BrightMarbles, in most other companies, the QA team is seen as a team at the end of the chain. Sometimes as a team that has the least influence on the final product. Our idea at the BrightMarbles is a bit different.

QA team is seen as a team that’s responsible for the overall quality of the work.

We’re in charge of the quality of the communication, client satisfaction, and of course, the quality of the final product. That’s why most of our test engineers are also certified SCRUM masters.

And regarding the company’s culture. This is the company consisted of mostly seniors. With years of previous experience, people I collaborate with are real professionals.

Overall, with personal effort and commitment, you can go far, and that’s what makes me comfortable and satisfied.”

A year in Bright Marbles from a perspective of a software engineer icon

A year in BrightMarbles from the perspective of a software engineer

Since the last year, BrightMarbles almost doubled in size. We grew from 24 to 45 employees while maintaining our employees’ average experience at around 7 years.
This means we have a few colleagues celebrating their first anniversary in BrightMarbles.
Danilo Trifunjagić is one of them. We talked about how he spent his first year with us, the project he’s been working on, technologies, and the company’s culture.

A year in BrightMarbles from the perspective of a software engineer

Danilo Trifunjagić

Before BrightMarbles, I worked in a completely different company. First of all, it’s much bigger, the second, it’s a product company, and the third technology stack is entirely different.
Bigger companies are structured differently because a lot of people need to be managed. With companies such as BrightMarbles, you have fewer procedures, bureaucracy, and more personal touch of founders.

For instance, in your day-to-day work, you’ll be able to talk with all founders. Therefore, all changes can be implemented quickly if you have a suggestion. But, I mentioned a lack of procedures and processes previously. This can be a downside too – for instance, I struggled and was never sure if I asked everyone that should know for a vacation leave. But the company is continually working on improvements, and they’ve recognized processes that needed improvements and improved them.

I’ve been working in a team that develops a part of a cryptocurrency trading platform. When I first joined a team, I had 7 years of programming experience, and I was the least experienced team member. But my colleagues stated right away that I should ask everything I wasn’t clear about, and I always felt comfortable to do so.
The funny thing is that the tech stack I used in my previous company was completely different. I completely transferred from Windows to the web, cloud, and Linux with the full support of the current company and the team. Our current tech stack on the project is Laravel, Elastic Search, MySQL, Redis, Microsoft Azure, Amazon AWS, CircleCI, Swagger, Capistrano, and Docker.
Last year my team visited the client in The Netherlands, which only improved our collaboration with them.

I must say, so far, so good. I’m satisfied with the company, colleagues, and the project. It helped me grow in a professional sense, and I feel quite comfortable in my current role and day-to-day tasks.

Deciding when is the right time to go back to the office

Deciding when is the right time to go back to the office

Deciding when is the right time to go back to the office

We’re getting back to our regular activities. Coronavirus crisis raises less interest, and in most of the countries, the number of new cases is declining.
For people who worked in the office, this means going back.
But, how, and who should decide when to come back?

First of all, of course, state regulations. State regulations vary by locale, so keep a close eye on ones that apply in the state you live in. We won’t get into the topic of why not break the law; we sincerely hope you know that.

Then we have C-level management of a company. In some companies, C-level management is the sole body that decides when is the right time to get back to the office based on a set of criteria they find valid, state regulations, business goals, etc.

Businesses should answer these questions before deciding to tell their employees to start working from the office:

Is it essential? Can the job be performed from home? How was the output during this time, was it at the same level as before?

Is the workplace safe for employees? The moral, ethical, and legal concern of companies is to take care of their employees. Did we implement all necessary measures to ensure our coworkers’ safety?

But, we have an additional question for companies where C-level management isn’t the sole body making the decision.

Is it mutually agreed upon? Did we ask our employees about their opinions and concerns? Many of our colleagues may commute or use public transport, and getting back to the office earlier than necessary puts an additional layer of safety concern.

This is the case we certainly as company support.

Employees are counting on their companies to help them get back to work safely” was said in one article we read as a preparation. This is, of course, true, we’re all hoping our companies won’t endanger us by putting us in unsafe conditions. But when it comes to health and other things of interest to a large number of people in a company, we believe this should be, as we said before, a matter of mutual agreement.
For companies putting extra effort to keep their employees safe, and comfortable, we have one last question.

Will it be convenient for our employees? Some employees feel more comfortable with coming to the office; others are still reluctant. We all have our pace to adjust.

At BrightMarbles, we asked ourselves all four questions. Our approach to return to the office consists of monitoring the situation and enabling our colleagues to return to the office at their own pace when they feel safe. The work is done remotely, without delay or a drop in productivity.

The matter of returning to the office is complicated, depends on multiple factors, and involves multiple departments, that’s why it should be dealt with care. As it affects the company as a whole, keeping everybody’s safety in mind, and respecting each other’s decisions, is necessary.

Tips for better productivity while working from home

Tips for better productivity while working from home

Even though at BrightMarbles, we already have an option to work from home a few days a month, most of us work most of the days from the office.

Tips for better productivity

The majority of days, you wake up, wash, dress decently, maybe have breakfast, and head to the office. Then you talk to your colleagues, go to lunch together. In other words, you socialize with people you work with.
Recently I was talking to my colleague, where he said that he always dreamed of working from home, but after this situation, not anymore.

So, here are a few tips on how to stay productive and sane while working from home in these circumstances.

1. Working environment.

When a company buys chairs and desks for their employees, it’s the process that takes some time and research. They sample the products, and then they buy the best products they can with the budget they have.
Then, let’s use my example, I don’t work from home, so I never needed a chair or a desk, or a room to work in while we’re at it. So I didn’t have any of those. I tried working at a dinner table, which was uncomfortable and, therefore, distracting. Then I moved to the living room couch, but there’s a TV as a distraction. In the end, I bought a chair from Ikea, took a table from a lawn chair set, and set it up in my bedroom. No distraction, tolerable comfort level.
The advice here is, find a dedicated place with the least amount of distraction and make it your workplace with a chair and desk.

2. Prepare for the work.

As you have the routine of dressing and washing up for the office, do the same when working from home. It will give you a sense that you’re working, not loafing around the house in your pajamas. And you won’t be caught unprepared for a meeting. And you’ll still have a grip on how your jeans fit.

3. Have working hours.

When I started working from home, I used to work the whole day, because I always felt unproductive, due to being frequently distracted. This is not the best scenario.
Start your work on time, and finish it on time. Leave the room you’ve been working in, and carry on with your regular free-time activities. Rest from work.

4. Take your coffee and your water bottle to your desk.

If you get up every time you want a sip of water, you’ll be distracted easily. And anyway, you wouldn’t do that in the office either.

5. Set boundaries for others around you.

If you’re working and the door in the room where you work are closed, ask your partner, kids, or a cat to respect that, and to avoid interrupting you. In some cases, this will be harder than others, for instance, if you have small children, but as it’s necessary for yourself to feel at work, it’s also necessary for them to understand you’re at work.

6. Communication with a team.

You should check up on your teammates, from time to time, to preserve team spirit. How often will depend on your role. If you’re a team lead, you should check with all team members as often as possible. Use a camera when attending calls, and use headphones with noise cancellation for the best and the most professional communication, because, you’ll probably use the same setup when communicating with clients.

That would be all. I’m sure all of us deal with work from home somewhat differently because we’re working from different setups, and we’re different people. If you don’t feel comfortable checking in with your colleagues and if you had to do so, it would negatively affect your productivity, then don’t do it. If you’re super productive and good at ignoring distractions, you don’t need to worry about Netflix playing in the background.
The fact is that we all want to do our best, and if you have a piece of advice, that works for you, feel free to share it with us.

How to approach learning a new technology

How to approach learning a new technology

How to approach learning a new technology

Individual differences, and a viewpoint of a group of developers

Every Friday, before we end our workweek, we organize a knowledge-sharing discussion group in Lean Coffee format, which was suggested by one of our alumni colleagues, and it turned out to be a pretty neat thing to do.

Last Friday, we tried to answer a question regarding the best way to learn something utterly unfamiliar from scratch. The idea of this blog was to give a definitive answer, a step-by-step solution. Still, we decided to show you the whole discussion because it sums up individual differences when it comes to learning and both the positive and negative sides of each approach.

Dalibor (medior software engineer): I usually start with tutorials. It gives me a broad idea of the information structure and what I need to learn. Tutorials I choose are, in most cases, a result of the research I conduct beforehand about the experts in the field, available tutorials, and their reviews. Then I proceed with creating my own test project, and I usually read the documentation, which I do until I completely understand everything it says.

Aleksandar (senior software engineer): If you have some knowledge and experience with programming, I’d argue about the term “something completely new.” If you already know how to drive a car, you don’t really learn from scratch how to drive Audi or Mercedes.
A person/group/company that made the technology also wrote extensive documentation that explains their intent and its purpose. And regarding the tutorials we mentioned, I have a bit of a problem with starting with this approach. Tutorial is the way somebody understood the technology, which might be incorrect, so I’d start with the documentation.

Bojan (SEO expert): So we have a vote for tutorial and documentation as a starting point, what about starting with analyzing a project that’s already been written?

Aleksandar: I wouldn’t do so either. Someone might have written it without a real understanding of the technology you’re trying to learn, and it can give you the wrong ideas. Or, you might have a different kind of project, and it won’t translate well.

Marko (medior software engineer): My opinion is that the most important thing is to draw a parallel between a technology you’re learning, and the one you already know. Find the similarities, and the differences, it will help you grasp the technology faster, and understand it better.

Milan (senior software engineer): But, what happens when the thing you’re trying to learn requires knowledge of something you don’t know? So you have two things you don’t know, and they depend on each other.

Aleksandar: I think you can’t get away without understanding basic programming concepts either way, and you should always strive to know why it works the way it works, what are the different approaches, and what their shortcomings. I never start with the project until I know everything. And, my opinion is that as a senior developer, you should always strive to understand WHY something works in a certain way.

Bojan: In my experience, starting a project until you “know everything” isn’t always the way to go. I think that it’s important to be as productive as soon as possible. Basic theory and documentation is a good starting point, but you’ll get a more in-depth understanding when you start with practical tasks. No amount of theory and reading could replace experience.

Milan: I agree with Bojan’s point. Start being productive in the shortest amount of time possible, and gain deeper knowledge with time.

Dalibor: My opinion exactly. When I started working, I kept realizing there are a lot of things I didn’t know as well as I should, so I kept coming back to those topics and read about them.

Dorian (junior software developer): We shouldn’t miss one more important factor in learning. A mentor.

Aleksandar: Yes, having a good mentor can significantly shorten a time to learn something. Also, it can help because a mentor will show you if you have some gaps in the knowledge.
But it’s important for a mentor to have enough patience, to let you make mistakes, and learn through them. A mentor shouldn’t solve the problem for you, but he should teach you how to solve it on your own.

It’s not surprising that different people have different approaches to learning. For some, tutorials are a good starting point for other documentation. Some prefer learning until they understand how things work; others start playing around and building their own projects at the start. No one size fits all, and maybe we shouldn’t even search for it. Continuous learning and development are essential, and perhaps the only important thing is to find an approach that’s comfortable for you.

Working at BrightMarbles

Working at BrightMarbles

A selection process is a process of mutual assessment. While a company assesses a candidate, it gets assessed back. HR interview is when we talk about the company, where we try to describe it as realistically as possible, with all its ups and downsides. This is what you would hear at the interview.

Working at BrightMarbles icon

BrightMarbles is a young company with strong expertise. We were founded in May 2016 by Boris Berat, Darko Kovač, Oliver Šipoš, and Bojan Tomić. They already were established professionals, but they wanted to create a company to reflect their own values, a company where they would feel at home.

Engineering Your Vision

Our goal as a company is to develop high-quality, premium software as per our clients’ needs. We cover the entire customer journey – starting from the idea, design, development, and maintenance of a software solution.

Our clients mainly come from English-speaking countries. That’s why fluent English is a must. The size of the projects varies. We equally work on small and big projects that are counting 20+ team members. Our projects come from various industries, and we cover a wide range of technologies.

We currently have around 60 employees, most of whom are classified as Senior Engineers. About 75% of the company consists of Mediors and Seniors.
We appreciate highly technical expertise and flexibility, communication skills, collaboration, proactivity, and ownership.

As a relatively small and young company, we are still in the process of establishing our procedures. If you come from a large and well-organized system, this can be a bit shocker to you. But we work very hard on defining our processes well and acquiring ISO standardization.
Our central premise is “Partnership of equal opportunities.” No matter the seniority or the department, all of us have equal opportunities for personal and professional growth and ownership over the tasks and processes (depending on the seniority).

Employees at old office

To Err is Human

It’s important to quote our mission here, which goes like this: “We want to develop a sharp focus on the quality across all departments, create a safe and stress-free environment for our colleagues, inspire and enable learning culture. Thus be the partner clients and colleagues feel comfortable to rely on, and a respectable software development company all-in-all.
We aspire to develop a culture, besides equal opportunities, that’s stress-free. Making an error is something we all do during our work, and that’s ok. The important thing is holding yourself accountable and resolving it.

Working hours are flexible. You start between 8 am, and 10 am and work for 8 hours in total. This doesn’t apply if, for instance, you have a daily meeting earlier, then you’re accountable to show on time for the meeting.

We have 25 days of vacation. Being well-rested is essential. You’ll feel better, and you’ll be more productive. That’s why we have more days of vacation than is the country’s standard.

Taking care of health is also important. We offer and fully finance private health insurance and accident insurance.

Employees on karting

That’s mainly it! We listen to our colleagues all the time and try to find ways of how to make workdays more comfortable for everybody.

But, sometimes, it’s not possible to keep fluctuation to be zero. Sometimes our colleagues leave. It might be they’ve found a project that suits them better, or due to shifts in their personal life. Whatever the reason, we always give our best to make the transition smoother.
This year we had 4 of our colleagues leave, due to new opportunities, or relocation. We were sad to see them go, but also glad for their success, and we’ll be so happy to see them hopefully the next year at our annual party and catch up.

That’s it about us. If you have any questions regarding our company, contact us.

Perks Remote Work

Perks: Remote work

Perks: Remote work

With the offices located near the center of Novi Sad, BrightMarbles is located perfectly, amongst many restaurants, relevant institutions, post offices, banks…etc. So everything you need is just a stone’s throw away. And not to mention that you come to the office and work with these awesome people who can turn even the worst day into fun.

But, we understand that not all people and all the time, share our enthusiasm for the situation where somebody else worries about the coffee supplies for you.

That’s why we have this policy – you can work two days a month from home, or as per request. The main condition is that your team and management agree.
This is the perk we have since the days we started the company, and it turned out to be a pretty awesome one.
We haven’t analyzed the most common reasons for remote work, but here are the most frequent ones for our marketing department. There was a party on Thursday. 😊
But no matter the reason, if it’s a party, travel, or lack of babysitter, it’s always easy when you can count on these days.

Pssssst, like what you see? We’re hiring, check out open positions.

Projects, technology stack and career path from a perspective of Senior Engineer

Projects, technology stack and career path from a perspective of Senior Engineer

Nenad Bjelobaba about BrightMarbles

Many companies share updates on their social networks about company culture and perks, but what can you really know about your job from that. Yeah, it all might sound fun, but at the end of the day, the majority of your time will be spent on workload and tasks.

That’s why we decided to talk with Nenad Bjelobaba, our colleague, about current and past projects he worked on in BrightMarbles.
Nenad is a Senior Engineer, with 6+ years of experience. BrightMarbles is the second company he’s been working in during his career.

Hi Nenad, tell us something about the first project you’ve worked on when you came to BrightMarbles?

It was a project for handling orders built for a big telecommunication company.
Imagine this, you go to your local phone service provider, and buy a smartphone. An employee enters your information in the system, and it does everything in the background – activate the sim card, connect it with your payment plan, update on your profile, etc.

Sounds interesting, what’s the tech stack?

It’s Java, IBM Integration Bus, IBM ODM.

What about the team?

We worked as extended team members, meaning our client already had a team of 8-10 excellent developers, and they hired us to help them with the workload, and meeting deadlines.
It’s fun actually. I spent around 3 months working onsite since we needed to get on the board with the project.
When the project was done, we got really positive reviews regarding our professionalism and technical expertise, it was the moment I felt really proud of myself.

Can you tell us about the next project you’ve worked on in BrightMarbles?

Well, I worked on the previously mentioned project for a year or so.
On the next project, I worked in a DevOps support team.
The project was a track and trace solution for a food packaging company. The system works like this, you have canned food, printer prints and sticks a label on it, and then you have a camera that controls a code on the label.

What’s next?

Currently, I’m catching my breath and using the time to learn new stuff and follow industry trends.
My next project will be a .Net Core project, and I’m really looking forward to it.
I like that I have the opportunity at BrightMarbles to work on different technologies and grow my expertise in various areas, I think that knowledge diversity gives you flexibility, which is always good to have.


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