Chicago Tech Startups Benefit From Developer Side Projects

May 23, 2017

Building a successful tech company relies on building an incredible product, and building an incredible product means hiring and developing top talent. Creating an environment where our development team can operate at peak performance is a main priority. We take immense care throughout our hiring process to make absolutely certain that we hire the brightest minds Chicago tech startups have to offer, so giving those minds time to work on more personal creative pursuits is imperative to remaining on the crest of the innovation wave currently hitting the logistics space.
Implementing a developer side projects program is a great way to bring fresh ideas to the table, and in our team’s case it also drives efficiency and saves us a wealth of time.

What are developer side projects?

Anything a developer is working on that isn’t on the product roadmap can be considered a side project. We give our developers part of their week to focus on personal projects that they think might benefit project44. Some truly innovative solutions have come from our developer’s working on side projects, some have even evolved into major aspects of our platform.

For Example

Right now, one of our software engineers is working on a project that, once implemented, will free up countless hours of our dev team’s time.

It involves finding ways to improve project44’s connections to third-party software. When a customer connects to project44’s APIs, they’re integrated into a larger network of capacity providers and various other pieces of technology. We have a team tasked with building out those connections, but there are so many different formats and programs to consider that it can extremely time consuming.

This side project was created to build an overall software solution that can smooth out the integration process for these connections. Experimenting with an object-oriented programming language that plays nice with Java, and if used to its full potential, can drastically reduce the time it takes to integrate these connections.

This may have started as a simple side project, but now that we’ve seen the upside it provides us—and APIs in general—we’ve begun figuring it into our overall product roadmap. It makes our product function even more efficiently, and it gives the members of our connector team more time to build other functionalities.

This, of course, is just one example of how developer side projects can have a positive effect on our product. The idea is to utilize all of the great minds we have on our team here at project44, and give them a chance to do what they do best—solve problems in thoughtful, creative ways. It not only adds to the overall innovation in our platform, but it gives our development team time to change gears and recharge on something a little bit more personal.

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