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The growth spurt: Happy 5th birthday, Secure Code Warrior

28th January 2020

When you see “growth” in a business context, it almost always relates to metrics, revenue, funding, employee numbers… all that stuff I didn’t have to think about a decade ago.

I could have started this article with all those facts and figures; they are undeniably impressive and our ongoing company trajectory is strong. However, for me, these numbers don’t reflect what I am most proud of in 2019. The reality is, we have built a truly spectacular team of people who care well beyond bare finance metrics. We’ve experienced a “growth spurt”, one that has shaped the enormous heart of this company now and into the future.

Allow me to demonstrate this, dear reader:

Our first Warriors Give Back event.

We established the Warriors Give Back program, a global all-hands charity initiative that drove more than 10 events over 12 months in Sydney, Boston, London, and Bruges:

  • 50 Warriors built bicycles with the Bikes for Tykes organization, giving them to underprivileged children in Sydney
  • 9 Warriors in Boston volunteered at the Cradles to Crayons Giving Factory, sorting and bundling donations for local children in need
  • Team members supported homelessness, while also experiencing a tiny slice of what it’s like to shop for a week’s worth of meals, with just ten dollars in hand and no heating or refrigeration
  • In Bruges, Warriors helped 100 kids with CyberSkool activities, including building robots, hacking, and lock-picking
  • Warriors purchased items for Christmas hampers, as well as toys for kids in need with Wesley City Connect
  • Our London-based Warriors sponsored a local primary school with equipment, and joined the school's environmental team to clean up their playing fields
  • We have partnered with TechLadies + the WING, providing free resume help and one-on-one career coaching
  • We shopped for holiday gifts for local families in need as part of our end of year celebration, partnering with the ABCD Adopt a Family Program. Their service pairs families in need with individuals, non-profits, and companies who want to help a family during the holiday season or throughout the year.

And, with one of the worst bushfire seasons on record in Australia, we pulled together to donate to the Rural Fire Service and WIRES just before the year came to a somber end. It is an ongoing crisis where nothing feels like enough, but I was touched by the empathy shown across our global team.

These Warriors Give Back events remind us regularly that there is more to life than metrics, and we are all more grounded for making the effort to walk in the shoes of others who are less fortunate. Humanity and humility are key in sustaining a positive culture, and our team champions this at every opportunity.

Still here for the numbers?

In terms of our product, we created 1727 new secure coding challenges in 2019, across ten new language frameworks. This is a mammoth achievement for our engineering team, churning out an average of 144 new challenges per month - more than any previous year to date. In terms of our users, some interesting numbers surfaced as well:

  • The most popular language/framework was Java: Spring, with 455,973 secure coding challenges completed
  • Pseudocode was an unexpected superstar, with 295,763 challenges played
  • The most popular vulnerability category is Injection Flaws, which is no surprise. It’s number one in the OWASP Top 10, and number one for us.

Our people in numbers.

When I first started this company, I made it very clear that diversity was going to be instrumental in our future success. I don’t want to be stuck in an echo chamber of people just like me; the difference of opinion, culture, gender, diets, and race is part of the magic in a global startup. As of now, our team represents:

  • 17 different nationalities
  • 53% male, 47% female employees
  • At least 9 different dietary requirements (there have been times where the only thing we could all safely eat was popcorn)
  • Multiple faiths in every global location.

I’m immensely proud of our vibrant team, and it is evident in everything we do.

Oh, and yes, we have grown more than 100% in revenue, completed our Series-B funding round (representing the largest-ever US investment in an Australian cybersecurity venture), rapidly scaled to a team of 120, and opened up new offices in Portland and Singapore.

It is our fifth birthday, and though the company is the same age as my daughter, the similarities between their journeys have ended. Thankfully, I still have a few years left to watch her become a happy, healthy grown-up. With children, these years zip past in the blink of an eye, but Secure Code Warrior is no longer the cheeky toddler. Faster than I could have imagined five years ago, we’ve had to come of age and move out on our own. We’re up for traveling the hyper-growth path ahead, but I’m still getting used to the idea that the grown-up in charge is me.

Pieter is the Co-Founder and CEO of Secure Code Warrior, as well as a principal instructor for the SANS Institute. He also co-founded BruCON, one of the most awesome hacking conferences on the planet.

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