Snapper was launched in 2008 as a fare collection and micropayments system in Wellington. Eight years on, as well as continuing to support Wellington’s fare payment system, Snapper is continuously delivering innovative customer-focused technology around the world, partnering with VIX technology to launch Dublin’s successful Leap top-up app.
So how has Snapper made the transition from a local fare collection system provider to an internationally-focused tech and innovation company? We thought we would take this opportunity to pull back the curtain and share our key moment of transition.
How it all began
In 2014, faced with an overflowing backlog of projects, we were struggling to grow our small team of experienced developers. Rather than continuing to search for experience, we decided to grow it - and the Snapper internship program was born.
Drawing on the pool of graduates created by Wellington’s world-class universities allowed us, to increase capacity as required to respond to ever-growing business demands. All while offering students the opportunity to further their experience by tackling real problems in a fast-paced business environment.
The arrival of the internship program meant some of our experienced development team roles transitioned to teaching as doing. With mentorship and oversight of the intern development team becoming part of their focus.
As a unified team, coaches and interns worked together to rebuild the Snapper Mobile app from the ground up, delivering a new version with an improved user interface and new core functionality. This version of the app has a 4.0 rating on Google Play with 28,000 plus downloads.
Learning to mentor
As workloads continued to increase, we developed the internship program even further. Scaling the program presented its own challenges, balancing the time needed to provide interns with the right support and direction, whilst continuing to deliver quality product.
To support new interns, Snapper developed a mentoring system where graduates of our internship program themselves became mentors for new recruits. We also pulled in the expertise of some of the talented partners and suppliers we work with to mentor our interns in their key disciplines.
“We’ve built up a knowledge base to help the new interns adapt quickly to the Snapper environment, despite the steep learning curve.” Jacob Dulligal, Snapper developer and original intern.
The program today
Today, Snapper has an eco-system of experience with seven separate teams led by developers who have graduated from the internship program who are mentored by an experienced team working in each core discipline including software development and architecture, UX/design, business analysis and security.
What we’ve learned
We’ve learned that coaching and support pays off, that growing a team from the ground up gives us a stable and productive workforce and that the well-coached become great coaches themselves in turn (geddit?! Intern!).