Thursday, February 3, 2011

Three Weeks In..

So it's now been just shy of three weeks at my new job. The reaction is one of many emotions: joy, frustration, interest, angst, curiosity, elation, bewilderment, and probably lots of other conflicting emotions. For the record, I'm glad I made the move and that I took on the new challenge. at the same time, I'm going through that inevitable "where exactly do I fit in with this group?" feeling as well.

Without going into too many details (remember, I don't tattle on or gossip about my companies), I have had the chance to go from a traditional development environment to an Agile environment. In many ways, it's a lot like what people have described as "living Agile" and at the same time, it's different than I expected. the key factor is that I'm in a way making things up as I go along. While this company does a lot with TDD and really does qualify as "test infected", there's still plenty for me to do. Often it involves me looking at older decisions and playing the "Bug Attorney" role and asking "so, why did we make this/that decision about this?" and overall, I'm being given the latitude to do exactly that. It blends well with my approach and desire to play Agent Joe Friday and ask for "just the facts, maam!"... which brings me to my next realization...

It's weird being the oldest person here. That includes any of the Founders, the CEO, Engineers, and Designers. I'm without question the oldest guy here, and in some cases, I'm working with people who could by age difference be my kids! In some ways, I relate well to them, and in other ways, sometimes I feel like I don't relate at all. Still, it's helped me learn some new perspectives and it's definitely helping me learn some newer tricks (geek skills don't really have an age barrier, and for that I'm grateful).

Some have asked me how it feels working for a company that lets you watch TV all day. The truth is, my job doesn't really cover much in the way of actually watching TV. Finding shows, tracking them, keeping a listing of up to date offerings, verifying the database entries are correct, referencing the right genres, and confirming that the pages look and behave as they should, I do a lot of. By the time I get to the point that I've verified that a show is in the right place and can be viewed, my work is done and its on to the next story. So no, I really don't get to watch much TV at all on the job.

What's been really frustrating, in a way, but totally expected, is that it's taken a serious chunk out of the time I have to write this blog! I'm in fire-hose mode at the moment, and so much of my free time is being spent to work on and learn stuff to help me in this new job. This, of course leads to the blogger's equivalent of "the law of inertia"; when I'm writing a lot of blog posts, it's easy to write more of them. When I take a break or focus on other things, it feels like it takes a Herculean effort to write new entries. It's taking a serious bite out of my finishing my current projects; I only have three chapters left of HWTSAM and Selenium 1.0 Test Tools. Before I found writing them to be easy and relatively quick. These last chapters are proving to be harder to write about and are taking more time.

So like all new adventures, there's some stretching and compressing and growing going on. Some of it is comfortable and fun, some of it is a little uncomfortable and challenging, but still fun :). The learning never stops, and the systems are dynamic, so there's always something new to learn and do. For that, I'm grateful!


Devon Smith said...

Sounds very exciting! Keep us posted on how the transition goes.

My company works as a middleware provider for video game studios. So everyone always asks me if I get to play games for a living. Honestly, I'm so busy testing databases and web applications, I hardly ever have time to look at the games at all. Still, fun to be around the industry at all. And I'd take software testing over game testing any day.

I totally understand the inertia idea with blogs. It defiantly comes in spurts.

Good Luck!

Marlena said...

Your transition sounds similar to mine. I've also found myself working at a company where most people are younger than me. One benefit I discovered is that since the devs are mostly younger, they don't realize that I talk with them a lot more than a tester might talk to devs at another company. It's an opportunity I try to make the most of every day.

It sounds like your move is, indeed, a head first plunge. Judging from your boot camp posts, you'll be swimming along in no time :)