I worked at Softwire full-time (More than 3 years)
+ Great work environment. Free food, frequent events, annual holiday.
+ Amazing training programme. Great opportunity to launch into a software career. Small and inexperienced company means that career opportunities are great if you are proactive about it.
+ Personally empowering. If someone wants to make a change, they are largely able to try and do so. The company is the sum of a lot of great people.
+ Generous bonuses for technical staff. It may seem like they underpay but the profit share scheme is genuinely great for technical staff.
+ Very smart staff. The staff are genuinely quick and quick-witted. It is empowering to be around them, both for their on-project work and what they otherwise contribute to the company.
- Negative experience with people management. Key staff can be rude. Accusations of sexism are not uncommon. Processes in place to resolve issues here are underdeveloped ("have you tried avoiding them?")
- Projects are largely uninspiring. The sales team do a great job trying to find interesting and worthwhile projects, but the consultancy nature of the business means that often we have to accept less than desirable projects.
- General lack of experience. Often projects are run by the blind leading the blind.
- Can sometimes leave staff feeling a bit 'used'. The company has a 'libertarian' attitude which means it gets involved minimally in the efforts of individuals; but is quite happy to take credit for these to put itself on a wider platform.
Advice to Management
Take a bigger role in your staff. Put protection and processes in place if there are complaints against others. If something your staff members do is good enough to advertise, support your staff (financially and in time).
I applied online. I interviewed at Softwire.
Online test followed by telephone interview. The interviewer was very accommodating and happy to answer all my questions. Gave me a problem and guided me step to step to the answer. I was applying for a program without prior programming knowledge, so the interview question was a bit abstract - nothing really technical.