Ben Smith spent more than 20 years teaching before joining Go1 in 2022. But even while he was a teacher, Ben was always a learner first.
During his time in the classroom, Ben taught a wide variety of subjects, including physical education, science, math, outdoor education, learning support, IT, and even coffee culture. His desire to teach many of these topics was fueled by his personal interest in learning about them. “I've always loved learning new things and developing myself,” Ben said. “Through different parts of my life, I was learning different things and applying them to my teaching.”
In 2017, Ben decided he was ready for a career change. While thinking about what he should do next, he considered one of his long-standing interests: coding. Ben had previously tried his hand at developing a few web apps – including a stat-taking app for the volleyball team he was coaching – and he loved the process. “I've always been involved in technical things,” he said. “I've loved coding and I've run a few businesses on the side of teaching where I've hired developers to do different bits and pieces of work. So, I decided to go into coding and software development.”
Once he decided to pursue a career in coding, Ben’s next step was to enroll in a software engineering program. As a dad of three who worked full-time, going back to school was no small task. Completing the program required him to spend most of his evenings studying. "Most nights, from eight o'clock – once the kids were in bed – to about midnight, I'd be studying and developing my coding skills,” he said.
After several years of hard work and late-night studying, Ben was ready to find a job. That’s when he came across Go1 – although it wasn’t the first time he had heard of the company.
Earlier in his career, Ben had built a booking management system for health and wellness practices, which he then took to a sponsored business accelerator program. At the accelerator program, he met the founders of GoCatalyze – the company now known as Go1. “Andrew, Chris, and Chris were in that same program, and so I got to know them there and they were very smart cookies and worked really hard and did some pretty great things,” Ben recounted. “I've been following what they've been up to, so I looked into the company and saw there were job openings."
Ben applied for a graduate developer role at Go1 and got the job. His role as a developer involves building up the Go1 codebase and fixing problems one ticket at a time. “I'm working on different coding jobs as part of a team, as part of the bigger picture for Go1,” he said.
Ben has found that he’s been able to learn and grow at Go1, due in part to his willingness to ask questions and admit when he needs help. “I think I've been able to grow quite quickly because I'm comfortable saying, ‘Hey, I don't understand this. Give me a hand,’” he said. “There's plenty of things I don't know. As you go along, you understand even more that there's so much to know. No one's going to know everything and you're going to have to ask questions.”
Plus, Ben’s team is always eager to support him through any challenges he encounters. “Everyone at Go1 is supportive and encouraging and there to help,” he said. “It's been really good to be able to continue learning new technologies and having the trust and faith from everyone at Go1 that any trouble I've had is okay – we can get through it.”
In addition to its culture of learning, Ben says one of his favorite things about working at Go1 is the company’s transparency, especially compared to his previous job. “There’s a lot of bureaucracy in teaching, and I've had the pleasure of having amazing principals and working with some really encouraging, growth-focused people, but I've also had a lot of time where there's been just a lot of red tape and a lot of closed secrecy,” Ben recounted. “There's a lot of blame for when things go wrong without much celebration of when things go right.”
“Go1's not like that at all,” he continued. “Right from the start, everything is transparent. It's open. In any workplace, people are going to have good times and hard times, and there's going to be positives and negatives anywhere. What I've found is that Go1 has been just completely open and honest about everything that's going on. I just have complete faith that all the actions that are being taken all the way through the company are for the best possible outcomes for the company and everybody in the company. And it just feels like a wonderful, open, welcoming place."
Ultimately, Ben is happy with his career transition, and he feels Go1 enables him to keep learning every day. “It’s an amazing place to begin a career,” Ben said. “I’ve found it's been a really encouraging and easy place for me to grow and improve and put effort into. It’s a joy.”