Working at Atomic

Article summary

Our software product development process requires hardworking and happy developers, designers, and testers.

Currently, we’re looking to hire web, application and mobile developers, embedded developers, user experience/visual designers, and exploratory testers.

If you believe you would be a positive addition to our molecule please apply here.

Why work at Atomic

Let’s start by getting the simple stuff out of the way. We have competitive pay, excellent benefits, quarterly profit sharing, a generous 401k program, subsidized laptop purchases, vacation time, and paid company holidays.

The more compelling components of working for Atomic are better understood through our values, culture, work, and awards.


Atomic holds a strong set of core, shared values. We sum them up in four short terms because we talk about them a lot.

Give a shit — We are successful at Atomic because everyone cares. We care about our customers, our company, our colleagues, and our professions. Our care for our customers is easily observed by how we strive to always deliver value on a weekly basis, producing high quality code, never missing major deadlines and understanding the business success of the products we are developing. Company care is expressed through our willingness to go the extra mile to delight our customers and share Atomic’s marketing effort. Evidence of our care for each other comes through our interest in each others’ professional development and happiness. Finally, we care about the profession by giving back. We present at conferences, organize trade associations (SoftwareGR, and contribute code to the open source community.

Teach and learn — We love to learn, and we’re good at sharing. Atomic shows its commitment to company learning by sponsoring conference attendance, book purchases, and other events (Agile-UX retreat, Startup Weekend, etc.). Atoms show their commitment to learning and teaching by attending and organizing user groups, brown bags, and personal professional development. Thriving here at Atomic requires a willingness to hone your craft and share your knowledge with the team.

Share the pain — At Atomic we share both responsibility and pain. For example, it’s not uncommon for our president to take out the trash. Sharing the pain is also real in the midst of executing some of our more traditional tasks. Unfortunately, in the real world not every assignment is always exciting (although our reputation brings us mostly really great projects). Atomic shares this burden by not allowing any assignment to ever be permanent. It’s in our customers’ best interest to staff projects with a team of two. Marketing is another vital aspect of our business. We’ve distributed the work of marketing to everyone in the company; a shared burden is a lighter burden. Atomic’s marketing voice is authentic and diverse, and that helps generate a stream of interesting new clients.

Own it — People at Atomic are empowered to own what they do. We don’t have traditional project managers. Developers and designers interact directly with our clients on each project. This requires extremely talented people, and creates a strong sense of personal ownership. People own their assigned project. Atomic reinforces the value of “owning it” by sharing a large chunk of the company’s profit via an “equal share” quarterly bonus and 401k profit sharing. Additionally, official ownership in our company is not closed. Through the Atomic Plan, exceptional long-term employees are offered the option to buy in and own a small chunk of the company.


Atomic has a strong culture. When hiring, we’re looking for a cultural match before and above any particular technology experience. We assign all new hires a Culture Pair to help transmit and model our culture, ensuring a smooth transition.

Commitment — We’re committed to our people. We’ve never laid anyone off due to lack of work. We’re also committed to each other. On the rare occasions when we make a hiring mistake, we fix it and help the mis-matched person along to their next position quickly. Atomic has a very high retention rate. Currently we have more than 85% of all the person months of work experience since our founding in 2001, still in the company (people do well and stick around).

Trust & Responsibility — We have very few hard and fast rules. We have a Guidelines wiki instead of an Employee Manual. Our office, our practices, and our guidelines assume personal responsibility and trust. An anonymous survey by the Sloan Foundation of Atomic employees found that 78% of us strongly agreed with the statement “I can trust what managers say in my organization.” That’s twice the national average.

Consulting — “Think like a consultant, act like an owner”—that’s what we expect from all our employees. You can see evidence of this consultant orientation in our client relationships, the sales opportunities employees bring in, our shared marketing effort, and an understanding of our financial model. We meet that attitude towards employment with regular investment in career development, profit sharing, and our home-grown employee ownership plan (“The Atomic Plan”).

Transparency — Our open book management policy ensures every employee gets updates on the financial health of the company on a quarterly basis. Everyone knows the condition of the company and feels connected to its ongoing success. We share project, customer, and company information on a daily basis with a company wide standup.

Balance — Work is an incredibly important part of our lives, but it’s not the only important aspect of each of our lives. In an industry that coined the term “death march”, we believe strongly everyone should strive for a healthy work/life balance. Our project management practices enable us to meet customer deadlines with high-quality software and not work unpredictable hours. A histogram of our developers work weeks over ten years clearly illustrates more than 90% of those weeks fall in the 35-45 hours per week range.

Free Snacks — Caffeinated developers are productive; full designers are happy. Plus the community snack table fosters ad-hoc cross-team collaboration.

Fun — For starters, what other company brings in a bartender once a month? We also have quarterly parties when the whole company (and significant others) go out for dinner together. In addition to these scheduled gatherings, we also have a fun office environment. Our open office environment fosters collaboration while also lending itself to shared jokes and playful antics. We find creative ways to play together as well. We ride together in the Fisk Knob Time Trial every year, we organize innebandy and softball teams, we host weekly board game nights.


One of the most exciting aspects of Atomic is the variety of work we do. Our experience spans many technologies (Rails to embedded C), industries (automotive, finance), client size (single person start-ups to the World Bank), and locations (all over the US and occasionally in Europe and Asia).

The software we write comes in many forms. It could be the entire offering for a startup customer (Bloomfire), or it may be firmware running on an established client’s device (X-Rite MA9x), it could also be a simulation training tool for a world class consulting business (AGI Goldratt Institute Simulator), or a mobile application that helps an insurance company better connect with its customers (Priority Health — Mobile Member Card).

At Atomic we consider ourselves experts at becoming experts. This means we need to be able to quickly come up to speed on new technologies and domains in order to best serve the diverse and complex needs of our customers. In a nutshell, working at Atomic is not boring, and it will require you to be a fast learner who is willing to try new tricks.

You can find more examples of our work in our Case Studies page.


Atomic is an outstanding company and a great place to work. In 2010 alone, we more than proved both of those points by winning three prestigious business awards:

During the application process for the Sloan Foundation award, our employees were anonymously surveyed. They responded to questions around skill development, trust in management, fairness in compensation, control and influence, creativity, ethical behavior, and satisfaction with benefits. Atomic consistently ranked at the top of the 2010 award winners, and noticeably above the national average in the employee survey.

If you are a talented, hardworking, and happy person, then please apply. Atomic is the sum of our parts and we get stronger with each addition.

  • […] Object's Blog On Software Design & Development « Working at Atomic Running Low on Disk Space Using MySQL Replication? » Help us find great people, we’ll […]

  • […] a Professional Problem SolverBy Justin Kulesza | Published: August 9, 2011Atomic Object is looking to hire a professional problem solver to join me as part of a support team with the company.What does a […]

  • […] path. Scheduling was easier. We all got the same jokes and flexed our muscles in the same way. We gave a shit about fewer things. Sigh. On the other hand, I’ll pick an interesting problem over the status […]

  • […] internship can lead to future employment at Atomic. Candidates should review Atomic’s website and blog to understand what it’s like working at […]

  • […] outside of the regular work day is an important component and manifestation of Atomic’s give a shit and teach and learn values. If you aren’t growing, you’re falling […]

  • […] Interviewing and hiring are serious business here at Atomic. We’re selfish. We want to hire and work with the very best people, who will bring their formidable skills to bear on Atomic’s work, who share our values and fit well with our culture. […]

  • Comments are closed.