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My First 4 Months at Sprintly

I’ve been at Sprint.ly for four months, and what better way to celebrate than with a little reflection in the form of a blog post! As those who read my initial “welcome” post know, this is my first official job as a developer. Though it took roughly two years of web-hacking and self-hacking to put myself in the position to get hired somewhere like Sprint.ly, I’m still in shock that I’m actually here now.

Not that I’m resting on my laurels. There’s a lot of hard work involved in transitioning into a new career in a new field. For one, trying to find my bearings in new piece of software has been like being lost in the garden maze from Alice in Wonderland—just like Alice in the Looking Glass, I sometimes find myself running very fast for a very long time and getting nowhere. There are curious bugs that seem to grow or, if I’m lucky, shrink without much warning. (Just in case you’ve never personally experienced the pleasure of working with Javascript, I’ve come to think of it as the programming equivalent of a fair weather friend: nice when things are neat and simple, but prone to disloyalty.) There’s learning a new culture and the particularities—some might say peculiarities—of our startup: Burrito the Bulldog and a yodeling Affenpinscher playing gatekeepers to the door and the fridge; the subtle pressure to produce hilarious and timely GIFs, a skill that I’ve yet completely and utterly failed to master; the feeling that you’re always running late on a seemingly never ending list of todos.

But for all of my Tweedle-Dum moments, and there have been many, I’ve made some serious headway as a developer since I’ve been here. When I started at Sprint.ly the majority of my experience resided in Python and Django work, and the process of ramping up on Javascript and Backbone has helped me to understand web applications in a whole new way. Our code base is much larger than any project I have previously worked on, and one of the ongoing challenges I face is keeping track of how different parts of our app interact so that I don’t introduce regressions in one part of our code when fixing a bug in another. I’ve poured so much effort into gaining fluency in Mocha, Chai, and Sinon at this point that I now feel that test-writing is one of my strongest skills. And while our team puts a lot of effort into thinking through the architecture of our app as well as our build architecture, I’d like to think that I’m absorbing information around the more meta issues of software development too.

For all this, the highlight of my first few months hasn’t been learning a new language or library; it’s not crystallized in a particular pull request, and has nothing to do with overcoming a particular set of fears (though that’s pretty awesome too). The real highlight of my tenure so far at Sprint.ly has been finding my way into a team of people who care deeply about the product we build, and who care deeply about each other’s success. I’m lucky to work with more seasoned developers who, without having to ask, will take time out to explain technologies that I may not even directly work with, and I never feel like I can’t ask any of my fellow developers a question, or expect to get a thoughtful answer when I’m stuck on something new.

Choosing to be a developer is committing to a lifetime of learning—and there’s a shared understanding here at Sprint.ly, and as we become part of the larger Quick Left team, that we can all help each other to be better craftspeople. If this sounds good to you, take note: we’re hiring!