Happy Matticversary to Me! A Year Working for AutomatticWritten by Bunkers on March 12, 2019
Today is my first Matticversary, which is the anniversary of the day that I started life as an Automattician. Still none the wiser? For the past year I've been working for Automattic as a Code Wrangler (or Software Engineer) - the company behind WordPress.com, Woocommerce and a number of other products like Simplenote, Cloudup and Crowdsignal.
It's a cliche, but I can't believe it's been a year. There's some science now behind why it seems like time speeds up the older you get, but that is partly based on you having less new experiences. If the last year is anything to go by, I think it could disprove that theory.
Soon after I started life working for Automattic I noticed that a number Automatticians became less active on their personal blogs. I put it down to the amount of internal communication that goes on in a distributed company but thought it was a shame that it appeared as if working for Automattic would somehow hinder you from writing a blog or pursuing other personal projects. If anything, the opposite is true, and so as a kind of Matticversary resolution, I've decided to rekindle my habit of daily writing.
So what's happened in the past year? There are a number of blog posts to write about the highlights of my year working for Automattic, but to summarise:
- I got the job - Sounds simple enough, but it's the most innovative and involved application process I've been through
- Gave a talk at a conference about getting the job and working for Automattic
- Worked in customer service for the first few weeks - something all new Automatticians do, and then every Automattician does annually
- Learned the workflows for developing code on WordPress.com and some of Automattic's other products. The codebases are huge and people are committing to them constantly. I've worked on large codebases before, but not with global teams that are working on them 24/7.
- Took down WordPress.com - Ok, I didn't quite take it down, but I committed some bad code that caused some problems. This was probably a real low point, but it was a huge learning experience, and seeing how quickly my colleagues reacted and fixed the problem was amazing. It was also humbling to see the supportive culture with the reactions to my post mortem. As I say, these are blog posts in themselves.
- Developed lots of working code - I thought I'd better say, that I have developed code that I haven't had to revert! My confidence has grown, and although WordPress.com is running WordPress, there are still lots of secondary systems to learn and unique situations that occur with a site of that size.
- Meetups! The first was in Toronto, soon after I joined, which was great as I could spend some time in real life with my teammates. We're currently planning our next meet up in Barcelona.
- The Grand meetup in Florida. I couldn't just lump this in with the previous point. The Grand meetup had a kind of mythical status for me before I worked for Automattic. Now that I've been to one, it still has that status. It was an extremely intense but enjoyable week, where the whole company stayed in Florida, worked on projects together, taught each other new skills, and bonded in ways that are harder to achieve over Slack and video calls.
- Learning to work for a completely distributed company - In my last job I spent a lot of time working remotely, but not everyone in the company did and that created its own challenges. Working for Automattic is a new experience for me, because apart from the two or three weeks a year that we get together for meetups, most Automatticians don't see one another - except on the occasional Zoom call. This way of working is new to me and there are pros and cons. Overall it's great, and I think it would be very hard to go back to working in an office every day now.
That was the first year, and I'm hoping there are many more. I like the idea of having my own new year in March as it's almost six months away from my birthday and provides another opportunity for reflection and review.
Lastly, I couldn't write a post like this and not say that if you are thinking of working for Automattic too, then you should apply for one of our open positions. I guarantee you won't regret it, and I'll look forward to celebrating your first Matticversary with you.