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Upskilling With Garth Boyst, Chief Technology Officer @ Ocra

Leading a lean, low-redundancy engineering team with high quality, high quantity output requires a people-first approach, thoughtful prioritization, and the ability to assess and manage risks.

As our Chief Technology Officer, Garth Boyst maintains the balance of ensuring that engineers are learning and growing while staying focused on Ocra’s core business of building leading solutions for centralized demand channel management.

Read on to learn more about Garth’s philosophy and practices for upskilling at Ocra.

At Ocra, we are fearless but cautious in learning new skills.

Transparently, it can be a hard rope to walk.

Throughout my leadership career, I’ve consistently seen the benefits of dedicating time for my team to learn, retool, skill up, and then disseminate that knowledge, but naturally the tradeoff is more inherent risk.

As Chief Technology Officer, I need to grapple with the tough questions.

Is the engineering org focusing on the right things?

Are we allocating time and resources appropriately?

But it’s about being equipped to manage that risk.

At Ocra, we are. That’s why we’re able to come out ahead and do what we want to do.

Ocra engineering, and our organization as a whole, has been successful so far because it is all about risk mitigation and trying to figure things out that no one else has done before.

We have a kernel of very smart people with great communication skills who go out and learn and spread knowledge and then iterate and do things better, all while analyzing the resource consumption of learning these skills.

This isn’t the perspective that you’d get from a CTO at other companies in our space.

It’s my experience that in bigger engineering teams where there is more redundancy, making the decision to allocate part of an engineer’s work week to taking a coding course, for example, is a more straightforward one because there’s more buffer.

But upskilling is worth investing in – and the tradeoff is manageable for us due to workflows, shared knowledge, and the exceptional level of talent on the team.

Our engineers stick around and work hard because top-level management invests in them.

We want to give them as much as they give us.

And what they give us is a product unlike any other in the parking industry today, powered by integrations that are highly sophisticated to build and maintain.

In order to continue to introduce game-changing tech to the market, we need an engineering team who feels fueled personally and professionally, and it’s my job to ensure that happens.

If you’re a strategic leader and people manager at your organization, I’d love to hear your perspectives on upskilling and its impact on turnover, culture, performance, and output.

You can reach me at or connect with me on LinkedIn.

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