Life at The Scale Factory

Introducing The Scale Factory

The Scale Factory is a small and friendly AWS consultancy with roughly 26 staff. The company has a mature start-up feel; everyone has a high degree of autonomy and is trusted to work independently, however, there are still flexible processes in place to ensure a low stress working environment.

Officially, we’re an AWS Advanced Consulting Partner specializing in business-to-business (B2B) software as a service (SaaS). There’s a large variety of different types of work available, such as infrastructure improvements, migrations, reviews, support, and training. We don’t manage infrastructure for clients though.

Our CEO and CCO (Chief Consulting Officer) are both engineers and highly technical — they understand what it’s like to work on the ground. As such, the company does a great job of attracting and retaining talented engineers in the long term. Our non-engineering colleagues are also amazing and bring complementary skills to create a relaxed but high performance environment.

I’ve found The Scale Factory to be a great place to work; in fact, it’s been the best employer I have had in my working life by far. I believe people should be queueing around the metaphorical block to work here. Unfortunately, it’s 2023 and it’s easy for great small companies to get overlooked in the sea of recruitment spam. In light of this, I’ve asked some colleagues to talk about their experiences working here and written about some of my own experiences below.

If you’d rather read a quick summary of our benefits and how to to apply, please skip to the bottom section.

Sandro Cirulli on remote working and conferences

I applied for a job at The Scale Factory towards the end of 2019 to have more flexibility in remote working. My employer at the time allowed me to work remotely from time to time but I always had to ask my manager for permission. In addition, I didn’t feel that my previous employer had a remote-first mindset and being present at the office on a daily basis was the norm.

On average I spend 3 months during the year in Italy for family reasons and I wanted to work for a company where remote employees are first-class citizens and are not penalised or demoted for working remotely. The Scale Factory fitted the sweet spot I was looking for and I have not been disappointed.

When I wish to work from abroad, I check with my manager and the client I am working with for approval and then I can complete my duties from a different country. Working from abroad requests are reviewed in light of country, length of stay, time zone, security and impact on the project and our contracts with our clients - however, The Scale Factory tries to be as accommodating as possible.

Remote working doesn’t mean you never see your colleagues in person. We have monthly co-working days in the UK and in the past we also organised co-working days in Porto (Portugal) and in Trieste (Italy) to get closer to our colleagues based in Portugal and Slovenia who can’t always join co-working days in the UK.

The team chilling at an event in Bournemouth

The team chilling at an event in Bournemouth

Since I joined The Scale Factory, I’ve had the chance to attend and speak at remote events like AWS User Group and Cloud Native UK meetups and in-person events like DevOpsDays Geneva and DevOpsDays London. My colleagues Jemma, Marko, and Tim spoke at prestigious conferences like LeadDev, HashiConf, and KubeCon. And did I mention that our CEO Jon Topper regularly speaks at AWS re:Invent, probably one of the biggest tech conferences on the planet?

The Scale Factory values the reputation building and networking done during these events and strongly encourages employees to submit calls for papers and proposals at conferences and meetups. I could tap into the public speaking experience of my colleagues who kindly shared their tips and supported me during the submission and talk preparation. I used our bi-weekly internal Show & Tell to rehearse my talk and get early feedback from my colleagues in a safe environment.

As part of the benefits of working at The Scale Factory, every employee has a budget of £750 per quarter that can be spent on travel and accommodation for co-working days, conferences, training courses and certification exams, remote working tech, etc. I particularly value the option to decide how to best use this budget for my professional development rather than having general benefits that I may not use.

Tinè Seljak on project work and professional development

In my previous consultant role, I found I was missing a variety of different projects. I would usually be put on projects lasting 6+ months which meant I was working on the same technology on a daily basis for several months. After some time, this style of work can lack challenge and a sense of continuous learning.

I’ve now been at The Scale Factory for 18 months and the main thing I love is the variety of projects I’ve been exposed to during this time.

I’ve had the opportunity to implement a couple of AWS Control Tower with AWS Backup solutions, set up several different new AWS infrastructures via Terraform and Terraform Cloud, and led my first whole-day workshop about one of our main flagship packages SaaS Foundations. The variety of work that has come with my projects has helped me further improve my technical AWS and DevOps knowledge, as well as soft skills such as presenting to clients and running workshops.

Even when I’m on the bench in between projects, I have plenty of productive things to do, such as improving internal documentation and training sessions; there’s always opportunity to grow professionally and upskill in different technical areas.

The Scale Factory offers 10 development days per year (days that can be booked for professional development) for all of its employees. For me, this is a great benefit as it allows me to switch off from project work and focus on areas and technologies where I’d like to improve.

In the past months, I’ve spent several dev days for AWS study which brought me the confidence to sit the AWS Solutions Architect Professional exam which I successfully passed. I’m already looking forward to how to best utilize my next dev days to achieve the next certificate.

James Lochhead on training budgets, autonomy, and career transparency

In my first three months at The Scale Factory, I passed both AWS DevOps Professional and AWS Solutions Architect Professional. In my next six months, I passed both AWS Certified Security – Specialty and HashiCorp Certified: Terraform Associate. I was able to expense all the certifications and I’m really pleased to be racking up professional qualifications.

The process also helped me improve in areas of AWS I don’t touch very frequently. I wasn’t planning to take any more certifications as I didn’t want to pay for them out of pocket, so it’s great to have the opportunity to expense them.

I’m currently working on the Certified Kubernetes Administrator (CKA) certification and looking forward to being certified to the gunwales.

When I’m done with certifications, I’ll move on to using my budget for architectural books and travelling to conferences.

In the past, I’ve worked at larger companies with very rigid processes - that isn’t for me as I like a great deal of autonomy, variety, and the freedom to shine. I’m easily bored, hate bureaucracy, and need constant stimulation.

The Scale Factory only recruits eager to learn, open-minded, high-ability, inclusive, and kind people. A lot of trust is placed in employees. There’s very little red tape and loads of opportunities to pitch-in. So far, I’ve helped out with recruitment, blog posts, training, product development, internal security, and mentoring junior colleagues.

I’ve always been quite good at upskilling rapidly on technology but I now feel I am growing quickly in non-technical areas as well.

A revamped careers framework has recently been introduced to provide better structure and transparency for progression. We now have both a consultant and senior consultant, as well as paths for both generalists and technical specialists in a certain area.

The criteria to achieve the next step up is clear and transparent. We also review this regularly in our weekly 1:1s. Undertaking extra optional tasks, such as regular blog contributions, is also rewarded with a transparent pay bump.

As a consultant, I now have a clear picture of what I need to achieve senior level, which is great. I also have a clear picture of what my salary might be if I become a senior and the salary benefits of the extra activities I am involved in.

Benefits of working for us

  • Work remotely.
  • Excellent work-life balance.
  • Autonomy to innovate, grow, and succeed.
  • Regular optional co-working events around the UK and even Europe.
  • Budget for: training, co-working, certificates, and conferences.
  • Ten paid days per year for personal development.
  • Flexible working.
  • Lots of opportunities to grow.
  • Learn from an experienced engineering team.
  • Work temporarily abroad (subject to approval).
  • Transparent progression and salary ranges.
  • We offer private health insurance, life and critical illness insurance, have an employee assistance programme, and offer salary sacrifice options.
  • We have values and they aren’t just corporate doublespeak. We stick to them and they mean something.

We are currently recruiting for AWS Consultants.

Interested in joining our team? We’re friendly and inclusive, so if you have the skills and experience, I hope you would consider applying regardless of your age, gender, sexuality, race or physical ability. The Scale Factory is hiring.

This blog is written exclusively by The Scale Factory team. We do not accept external contributions.

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