To New Adventures

Today marks my final day as a Senior Backend Engineer at WebDevStudios.

The motivators for change sometimes come in a rush. More often, as in my case, they drip in slowly, their positive or negative impacts affecting the balance, until one’s cup is full with a bittersweet drink — a meaningful goal accomplished, a lifelong friendship forged, a valued colleague departed, a role ever-evolving.

I have so much to be proud of from my time working at WDS. The last year alone has been particularly full of rewarding opportunities, including:

  • Open-sourcing my first library to promote object-oriented programming in WordPress.
  • Speaking at three different WordCamps.
  • Curating, hosting, and occasionally presenting at internal “Lunch & Learns”, our monthly continuous education program.
  • Giving in-depth code reviews and helping mentor junior engineers.
  • Developing my first set of editor blocks, as part of a completely headless publishing workflow.
  • Being entrusted to build relationships and lead the engineering team for one of our largest clients.

I’m proud of the work my colleagues and I have accomplished in the past three years, and the last year in particular has been one of incredible growth. It’s been so rewarding to see the leaps and bounds we’ve all taken to make ourselves better engineers, better project managers, and better co-workers.

The flip side of all of this, of course, is that as I’ve taken these additional opportunities onto my plate, I’ve in many ways been getting further and further from the thing that’s gotten me here: my love of computer programming. And, in particular, as the WordPress programming landscape continues to evolve — WordPress as the client, custom editor blocks written in React, static sites — I’m left with two distinct feelings. First, and most importantly, that there is a broader world of software development that I’ve been missing out on by staying exclusively within the WordPress ecosphere. And second, that my time spent away from my IDE is also time spent away from my absolute favorite part of my career.

With that realization, I’ve come to the difficult decision that it’s time to try something new, to grow once more, and to potentially submerse myself in completely unfamiliar territory: a new language, a new environment, a new community. I don’t know what this means just yet, by my desire is clear:

  • I want to spend the majority of my day writing software.
  • I want the opportunity to learn more languages.
  • I want to work in a physical office again, at least some of the time.
  • I want to continue to grow in every possible way that I can.

In my last entry, I wrote about intentions. Leaving one’s job without having something else lined up is one of the scariest things one could possibly do, but sometimes it’s absolutely necessary in order to enact positive change for one’s self. I have applications in at a few local companies with roles that sound fun and challenging, and in some cases their development stack is something completely outside of my past experience. That’s not surprising, either, given that my past experience to date has been enterprise WordPress development in an agency setting.

My intention for the coming weeks is to rediscover my love of computer programming; to study, and tinker, and create during the day, and also spend time researching, applying for, and interviewing with companies that align with my values and career aspirations. I’m planning on reflecting a bit more about what I’m looking for and sharing updates about what I’m working on during this transition, so keep your eyes peeled for updates to this space.

It’s an exciting time. It’s a scary one, too. But, I enter this transition feeling optimistic and knowing that I’ll become a better engineer as a result of it. And, above all, I’m thankful for my colleagues and the leadership at WebDevStudios for the opportunities they’ve given me. I’m hopeful that I’ve left things in a better place than when I got there, and that we all prosper in our next adventures. I can’t wait to see what’s next.