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by the graze technology teams

My first week at graze

James Weaver on September 21, 2016

Hello, I’m James. I am the newest member of the graze technology team. I graduated from Durham University in 2013 with a degree in Computer Science. Before working at graze I was a web and iOS developer at a startup in London. I particularly enjoy working with frameworks such as React JS and Express, and building ‘dynamic’ static sites with Middleman.

The Application and Interview Process

I met the graze tech team at Silicon Milkroundabout. I found the team friendly and approachable, and the projects they are working on varied and interesting. A few days later I had an introductory phone call from Patrick, a technical project manager at graze. We spoke about the role and what to expect from the interview process. I was sent a coding challenge to build a web application to retrieve, display and rate graze snacks. I built the application using a newer PHP framework called Phalcon. I was interested in trying Phalcon as it is delivered as a C extension, and I had read some positive comments about it on Hacker News.

After submitting the coding challenge I had a call to discuss it with the team, I was asked to explain some of the decisions I made as well as some more general technical questions. The final stage of the interview process was at the office in Richmond with senior members of the tech team. The office is stunning, it’s on the banks of the River Thames and spans three floors. The reception is full of awards, past graze boxes adorn the walls, including one of the first to ever be sent. You get a real sense that the company takes a lot of pride in its work.

The interview itself was part-technical but primarily it was a cultural-fit style interview. The team were keen to find out what motivates me, the types of projects I enjoy working on and what sort of role I would like to play at graze. My first impressions at Silicon Milkroundabout were confirmed at the interview, I left greatly impressed and hugely excited.

I kept my fingers crossed and I am delighted to say that I accepted a position at graze the next week.

Before I officially started I met some of the team for a Wild West Tech Talk in Richmond. I have since learned that meetups are a big part of the tech culture at graze. Team members are encouraged to attend meetups as well as to host them.

My First Week

On my first day at graze I was shown to my desk which was piled up with gifts (headphones, a hoodie, t-shirts, snacks!) as well as a brand new Macbook and display. Getting set up was incredibly simple as graze tech make heavy use of Docker, even in the production environment. Within minutes I had pulled down the images from docker hub and had my local environment up and running.

After getting set up I was given a series of new starter tasks to complete. These are designed to help new developers familiarise themselves with the codebase and the development workflow. The tasks covered front and backend, like building templates, adding new controllers and updating database schemas. By the end of the week I was already contributing to the codebase, adding features to the account pages on

My first week has flown by. I am being encouraged to share ideas and to suggest improvements. My colleagues are helpful and knowledgeable and overall I couldn’t be happier.

If you have any questions about the interview process or what it’s like to work at graze then please leave a comment below and I’ll be happy to help.