AMA: BA roles in Automattic?

Iroy asks…

Automattic uses interesting and fun names for different roles (QA being excellence wrangler). Are there Business Analyst roles in Automattic? If so, what is it called?

My Response…

At Automattic we differentiate between a Job Title and a Role. My (current) job title is indeed Excellence Wrangler and my role is Code Wrangling. Anyone is free to change their job title to anything they like at any time so we have some fun ones, whereas the roles are pretty static.

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Getting Started with WebDriverJS & Mocha

See also: WebDriverJS & Mocha Part 2: Hooks

As more and more companies move towards having web user interfaces built using JavaScript (eg. React & AngularJS), as well as towards full stack JavaScript (Node.js), it seems JavaScript is becoming a ubiqutous programming language, with more and more developers mastering it.

It makes sense then to start writing automated acceptance tests in JavaScript using Node.js, as this lowers the barrier for more people to write acceptance tests.

I’ve recently started using WebDriverJS (the official Selenium JavaScript library) and Mocha to write automated acceptance tests for WordPress.com, and I want to share some of my findings so far.

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Bush Walking (or how a wasp can destroy your iPhone)

Everyone at the Automattic Grand Meetup is required to give a 4 minute (or less) flash talk about any topic they like. I told a story about how I was stung by a wasp bush walking. This was my talk:

Bush Walking by Alister Scott (16)

Continue reading “Bush Walking (or how a wasp can destroy your iPhone)”

Automattic Grand Meetup

My first few weeks working at Automattic (WordPress.com) have been great. As I mentioned previously; I spent my first three weeks on customer support (like everyone else), and this week I am in Park City, Utah for our annual all company meetup (Automattic Grand Meetup).

Since Automattic is a 100% distributed company with about 400 staff across 36 countries, it’s important to have face-to-face contact a few times a year, and this is the biggest meetup where everyone from across the globe comes together. Other meetups throughout the year are for teams or projects and are much smaller.

Park City is a very pretty place, I’ve enjoyed my time here. Here’s some of my photos.

 

An Automattician To Be

I am excited to announce I will be starting as a full time Excellence Wrangler for Automattic working on WordPress.com from this coming Monday.

Improve the quality of the WordPress.com experience through testing and triage. Your work will inform product teams to act on the top priority issues facing our users. Tasks include automated UI testing, creating and executing test plans, effective issue tracking and triage, and identifying and monitoring quality metrics.

I’ve dreamed about working for Automattic/WordPress.com for a long time (I first wrote about working for Automattic in 2008), and with their newly created Excellence Wrangler roles this really is a dream come true.

WordPress is superbly simple yet beautifully powerful software that powers 24% of the Internet (including this blog), not only for blogs like this but sites for businesses, artist’s portfolios, hobbyists and giant media organizations like CNN and TIME.

Some amazing facts about Automattic and how I was hired:

  1. Automattic are 100% distributed with 395 staff across 36 countries all working from home or wherever they choose.
  2. I have already worked for Automattic for almost 3 months on a paid trial, where I was given a real project to work on in my spare time. This is a requirement for all new hires at Automattic. I can’t overstate how great this is, as it gave both Automattic and myself real exposure to each other before committing to a full time job. It now makes taking on a new job without a trial seem too daunting.
  3. Automattic does their entire interviewing/trial/hiring process via asynchronous text chat (Skype/Slack), including the final hiring discussion with Matt, so I have never spoken to a person from Automattic. Whilst this may seem unusual at first, it’s representative of how the company works in such a distributed way, and it’s a great way to eliminate all prejudice/bias from a hiring process as it’s all about what value someone can add, not what they look or sound like.
  4. Everyone who joins Automattic full time spends their first 3 weeks on support, regardless of their position. I am looking forward to this next week as it will give me broad insight into how WordPress.com is used by real customers by working as a ‘Happiness Engineer’: Genchi Genbutsu.

I can’t wait to be a part of the future of WordPress.com, so stay tuned for more updates as I begin this exciting next stage of my career.

Five organisations I would love to work for (geography aside)

I believe that it’s a good idea to keep a wish list of companies that you’d love to work for. This is not just to make sure you keep an eye out for opportunities at these companies, but also to discover what it is that makes you want to work at these companies. This makes it easier to chose other jobs that have some of those same qualities.

Your wish list also guides you to make decisions that open up opportunities at these companies, whether that talking to your work collegues about what it would be like to work there, or doing a LinkedIn search to see if anyone in your ‘network’ already works there.

Your wish list doesn’t even need to be realistic. None of the companies on my list are based in Brisbane, and only two are even based in Australia. I’m pretty much set on living in Brisbane; I love it for many reasons. The main reason is the proximity to my family and inlaws. At the moment, no job could be better than that.

But here’s my list:

  1. Threadless: I think this article pretty much sums it up. I also love this other quote about when they were deciding on how to make more money: We’re like, “we should give them stickers because stickers are awesome.”
  2. Atlassian: They make rock solid products (Confluence, JIRA…), aren’t afraid to take on the big players, and strongly support open source. I also love their mission and culture.
  3. Automattic: – Any wordpress user would know why I would love to work for Automattic. They advertise jobs such as Happiness Engineer and state that… everyone who joins Automattic, regardless of position, does support for 3 weeks.
  4. The Big Issue: Not only do The Big Issue support a great cause: homelessness in Australia, but the magazine is a really good read too. There’s no other mag that I enjoy reading more. This is truly a dream job though – they only have a full time staff of… three!
  5. 37Signals: Who wouldn’t want to work with the creators of ruby on rails and the authors of Getting Real? They also write one of my favourite blogs. But the real reason is that they really dig writing skills, and I dig that.