As promised, a "more than a twitter thread" post on my new job!
Here are the headlines:
- I'm still working at Gatsby!
- I'm still a Staff Software Engineer (even if I neglected to mention that publicly prior to this)
- I'm now a member of the Themes Team!
- My former team, the Learning Team, is undergoing some changes of its own
I loved working on this team ❤️. And without the prompting of organizational changes, I likely would have stayed there for a while longer.
Some of the wonderful work I got to do:
- Open source maintenance for Gatsby docs
- Driving forward a vision and implementation of the Gatsby Cloud docs experience
- Community teaching through webinars, talks, etc
- Development of documentation for undocumented features
- Mentorship and collaboration within and outside of the team
It was a great role, focused on the content-based work I'd found myself gravitating towards in the previous year.
But over time I started to realize there were drawbacks.
Being a constant editor made it harder to write.
I was a bit of an internal consultant. Something I have considerable experience with and had actively chosen to move away from for a while.
Developing docs and instructional materials meant building small projects from scratch time and time again. I missed some of the larger architectural deep dives and team-based code collaboration.
Well, startups are always evolving. For Gatsby, that meant looking at how we did content and aligning a few different teams and focus areas into a larger group. This is an exciting direction for a number of reasons and I look forward to seeing what this talented group of people will accomplish.
However, as these conversations developed, I realized that the role I was going to take on in that team was always going to focus more on "filling holes" than anything else. I want to be clear that this was no one's fault but my own. But in my heart, I'm a completionist. It was too easy for me to focus on the firehose of community contributions and constantly push code exploration down the road.
So I started thinking.
I realized that I was always going to gravitate towards content in some ways, but I'd likely be more effective in that work if it wasn't my full-time job.
I'm also very proud of the engineering work I've done over the past decade. That was essential knowledge and experience on the Learning Team; it's not easy figuring out how undocumented stuff works! However, there were "typical" software development tasks that I missed.
I missed collaboration on larger projects. I missed some of the bigger architecture discussions. I missed bug fixes!
While on Learning I'd made themes a bit of a pet project. I was fascinated by what the team was working to develop. Really innovative thinking and development around next-generation tooling.
It's worth noting that the Themes Team needs a new name! It's a team working on Gatsby themes, but they're also working on Blocks, Theme-UI, and some upcoming libraries. Recommendations for names are always welcome 😅.
Having interacted with this team quite a bit on documentation, and even some community input on points of friction, I felt it was a great fit to combine what I loved and what I was missing.
So I asked our VP of Engineering if I could be a part of it - and I cannot thank Gatsby leadership enough for their support. Every single person I talked to was wholeheartedly in favor of this new direction for me. After working out the logistics of the transition (which will be ongoing for the next couple weeks) I had a green light!
And now I have a lot of codebases to learn! In all seriousness, I'm ramping up and it's going to take some time.
This is the exact right place to be as I move into the next decade of my career. And I'm hopeful the work I undertake will result in even more cool content for all of you!