In November of last year, I took a job at Unboxed Consulting. It's been quite a change, and six months seems like a good period of time to review what I've done and learned since then.
Having previously worked only with PHP, and almost exclusively with WordPress Themes and Plugins, moving to Ruby on Rails was a big challenge. Ruby is a delight to work with. Although I'm a Front End developer, I've picked up enough to be able to read and understand it, and to write bits of my own when necessary. Rails is an amazing framework, and feels very intuitive. A guess about how to do something, or where to find it, is often correct.
Working on bigger projects has meant I've been able to flexing my HTML, CSS, and JS muscles in different directions. I've also been using new tools like Jasmine, which leads me nicely onto the next section.
As you might have guessed (or known), Unboxed is an Agile shop. Although it felt like a good fit, it took me a while to feel comfortable with how things work. It's nearly ten years ago that I worked as part of a team on a daily basis, and that was in a large financial institution, doing spreadsheet-related things. The processes there were quite rigid and controlled, and not very exciting. I much prefer the Agile way!
Working for a company has also afforded me other opportunities that would have more difficult, or not possible, otherwise.
- I'm a bit of a link hoarder, so I've contributed a lot of links to the uxbd weekly developer newsletter.
- I've got a regular location for Open Device Lab sessions at the Unboxed offices.
- Inspired by a talk at http://rubyfuza.org/, I helped set up a hubot for our Campfire chatroom.
- Unboxed has sponsored sessions of the Cape Town Front End Developers Meetup and SPIN.
- I've asked smart friends to help us do more interesting side projects.
- Most recently, still in progress, I've got help from the fellow unboxers to run a RailsBridge workshop in Cape Town in July.
- And, perhaps most importantly, I took my Nintendo Wii to the office.