No company would ever aspire to be a rubbish place to work. Yet not every business gets it right when it comes to delivering the ideal working environment. We think that Tyk is doing pretty well in this respect. However, you can only really judge what an organisation is like to work for by the views of its staff.
That’s why, when we started thinking about working life at Tyk, we decided to talk to the people in the know – our global team of Tyklings. We asked them to give us the insider’s perspective – a no holds barred view of what it’s really like to work Tyk.
Culture first and foremost
For many organisations, culture is something to be thought about as an optional extra after day-to-day operations (if at all).
Not so at Tyk. Tyk’s founders obsess about the organisation’s culture day and night. Literally day and night – with one founder based in London and one in New Zealand, they can think about Tyk’s culture around the clock.
The upshot of this? Well, we’ll let Head of Employee Success Alison Lambert explain:
“Someone asked me in an interview the other day how I would define Tyk’s culture in one word. My response was ‘grown up’. Ok so that’s two words, but it’s truly refreshing working for a company that treats you like a grown up. That has a knock-on effect, as people then behave like grownups too!
“This translates daily into people knowing they are trusted to get on with their roles in a way that suits them. It sounds idealistic, but that’s why we challenge ourselves to ensure we always recruit people who thrive in that kind of environment. No one at Tyk is going to tell you what to do on a daily basis; you are expected to ‘crack on’, as we say in the UK. The magic comes from you choosing when, how and where you crack on – and from knowing someone isn’t watching over your shoulder. It’s amazingly empowering.”
A developer-centric approach
Key to Tyk’s culture is a commitment to maintaining the developer-first approach on which the company was founded. As Singapore-based Product Evangelist Budha Bhattacharya observes:
“Engineering and development are in our DNA. We’re very driven when it comes to practical problem solving. The weekly GraphQL and API hangouts are targeted towards developers and technical folks. They encourage a sense of curiosity and help build confidence in the topic and the product. It’s a great way to engage.””
Tyk’s work to support developers is very collaborative, as one might expect from an organisation so devoted to open source principles.
“People encourage each other,” comments Budha. “Even if something is going wrong, people rally behind each other and work together to fix it – there’s no blame. There is room for trying things out, room for experimentation, room for failure and room to grow in light of those failures and that experimentation.”
Celebrating women in leadership
Tyk prides itself on its diversity – something not often seen within the tech sector. England-based Head of Operations, Rachna Karwasra, was drawn into the tech space by the pace of innovation that she saw. Her years at Tyk have been far from the stereotypical experience that one might expect from a ‘tech bro’ environment. Rachna comments:
“At Tyk, we have the openness to do things differently and a lesser degree of prejudice : good ideas are welcomed from anyone. I enjoy working with people and the culture is fantastic.
“For me, success is ‘Being challenged. Being recognized’. And, by this standard, I have been succeeding every day in Tyk and enabling others to do the same. As a society, we still have many more ceilings to break for all aspiring women to believe in what they deserve. I am so glad that my work helps power a train moving to break the barriers down.
“I truly feel empowered by leadership at Tyk. This is something I really value: that there aren’t restrictions. There is a huge level of trust and co-ownership.”
Moving on up
The organisation is also highly committed to upward mobility. That doesn’t mean a rigid hierarchy with pre-determined opportunities. Instead, staff are supported to evolve and grow within their roles and also to evolve and grow the roles themselves. There are many examples of Tyklings changing position multiple times as they grow with the business.
For Ain Sahimi, that meant the opportunity to move from graphic design to UI. Ain has enrolled as a part-time student with one of the design schools in Singapore while working for Tyk, initially as a Graphic Designer and now as a UI Designer. She states:
“Tyk is such an amazing company to work and grow in. I never thought I’d be doing what I love to do, today. Four years ago, I started off as a junior and worked my way up to be the mid-weight designer. I then started to delve into UI work for the UX team and fell in love with making things not only beautiful but functional.
“I was really inspired by the UX designers I worked with and made a decision to study UX design, playing with the idea that one day, I’d be just like them. Juggling work and school wasn’t easy, but Tyk gave me the full support and love that I needed. From taking a break to finish up my school projects to giving me mentorship programs to further let me apply my knowledge to the work done at Tyk.
“Opportunities then came knocking and I am now Tyk’s UI Designer. Who would have thought that little dream at the back of my head would turn into reality?”
At the core of all of this is radical responsibility. Each Tykling is trusted: trusted to undertake work in their area of expertise; trusted to share that expertise with their colleagues; and trusted to work where and when they wish.
It’s a concept that encourages every individual to take ownership for what they deliver and take pride in the quality of their work. Whether in a customer facing role or behind the scenes, each Tykling is supported to excel.
Over in Paraguay, one of Tyk’s first employees, Senior Go Developer Matías Insaurralde, has seen the organisation achieve huge growth over the past few years. During that time, Matías has chosen his own working hours and location, enjoying the opportunity to fit his work life around his ‘life life’ – something which every Tykling has the opportunity to do.
In times of feeling a sense of ownership at Tyk, Matías comments:
“Something that I really like is our squad structure. We have small teams and different squads focus on different parts of the product or different ideas. You feel like you own a lot of the process. It’s part of our culture of radical responsibility.”
Chris Taylor, Head of Customer Operations, has also enjoyed the empowering nature of radical responsibility and Tyk’s remote-first approach. During his time with the organisation, he has managed to complete a business degree and moved from Kent to Carlisle. He has also connected with and supported Tyk clients around the globe. Chris comments:
“I get to work with clients and organisations from all over the world, meaning I get a ton of exposure to other industries and teams and get to help solve their unique challenges. Our clients are all at the cutting edge of technology and it’s exciting to see some of the work being done with Tyk as a key part.
“The best thing about working for Tyk are the folks who work here. As we hire remotely and from anywhere in the world we have the best of the best, everyone who works at Tyk is extremely talented and it pushes me to be better every day.”
That drive to do better means enhanced support for Tyk’s clients and an environment in which creativity and innovation can flourish. As Atlanta-based Consulting Success Engineer Travis Johnson observes, everyone benefits:
“Working with our customers in a remote fashion presents some unique challenges and I believe opportunities as well. As we all know, given the state of the world right now, in-person meetings are not really en vogue, so having to engage clients in different ways to help ensure they’re happy and successful is a must.
“Tyk, being a remote-first company, I feel that we are specially suited to meet these challenges. Internally, engaging one another, trusting and respecting each other, and having an open mind all while chasing a common goal is core to the day-to-day experience here and a huge contributor to our success.
“This being how we work with one another, it very much translates over to how we work with and engage our clients as well. Whether it’s in person or remote, being empathetic, being present, and having a listening ear and a positive attitude are all critical to breaking down barriers and getting everyone on the same page.”
Building the impossible
These solid foundations of happy staff and happy customers can support great things, as Polish Product Owner Agata Witkowska points out:
“When you look at Universal Data Graph – a very new concept on the market – and think where it came from, I think this is the thing I love the most about the way we build products. It was born out of a frustration and a thought of, ‘Hey! It can’t be that hard to make it better!’ And that very much reflects how Tyk has been born in the first place.
“I love that we haven’t lost that spirit of questioning the status quo and having enough audacity to say, ‘It’s hard? So what? We can do it anyway!’ I think this belief we have in our product and our ability to deliver the impossible translates very well into the confidence our customers have in us. It gives all of us an enormous kick to do our best!”
So that’s it – Tyk in a nutshell through the eyes of those who know the company inside out! Like what you hear? Then maybe it’s time to join us…
The Tyk team is expanding all the time. If you want to join, take a browse through their current vacancies.