Hiring new developers at scale and training them in Perl on the job
Booking.com has an innovative approach to expanding
its Perl team – hiring developers in other languages
and getting Geekuni to train them in Perl. In doing
this, the company has been able to keep up the pace
of business activities even while onboarding large
numbers, making it a proven recipe for success. This
case study explains the process for the benefit of
any global company looking to recruit Perl developers
without slowing down growth.
Since 2015 Geekuni has provided interactive online Perl training to over
350 professionals at Booking.com, one of the largest travel e-commerce
As part of our comprehensive training service we deliver
a diagnostic assessment of Perl skills, measure and report progress
with quantified learning outcomes, as well as facilitate feedback on the
This has not only helped Booking.com create an
aligned experience for all core development roles, but has played a vital
part in the success of the company’s efforts to scale up operations.
Training new hires in Perl without slowing down business growth
Booking.com was a Perl shop from day one and the language remains as relevant today as
ever. As a start-up company in 1996, Booking.com chose Perl for its compatibility with
technologies such as Apache and MySQL. Now a global company employing 17,000 people in
17 different countries, Perl remains the language of choice for most of its code as it continues to
invest in the latest cutting-edge digital technologies.
The problem, of course, is that Perl developers are hard to find, so there just isn't enough talent
available out there to meet the demands of a rapidly expanding company. In order to stay ahead
of the game, Booking.com realised early on that it would have to hire developers in other
languages and give them a chance to learn Perl while onboarding.
"A developer is someone who can do the job and
a language is a tool they use to accomplish
it. This means broadening our horizons from
Perl developers to any developer and working on
helping them learn Perl as they go."
Sawyer X, Senior Developer and Team Lead
But how could this work in practice without slowing down
business and placing yet more
demands on teams which are
already overstretched? Booking.com’s onboarding process
initially involved new hires joining teams which would
guide them through their induction. This
meant taking time
to sit with people, explaining systems and introducing them
to others in the
company. As well as lacking structure
and coordination, this approach was not really scalable and
became increasingly impractical with the rising number of
new hires. Teams were being disrupted too much and this was
negatively impacting their velocity. The problem was compounded by
the fact that developers
needed to learn Perl in addition
to all other onboarding
activities before they were truly
Providing Geekuni's online Perl training as part of an independent onboarding process
Now the procedure is for new developers to join an onboarding
team first, each headed by an Onboarding Team Lead to ensure
a more coordinated approach. Geekuni provides interactive
online Perl training to the onboarders while reporting progress to
the Onboarding Team Leads. This not only takes the pressure
off teams but allows new hires to work at their own pace and
take greater ownership of their learning. Geekuni's projects come
together as a fully fledged application, which ensures greater
satisfaction and motivation among onboarders while giving
them the confidence to raise questions and interact with
more experienced Tech colleagues right from the start.
The real success of Geekuni's collaboration with Booking.com
lies in the way training is tailored to individual needs
while at the same time retaining clear baselines and
for checking progress. Geekuni's reporting has
significant role in helping Talent Development
ensure greater consistency
and a more standardised approach
to the onboarding of Perl
developers. The company is now
able to allocate resources
more efficiently, get a clearer
picture of how much time
to give new hires for Perl training
alongside their regular
workload, gauge the preparedness
of onboarders for their
role or identify the need for
additional ongoing support.
The net result is that new hires are now able to hit the
ground running, allowing a more seamless expansion of the
company's Perl team.
Key takeaways to help expand your Perl team
As anyone hiring will know, the demand for Perl developers
far exceeds supply. You can overcome this obstacle to
significantly expand your Perl team by hiring developers in
other languages and training them in-house.
If you're a large company looking to recruit at scale without impacting
business output, you need to approach the task as an independent project
with well-defined goals, parameters and reporting lines. In order to
bring your new hires up to speed, it's important to allocate dedicated
staff time and resources.
New developers need to take ownership of their learning to
stay motivated. This means giving them real-life, hands-on
tasks while offering feedback and positive reinforcement so
they can check their progress. Managers require the right
information and knowledge to identify challenges faced by
developers and offer the most effective support.
Geekuni provides the tools to make all this happen, so
there's no need for you to reinvent the wheel. Once you make
decision to expand your Perl team, just get in touch -
we're ready to go.
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