This past year has been tough, exciting, and brought some big changes. One of the big changes was our adoption of Ezra. The other is the completion of the Developer Apprenticeship program I wrote about previously. As of the first of this month my role switch from Happiness Engineer to Developer became official! That’s the same day as my seventh anniversary with Automattic.
The year was challenging but I feel like we’re on the other side of a lot of things and that we’re in a better position now because of it. Despite the challenges I’m so thankful for the opportunity that Automattic provided with this program, especially my team. Throughout the whole process they’ve been so supportive. They’ve provided guidance when needed, but from early on they also gave me a lot of freedom, trust, and learning opportunities, all to help me grow.
For the majority of the year my team and I worked on Simplenote. This was a great experience and I started feeling pretty confident in myself. I was leading projects, adding new features, fixing bugs, both in the front and back end of the project. I was getting to know the code base pretty well. Then in October things took a bit of an unexpected turn and our team switched focus to work on a different project, Day One. Our team split up some and merged with the existing teams working on this.
This whole change was pretty scary for me. I was getting comfortable where I was, but still had lots to learn. Was I really going to be able to be successful on a new product? How would this effect the Apprenticeship Program for me? It’s also exciting too though. We came in very early in the process of making a new web app for Day One. Getting to be a part of helping create this from the start is a cool experience and has given all kinds of new learning opportunities.
After seven years with the company and six years as a Happiness Engineer I was feeling pretty safe and settled in that role. One of the big lessons I have from this year is learning how to live with that feeling of being uncomfortable and doubting myself and then working through it. It sure seems like in this new role it may be something that happens regularly. There really will always be something new to learn that I haven’t worked with yet. That might be a new language or framework, or a whole new product to work on. It’s really allowing me to live our creed and never stop learning.
After a little more then two months working on Day One I’m feeling more confident and was still able to complete the Apprenticeship Program. The first couple weeks were stressful though and really had me doubting myself pretty hard. It seemed like everyone else was catching on and fitting into the new project quickly and much easier then me. Once again my team, including new members where there.
Now another thing I’m very thankful for is I’ve just started two months of Parental Leave. Automattic gives us six months so I’m going to split mine and Jen will take hers in between with a little overlap in the summer. Having time to focus only on our family is going to be amazing. But I’m also really excited to see the state of the project at work when I get back and see all the progress the team has made while I’m away.