What? A year already?

How time has flied! It has been a year since I joined ThoughtWorks. In the last 12 months, I've:

  • Visited ThoughtWorks India in Bangalore
  • Worked in 3 totally different projects (.Net desktop app, build & deploy at an enterprise level, and Agile coaching) in 3 different locations (London, Connecticut, New York)
  • Became a committer of an Open Source project, DbDeploy.net
  • Attended ALT.NET conference in Seattle
  • Started ALT.NET NYC with a bunch of great, like-minded developers
  • Edited 4 ThoughtWorks IT Matters podcasts
  • Helped out with recruitment (code reviews, office interviews, phone interviews)
Skills and tools that I've learnt/developed that I didn't think I would otherwise:
  • Agile project management, planning, estimation (Mingle)
  • Presentation and coaching (PowerPoint!, public speaking)
  • Build & Deploy (CruiseControl.NET, Cruise, TeamCity, NAnt, MSBuild, PowerShell, etc.)
  • iPhone development
  • Mocking (NMock, Moq)
  • UI Automated testing (Selenium)
What I can't quantify is the amount of learning I've done during this time. Working with smarter people than myself drove me to self-improvement in ways that I did not think I can or would.
I don't know what would happen in the next 12 months but one thing for sure, I would definitely enjoy it.

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Vox Hunt: I’d Rather Be…

Now, show us your dream job.

ThoughtWorks job offer package - frontThoughtWorks job offer package - back

Fortunate for me, I'm already in my dream job with ThoughtWorks.

Which software company (or any company for that matter) allows their employees to:
  • work with the latest ideas and tools?
  • choose the computer platform they prefer to use?
  • blog about what they do daily (encourage, in fact)?
  • use what they learn in projects and write books, probably co-author with Martin Fowler (another encourage activity)?
  • diversify, learn new skills (technical or otherwise), and change role within the organization?
  • hold the management accountable to what they preach, and have open discussions?

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It’s official!

The job offer package from ThoughtWorks had arrived this weekend. It finally hit me that this is for real. I'm going to change job in 3 weeks time! And this is the first time I received such a nicely packaged job offer paperwork.


ThoughtWorks job offer package - frontThoughtWorks job offer package - back

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Change of pace

I've been pretty quiet on the blogging front for the last few weeks. Partly it is because of the iPhone craze, having friends over for dinner, but in the last three weeks it is because I have been job hunting.

I started the job hunting process more out of curiosity to see what is out there on the job market. Before I even got used to the idea of looking for a new job, the opportunity to work for ThoughtWorks, one of the most innovative software company in the U.S., came out of nowhere. Tentatively I applied and was pleasantly surprised as I went through each round of interviews and tests. It all cumulated to a face-to-face interview couple of Saturday ago at their NY office. For over eight hours, I was put through the paces; logic tests, personality tests, interviews, group interaction tests, just like the scenes in The Right Stuff. I didn't think I did particularly well but apparently enough for ThoughtWorks to offer me a job!

My new job as an application developer will involve a lot of traveling and away from home. To give an idea how much traveling I will be doing, on August 20th I will be flying to ThoughtWorks Chicago office for orientation and then two days later fly to their ThoughtWorks University in Bangalore, India for two weeks training before coming back to the U.S. to start on a new project somewhere in the East Coast.

All these traveling means time away from home and Eiron. Also I will no longer able to play in the tennis league comes fall. I am not sure how much tennis I'll be able to play during the weekend when I am home either but I sure will try.

The flip side of course is the chance to work with the ThoughtWorks team. With Martin Fowler (wiki) as their Chief Scientist, they are leading the charge in changing how software is developed. The opportunity to challenge myself everyday so I will be a better developer easily balance out the sacrifice I'll have to make. I expect it will be an intense experience which would be a complete opposite of what I've been doing for the last 9 months.

More importantly, when we are ready to move we will be able to do so via transferring my job to either Chicago or San Francisco, which would be so much easier than moving without a job or interviewing cross-country.

Keeping a straight face for the last couple of days was pretty tough. Knowing that I'll be leaving in two weeks time made it difficult to react enthusiastically about future plans for the project or team. Surprisingly, my boss took it really well when I handed in my notice this morning, which is a relief. Now I just need to move my ass on getting vaccinated and apply for visa.

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Dallas Summit

Right now I am sitting at the Newark Airport waiting for my flight to Dallas to arrive, blogging offline. Every year, Thomson brings technology people from all of their organisations together to Texas to exchange ideas, compare experience, and most important of all, do some networking. So for the next two days, I will be spending time with people I hardly know but hugely important to my career, talking shop and mixing business buzz words with technology TLA (Three Letter Acronym).

When my company was acquired by Thomson back in March, we almost missed the opportunity to be part of this technology summit since the deadline for registration had already passed. But after a few well placed calls to high level development management, invitations were extended to my boss and me. It would be a big loss for us if we were to miss this summit due to its annual nature. And my boss and I believe we can bring a lot to the Thomson organisation with our Agile practice and .Net development experience (Thomson has only recently started on both, whereas we have been doing them for over 3 years now). Conversely, Thomson’s extensive knowledge in business analysis, software development process, and functional testing with FIT (Functional Integration Testing) would be very useful for our own project.

One decision I had to made this morning is whether I should bring my PC laptop or my PowerBook with me. Bringing the PC laptop means I can work on ecto or any work related programming while I am in Dallas but would I actually have the time or the inclination? With the PowerBook, at least I can blog with ease using all the tools that I love but I’ll have to be careful about letting Thomson people know about the Mac. If only it is a Macbook Pro so I can at least say I am trying out the new Microsoft development tool, Silverlight, on the Mac. And I can always dual-boot into XP on the Macbook Pro if I have to. Flimsy excuse, I know, but it is better than nothing. But I can’t really justify the cost of a new laptop, even a used one from eBay due to my lack of travelling, business or personal. So my trusty G4 800MHz PowerBook has to last for a little longer.

Oh, one last thing. Our official Thomson titles have been announced yesterday. Almost everyone keep their titles apart from me. I got ‘demoted’ from Senior Manager of Development to Lead Software Engineer. No change in pay which is good. How do I feel about the ‘demotion’? I think it is a good thing. Senior Manager implies a degree of managerial tasks that I perform when in reality there is nothing for me to manage unless my boss is out of office for extended period of time. So the new title reflects much more in line with my daily responsibility which can only be a good thing. Hey, they can call me a janitor as long as they keep paying me the same!

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