Hello World! My first two weeks at Sentia

9 Aug 2013, by David Evans

Hello World!

I joined Sentia two weeks ago, completing a minor career change that's been a long time in the works. These are my first impressions, compared with my past life in corporate finance & IT.

1) We're surprisingly good at staying on the same page with our clients and teammates, in Sydney & abroad.
We use a range of communication tools (Trello, Basecamp, Campfire, Skype, email, phone), but our most effective communication tool is working software. Our apps are tested continuously and deployed several times a week. Our clients get to see their product come alive and give small course corrections.

When you're communicating with working software, those meetings & documents that describe & debate the product become a lot less necessary. As a business analyst, these modes of communication were my bread and butter. As a developer, communicating by deploying working software is a blessing that allows me to solve people's problems in a more efficient, effective and enjoyable way.

2) We punch above our weight, because we use the best available technologies & techniques.
Ruby on Rails (my forte) is "optimised for programmer happiness and sustainable productivity" and the whole community seems to have joined the mission. Both the Rails framework itself & the constantly maturing range of open source gems allow us to speedily create effective, sustainable & beautiful apps for our clients. In the corporate world, this approach to software development is less prevalent, but quickly catching on.

Lego Yoda

Yoda punches above his weight

3) The interview process is about walking the walk first, then talking the talk.

After deciding to become a coder, I learned Ruby on Rails in a 10 week 600 hour intensive course from April to June this year. Michael was a mentor to the first batch of students, so we got together for a chat after the course. While I have a university double degree in IT & business (considered a greater academic achievement), what was really of interest was what I'd achieved with my skills.

We discussed coding & business with the very real example of my pre-launch live music startup, sonr.fm. The app is written mostly in Ruby on Rails and Javascript & aims to help people discover all the awesome music experiences happening around them - a "Google Maps/Places for live music". Those skills I'd gained had allowed me to create a great app that proved my passion and competence enough to be offered a spot in the Sentia team.

Our Turtle Michelangelo

Michelangelo pretty much carries the team

At the two week mark, I'm still constantly surprised by how much I've been able to learn & contribute, surprised by my teammates' gnarly hobbies (: astrophotography, building a race car, swimming around aimlessly?) and I couldn't be happier to be on board.

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