Monday, December 31, 2012

Six months as a ThoughtWorker

That’s a long time with no posts here! I must say that I had been amazed during the last six months, after I joined TW.

As I wrote in my last post, I couldn’t ask for better opportunity  - I was totally right! I like this feeling of “no regrets” that I have everyday when I reach the office. I’ll start talking about what happened after I wrote my last post. In that time I was working in a project in the national institute for space research. I got a scholarship for Jan. 2011 to Dec. 2012, the duration of the project I was working on. During my time there I applied to some master’s degree classes (Artificial Intelligence and Applied Computing) and I my job in that project was develop a framework in Java, using web services. I learned A LOT during the 18 months I worked there. 
 Although I was enjoying that, I was really looking for new challenges and opportunities to grow. 

I found this opportunity at ThoughtWorks, I applied for a QA role, and I got really really happy when I received my job offer. It was on start of March. However, I was submitting a paper for a conference  and I had a deadline to deliver part of the framework in the next months… for this reason, I asked for some time till get my new job. So, finally June came and the time to become a ThoughtWorker as well! Then I left the project before the end of that.

The thing is, joining ThoughtWorks was not only associated with leave my family in Sao Jose dos Campos, fly to another city (Porto Alegre) and start a new life over there… Accept the offer meant being hired in a day and fly on the next day to India for a 6-week immersion program called ThoughtWorks University (TWU)… It sounded a bit scaring in the beginning (mainly for my family – “whatta hell is this company that wants to send you for too far in your second day as an employee???”) _ but this opportunity made me wait desperately for June. I don’t have words to express how much happiness and anxiety I was feeling that time. 

I joined TW on June 4th, and started my journey to India on June 5th… I’m writing  another post about my experience at TWU.
My first day in the company was really funny – people invited the new hires to walk around the office, to meet the co-workers and know about the projects. It was weird – so many new faces observing us… They seemed to be planning something… maybe… wish us welcome, by launching hundreds of nerf darts in our heads? Yeah, exactly that! \o/ Definitely, it was the best way to welcome us, and it made me figure out how amazing is my co-workers 
 We had a day with a bunch of new hires orientation and we took the time to finish what was pending to our trip.

Six weeks later, I was back to Brazil. The company gave me some days off to organize my stuff to move to Porto Alegre. Actually my stuff were already organized, I took these days to stay at home recovering from jetlag and enjoying the time with my family and also to eat barbecue and my mum’s meal which I was missing so much!

So I moved, found a new place pretty (small) close to the office! I got assigned to one of the projects from the office and started my job as a QA. 

During the first weeks it was a bit hard for me… I was far from my family, Porto Alegre’s winter is pretty different from the  one I was used to, spend the weekends cleaning my place instead take my time to study and rest was not so cool, cook for myself, pay my bills, do the dishes, the laundries (mainly that time when I haven’t bought a laundry machine yet)… everything was new and hard! =)

But after a month I got used to everything. People are used to be excited about their new job just during the first days or weeks, after that everything becomes a routine and starts to let you bored… In my case was completely different – everyday in the office I face a new challenge, I meet new people (new hires and expats), I have the feeling that I had in my very first day! And that’s what makes me so happy and passionate about my job. The environment in the office is awesome, my understanding about Agile has improved a lot after joining the company - we really do Agile - it's not only about daily standups, work in pairs, send code to the CI's about the way we work, the team is very collaborative, we're always sharing knowledge and another stuff that make us agile.

People in the office are really friendly, it’s possible to hear people laughing and some hipster songs playing during the day… people send spams by email inviting to a beer, to foosball and video games competitions. We work hard, but we can also have fun during and after work time!
Among the role we play into the project we get assigned to, we also have the opportunity to get involved with another activities, such as social impact programs (SIPs) that sustains TW’s third pillar – Social Justice.

In general these SIPs are projects that aim to help people and make the world a better place. Some recent projects from ThoughtWorks Porto Alegre were to help citizens to interact with the candidates on the last elections, and another one to help a village from Porto Alegre with their recycle program… that’s much more than deliver software – the coolest part of these projects certainly is to figure out  how this software can change lives, make people grow and get new opportunities to make their lives better.

I’ve been a member of our women in IT group – that’s also part of TW’s third pillar, and that’s our space to discuss actions to make the company a better place for women and to attract more women to IT.  I flew to Baltimore – USA on October, to attend on Grace Hopper Celebration for Women in Computing – the world’s largest event for women in computing. There was another opportunity TW gave me to spend a week at the event, attending to some talks, generally about women’s right, leadership and technical themes. I’ll post a post about GHC soon.

I’m also having a great time working on the project I’m currently assigned – and I hope I can finish what I’m writing about my job as a QA soon! (Yeah, I’ve splitted this post in another three that’s not ready yet! This is just the first part! Hahaha)

I’m having a great time as a ThoughtWorker, working with amazing people and having such amazing opportunities.

I’ll share my experiences here more often, write reviews for the books I’m reading and technical stuff that I’m learning.