Programming Rambling

mrzard's ramblings in the wild

Becoming a Dadveloper

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So… this is awkward… It’s been almost two years without any new content on this blog. I will do something useful in this 4 hour flight from Helsinki to Barcelona, and I will try to write some things about what has been going on with me for those two years.

2015-2016 at Billy Mobile were intense and exciting years . I had the immense luck to start working with some amazing people like Diego Frisón, Joan Viladrosa, Roger Rafanell, Aday Robaina, Ivan Bruque, Davide Ferrari, Enric Sardina, Ginés Ortiz, Oriol Blanc, Marc Rubia, David Llorente, Sam Lissner, Jonatan Fernández or Alex Serra, as well as keep working with other great people like Oriol Orellana or Horacio Herrera, whom I have talked about in the past. And that is only counting people on the Tech Team at Billy. They are all top notch talent, and only great things are ahead of them.

With Joan’s leadership, the PHP-MySQL-Redis-ElasticSearch Billy adserver prototype was ported to Java-Kafka-HBase-Spark-Redis-HDFS which made a lot more sense as to deal with the concurrency and speed needed. He even introduced some very cool and cutting edge technology like Apache Kylin. At the same time all of these cool changes were happening, I started realizing that my daughter needed for me to devote more time to her. And I also started realizing that I needed to devote more time to her. The fine people at Billy Mobile tried to work out a semi-remote schedule with me, but it was not the best fit to have one of the Tech Leads away for a big part of the day, which shifted a lot of work onto Joan’s shoulders, and ended up making obvious that a change had to be made. So after having the luck of being contacted by DealDash, it was a golden opportunity for me and I decided to say goodbye to Billy. I will always be grateful for their support and effort to help me out, and for the chance to work and learn with so many amazing people.

DealDash offered me the opportunity to get back into a developer position and also start working remotely. The company is based in Helsinki, and the remote philosophy allows me to do these kinds of things:

  • Take a couple of hours off to bring Ada to the park, or dancing, or to the toy library. Then either wake up early and work before the daily meeting, or do it before going to bed at night.

  • Stop worrying about the added commute time to and from the office, specially if I also happened to have to bring Ada to the doctor’s. That used to mean almost a “lost” day when I was working in the office, now it’s just a minor adjustment and no work is lost.

  • When I sit to work I just check Slack and the GitHub issues to see what progress has been made so I can pick up like I were there when it happened.

  • If Ada’s mom needs to go to the doctor or run any errands, it’s a lot easier for her as she can just leave Ada with me. I just pick up smaller stuff or bring her to a cafe that has toys where she can play in a new environment while I keep working.

I think I break most of the ‘rules’ of working remotely, as other than fixed meetings (Grooming, Retrospectives, Sprint Planning, Daily standup), I tend to bend my hours to whichever happens that day. It’s working out for me, and at the same time I can see that it’s not for everyone. But there is a method to my chaos.

At DealDash I have found another amazing team and while I am still learning a lot about the business of penny auctions, we have already started on the path of improving and refactoring a lot of functionality. I have been with them for a little bit over 4 months now and I already have had the chance to try some new things (for me) like Docker, provisioning machines with Salt, some NodeJS, using Gherkin to describe the behavior of functionalities and couple that with unit and/or functional tests and also pick up Symfony again.

DealDash is also teaching me a great deal on how to make a remote team work, how to keep your team in touch with your users’ needs and how to encourage and foster an open communication style where everyone knows their voices matter.

So what more can I ask for? I am working with once again on an amazing team, on interesting problems, I am learning new stuff AND I have all the time I need to devote to my daughter: right now I am heading back to Barcelona from the first team offsite with DealDash, which I had to cut short because Ada had an accident. And they were again supportive and understanding.

So this is my new life. I have become a dadveloper.

And I could not be happier.