Alistair Forbes, General Manager, GFI

Launched as a small software start-up in Dundee, the business has grown dramatically since it was acquired in 2009 by global technology firm, GFI Software. As General Manager Alistair Forbes explains, the GFI MAX Business Unit in Scotland looks far and wide to find the right calibre of people to join their growing team.

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GFI Software is an award-winning software company with teams in the US, Europe, Australia, Asia and Scotland. Our focus in the GFI MAX Business Unit here in Scotland is on providing tools to IT service companies that look after small and medium sized businesses.

We’ve developed an integrated platform that pulls together all the tools they need into a single dashboard, so IT service providers can see all the systems they’re controlling for their customers, all in one place.

Always looking for talented people

Our biggest challenge is finding people of the right calibre. We grew our engineering team by 80% last year and expect to do the same this year, so we’re always actively recruiting and we look far and wide to find the right people.

As a baseline, we look for candidates with an undergraduate level degree in computer sciences or an equivalent qualification. But it’s also important that they’re motivated and want to contribute ideas.

We have a really diverse mix of nationalities working here in Scotland with people from Italy, Germany, Brazil, Poland and Portugal, to name just a few.

Opportunities to learn

Some of our employees have Masters degrees before they come to us but we’ve also sponsored people through their Masters programme.

It’s vital that our staff keep learning and developing, so as well as standard training activities and access to online learning, we also send staff on specialist courses and actively encourage people to research new technologies and to bring that knowledge back to the team.

What it’s like to work for us

We play close attention to the culture of our teams. Now that we have over 100 employees in Scotland it’s important to make sure we retain good team spirit and that everyone feels their work is challenging, stimulating and rewarding.

One of our key drivers is new product development and identifying new technologies. That might mean working with one of the teams elsewhere in the business and in some cases travelling overseas.

And because we’re part of a large global organisation there are always opportunities to progress. One guy who came to us as a standard level software developer moved up to senior developer, then team leader and is now relocating to head up the team in the new London office.

Living in Scotland

Scotland offers a huge variety of things to do and because it’s not a big country, it’s fairly easy to access a tremendous range of activities.

Edinburgh is cosmopolitan, with an international mix of people and world-class cultural events. Dundee is a smaller city but it has its own active community and it’s ideal for getting out into the mountains and the countryside, so it’s a fantastic place to live if you like an outdoor life.

There’s absolutely no question that there is huge demand here in Scotland for people with the right skills in software development, from GFI and other companies like us.