The last twenty years or so has been a testament to individuals or a small group of individuals looking at a way particular thing is done and saying, ‘I can’t believe that we still do it this way. I/we’ve got to change that!”
Take ex-investment banker Bobby Youakim. He found the process of going to little collection boxes, extracting the right change and putting in one coin after the other quite old. Why couldn’t people pay for parking using their mobile phone? Bobby teamed up with his cousin Charlie Youakim, got together in a garage (like most American startups do) and worked on a mobile app, Passport Parking, that would allow commuters to pay for their parking slots using a mobile app.
The app is gaining traction in the US and they even raised a 6 million USD funding round recently for scaling. Passport Parking also has a development office in India, which is hiring Android developers through the HackerEarth Android Hiring Challenge.
We spoke to Charlie Youakim to understand what it is like to work for a mobile developer to work at Passport Parking. If the number of awesome companies in the Android Hiring Challenge is giving you a tough time to choose which company to apply for, here’s why you should work with Passport Parking.
Q1) Tell us a little about your company. What is the problem you're trying to solve?
PassportParking is the industry’s leading provider of integrated cloud-based parking solutions. The company provides the most advanced technology and equipment in an enterprise suite that allows parking providers and owners to manage parking and enforcement operations more effectively and efficiently. The integrated offerings can be seamlessly implemented on both gated and un-gated properties and quickly adopted with its Parking as a Service (PaaS) model.
We use the latest in cutting edge technology and equipment to unify all aspects of the parking process. We empower the provider with tools to ensure that the parking experience is seamless. With our fully integrated cloud-based parking solution, our software solutions make the lives of parking operators simpler and better.
Q2) From a technology standpoint, what is the most exciting thing about working at Passport Parking?
Working with Passport gives a developer the flexibility to explore technology to the greatest extent. Each team member’s contribution counts and all members of the team are given responsibilities that come with the opportunity to learn about all the new technological innovations, with the scope of implementing them into our parking solutions.
Q3) Describe the engineering culture of your company. What is it that really excites you about a candidate?
We’ve found that people will work hard if they believe in what we’re doing. Our office is awesome, our development team programmed a keg that dispenses with our parking app, we promise that every day you'll find yourself asking how it could possibly be evening already!
We are looking for people who are passionate about technology and want to create solutions that could bring about a change in the industry. People who love exploring technology, and have the ability to put their thoughts into programs, are the best fit as Passport Developers.
Q4) What is the most challenging aspect of working at Passport Parking?
The most challenging aspect of working with Passport would be the scope to learn new technology and implement them on our systems – there is no end to diversified requirements from our clients, and we pride ourselves over our ability to meet all the requirements, thanks to the constant R&D by our expert developers.
Product support is one of our major areas of attention – we respond to all user queries within the minimum turn-around time possible. When a bug is reported by any user of our system, we fix them within the optimum timeframe and respond to the user, making sure the issue is sorted.
Q5) What is the average day of an engineer at Passport Parking?
No day at Passport is really average – every day comes with new challenges. We are a complete customer-focused company, and our entire team is dedicated to meet the technology requirements of our clients. Engineers at Passport engage themselves in deep technological discussions, trying to find user friendly solutions to every problem presented to us by our clients.
Our Indian developers spend a lot of time interacting with their US counterparts – this gives them a great platform for knowledge sharing and staying up-to-date about all the technological advancements in the field of parking software.
Q6) What do you do for fun at Passport Parking? Or is it all work and no play?
Passport promotes interactions amongst employees across all levels - and what better way to bring a team closer than some serious fun! We take every opportunity to enjoy ourselves. From exploring Bangalore's best eateries to vintage bike rides, cookery experiments to gaming contests, we have it all!
And our developers love their programming challenges so much that at times they say this is their best past time ever!
Q7) How long does it take for a new recruit to fit into the Passport Parking team? How big is the India team as of now?
It is important for us that the people we hire gel well with our team – we want the Passport family to grow as a close knit unit. We care for each other and take every step possible to make our new team members feel welcome and at home.
Currently our Indian team has 6 members – we are looking at having about 15 members by end of June 2014. Our team in the US has about 15 members.
Q8) From a culture standpoint, what is your vision for Passport Parking?
We are looking for people who love what they do, because the driving force for all Passport employees is self motivation. Someone who has strong opinions and an eye for detail, with the ability to think on the fly, would be a possible prospect for Passport. Trustworthiness and reliability of an individual are of utmost importance to us. Effective communications is also a key to a successful career with us.
Over the past 4 years, PassportParking has developed a culture where all members of the team support one another to achieve organizational goals. The environment is competitive, but in a healthy way – peers are always ready to fill into each other’s shoes to make sure jobs are done. We celebrate our successes as well as face troubles together, making Passport one big family.
Q9) In one sentence, why is working at Passport Parking going to be the most awesome thing an Android developer can do today?
Passport offers Android developers the opportunity to explore all the aspects of Android development, combining external hardware devices like Bluetooth printers and card readers, custom cameras, real-time communication, etc., giving you the opportunity to explore the length and breadth of the Android operating system; Passport values individual contributions, and recognizes great work with a career path that is difficult to match in the industry.
Q10) Anything else you'd like to share?
This challenge we are presenting is to give prospective employees a feel of what they could face on a day-to-day basis at Passport. There is the thrill of creating something new and making a difference to the lives of thousands of people who will be using your software in their daily lives, making their parking experience simpler, easier and hassle-free.