It has been just over two weeks since I joined the Digital team as a developer. Before, I had spent ten years working for a small business in a similar role, plus dabbling in accounting, data analysis, operations and database engineering. I decided I needed a new challenge and a change of environment and was lucky enough to be given this opportunity.
Big changes, big relief
After being in a slightly insulated environment for so long, I was worried I might be spending these initial weeks struggling to get to grips with a new way of working, a new team and new systems. Would my new colleagues be scary? Was my knowledge still relevant? Would I be able to remember where the office was?
It wasn’t as scary as I’d feared! There were definitely major differences to adapt to, but luckily I’ve found myself in the midst of a hugely talented and helpful group of people.
The team here were very welcoming and I instantly felt at home. In the stand-up meeting on my first day, everyone gave an introduction and described their tasks for the day. They ranged from being able to log in to their computer (me!) to lofty content and development tasks (everyone else!).
Newbie on Rails
My first tasks didn’t involve a huge amount of coding, but there was a wealth of knowledge to be gained from investigating the existing code and seeing how it all fits together. I had worked on large projects before, but I hadn’t encountered one of this size without having already been involved in its development. It was very interesting to see all the gears and pulleys behind the scenes and the differences in implementation from what I had dealt with before.
Although I don’t consider myself an expert in Ruby on Rails by any stretch of the imagination, I had worked almost exclusively with it for almost a year before coming here, so I was able to hit the ground running. I’m looking forward to being able to expand my knowledge of Rails further, as well as adding some other language strings to my programming bow further down the line.
I find it particularly rewarding to solve problems, so having the chance to help out fixing bugs and tracking down issues has been oddly enjoyable – earlier this week I dusted off my SQL skills and delved into a database to help determine why a particular piece of code wasn’t co-operating.
At the end of my first two weeks, the tasks were completed and ready to go live. It was the day I had been waiting for ever since I was offered this position: Dragon Day! A little explanation for anyone currently looking confused: when an update goes live, whoever produced the update has the opportunity to press a button to make an impressively-sized dragon toy roar. The roar is followed by a round of applause from the rest of the team.
When it was my turn to push the button, I really got the feeling that this was the right place for me, that the team is a supportive and cohesive one, and that the work of each team member is valued.
I’m looking forward to plenty more roars in the future!