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Interview with the Team at IO Global (IOHK) - Biggest Achievements in 2021 and Plans for the Future

Mihaela Popa 20 October, 2021 | 6 min read

Founded in 2015, IO Global (IOHK) is one of the world’s pre-eminent blockchain research and engineering companies, best known for the Cardano blockchain platform.

Cardano is often called a third-generation blockchain because it can run smart contracts and is designed to do everything previous blockchains can do, but faster, more reliably, and at a lower cost. The media have dubbed it the ‘green blockchain’ because it uses a tiny fraction of the energy to run its ‘proof of stake’ network as earlier blockchains.

We chatted with the team at IO Global about the projects they are currently working on, their plans for the future, culture, interviewing process, as well as what qualities they’re looking for when hiring an engineer.

If you're interested in working for IOG, you can take a look at their open roles here.

What makes working at IO Global unique?

A founding ambition of IO Global is to create a blockchain-based alternative financial system. This will not only challenge the established global banking network, but give access to billions of people around the world who are presently excluded. Projects in Africa, Mongolia, and Georgia are already helping improve the lives of millions of people.

We are a fully decentralized, remote-working organization committed to the highest principles of academic rigour and evidence-based software development. Ideas are proven by academics before being implemented, tested, and released as groundbreaking high-assurance blockchain products for public and private sector clients.

We have people in over 50 countries and speak multiple languages. Our teams are diverse and multicultural. You are likely to find yourself working with people in different time zones on projects. Many prefer to work from home, others share a convenient city office or a collaborative space, others are true digital nomads. It’s up to you.

When it comes to recruitment, we want IOG to be the best in class, so we need to hire, retain, develop and continuously recognise exceptional people. You are the foundation of our success. We will strive to support you in delivering your finest work, alongside other exceptionally talented, amazing individuals making up the IOG community.

What’s been the biggest achievement you’ve had in the last year?

Implementing smart contract capability on Cardano – because this is the future of decentralized finance (DeFi). But working with the Ethiopian education ministry to help improve the prospects of five million pupils in Ethiopia, becoming fully decentralized with 3,000 stake pools, establishing a development fund with $15 million to distribute every six weeks, and signing a deal with the Dish cellular and TV provider in the US are all up there.

Check out some of our latest projects IOG YouTube

Where is IOG headed into the future? What is your long-term vision?

Our long-term vision is cascading disruption, with a focus on developing countries and markets. Giving people a digital identity that they can control is key to this. More coins are set to follow ADA on the Cardano blockchain – the Djed stablecoin is the first – for various purposes.

But it’s not just our vision – companies are using Cardano in ways that we could not have envisaged. Blockchain is an amazing enabling technology. It is being used in healthcare robots that use cutting-edge artificial intelligence. By DJs such as Oakenfold, for more than a million non-fungible tokens (NFTs), for verifying university credentials. Ultimately, blockchain can change the way all organizations, from governments to charities to companies, do business by becoming networks that rely on smart contracts to verify not just financial transactions but provide a form of governance that cannot be corrupted. We call that Decentralized Consortium Funding – DCF – and we think you’ll be hearing a lot more about it.

What are the most exciting projects you’re working on at the moment?

The DCF model has a lot of people at IO Global excited – it’s about getting things done better and faster. It’s a long-term ambition. Right now, we’re running all the projects mentioned above, and trying not to spill the beans about so many others that are about to be announced! Fundamental to these is our Atala software suite covering digital identity and credentials, and product traceability and authentication. The Plutus and Marlowe smart contract language platforms are being constantly improved. There are countless other ideas we want to turn into beautiful and elegantly engineered software that will change billions of lives around the world.

Read more about our projects here: What is Cardano IO Research Cardano Blog Atala Atala Prism Adrestia Mantis Daedalus Wallet Yoroi Wallet Github Repo

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Tell us more about the tech stack at IOG. What languages, tools and technologies are you using?

We have a mix of technologies across our business:

  • Haskell
  • Scala
  • Rust
  • JavaScript / TypeScript
  • Nix, NixOps, Hydra, Flakes
  • Formal Methods
  • Cryptography
  • Docker
  • Kubernetes
  • Nomad
  • AWS

How would you describe the internal culture at IOG?

At IO Global, our vision is to build the systems of the world for everyone, everywhere. What does that mean? It means we are obsessed with making the impossible possible, and are always searching for the most ambitious, imaginative and passionate people across the world to join our team.

We are a people first organization, and we are also a mission-driven organization that values impact, and careful and considered deliberation and execution. We place high value on each and every contributor in our company and encourage ideas to flow from anywhere. Collaboration is encouraged and rewarded. We focus less on how to create hierarchies and more on building great teams of people who operate within reliable and adaptable governance structures, fuelled by an innovative culture that enables people to be brave enough to do their best work, even if that means making a few mistakes along the way. We encourage a collaborative, supportive and respectful culture.

iohk team.png

Our core values are:

  • Practice transparency in all that we do: We work to create products in a culture of transparency. All our code is open source, the academic theories underpinning our products are published for peer review, and we regularly publish information about our progress in several media.
  • Collaborate across the globe: We strive to always collaborate and integrate the interests of all stakeholders in any project or effort. We practice decentralized decision-making and manage power and control in a decentralized environment.
  • Embrace diversity of thought: We encourage diversity of thinking where we collaborate and embrace creative ideas, foster innovation, exploration, and experimentation, and value the differences of our team to create an engaged workforce.
  • Always be you: We hire you for you, and value your unique contribution. Be your authentic self and be proud of who you are!
  • Be free to share ideas: We nurture a culture of freedom to express ideas and speak up without concern of making mistakes. Good ideas will always be recognised and accredited, and we will learn from our mistakes, explore ways to correct them, and provide a more sustainable solution for the future.
  • Respect others and reach beyond ourselves: We always strive to act with respect towards our colleagues and within the virtual and global communities in which we operate.

Can you tell us a bit about the interview process at IOG?

  • Screening call by recruitment team. We start off by wanting to know more about you, what your goals and ambitions are and providing more information on the company and teams.
  • Technical challenge. Most positions have a challenge that’s been developed by the hiring team. These are completed at home and designed to provide us with an idea on how you approach a problem, thought process and coding style.
  • Interview with the team. This may involve two or three stages, depending on seniority of the role. Within the process you will meet stakeholders and enable us and you to align on the requirements of the role and understand each other’s attributes and overall suitability for each other.
  • Interview with HR. Everyone meets HR to ensure you as an individual understand the role and company, and to answer any questions you might have.
  • The offer. The final piece in the puzzle. HR sends offers out and manages this process.

What makes an engineer successful at IOG, what are the qualities you’re looking for?

We have scaled rapidly, in a fast-evolving industry, this means we have designed processes and structure as we’ve grown. Naturally, as an engineering company, we require strong technical skills but also the right attitude to being part of a growing company, learning new technologies, the right way to apply them and looking ahead about how to improve them or make use of concepts and ideas from our research division.

If you want to push yourself, solve complex problems and be part of a fast-growing company, then IO Global could be the team you’ve been looking to join! Take a look at their open roles and apply here.

Author's avatar
Mihaela Popa
Community Manager at WorksHub

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