Julia shares design best practices for iOS 11 and iPhoneX in her blog post.
Awesome blog by Rich about Android fundamentals.
WillowTree, founded in 2008, is a mobile design and development agency whose mission is to create high-quality solutions for our clients. The only way we know how do this is by bringing together a team of smart, motivated people who take pride in their work. We foster a collaborative environment that focuses on continuous learning and unlimited opportunities to make a true impact; and of course, we also ship lots of code!
WillowTree works with top brands and companies, who give us interesting and, many times, difficult challenges that have a real impact on them and their customers. They rely on our expertise in UX strategy, design and our knowledge of constantly changing mobile technology to solve their problems. We do this for companies like Zappos, PepsiCo, HBO and Mattel. All this makes WillowTree a unique place where we always seem to be pushing the envelope in mobile; you never know what we will be working on next and it definitely is never dull.
We’re an intensely curious, vibrant team with a diverse range of skills in technology, design, and more. We’re always looking for dynamic, creative people—like you—to keep us moving forward.
We hire the best in the industry.
Some of our benefits are:
Just west of the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, WillowTree is located on the downtown mall in beautiful Charlottesville, Virginia. This small city offers the perfect balance between rich history, rural Southern beauty, and urban amenities like vibrant music and food scenes.
Though the Charlottesville area attracts millions of visitors each year, see why we chose to live here…
Vineyards & Breweries
There are over 70 award-winning wineries, handcrafted ale and lager breweries, and hard cider orchards in the Charlottesville region. Wine and brewery tours are popular for visiting various locations.
Music & Arts
Concert venues including JPJ Arena, the historicParamount Theatre and The Jefferson are popular destinations to experience live music and performances. Charlottesville was also featured in Artizen Magazine. Every Friday, Spring to Fall, Fridays after 5 gives people a reason to come together downtown at the NTelos Pavilion for Free music at a great outdoor venue.
Take a drive on Skyline Drive or hike on the Appalachian Trail – both are accessible in nearby Shenandoah National Park. Avid fisherman? The Rivanna Reservoir is a 450-acre fishing setting, home to bass, bluegill and catfish. The Blue Ridge Mountains provide endless opportunities for skiing, hiking and biking.
Tech Events in Charlottesville
Charlottesville is home to a vast array of technology events and involved enthusiasts. WillowTree is a huge supporter of events such as the Tom Tom Festival and technology groups including Neon Guild, CVJS, PyCHO, beSwarm, & HackCville.
If you want to actually enjoy your day at work and do more than tolerate your co-workers, then WillowTree might be the place for you. People here collaborate, help each other out and generally like each other.
WillowTree is a very flat organization with no middle-management. This means that everyone here needs to be self-motivated and accountable. We are really busy working hard for our awesome clients, but we also like to have fun together.
Weekly team lunches, company L&L lunches, Friday happy hours and company parties are an important part of getting to know each other outside of work. Some people even go on vacation together! ( :O).
We hire the best talent in the industry and give them what they need to keep growing and learning. We have all of the fun perks of other development shops, but it is the people and the teamwork that make WillowTree such an amazing place to be.
Do you want to do more than fix bugs and get coffee? Interns at WillowTree get an amazing amount of responsibility and become intergrated members of their team. They work on real client projects and get plenty of mentorship from some of the best deigners and developers in the business.
Our interns this past summer had a weekly team lunch where they had weekly speakers from different parts of the company come share their knowledge. They also had weekly team lunches with their team as well as presented their work at our weekly L&L. We had events with other local tech firms to expose them to what else is going on in c'ville and had fun events with other interns like Networking 101, rafting down the James River and a CEO roundtable. They even had a day trip to Busch Gardens.
This quote from a Summer 2015 Android Developer intern pretty much sums it up:
"WillowTree is an amazing place to work. As an intern, I was given the same responsibilities as a full-time developer and had the opportunity to work on actual projects that were published to the Play Store. It was nice to know that the work I did at WillowTree had an impact in the real world. The other main factor that made WillowTree great was the people. Everyone in the office was always very friendly and the overall company culture made work relaxing. They really focus on bettering their employees and place a strong emphasis on learning. Weekly intern lunches, team lunches, and the company-wide Lunch and Learn and All Hands on Deck meetings made sure that I always knew what was happening within the company as well as the latest Android news. I would highly recommend WillowTree to anyone looking for an internship."
WillowTree values our interns and we only hire students that we think have the potential to be hired full-time after they finish school. If you are looking for an internship with limitless possibilities to learn and grow please get in touch or come say Hi when we visit your school or hackathon!
I have been working at WillowTree full-time (More than 5 years)
WillowTree is an amazing place to work. There are a lot of pros, but here are the ones that matter most to me:
* Coworkers: WillowTree hires high caliber people, in every sense of the word...everyone is highly skilled and willing to work hard. My coworkers all seem to have this "sixth sense" where they always know what needs to be done and how to achieve it. Management knows this, and we have very little formal process because of it. As an aside, most people at WillowTree are genuinely interesting people, so I don't have to look far for social activities.
* Mobility: WillowTree is growing fast, and new roles and positions are always opening up. There is no manager bias or friction when someone wants to switch departments or change their responsibilities...we have had testers become PMs, PMs become BAs, engineers become salespeople, and everything else in between. If you like where you work but have outgrown your role, don't worry, there is always another opportunity within the company.
* Autonomy: You will always be given as much guidance and mentorship as you need, but employees are encouraged to manage their own time. I like to come in early and work in the dark…others show up at 10am and stay much later than I do…as long as you are available for your team when they need you, you are free to schedule your day as you please. Flow is heavily emphasized at WillowTree, and people respect each others time. If you have a doctors appointment or delivery at home, you are free to take off and do what you need to do.
* New Tech: “Mobile” software has evolved a lot since WillowTree was first founded, and WillowTree does a great job of keeping pace. Unlike a lot of companies that just have a “VR booth” in the corner of the cafeteria, we are actually shipping software on the latest emerging tech…There is even a dedicated group of people who research and develop on new hardware.
* Client Roster: As a services company, we have clients in media, healthcare, field services, hospitality, and everything in between. Because of this variety, it is hard to get bored with your client work. Management is good about periodically rotating people off of long term projects, for the benefit of the employee and the project. Plus, it is cool to work on apps that you actually use as a consumer.
* Access: We work on popular apps for very large companies, so we have the highest level of access for developers…Apple and Google care about us, our apps are often featured, and we have experts in every field that work here. Basically, if it is possible, WillowTree can do it.
* Office politics: There aren't any. The rumor mill is quiet, and if you want to know something, just ask…people will shoot you straight. Tobias is VERY transparent, and you are given ample opportunity to communicate with him or anyone else on the exec team.
* Location: Downtown Charlottesville is an amazing place. I walk to work, walk to lunch, walk everywhere! The lifestyle is so great…I can’t imagine starting my day with a 30 minute commute. I have visited the Durham office several times (WillowTree pays for interoffice trips), and I imagine the lifestyle is quite similar to Charlottesville.
* Teams: WillowTree is very serious about putting teams of smart people on projects. When you are on a project team, you sit in a room with your teammates, you have lunch with them, and you are fully immersed in your project. This sense of unity fosters camaraderie and ultimately leads to a better product. We even celebrate product launches with t-shirts and other swag.
If you want to build awesome software without the process or politics of a larger company, this is the place for you.
We are growing so fast that we have had to expand to temporary satellite locations in Charlottesville (~3 minute walk from HQ). This isn't as bad as it could be since we keep projects together, but it would be nice to see all of my coworkers more often. Tobias has a long-term plan to consolidate us within the next year or two, and I know we are all looking forward to that.
Advice to Management
You guys do a great job of preserving the "small company" feel as we continue to grow. Keep it up!
I applied online. The process took 4 weeks. I interviewed at WillowTree (Charlottesville, VA) in December 2017.
First step was a video interview where you respond to timed questions; fairly easy. Next was a phone screen with an engineer. Felt like I struggled a little bit, but I made it to the next stage which was a test project where you could use their template or roll with your own. You are given 8 hours to do so (there's no automatic timer or anything like that, just turn in a zip file). After getting that reviewed I was asked to come onsite. All expenses (airfaire, hotel, etc) were paid and they put me in a pretty nice hotel in walking distance to the mall & office.
The office is very nice. When you walk in you see on their walls they have the logos of clients they've had past and present and they are all big names you recognize. I was given a tour around the office then lead to the first interview room. That was my worst interview as it was a technical interview and I just fell flat on solving the problem. The rest of the interviews were mostly behavioral. One interview was about reviewing your project that you wrote for the previous step. Interviewers gave really good insight into what they do everyday and the company itself. I was then usually asked about my app that I created. I'm not even sure if I was asked any direct Android questions (activity lifecycle, etc). I was always given time to ask questions myself about the company, which I appreciate a lot.
Every person I met was very nice to talk to and felt like I could really fit in. Had conversations about anime and video games with some. Even saw people playing smash bros around lunch time.
In the end, similar to other reviews you can read on here, I was turned down for not having enough experience. I also question why I was brought onsite, given that they knew my experience upfront. That being said, they were very nice to give me detailed feedback from the team. Most companies refuse to give any feedback at all. I would definitely interview again at WillowTree if given the chance.