Full Stack Devs Wanting To Make an Impact: Willful Has The Perfect Opportunity For You

Bloom Blog
5 min readFeb 4, 2022

If you’re a full-stack developer who wants to build genuinely helpful products, your next career move should be to Willful.

Willful’s core product — affordable digital wills and estate documents for Canadians — brings peace of mind to thousands of families nationwide as they begin the tough conversations around end-of-life planning. Your work would be essential to the company’s mission of ensuring all Canadian adults have access to easy and affordable estate planning tools.

Beyond a powerful mission, working at Willful means huge growth opportunities in any direction you want and immense founder-led efforts to build an engaging and impactful workplace.

If you’re already sold on Willful, check out Bloom’s job board for exclusive Willful jobs. If you want to learn more, keep reading.

1. You’ll get to work up and down the tech stack

Matt McFadyen, the CTO at Willful, is very clear that the company is in its early stages, with only 15 people total and five employees between engineering and product. That means you’d get to work up and down the tech stack:

  • User Interface and our design system with React, Material UI and Storybook.
  • Integration layer with Redux, Redux-sagas and Reselect.
  • API with Ruby on Rails and ActiveRecord.
  • Database with Postgres.
  • Infrastructure and deployments.

Matt describes working at Willful as an opportunity to own the creation of an entire product that is transforming an industry, compared to narrow, feature-focused teams at bigger companies. At those larger companies, you might only ever work on a single feature. At Willful, you get to work on the whole product, one that is rapidly expanding.

2. Your code means something tangible in people’s lives

Willful’s features do more than make wills more accessible; they create peace of mind in thousands of peoples’ lives.

For instance, the company recently launched an appointee notification feature to help people know what steps they need to follow in regards to their will. This simple feature — along with bigger releases on Willful’s roadmap — brings incredible peace of mind to end-of-life conversations, since many people are unaware that they are included in someone else’s estate.

The company has ambitious plans to add even more features, particularly as digital wills and estates become more common across Canada. Your job at Willful would be to apply modern technology and user-friendly interfaces to digitize each step of the estate planning process.

3. You get the opportunity to help shape and scale the engineering team

What sets Willful apart from other companies is how much impact new hires will get to have on not only their role but the evolution of work processes as Willful scales.

As the company grows — with people like you! — part of your role will be helping to evolve the best practices, processes, and documentation that the team will use to scale. That means assisting in choosing new technologies as the company grows, shaping the culture, improving tooling or developer quality of life tools, and building the process and documentation that goes along with it.

Unlike larger companies where the process is already built (for better or worse) or smaller startups flying by the seat of their pants, if you join Willful you’re in the unique position of having enough momentum to function with the opportunity to actually create the future you want to work in.

4. You have massive career growth potential

Willful is riding a lot of excitement coming into 2022, and that means enormous growth potential for developers:

1. Product: Working on the entire product means an opportunity to customize your career over time to become the specialist you want to be, with the generalist background to solve any problem.

2. Company: After securing a deal with Michele Romanow on Dragon’s Den, there’s national buzz about the company that means more demand for the core product and new features.

3. Legal atmosphere: Laws are changing (or could be changed) across Canada to allow digital wills more easily. That means huge opportunities to build more products with Willful as the winds change.

From Matt’s perspective, this environment is perfect for an individual contributor looking to move into a team leader role quickly, or a junior individual contributor who wants to rapidly level up their skills.

5. You’d be joining a truly people-centric team

When you join Willful, you’ll join a team that cares about balance and people as individuals.

Balance:

  • Extra time off outside of regular vacation, including half-day Fridays in the summer and “Willful days” scheduled throughout the year, often tacked onto a long weekend.
  • A “Willful Recharge Week” during which the office is closed between Christmas and New Years.
  • Parental leave top up.
  • Flexible working hours to account for busy schedules, families with kids, and extracurricular activities.
  • Education budget to hone your engineering skills or learn something new (even if it’s a new hobby you want to try!)

People:

  • Leadership makes sure to explicitly celebrate individual accomplishments like having a baby, getting married, adopting, getting a pet, etc.
  • The company uses major holidays as an excuse to bring people together (including flying all remote employees to the Toronto headquarters) for parties and gatherings.
  • Educational lunch & learns, virtual and in-person events throughout the year.
  • Participation in an employee stock option plan (ESOP) so you can actually own a piece of the company.

These are just some examples of Willful’s culture and benefits, but it needs to be fully experienced to be truly understood.

Developers: we know you have a lot of choice in employers. Willful can offer a unique workplace with impact, people who genuinely care about one another, and a product that generates a lot of excitement (and actual demand, with growing revenues to match). If you’re looking for a workplace where you get to be a truly impactful team member in every sense of the word, there’s no place like Willful.

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