The best companies to work for in IT

Company name

Memset Hosting

Number of employees: 36

Why is it a good place to work? The firm offers in-house and external training as well as assistance with exams/qualifications, purchase of relevant literature and a bonus for each qualification obtained. It hires about 10 employees per year and has a very low staff turnover.

The company has just moved to a new office in Dunsfold Park, Cranleigh. Memset runs a shuttle bus service with free Wi-Fi on board to Guildford station and it also has a fleet of electric bikes for staff.

What role does IT play here? All technical staff have 'tinker time.' That is, up to 10 per cent of their working week can be spent on personal projects or development. The company says it is a huge driver of innovation. Indeed, many of its services have started out as 'such 'tinker' projects initially.

Interesting fact: Its office is based in Dunsfold Park which is home to the famous Top Gear track and production studio.

Other info: Memset managing director Kate Craig-Wood is championing the cause to get more women into the industry and often gives talks and wins awards in this area. Furthermore, Memset is a member of The UKRC's Chief Executive Officer Charter, which promotes the employment of women in science, engineering and technology roles.

Company name: Ocado Technology

Number of employees: Approx. 350

Why is it a good place to work? According to the company, it is the world's largest online supermarket that acts like innovative software start-up. All software is developed in-house. Employees are able to make a direct contribution to the design and architecture of software systems.

What role does IT play here? From the real-time control systems that drive Ocado's automated warehouse and route optimisation software, to robotics, 3D vision systems and the algorithms embedded within its inference engines, every single system is developed in-house.

Interesting fact: Ocado ships more than 150,000 orders a week - the equivalent of 1.1 million items a day.

Other info: Separate benefits include team hackathons for staff that wish to develop projects, which aren't directly related to their day-to-day activities.

Company name: Peer 1 Hosting

Number of employees: Over 500 employees in 14 cities across Europe and North America

Why is it a good place to work? Aside from good pension and private healthcare benefits, there is also gym membership and 275 to buy gym equipment for employees. The EMEA office has pool and football tables, slides, swings, a pub and even a cinema onsite.

What role does IT play here? The firm hosts websites for major high street retailers such as Debenhams, Waitrose, The White Company, Boo-hoo and Misguided.

Interesting fact: During Hurricane Sandy employees and clients of Peer 1 managed to keep its datacentre going for 72 hours while the storm passed.

Other info: Staff can carry out volunteering for two days a year on full pay.

Company name: Skype

Number of employees: 2,000

Why is it a good place to work? The firm has flexible working hours and the ability to work from home as well as travel opportunity between various offices. Staff now also benefit from the rewards on offer from Microsoft, its parent company, too.

What role does IT play here? Engineers can expect to code, test, deploy, teach and learn using the latest technologies. Product managers work on product lifecycles and development with an eye on driving growth.

Interesting fact: In April 2013, Skype users spent more than two billion minutes using the service.

Other info: Skype was founded in 2003 by Janus Friis from Denmark and Niklas Zennstrm from Sweden. It was purchase by Microsoft in 2011, having previously been owned by eBay and venture capital firms.

Clare Hopping
Freelance writer

Clare is the founder of Blue Cactus Digital, a digital marketing company that helps ethical and sustainability-focused businesses grow their customer base.

Prior to becoming a marketer, Clare was a journalist, working at a range of mobile device-focused outlets including Know Your Mobile before moving into freelance life.

As a freelance writer, she drew on her expertise in mobility to write features and guides for ITPro, as well as regularly writing news stories on a wide range of topics.