Blackbird is a Strasbourg web agency well known to the Wilders of the city. I had the opportunity to exchange a few words with Jérémie Bouchet, its founder, who came back on this occasion on his career path or about the onboarding of some Wilders in his team.
Hello Jérémie, could you introduce yourself and tell us about your career?
Hello! I'm the CEO and co-founder of the Blackbird agency, but above all a former web developer, for about ten years :)
After a mini career (only one year) in a software and consulting company, I left the job to create a company to sell fair music online. This was followed by 7 years of freelancing, specialized in e-commerce (Magento and Prestashop), and during which I co-founded the co-working space Quai n°10. But I don't develop at Blackbird anymore, except maybe some internal projects :-)
What made you want to learn how to code?
Coding means having the freedom to create your own tools, and to adapt them so that they perfectly meet your needs. When we code, we ask the machine to do tasks for us, to give us time for everything else: thinking, inventing and innovating of course, but also resting ^^ And I needed it all! So naturally, the code came into my life.
What is BlackBird? And how would you describe the culture and values of your company?
Blackbird is since 2015 the first web agency 100% dedicated to e-commerce in Alsace. It's our high expertise and the relevance of our specialized approach that allows our e-commerce clients to trust us with their digital strategy, making them sell more today than yesterday.
As our job leads us to provide high-performance code, the pressure has to drop when we are among ourselves: we then privilege healthy and friendly human relations, based on respect and good humor. We also attach a lot of importance to our skills, so we follow very closely the progress of everyone so that everyone has his place in the team :)
What type of clients do you work with?
We have about as many clients operating in B2B (their clients are companies) as in B2C (their clients are individuals), who sell services as well as wholesale products, or ready-to-wear. That's what makes our job so exciting: we go from swimsuits to envelopes all the time, without a blink
Who makes up your team? What are you looking for in your employees?
Of the 20 people we are today, 15 are developers! What we are looking for in them: the passion for their job, and a relentless team spirit. For us, it's a guarantee of confidence, and for them, it's a guarantee of progress. To be a good dev (and incidentally to stay at Blackbird ;) ), you have to love your job and sharing of course, but above all, you have to learn from others.
I've learned that you've recruited Wilders, what interests you in their profile?
Yes, 3 of them have already gone from internship to permanent contract! Most of the Wilders had a "life before", with their successes and their bowls. But all of them have chosen a professional retraining, which is never easy: humility and courage must therefore compose them. And these are very good ingredients to bring the qualities I am looking for :)
By the way, what are your recruitment processes?
After a short review of the CV and the various elements sent in (we love the home-made code ;) ), we have a technical test on the back and front. If the results are acceptable to us (we mainly look at the problem-solving process, and not so much if it runs without error), I then meet the candidate for a more classic interview with our CTO.
The third and last step is decisive! The future blackbird has a second interview, during which he meets each member of the team. And if there is no vet, we organize a drink!
Once they are part of your team, how do you accompany your new employees?
Each newcomer is sponsored by one of our former employees, and starts with simple but real missions! Nothing is better than being confronted with reality, and to see your code being part of the latest release put into production on the store of a major e-merchant.
Of course, he participates in our weekly dev. points, in meetings with our customers and never finds himself alone in front of a problem.
And finally, how did you get to know Wild Code School?
We're neighbors, and from time to time I organize drinks in the neighborhood. This is how I met the campus manager. After that, I discovered your students and the way you teach coding.