Do unicorns exist? In the Australian tech scene they do.
For the longest time Australian unicorns (privately held start-up companies valued at over US$1 billion) were the most endangered of species, with just one such company – Atlassian – flying the Aussie flag. But January 2018 saw the Down Under Unicorn Club double its membership, with an entrant that surprised many an industry expert.
Graphic design tool website Canva.
And today we’re going to take a peek inside this rare beast, and learn all there is to know about Canva careers.
Unicorns are understandably the most highly prized destination for tech professionals. To be part of something so successful, so disruptive and so cutting edge is an exciting prospect, and one that attracts professionals from the very top of the talent tree.
Let’s take a closer look at this Aussie success story, and find out a little bit more about the Canva jobs and opportunities that could see you helping to drive the company forward.
What is Canva all about?
In its own words, Canva creates tools that empower the world to design. The platform makes design simple for everyone, giving users the ability to quickly and easily craft their own imagery by providing professional-level photos, graphics, fonts and templates, and enabling them to be played around through a simple user interface.
The resulting designs can be used for both print and web media, and can be generated at zero cost thanks to the company’s freemium model. The platform has proven a hit with both non-designers and professionals alike.
The idea for Canva came to Melanie Perkins while teaching graphic design programs at university. She found that students often struggled with the basics – the things that form the foundation of good design. This saw her (with the help of Cliff Obrecht) founding Fusion Books, an online design tool which helped students to create their own yearbooks. But the pair quickly realised that the underlying tech had far greater potential than simply helping students to capture their memories. With the help of a third partner, Cameron Adams, Canva was founded on New Year’s Day 2012.
Canva now boasts hundreds of employees working across the globe, with its main offices in Sydney, Manila and San Francisco. The company’s growth has been exponential, with over 10 million users creating over 400 million designs on the platform since its inception.
So what does it feel like to be part of such a young, disruptive and successful company? In a word, unique. Canva is constantly named on ‘best places to work’ lists, including by The Martec as one of the 50 Tech Companies in Australia Everyone Wants to Work for Right Now. It’s fair to say that the company enjoys an employer brand that is the envy of the Australian tech scene. And that’s no fluke.
As an employer, Canva offers almost everything that a passionate and ambitious tech professional could ask for. Do you hope to join a fast-paced and dynamic company? Check. Are you excited by the prospect of working on truly innovative tech that will get into the hands of millions of users? Check. Do you want to progress your career, and be offered the opportunity to grow within a business? Check and check.
Canva boasts one of the highest employer ratings of any Australian company on Glassdoor, with current and past employees giving it no less than 4.7 stars. Every single one of these reviewers are delighted with Perkins as the CEO, and would recommend the workplace to a friend.
The company offers its employees a wealth of benefits. Team members are offered a relocation budget if they need to move for their work, and visa fees are covered for international starters. Many positions include free travel, in the forms of international team building exercises and visits to the company’s other offices in Manila and San Francisco. Canva also pride themselves on diversity, and are constantly empowering women to succeed in their Canva careers.
Personal development is taken seriously, with everything from training grants to subsidized gym memberships offered to employees. The in-office treats include those that professionals have almost come to expect from tech giants; two chefs prepare a delicious breakfast and lunch daily, and an in-house bar – as trendy as any in Sydney – awaits workers when the bell tolls five.
Parents rave about Canva as an employer. A generous leave policy, flexible work hours and arrangements (many employees are given the option to work from home), and an in-office family room make a healthy work/life balance so much easier to achieve.
You can hear more from past and present Canva employees by checking out the company’s anonymous Glassdoor reviews here. But for those who like their information to come straight from the horse’s mouth, let’s hear from a few team members who are happy to set out from the shadows!
A view from the inside Canva careers
As a backend engineer on Canva’s documents team, Chris’s aim is to ensure the Canva user experience is a smooth one. “My team focuses on making sure that all the bread-and-butter things like saving and editing your designs work, so that the other teams can build amazing features on top.” In a team of just two working under the CTO, she admits that hers may not be the typical Canva employee experience. “We’re a pretty small and quiet team. Other teams are a lot different – constant huddles, evenings out – it all depends on the personality fit.”
Chris doesn’t have to search far for motivation in her position. She feels that her and her employer’s values align extremely well, giving her a real sense of purpose. “I love that Canva is democratising design. I love the idea of being able to take something that everyone wants to be able to do, and make that a lot more accessible.”
You can learn more about what Chris’s experience in working at Canva below:
Compared to many Canva team members, Georgia Vidler has quite a long history with the company. Getting her opportunity in late 2015, she is now the leader of the team charged with internationalisation. “Our goal is to make the product as accessible as possible and as useful as possible in as many places as possible, so it’s a pretty big mission!”
She describes the team as diverse, perhaps unsurprising for one labelled international. “We have lots of different personalities, lots of different backgrounds, financial analysts, designers, introverts, extroverts; everything you can think of. But the one thing that binds us all together is that we all want to make an impact. If you want to do that, you’ll probably fit in!”
But how do you get in? Canva’s interviewing process is relatively universal across all positions, notes Vidler. ”You do a take-home challenge which test strategic and problem-solving ability. If you pass that phase you come in for an in-house challenge, followed by a standard interview at the end.” You can hear more about the process and Vidler’s team here:
Shipra Mahindra, the Product Manager of Canva’s mobile team, bursts with pride when talking about her department. “I’m probably part of one of the awesomest teams at Canva! We’re probably one of the loudest teams as well – we crack a lot of jokes. The whole team’s really friendly. We’ve got 20 people from about eight different cultural backgrounds, so I just get to learn so much from every member of my team. It’s pretty cool!”
She highlights the personal development opportunities as one of Canva’s main strengths as an employer. “If you make people aware of what you want to achieve, everyone really gets behind you. We have so many intelligent people that through mentoring we learn so much.”
Click below to hear more about where Mahindra sees the company going, and what opportunities it might hold for tech professionals into the future:
Career paths within Canva
Being a unicorn isn’t enough – Australia’s fastest growing start-up has seriously big plans. In the words of its founder, Canva is currently “about 1% there.” Indeed, this sentiment is reflected in its mission statement:
Driven by a team of talented thinkers, an amazing culture and a remarkable growth trajectory – we’re out to change the world, by empowering everyone to express themselves through the power of design. We’re just getting started.
What does this mean for career paths within Canva? In short, extremely good things. Joining the company when its headcount is in the hundreds will be hugely beneficial when its headcount eventually reaches the thousands. The opportunities to develop and evolve professionally are endless in such a high growth organisation, and when this is coupled with Canva’s preference to promote from within, career trajectory magic can be made.
Careers within the company are many and varied, and are currently grouped into ten different teams:
- Data Science
- Product Management
- Digital Marketing
- Talent Acquisition
- Finance, Accounting & Legal
- Team Happiness
- Team Vibe
While the first eight were self-explanatory, it’s probably safe to assume that the last two teams on that list jumped out at you.
Team Happiness is about as far from a regular HR department as you can get. While still covering the ‘standard’ functions of HR, the team also looks to actively empower Canva employees through development, coaching and wellbeing programs, and is in charge of all of the delightful perks listed earlier.
The sole purpose of Team Vibe is to make the Canva office a great place to work. Headed by Chris Lowe, the office’s resident chef, Vibe are essentially managers of the Canva hotel, providing food, drinks, hospitality and fun to the team. They organise regular activities and events, and do some of their very best work after hours.
Whatever your chosen field, it’s likely that Canva has a position – and indeed a career – to suit.
Salaries at Canva
The following salaries have been reported by current and former Canva employees on Glassdoor (alongside which we’ve listed the average Sydney salary for the same position):
- Software Engineer: $130K (Sydney average: $80K)
- Designer: $95K to $105K (Sydney average: $60K)
These figures, while limited, do suggest that Canva has the resources to hunt for the industry’s top talent and pay them appropriately. Outside of the figures reported first-hand by Canva workers, the following roles are often in demand at the company, and on average command the following salaries in Sydney:
- Frontend Engineer: $75K
- QA Engineer: $71K
- iOS Engineer: $89K
- Android Engineer: $82K
- Data Warehouse Engineer: $102K
- SEO Specialist: $65K
- Product Manager: $102K
The Canva offices
As perhaps the country’s most exciting tech start-up, it’s hardly surprising that the Canva offices were named on The Martec’s list of The 18 Coolest Offices in Australia. Indeed, major overseas publications have even seen fit to profile the company’s Sydney digs. With an atmosphere more reminiscent of a tropical retreat, the Canva team is treated to some truly mouth-watering stuff. The thinking is simple – Canva wants its employees to look forward to coming into work every day, and wants to give each and every team member the greatest opportunity to succeed.
Many employees begin their day with a delicious breakfast prepared by the in-house chef (ably assisted by the Vibe team mentioned earlier), before calmly enjoying a yoga or meditation session in the purpose-built relaxation area. And workers who perform at their peak when accompanied by their four legged friends aren’t ignored; the office is pet friendly, with Biscuit, the company mascot, clocking in from 9 to 5 every day.
A fully stocked bar is the office’s most popular feature come Friday, with a barista-turned-mixologist serving up whatever drink your heart might desire. And the look of the bar area is a perfect encapsulation of the interior design of the office as a whole – an ultra-cool mix of minimalism and nature. Murals and exposed piping bring a grimy, streetwise feel, while pot plants and natural light give the space an airy and calm atmosphere.
The Canva Office in Sydney
As the headquarters of the world’s coolest design brand, the Canva office in Sydney don’t disappoint. Here’s a sneak peak of Canva Sydney who was awarded the best place to work in 2017.
You can check out more photos from The Martec’s recent visit to Canva here.
If you want in on all the great perks Canva jobs have, and can see yourself taking up residence in Australia’s most exciting start-up, then we’ve got some good news – Canva are on the hunt for new talent right now!
Canva jobs currently open in its Sydney office include:
- Digital Developer
- iOS Engineer
- Frontend Engineer
- Fullstack Engineer
- Java Software Engineer
- PHP Backend Engineer