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Ryan Adams: "The Scala community is the most passionate and motivating community I’ve ever known"

If you've ever looked for a job in Functional Programming, chances are you came across Signify Technology and its fantastic team who doesn't simply help companies fill open positions but help you find a dream job that you will love.

In this interview, the founder of Signify Technology Ryan Adams shares his story of founding the company, the trends he is seeing in the space, top interview tips that will help you get that job and other exciting things that will make you run not walk to meet the team at Scale By the Bay.



Signify Technology is no stranger to the Scala community - can you please tell us more about how you started the company, what prompted you to do that and what your journey has been like so far?


I founded Signify because I wanted to create something different: for me, recruitment is all about building relationships and being the helping hand when people make one of the most important steps in life. Being specialists in Scala was a decision from the get-go, having worked in tech recruitment for 10+ years, I decided that creating a niche agency would allow me to fully understand the needs of my clients and candidates in order to help them in the best way possible and provide them with trust that myself and my team understand the market wholly.


It has been an incredible journey with us growing to 30+ staff, opening two global offices, celebrating the Signify third birthday in July 2019 and I can honestly say the Scala and Functional Programming community has been overwhelmingly welcoming. I have made friendships for life and which I really value and the milestones we have encountered such as winning ‘Best New Agency 2019’. With the opening of our Santa Monica Office, I am really excited to see what else is to come!


What are the key highlights of Signify's journey?


My highlights of Signify are endless but I’ll stick to 3:


  1. Meeting Martin Odersky, the Creator of Scala - At Signify, we are so passionate about being at the heart of the Scala community and Martin Odersky is a bit of a programming hero to us, so to meet him and chat about Scala was incredible. Without his amazing dedication to creating Scala, Signify wouldn’t be where we are today. 

  2. Winning ‘Best New Agency 2019' - I’m thrilled that within only 3 years of business Signify was awarded such a prestigious accolade within the industry. Winning this award is all down to the unbelievable support from our clients and candidates, the honor is down to their words of encouragement and loyalty as well as being the ones to shout about us when it comes to recommendations. We have built awesome friendships with those in the Scala community and the positive feedback we receive is the reason why we are so fortunate to now be an award-winning agency.

  3. The opening of our first USA office – When I founded Signify, one of my goals was to open an office in the US and so to now be able to say that we operate globally from London and the US is phenomenal. When looking for where we would open our first US office, I fell in love with Santa Monica, LA, the stunning beaches and healthy way of life and I knew it would make an amazing home for Signify in the US.

Want to know our top 10 highlights? Check them out here.


What lessons did you learn about the Scala community and companies that are hiring Scala Engineers?


The Scala community is the most passionate and motivating community I’ve ever known, I love how enthusiastic engineers are to further themselves, develop their knowledge and be part of projects which are helping the world to become a better place. Because of this, it means there are endless learning opportunities and the level of skills is continuously increasing.


Skilled Scala Engineers can be difficult for tech companies to find as they often need to find engineers who have knowledge in the relevant tech stack or projects. When helping companies build out their engineering teams, we find that the desired candidates are those who are very enthusiastic about the languages they work with, eager to spend further time out of the office progressing on their knowledge and skill. In turn, when companies are big advocates for their staff having the opportunity to learn, it's one of the major selling points for candidates. If the employer gives engineers the chance to attend meet-ups, conferences, and workshops, then you can guarantee that they will be successful with their hiring process.


It’s all about opportunity and that is something the Scala community is lucky to have, whether it’s meeting other passionate developers or being introduced to new libraries and frameworks, there is an ocean of options. At Signify, we run a monthly Scala in the City meet-up and organize workshops for engineers to develop so if you’re looking for a prospect of learning, come and chat with us at Scale by the Bay.


What has been the most challenging element of your work and why?


The Signify team with Martin Odersky

As with any growing business, there are bumps along the way, however, we have been incredibly lucky to not come across any big challenges as of yet. The one big change we have had as a company would be opening our new LA office, which is both incredibly exciting but also difficult with the whole team adjusting as gone is the ease of walking over to someone’s desk to discuss something: it’s all video calls, emails, and messages. However, this is a small price to pay in order to be able to better serve and deliver to our global client base and grow as a company.


What trends are you noticing in the Scala recruitment space?


From a hiring perspective, we are seeing a significant increase in the number of companies who are hiring for both permanent and contract Scala Engineers and have immediate needs for candidates to start in by the end of the year. In previous years, we have seen some companies holding off until the new year to make these hires but this year is set to be our busiest yet with the start of October seeing us register 55% more vacancies than the same period last year.


From an international hiring point of view, we are closely following the developments of the Brexit negotiations but as yet, have not seen a slowdown in both UK and mainland European-based companies hiring requirements. Most companies are adopting a “business as usual” approach until any definitive decisions are made that may or may not affect trading conditions.


So get your new hires in and celebrate the festive period with them!


What advice would you give to someone who wants to get started with Scala?


Utilize every resource around you! Whether it’s Twitter, GitHub or YouTube videos, there are so many resources that can help develop your knowledge of Scala. Signify run a monthly Scala In the City meet-up and many engineers attend who are completely new to Scala and it gives them the chance to hear talks from experienced engineers and network with others who they can learn from. So make sure you find out what meet-ups are happening around your area, we can guarantee you’ll find you won’t be the only one eager to learn Scala.


What support does Signify provide to the candidate during their job search?



At Signify, we are there to make the process as easy as possible for both our candidates and clients, we are here to do all the hard work!


To begin, we will chat with our candidate about the type of position they are looking for, based on location, technologies, and what they are interested in. Once we have this knowledge we can provide the candidate with suitable roles and discuss what each of the opportunities would offer, whether it be a career step or re-location, a new role should always benefit you in one way or another so we set out to make sure the candidate is making a positive step forward and not backward. The next part is the interviews: we will be cheering you on and giving you all the advice we can to make sure you succeed. The final step is securing you the dream role: we will do everything, from negotiating salary and packages to making sure your start date is confirmed.


All of our Consultants are exactly that: we consultant on what the best options for the candidate are and help them make, usually, one of the most important decisions in life. One of the biggest reasons we love what we do is being part of changing someone’s life for the better.


We’re really lucky to have made amazing relationships with both our candidates and clients over the last 3 years. Check out some of the awesome testimonials we’ve received: https://www.signifytechnology.com/candidate-testimonials


Your best tips to nailing that dream job interview?


We always tell our candidates to think of an interview as a way for them to find out more about the company and whether it’s a suit to them, this makes the process a lot more relaxing and a benefit to both the client and candidate. However, it’s always great to be prepared and the top tips we give our candidates are:


  • Show how passionate you are - Make sure that whoever is interviewing you, sees the dedication you have for your interests. If you take part in coding projects in your spare time tell them about this as it will reflect your passion.

  • Do your research - Any client will be impressed if you show that you know exactly what the company does and why it is of interest to you.

  • Relax – The only way you’ll be able to truly get your personality and enthusiasm across is to relax and take the time to talk through your experience, skills and why you feel you would be a good fit.


Remember, an interview is a double-sided process so ask all the questions you would like answered and make sure it’s a company that you are excited about.


It's not your first time at Scale By the Bay - what do you enjoy most about the conference?


Each year at Scale by the Bay just gets better and better!


The thing we enjoy the most is having the opportunity to meet so many enthusiastic engineers who truly love what they do. The Scala community is so inspiring and whether people are developing their skills or there to meet like-minded individuals, Scale by the Bay is filled with excitement and we are so proud to be part of it.


If you were to recommend Scale By the Bay to someone - what would you tell them, why should they attend the conference?


If you’re interested in programming then you NEED to be at Scale by the Bay. With workshops, talks and networking opportunities you really will have a blast and come away having learned loads, hopefully making some great friends in the process. Scale by the Bay is a developers conference organized by developers so from junior to senior engineers, it really is a conference to suit everyone! If you’ve got the extra days free, we can fully recommend the workshops before and during the conference as workshops are one of the best ways you can develop your skills as it’s hands-on and personal.


Don’t miss out, head along and enjoy the whole experience along with us!


Who should meet the Signify team at Scale By the Bay and what can they expect at your booth?


Whoever you are, come and say hey to our team. Both our Principal Consultants Charlie and Mitchell would love to meet you, so whether you’d love to chat about all things programming or you’re interested in a new role or even looking to build your engineer team, head over to our booth. As for swag, believe us you’ll want to be at our booth as we got T-shirts, stickers, portable chargers and so much more!


Anything else you'd like to add?


At Signify Technology, we aren’t just recruitment consultants, we are career consultants, we genuinely care and are passionate about helping the Scala community to grow. If you’re interested in learning then check out our blog page or speak to us about how we could help you attend one of our globally organized workshops.


If you would like to help your engineering team up-level their skills then chat with us about planning a workshop that can either take place off-site or on-site. We will organize a key contributor to train your engineers as well as the content you are looking for, it will be fully personalized to suit your companies needs! As for candidate attraction, it’s an awesome way to show external engineers all about your business, the projects you work on and that you offer training to your employees.


Check out our past Scala workshops.


We’re here to help, so reach out and let’s see how we can add value to you.



Do not miss the Signify Technology team and other Scale By the Bay sponsors on the expo floor on November 14-15 in Oakland. Book your ticket now.


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