Using AI to Grow Your Next Agile Development Team


catalyte
Catalyte uses AI and data science to build technology workforces for the world’s most progressive companies. During the last few years, I've gotten to know Catalyte CEO Jacob Hsu and Gula Tech Adventures participated in Catalyte's last round of fund raising. Catalyte's ability to grow agile software teams here in the US in places like Baltimore City resonated with me. In this interview, I ask Jacob a wide variety of questions about how modern software companies should think about leveraging Catalyte to grow more developers from within their organizations and in their backyards.

Q1 - How does Catalyte work with enterprise corporations and software developers?

Companies engage with Catalyte along a spectrum depending on their immediate and long-term IT needs.

Comprehensive workforce development

Technology organizations face the persistent challenge of constricted and homogeneous talent pipelines. They overpay for talent because of heavy competition.

Companies who need a diverse, affordable and sustainable technology workforce turn to Catalyte. Our method of screening for and training tech talent that others can’t find means our clients can access higher-performing and more diverse talent pools than their competitors. We put overlooked individuals on a talent transformation journey. 

Some clients look to us to find and provide this talent. Others look first to their own internal, non-technical employees and have Catalyte screen, upskill and mentor them directly.

Engineering project teams

Companies that need help with longer-term initiatives work with Catalyte’s engineering project teams. These full agile teams augment a client’s current IT capacity to bring scale to a project or product. These teams, composed of engineers at all skill levels and positions, work on projects related to application development and modernization, cloud migration, architecture roadmap and implementation, platform engineering, product development, prototyping, QA engineering and automation, and user experience.

On-demand

Companies who need immediate staff or team augmentation can engage with Catalyte for on-demand, elite software engineers. These highly sought-after industry veterans can start tomorrow and help your teams resolve bottlenecks or push projects across the finish line quickly and efficiently.


Q2 - How should human resources, recruiters and development managers think about engaging Catalyte?

Catalyte can address the problem of building a diverse, affordable and sustainable technology workforce in two ways: through our own developers or screening and training a client’s internal non-technical employees.

The first way, Catalyte recruits and screens individuals for their software development potential. We train them for five months and then place successful graduates on blended teams for 12-18 months building software for a client. At the end of that time period, the clients can hire that developer, as long as they maintain a working relationship with Catalyte.

The second way, Catalyte screens a company’s own, non-technical staff to see who has the aptitude to become a great software developer. Unlike traditional recruiting and interviewing programs, we can screen many employees in about two hours - that’s how long it typically takes to complete the assessment. After we identify the individuals who will become great developers, we will provide a Catalyte trainer to administer the program at a client site. Following the completion of the initial five-month training, graduates will join blended client development teams, but continue to be mentored and upskilled by a Catalyte mentor/trainer.

Q3 - Have you deployed developers for cybersecurity companies as well as coders for security teams of enterprise organizations? 

We are currently making our first movement into cybersecurity this Fall with a number of cybersecurity pilots. One important initiative will train transitioning military members who have an aptitude for technology in a cyber-oriented software development track. This pilot will lay the groundwork for a more extensive cyber offering in 2020.  

Q4 - Have you seen an increase in demand for skilled labor based in the US and possibly in non-traditional locations, such as outside of Seattle and Silicon Valley? 

To say “increase” would indicate that the demand wasn’t always there. There has been a persistent demand/supply imbalance in the labor market for a very long time. It’s more that companies are realizing that there are alternatives to the offshore message that they’ve been fed since the early 2000’s. Any company not located in Silicon Valley, Seattle, Boston or New York City is going to be at a disadvantage for attracting and retaining tech talent. This impacts the vast majority of companies. Some of the largest F100 companies in healthcare, finance, retail, etc. are headquartered or have significant engineering staff in places like Ohio, Minnesota, North Carolina, Arizona and other non-coastal cities. 

Finding high-quality tech talent in these areas is a make-or-break issue for them. If they can’t, the risk falling behind new, coastal startups or they have to uproot and relocate their labor force to these higher cost locations. We’ve proven that the talent they need to survive exists where they are currently located. They just need to go about finding it in a new way.

Q5 - For Catalyte's project management contracts, how many of these have to do with refactoring web applications to remove legacy vulnerabilities and dependencies in favor of cloud-first DevOps? 

In most (90%) of new projects, we are focused on cloud-native applications with CI/CD pipelines and we're usually brought in to provide full software development teams to leverage against the client's product roadmap and feature development needs. 

Q6 - Where can readers go to learn more about Catalyte's offerings?

For those interested in what we do and how we do it, they can visit
www.catalyte.io.