Hi – I’m Daniel Hilgarth.
Since you’re probably here for the first time wondering who I am, let me tell you a little bit about how I came to be, and how Sovarto and its predecessor fire-development was formed.
I started programming at a young age, 14 to be exact. My father was a hobbyist C programmer, and I was curious about programming and started reading his books. You can imagine how elated he was, his 14 year old taking a curiosity to C programming, that’s any parent’s dream. I can clearly remember a classmate showing me a simple program written in Turbo Pascal, and I have been hooked ever since.
Remember these ugly looking screens? That’s how long I’ve been
programming. A loooonnnnggg time.
I realised pretty much right away that I wanted to be self employed. Whether it was a born sense of freedom, or determination, after a few short sprints working during my early teens I knew that going to an office wasn’t an option for me. This is a theme you’ll see run through much of this site. Sovarto was born with the premise that working remote is way more productive, and efficient, than going to an office. Especially in this day and age.
But more on that later.
By the age of 20, like any other good German native, I began to attend the University in Karlsruhe because it wasn’t far from the area I grew up in. I started at the Baden-Württemberg Cooperative State University. For those non native Germans, the program that I signed up for was a blend of theory and practical. The practical part actually being employed as a Software Developer for a local company.
While I enjoyed University, let’s just say I wasn’t challenged.
I knew something was wrong when the teacher walked into the classroom, and I felt like there was too much theory. In fact, I felt that even at my younger age, I had already enough practical experience that University wasn’t going to be for me.
At the time, I was still in Uni but I felt restless and when a friend asked if I could help him with a programming project I jumped at the chance and haven’t looked back since.
So, I left the University and started my own company with a local partner.
By 2007, after using C++ as my language of choice for some years I by now had moved to C# for its improved efficiency during the development and for its modern approaches. This was back in the day when Microsoft wasn’t cool yet. It was thought of as a bloated, dysfunctional relic of the dotcom boom, and bust. I knew better, and that Microsoft was going to come around. Looking back on this, it was the right choice because I see Microsoft and .NET making huge headways in cloud and corporate technologies. Especially in Europe, my primary market.
During the Financial crisis of 2008 to 2011, my little company hardly even noticed. Software development was always in high demand. Our skills were growing, and by now we had a team of three people. Business was thriving, and it felt good to be doing something that we all loved to do. Coding and building useful software products and applications that people wanted to use.
All of the work was a combination of on-site and remote, but these years showed me how inefficient it is working in an office environment. Even though our clients wanted us to join them in the office, we fought it. Why? Because there were constant distractions of people stopping by and telling you how their weekend went, or asking questions about how to change a printer cartridge, or staff meetings about HR issues or other things that would never affect our software development.
It was also during this time that we started to notice significant improvements in our projects that were completely remote work, and those where clients wanted us on site. The remote projects consistently went faster, and were much smoother than when we were brought on site to work under the “supervision” of the client or project manager.
By 2016 or so, my partners from the early days had gone on to do their own thing. I was still plenty busy, but hiring became a much higher priority for me. As did learning other front end technologies like React and Angular, two skills I spend most of my time perfecting these days.
So I started adding staff.
Rather than fight it, we, because by this time I had started to hire more people to keep up with our customer’s demands, came up with a compromise. We would do 1 or 2 days per month onsite, while the rest of the time we agreed to work full time with dedicated engineers remotely.
It was also abundantly clear that it was going to be a tougher thing to convince our enterprise clients that there wasn’t any need for us to show our faces, ever.
The problem that we saw immediately, and our customers eventually realised, is that there is a serious flaw in having your development team work in house. Good developers are much less likely to live near you, as they are to live where they want to. Great developers are few and far between, so the chances that one just happens to be looking for work, and lives near you? It’s just not going to happen. Good developers don’t want to have to relocate for jobs, they don’t have to. So why should they?
Good developers are also not out of work. You know who is out of work, AND willing to move to your offices to work in your office? A bad developer. One that is desperate to work anywhere, on any project and will uproot to move to you. Why? Because they have no choice and have run out of options.
We started a search for some of the best talent possible, with the premise and understand that we would not make them move to our location, or the clients. We would not subject them to useless corporate meetings. They’d have the flexibility of telecommuting to our meetings, or those of our clients through online virtual meeting applications. We had a hunch that once people saw the speed and quality of our projects by working remotely and getting more done quickly. They would love us.
We were not proven wrong.
Now our thriving business model revolves around our core work philosophy of remote development using the best developers possible with an occasional stop in to meet the clients and appease their need for some facetime. Of course, we still have 100% remote clients from North America, Switzerland, the UK, and Australia.
The model works, and it’s a pleasure to have us meet our clients when we can while they appreciate that the real work gets done when we can concentrate on it, by ourselves, remotely.
So, if you are in search of a team of full stack senior developers that have been programming since programming was done in ugly blue and grey boxes: You are in the right place.
If you are looking for a team that designs with elegance and uses the most modern techniques: You are in the right place.
If experience and professionalism is what you want: You are in the right place.
If you are looking for a team of enterprise level engineers that are all 100% fluent in English and project managers that are native German speaking: You are in the right place.
If you are looking for a small team of highly experienced software developers that is used to working with their clients for years, rather than months: You have finally found the right team.
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