Why I’m teaching my colleagues to code

John Raber
by John Raber
Jun 26, 2019 1:13:00 PM

Our business is about eliminating manual workarounds in scaling businesses’ billing process from the initial sale of their service, through upsells and renewals, to revenue recognition. When I was an accountant, my training and education centered around basics of double-entry bookkeeping, credits and debits, T accounts, etc. It turns out I learned and implemented 500-year old methods to keep my clients’ books in order.

After a series of grueling tax seasons, I decided to go back to school and pursue software development as the next phase in my career. I landed at Ordway in 2019 to combine my expertise in accounting with my growing passion for solving business problems through software development.

Building a culture of learning and teaching

We’re building a culture of learning and teaching here at Ordway. This is essential as we’re trying to push our industry past relying on a 500-year old process. One of the ways we “walk the walk,” is each Friday we have a lunch and learn where we get lunch delivered to our DC-based headquarters, connect via Zoom to our remote colleagues, and explore a new topic each week.

Over the past 6-months, we’ve discussed a wide range of topics including:

  • Trends from SXSW 2019
  • The Ordway sales demo (so Product and Engineering can experience what our clients do when they are evaluating the Ordway platform)
  • Accounting 101 (for those not immersed in the nuances of the General Ledger)
  • Product roadmap (for visibility in to the coming quarters)
  • Software development (so the business side of the house better understands what it takes to deliver the features we promise customers)

We also record the sessions and have an archive of them for new employees, or for people who simply want to refresh their knowledge on a specific topic.

A basic understanding of the coding process helps everyone in the business

As a Software Developer (we're hiring), I was happy to explain what it means to write human readable, single-purpose code and how that ultimately impacts our ability to scale the Ordway platform to companies around the world. Modern software provides an opportunity to automate business process at a speed and scale simply not possible a decade ago. For me, the promise of software is realized by working closely with our Product team who acts as a proxy for the voice of our customers.

Lunch-and-learn-Ordway-code-laptop Adapted from Chris Ried

Collaboration with the entire business enables me as a software developer to scope and deliver feature requests through a process where I:

  • Understand - what is the feature trying to do (e.g. - attach a PDF to an email)
  • Break down - what are the implications of user story technically (storage, encryption, file size, recovering from failure states, etc)
  • Repeat - break down the main feature into all the components that need to work on in order to deliver the main feature
In addition to our internal sharing and learning, I’m expanding my professional journey by getting involved in the local community by attending regular DC Ruby on Rails meetups. So, I’m looking forward to meeting you at the next one where we can talk about REST APIs, Ruby gems, or T accounts (if you really want to).

If you want to take a look at the presentation I used with the Ordway team and use it to help explain software development to your team, you can download the file here.

Topics: careers, culture


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