It's not about the code, but what you're coding for

September 30, 2016
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A few months ago we were once again on a quest for new co-workers. Selecting candidates based on a few conversations and tests is always an intense process. Luckily, there’s always one important indicator telling us if a candidate may be suited for a job at Atmire.

During an interview many applicants will tell us they are ‘eager to learn’ and ‘both independent and a strong team player’. Of course these statements refer to good qualities. But it takes a bit more to be cut out for a job like ours. So what we really love to ask our applicants is: ‘Why do you want to work for Atmire?’ Many will come with ready made answers like ‘I want to work in a small team’ or ‘I love taking responsibility’. But there is one group of applicants who come up with a very distinct answer, and that is: ‘I want to make a difference’. Those people are not only interested in the work they’ll be doing, but also in the impact it will have. They want to make a difference in their lives, and that includes their job.

It’s no news that in this day and age, programmers have plenty of choice when it comes to picking a job. And with that rising offer, many programmers are becoming more and more aware that they do not have to work for hardcore industry companies or big banks, instead, they can do good in their job.

As Atmire’s recruiter (well I guess you can call it that), I believe the latter is true for many if not all Atmire employees. Let’s be honest, we’re still writing code. It is true that we are always experimenting with the latest frameworks, tools and technologies, but that doesn’t make us wizards, and we’re still working on iMacs, not some magic bean machine. But what is different is what we’re using our tools and technologies for.

The software we write enables researchers from all over the world to access knowledge which would otherwise be restricted. Think about it. Currently many researches do not have unhindered access to the latest research in their field. This means they can not built their research further upon the latest improvements. In other words, research is slowed down, and unfortunately that’s equally true for it’s impact on society. Let’s take the example of health and cancer research. If research results aren’t available for all researchers this means that literally people still die every day because researchers haven't been able to connect the right dots. If access to a publication through a repository can just speed up this process with a few days, we're still saving lives.

In our last recruitment round, we found one of those people we’re always eagerly looking for. His name is Tom Desair, and if you’re working with us, you might recognize him as your Tech Lead. Prior to Atmire, Tom was working at the IT development team of a large clothing and shoes manufacturer. To be honest, he was not unhappy at his previous job. But in the end, well, you’re still writing code to sell more shoes. While selling shoes is important and has its challenges, there are other ways to have a more direct impact.

Motivation is key. Getting the opportunity to contribute to open source software and to enable researchers to share their results with everyone, really motivates me a lot. That is what makes it great to work for Atmire. Tom

Fortunately for us Tom was one of those people that understood Atmire’s deeper strategy from the beginnings. I do admit, at first sight you could easily think our goal is simply to provide services for a software platform. Although that is indeed what we do, it’s not our objective. Tom recognised our goal and shared this interest to make the world’s knowledge available to everyone. Enabling Open Access means facilitating scientific progress and, as an outcome, a world that’s improving more quickly. Moreover we do not only do this for our clients, but many of our software improvements flow back to the open source community so that they are available to all research institutions. And that’s how we do make a difference.

Want to join Tom and other Atmire colleagues?
Are you living around Leuven (BE) or Rochester, New York and willing to make the difference? Get in touch! We’d love to get to know you. Just sent an email to

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