Reflections on a Year of Working at Automattic

I’ve been working at Automattic for just over a year now, so thought it would be fitting to reflect on my time here, what with the start of a new year and all.

When I was first hired as a JavaScript Wrangler last January, I was assigned to a team responsible for such plugins and products as WP Super Cache, WP Job Manager, Polldaddy, Gravatar, and a few others. I can honestly say that this was, in all likelihood, the very best team for me to be on. While I was keen to work on Calypso, I was equally keen to work on WordPress plugins. On the Guardians team, I got the best of both worlds.

Initially, I worked on improvements toΒ Calypso:

  • Adding support for @mentions to the editor
  • Adding the ability to select a frame or upload a custom image to use as the poster for a video
  • Creating an extension for managing WP Super Cache on WordPress.com
  • Creating an extension for managing WP Job Manager on WordPress.com

Pivot Point

Sometime in the fall, I began to take a particular interest in Sensei, an LMS plugin for which our team is also responsible. I was already doing online mentoring for Thinkful, so it seemed like a natural fit for me to work on Sensei.

It’s at that point that I began to make a shift from development to product management. I’d gained a bit of product management experience over the years while maintaining my own WordPress plugin, but I’d never had the opportunity to make use of it at my day job. I was hired as a developer and so was expected to do developer-y type things.

But here’s the great thing about Automattic – they not only encouraged me to pursue product management, they enabled it. (I’m sure it also helped that there was a need for someone to step in and provide some product focus. πŸ™‚ ) Regardless, I’m thrilled that I’m finally able to leverage all those product management best practices I’ve been reading and learning about these last few years.

But Wait! There’s More!

The freedom to experiment in disciplines outside of those for which I was hired is not the only awesome thing about working at Automattic (although it’s arguably the best one). In 2017 I did more travelling in a single year than ever before. I had the pleasure of visiting:

  • Madrid for a team meetup
  • Whistler for the company meetup
  • Rome for a second team meetup
  • Nashville for WordCamp US

It’s fun to wonder about where I’ll be lucky enough to travel to this year.

Of course, these aren’t the only benefits to working at Automattic—the company also offers an open vacation policy and a co-working allowance, for example—but travel and the freedom to follow my own career path are the ones I appreciate most.

2017 was a big year for me, and I’m super excited to see what 2018 has in store!

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