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A multi-market approach: How Armory uses Terminal to build engineering teams 3x faster

Armory
Team Makeup
  • Software Engineer – Java
  • Technical Support Engineer
  • Backened Engineer
  • DevOps Engineer
Team Size
6+
> the challenge

No consistent approach to recruiting

Armory pairs Spinnaker, the world’s most powerful continuous delivery platform, with enterprise-grade stability and 24/7 expert support to empower developers at Fortune 100 companies. Delivering a high tech product while meeting enterprise demands requires a large team of highly skilled engineers – but competition for talent near Armory’s Silicon Valley headquarters was fierce, and the team had to get creative in order to scale.

“We were doing everything you can think of. We were using sourcing agencies, job sites, independent recruiters, the whole mix,” says Andrew Backes, Head of Engineering at Armory, which is headquartered in San Mateo, California.

That led to a lot of inconsistencies as to how they were finding candidates, and investing in so many recruiting methods was getting expensive. “Each option had pros and cons in terms of level of success. But the prices associated with each different method started to add up,” Backes said.

What was appealing about hiring in Mexico and Canada is that the work culture is similar – there isn’t a lot you have to learn in order to work together. Communication isn’t a big challenge.

Andrew Backes,
Head of Engineering, Armory

Backes and his colleagues at Armory had already been looking to hire engineers in other North American countries, whose approaches to work would be symbiotic with their California counterparts. “What was appealing about hiring in Mexico and Canada is that the work culture is similar – there isn’t a lot you have to learn in order to work together. Communication isn’t a big challenge.”

Armory was interested in a multi-market approach so they could enjoy the advantages that different regions had to offer. The University of Guadalajara is a top engineering school that graduates more than 10,000 highly qualified engineers every year, but competition amongst employers in Guadalajara is low particularly for DevOps and backend applicants, giving Armory their pick of the city’s best tech talent. And Toronto was appealing for technical support, as it would allow Armory to provide customers with additional time zone coverage.

But because the time zone difference between North American countries is minimal, all of Armory’s engineers would be able to work together during normal working hours, making those markets particularly appealing for an engineering culture centered around collaboration. “Our American engineers communicate in real time in Slack, or on a Zoom call. So if one team member is stuck on something and says, ‘I don’t know what to do,’ they can have another team member jump on and help them right away instead of having to wait until the next business day. That’s big,” says Backes.

> the solution

The international expertise to hire in new markets

Terminal was the singular remote teams solution that Armory needed. Armory was able to quickly review candidates in Toronto and Guadalajara and then close candidates by working with Terminal’s talent acquisition experts. Terminal then covered the administrative details like visas, benefits, and onboarding, leaving the Armory team free to work on engineering problems.

“We had been looking at different offshore and near-shore options, and we chose Terminal. Their all-in-one offering was the tipping point,” says Backes. “With other companies, our executives would have had to fly back and forth to each new office, spending six months to a year bootstrapping that location. So it was a big deal that, with Terminal, we didn’t have to do that.”

“Having the all-in-one package reduced the overhead for what we had to do,” he adds. “With Terminal, we have recruiting and on-the-ground expertise in the markets where we want to hire.”

“We needed a group of people who were experts in the laws in these markets, who could set up payment structures, who would provide an office where engineers could work, and who could handle all the other details for us. Even covering something as simple as the holiday schedule is helpful. Having all that bundled together, that was game-changing,” says Backes.

Terminal has that expertise, and because of that, I haven’t had to spend as much time learning the hard way. I don’t have to learn a new market through trial and error. I can work with Terminal, expand our engineering team, and have more engineering throughput.

Andrew Backes
Head of Engineering, Armory

Backes knew that opening offices in different markets required a lot of new expertise. “Terminal has that expertise,” he says. “And because of that, I haven’t had to spend as much time learning the hard way. I don’t have to learn a new market through trial and error. I can work with Terminal, expand our engineering team, and have more engineering throughput.”

> the results

Collaborating more, costing less

With Terminal, Armory was able to hire engineers 3x faster than the tech hiring average. And their technical talent continues to grow with Terminal’s help. “Terminal helped us move faster and find better quality candidates,” says Backes.

“Being able to hire in other markets is a huge benefit of Terminal,” says Backes. “It takes a long time and substantial effort to build a business presence in a different market like Mexico or Canada. Now we have engineers on the team that feel like employees and not contractors. They’re included in the company just as much as anyone else and the experience is seamless.”

That’s particularly important for Armory, where teamwork and cooperation are paramount. “Collaboration and inclusion is really important to us as a company. I spend a lot of time working on that,” says Backes. “With a lot of other arrangements we had, the contracting company would make it clear that these engineers are their employees, and not ours. I never get that sense from Terminal. We’re on the same page from the beginning.”

When you work with a contracting company, they can move an engineer off your project and then you have to train a new engineer. It’s not common, but it’s always looming in the background. That won’t ever happen with Terminal. I won’t need a contingency plan.

Andrew Backes
Head of Engineering, Armory

And with Terminal, Backes can be confident that the engineers he knows and trusts will stay on his projects. “When you work with a contracting company, they can move an engineer off your project and then you have to train a new engineer. It’s not common, but it’s always looming in the background. That won’t ever happen with Terminal. I won’t need a contingency plan.”

Terminal was also able to save Armory a significant amount of money versus the hodgepodge approach they were using before. “Terminal is a low cost way to spin up a near shore office with technical talent. For salary plus recruiting, Terminal cost about 50-75% cheaper than hiring in the States,” says Backes.

“Overall, I’m really happy with what we’ve gotten out of Terminal.”

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