Arriving at the final stages of 2021, we glance back now for a quick nod and a smile. We can only guess what a wild ride this must have been for you all, everyone involved in IT. Ours certainly has been interesting, to say the least. For starters, we’ve grown and scaled so much that we never imagined a year before. So, let’s take a look at where we are, what happened last year, and hopefully, we can draw some interesting conclusions about what’s going on in IT globally. Let’s pour some red, raise the glass, and proceed together, shall we?

The most important aspect of this past year for us is that we’ve completed a full change in course and focus.

Let’s take a quick view on the early stages, to give you some context about where we are now and why we think this is significant. (We’ll keep it short. It seems like ages ago but actually, we started our journey in 2018 anyway…)

Balázs has been a freelance developer when a certain project brought the would-be Rollout team together. We created the company at first only for some technical reasons, to create a platform which we can use to perform the necessary development tasks. It went well, we secured new deals, and that has been our main focus for a year or two, to get new and interesting assignments for our well-rounded project team.

From aiming to becoming the best to create a platform for the best

The massive change for us this year mainly has been that the scope of our expertise changed. Our newest partners certainly have good technical competence, and instead of teams, they are looking for skilled specialists or generalists. We realized that we really understand our clients’ needs, the phase they are in, what kind of IT professional they need and we can either allocate someone to the project from our own, highly selected pool, or we can successfully recruit someone from the open market into our own team, and after making sure they have a good synergy with us and are a good fit to the project, boom — they are deployed!

This year really has been a breakthrough in this regard. More than 30 of our globally sourced developers are working on global projects, which is a far cry from the tight-knit group of 6–8 professionals who decided to pool their talents a few years back.

In total, 67 developers joined our ranks and 30 of them are already deployed, with many projects already in the pipeline for next year.

Only about 9% of applicants get through the process and get into the Rollout fold. There’s an HR round, a professional screening with one of the tech-leads, a Home Work Challenge if needed, and a final CTO interview. After that, we introduce our new developer to the team working with our client. So the process is quite rigorous, as we aim for the best, and so far, it’s a great experience for everyone involved, including our clients, us, and of course, for the new blood as well.

What has been the key to success?

How could a band of IT freelancers turn itself into a talent hub? Obviously, a lot more versatile skillset is needed to run a business like this. The roots of these skills come from the time when Balázs, back in 2014, was recruited into a US agency. He started as a mobile developer, went on to become Tech Lead. By 2017, he became the CTO and got involved with many aspects of the business, including sales, account management, product development, and recruiting.

Covid has obviously been a major factor as well. The need for remote professionals scaled up insanely, and the trend, it seems, is not slowing down a bit! Many companies realized that nearshoring Central European talent can prove highly valuable. Covid also suppressed our side-activities — as dedicated digital nomads, some of our focus has been on growing this vibrant nomad scene in Budapest. Due to current events, and with traveling stopped dead in its tracks for a while (which was sad indeed) we were forced to take our refocusing effort towards serving this global remote IT need seriously.

We acquired some really great sales expertise in the shape of a mentor who screened our sales processes. This new contact enabled us to land a deal with a Canadian enterprise, and that project basically validated our model. From that point onwards, we realized that the key value we offer is solution providing. We integrate exactly the kind of skills into the projects of our clients they really need, as a team augmentation.

We are reluctant to call ourselves ‘recruiters’, as we strongly feel that this is something very different from what is considered ‘recruitment’ in general. For example, we strive to remove obstacles, we urge the developers to work together with the clientside.

We set up the contracts in a transparent way and we make sure the whole process is clear as day for the client.

We focus on the professional side and since basically, we do the same things that our partners do, it’s worlds apart from checking keywords in CV-s. When the client tells us they need a node js backend specialist, we can fire back: is microservice architecture experience crucial? Is TypeScript important? And they usually answer with a sigh of relief, that yeah, these are good questions, and we can pinpoint together the exact needs of the project. This leads us to situations when, after the first interview, the client asks whether the candidate can start tomorrow, or maybe even today…? It’s a breathing, organic, and fully specialized team extension service.

As Rollout, we create our own digital team augmentation tools and we still offer development services of course, this enables us to create a great synergy between the recruited team members and those who are coding together with us. This brings us to one of the highlights of the year.

The 2021 highlights reel

Probably the most exciting project we’ve been involved with is an NFT and blockchain related product, to complete the backend, frontend and mobile app. This has been a project where digital artists can present and sell their work, with a mobile-first approach. Uploads, payment systems, trading have all been built by us together with the client team, which has to be the most challenging project of the year for us. Blockchain transactions have to be bulletproof, it’s a different level of robustness this requires.

The other highlight is a statistic, a sort of milestone: never before have we outsourced 13 developers and testers for the same project, and this year we have.

The next one is not a real highlight in the sense that it’s more like a process than a singular event. We had the opportunity to create some new positions for finance, sales and HR tasks. And it’s really amazing to experience when you can hire qualified professionals for the first time, for tasks that you yourself tried to perform… it’s kind of like watching someone rewire your steamboat and somehow turning it into a supersonic jet.

And finally, we’ve been able to truly identify who are our ideal target audience. We blend with scale-up startups particularly well. These are the companies that have the funds to realize the dream, but they need the dynamic IT resource, and it seems we are able to deliver that. This is the conclusion we arrived at, so we are now in the process of calibrating our sales and marketing efforts accordingly.

In 2021 we created more than 5 events from launching an international IT career to Rust programming language. We were spreading knowledge about today’s IT revolution. We plan to come up with more online events like this in 2022.

And how was your year? Do you also feel that IT recruiting is going through some exciting changes thanks to remote readiness and upskilling? What are the major challenges your industry is facing? We’d love to hear from you! Here’s to a successful 2022! Let’s roll!

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