Supervisor Relationships

An important part of the culture at Computronix is the supervisor relationships. Developers Dalainya Bruinsma and Chris Johnstone explain how and why these relationships are a key part of the work environment at Computronix.

At Computronix, we value people as individuals, not just as workers. It’s part of the culture we’ve created here. In this video, developer Kevin Thang, CTO Jim den Otter, and developer Eissa Pavo share about what that culture is like.

At Computronix, we have created an environment that is healthy and welcoming for all employees. Developer Kudzai Mboko, Tech Lead Andy Patterson, and Human Resources Director Dave Neumann share about what a healthy environment means for them.

At Computronix, we often do things differently than other companies. Not for the sake of innovation or being unique or anything else, but simply because we believe that sometimes the traditional methods aren’t the best ones. One example of this is the Ambassador Group, which serves as a recruitment group – and so much more!

The ambassadors are all Computronix employees – mostly developers – who have volunteered to be part of spreading the word about Computronix to prospective employees through various career fairs and partnerships with schools. Chris Johnstone, the co-chair of the group, describes their goals as “making sure Computronix is part of events, and is known as a local business that cares about people and wants to provide value to schools.” It’s essential to the group that everything they do is a win-win – that it doesn’t only help Computronix, but also whichever school or organization they’re working with.

When they do that well, Chris says, “students find out about us in a very positive light. We don’t need to tell them what we’re about, they just see it.” Their mission has been extremely successful to date. One ambassador, Matthew Pimlott, explains how, at NAIT, Computronix used to be essentially unknown, and now “I’ve heard stories of people who tell friends they work here, and the response is ‘No way! You work for Computronix?!’”

Victoria Hessdorfer, a co-op student who joined the ambassador team during her time at Computronix, describes how she enjoys being part of the team because she is “able to provide something to students that I didn’t get as a student, and that I wished I would have gotten.”

That statement is exactly what makes Computronix’s approach to recruiting so different. Because the recruiters aren’t HR people or professional headhunters, they know exactly what potential employees are interested in and want to know. And because they’re directly involved in the day-to-day workings of Computronix, they can explain exactly what it’s like to work here, and just what it is that makes Computronix so special, because they experience it firsthand every day.

At Computronix, we strongly value professional development, meaning that we want our employees to continually learn and grow and improve at their jobs. We talked to developers Chris Newbery and Eissa Pavo, who shared their thoughts on professional development at Computronix.

For our Computronix employee interviews, we sit down with people from all levels of our company and ask them about their jobs, and what it’s like working for Computronix.

It can be scary to start a new job at a new company. There’s often uncertainty about whether you’re going to get along with your co-workers, how much you’re going to have to learn, and all the other things that go along with the transition. When Eissa Pavo started at Computronix a year ago, she had many of those same fears and worries. It was her first time working in the IT industry, her first time coding in Python, and she admits that she felt intimidated at first. “But after the first couple of days, I felt really welcome at the company. Everyone waved and said hi, even if they didn’t know who I was!”

As her comfort level with her co-workers grew, so did her familiarity with the job. She learned how to use Python, and found that “whenever I got stuck or got confused on something I could easily turn to someone and get help.” There is also a collection of books and resources that are available for employees to peruse if they need. Eissa says she loves the coding involved in her job. She compares it to a puzzle, where you can see the end goal and all the pieces, and it’s just a matter of doing the procedure correctly, in a logical way.

At Computronix, Eissa says that she feels like part of a team in a way she never has at any other company she’s worked for. Everyone is very inclusive and welcoming, and willing to support each other. This fosters an attitude where employees “come together to help each other out and make the company better” Despite her entry-level job, she feels fulfilled because “I’m always able to make changes and make things better. Even if it’s just a small change, I’m still making a difference.”

For our Computronix employee interviews, we sit down with people from all levels of our company and ask them about their jobs, and what it’s like working for Computronix.

At Computronix, employees are frequently given opportunities to learn and grow and try new things. A common mantra is that “we don’t put people in boxes.” If someone expresses an interest in a certain position or type of work, they are generally given the freedom to explore that interest. Likewise, if a supervisor sees that a member of their team has an aptitude in a certain area, they encourage them to develop that talent, and perhaps even allow them to take on new roles according to those strengths. Daniel Magill is an example of a Computronix employee who was able to do this.

Just six months after starting at the company, and while still a Developer 1, he became a support desk representative for the POSSE product. Typically, support desk reps are at least a Developer 2 or higher, and have been with the company for much longer than six months. However, Daniel quickly proved that he was more than capable of handling the steep learning curve and the new responsibilities that came with the position. He is quick to explain that it wasn’t a solo effort though. When an issue came in that was too challenging for him to solve on his own, he explained, “I could always talk to the product team, and they would give me the information I needed to either solve the issue or to figure out a solution on my own.”

After seven months as a support desk rep, he transitioned back into a development role. Because of the experience with and deep knowledge of POSSE that he gained from that position, he has been able to provide assistance to co-workers when they run into a difficult issue. Many clients have also benefitted from Daniel’s knowledge and skill. He recounts one particular time when a client’s search was taking upwards of five minutes to load each time, and he was successfully able to bring that down to less than five seconds.

From the support he received from co-workers when he personally encountered difficult problems, to the support he now offers others, support has been a big influence during Daniel’s two years at Computronix. Thus, it comes as no surprise that his first thought when he’s asked what his colleagues are best at is simply, “supporting each other.”

For our Computronix employee interviews, we sit down with people from all levels of our company and ask them about their jobs, and what it’s like working for Computronix.

The vast majority of professionals in the tech industry are male, particularly among programmers and developers. This fact can cause problems with women’s work being undervalued or not taken seriously. A recent study found that although women’s code was actually rated slightly higher than men’s, the women were more likely to have their code rejected.

Theresa Ayers was the only female in her engineering program at college, and she experienced some of that prejudice from some other students and even a few professors. She admits that, “I was a little nervous when I started job searching, to be honest.” However, at Computronix she found that “the people here are very open-minded, they really took me in. I always feel supported and like an equal with my male coworkers.”

From the beginning, Theresa got the impression that it was a “genuine company that cared about the clients, the work and the employees.” She soon found that she was able to contribute to projects that not only challenged her and made her a better programmer, but also positively impacted clients, allowing them to do their jobs better than before. “It’s great being able to see how my work actually makes a difference for a client’s day-to-day responsibilities,” she says enthusiastically.

Like many others at Computronix, she emphasizes how employees will frequently come together as a team to complete a major project or to meet a crucial deadline, working together to come up with creative solutions that will provide clients with the best system possible. She says that to her, Computronix’s culture can be summed up by the word “Value, because everybody here values each other’s opinions, and the company values us as people and as employees.”

For our Computronix employee interviews, we sit down with people from all levels of our company and ask them about their jobs, and what it’s like working for Computronix.

One of the core principles that Computronix values is learning. Employees are constantly encouraged and given opportunities to deepen their knowledge in a wide range of areas. This could include anything from taking classes on programming or leadership, allowing for on-the-job mentorship, or just assigning people to projects that will require them to develop new skills. Chris Schulz has experienced a lot of this learning during his two years at Computronix.

Within his first year, he was given the opportunity to be a lead developer on a database upgrade for a client. Along with that, he was required to update their website to match the new code. Because he had never worked on websites before, it was a challenge, and it required him to learn and gain experience. However, whenever he was faced with a particularly difficult problem, he was able to consult with his co-workers and the other members of the project team to figure out how to find a solution. Chris described the project as “challenging, but it was a lot of fun.”

His position is somewhat unique within the company, because instead of working full-time with a large client, he serves a lot of smaller clients – seven at the time of the interview. This provides him with a lot of variety in his work, and also allows him to gain experience in a wide range of tasks.

Aside from the learning that happens within his team, Chris appreciates that Computronix allows and even encourages “cross-team working,” meaning that just because an employee is assigned to a specific project, doesn’t mean they can’t help out with other projects. This wasn’t the case for him with past employers. There is also a company-wide social network in place that allows people to post their questions and receive answers quickly. All in all, “It’s just a really supportive, friendly, fun environment to be a part of.”

For our Computronix employee interviews, we sit down with people from all levels of our company and ask them about their jobs, and what it’s like working for Computronix.

The stereotypical computer programmer is quiet, probably introverted, and perhaps even kind of awkward. Chris Johnstone does not fit the stereotype. “I have kind of an outgoing skillset, it’s not the most common thing around programmers,” he admits early in our interview. He injects passion and expression into the stories he tells as we discuss his time working for Computronix, a place that he obviously loves.

After graduating from post-secondary education, Chris had his pick of jobs, being courted by several tech companies, including major international ones. It wasn’t easy for him to choose a local software company with less than 200 employees, but it’s not a decision he regrets. “I decided that I wanted to be happy at work,” he explains. “Actually, I was kinda scared the first little while, like ‘Is the trapdoor going to open?’ But after about 6 months, I stopped waiting for the other shoe to drop.”

He has worked here for two years now, and in addition to his primary role as a developer, he’s done Quality Assurance testing, and trained new employees. He also leads the ambassador team, a team that represents Computronix at various university career fairs and professional association events in the Edmonton and Denver areas. “Roles here don’t have boxes,” Chris says, “express an interest in something, and suddenly you’re doing it!” His favorite part of the job isn’t any of those though, it’s the people and the environment. “I’ve never been so excited to go to work every day!”

However, his time as a Computronix employee hasn’t all been happy and fun. In fact, he went through one of the most significant personal challenges in his life during his first year, as his mother grew sick and passed away over a period of several weeks. But even through that, he expresses how much he was supported by his boss and by his project team, as they covered for him during his bereavement time, and even when he returned to work. “It’s challenging to come back to work after something like that. You have this expectation that you’re supposed to be normal, that you need to go back to being your old self. But here, no one expects that. Even when I called my boss to explain what was going on, the first words out of his mouth were, ‘What can I do for you? Don’t worry about work, what do you need me to do?’”

In his opinion, that’s one of the things that makes Computronix so unique: “The amount that you are actively supported.” Virtually all of the managers, even up to the executive team, have open door policies, and employees are encouraged to make their opinions known. Chris proudly shares a story of when he did just that, while he was still in an entry-level, bottom-of-the-totem-pole position. He was working on a major project, and they were fast approaching the deadline to send it to the client for acceptance. However, despite fears of not wanting to rock the boat and disrupt a major project, Chris told his supervisor that he felt the project wasn’t yet at the acceptable quality. They had a meeting to discuss it, the project delivery was delayed, and in the end it was sent out as a much better quality solution. “I feel like I saved the day,” Chris explains, smiling broadly.