I have a big announcement to make in the life of Eric. I've told some of you already, but after months of job hunting I have secured a new position, as a full time Ruby on Rails Web Developer, at thoughtbot. I'll be starting August 4th. This represents a huge shift for me, and a very positive one.
Tenebril has been very good for me, and for the position that I was in coming out of college, I was undeservedly lucky in landing the job. They've provided me with a very friendly, supportive (dare I say nurturing?) culture, and an extremely skilled set of coworkers. I can say without question that they've amassed an above-average set of talented engineers there. Tenebril was exactly where I should have been, and for a long time was just what I needed.
With this said, I need to be honest and say that my position in particular hasn't been as challenging or growth-intensive as I really need right now. At this point, it would be a struggle for me to call myself a developer. I do some occasional software planning and coding, but at the end of it all I can probably only attribute half of my work there to real development. Most of the dev work I have done has not been in a production environment, and rarely is any project brought through a full development cycle. This has made it very difficult to feel like I have been growing professionally at the rate that I need to be at my age.
Two major mental discoveries were necessary for this to happen. When I graduated college, I didn't have the firmest of professional direction. A year later, this has changed. I know that in my field, I am most interested in web development and being a part of the ever-changing, inspiring Internet. This is number one. My posts here haven't been as regular as they used to be, but I've mentioned before how I've been falling in love with Ruby on Rails on my own for some time now. It's more than love, really; it's an expansion of the mind and a rekindling of my coding spirit. This has given serious legs to my focus on web development, and made my job search much easier (less jobs for me to consider) and much harder (less jobs to consider me).
I have no interest in being married to one particular technology, or becoming so specialized that I cannot take change as it comes and revolutionize myself as the world does. But I would be a fool not to realize that a feeling of such purpose does not come often, and that I should follow where it leads me. This is a fantastic opportunity, and will enable me to relax in more levels of my psyche than I've been afforded to over the last 6 months. It will feel great to come home and not feel compelled to devote the rest of the night to working on projects designed to compensate for what my day job lacks. I still have a very healthy creative drive and I have another life I work on building, independent of anything discussed yet in this post. Counter-intuitively, it is only by finding a position where I can devote myself most effectively to my technical side, that I can be in a position to devote myself most effectively to my nontechnical side.
As I've learned, a popular interview question is "Where do you want to be in 5 years?" Can you answer that? It's tough. The best answer I've come up with is, I would like to be a ninja. And while I primarily mean that in the literal, Japanese murderer kind of way, I secondarily mean that I would like to be a competent software developer, web designer, web consultant, entrepreneur, hiring manager, negotiator, figurehead, and visionary. I want the independence to confidently serve a collection of humans working to a goal I believe in, or if none exists, to confidently gather a collection of humans to work to a goal I believe in. This answer will have to do for now.
I want to emphasize one more time how excellent of a company Tenebril is, and how kindly and professionally it has treated me over the past year. It is only the clash between my specific goals, and my specific position there that has created the need for me to leave. I didn't make this decision lightly; this move represents a shift to a job that is more in line with my current goals and desires by an order of magnitude. I would never leave a company with such a healthy team of people as Tenebril, and who provided me with such a generous and happy home for the past year, for anything other than this level of positive personal change.
So to summarize, I am leaving my position at Tenebril, a computer security company who provides a consumer and enterprise class anti-spyware product, as a Junior Researcher in their Research Department. I'm joining thoughtbot, a "full service IT consulting firm" whose focus is shifting towards their web development arm, as a Web Developer working fully in Ruby on Rails. I'm unbelievably excited about this move. If there is any kind of CS work I genuinely enjoy doing, even in my precious night hours, it is the kind I will now be employed to do. Now, it is time to boil myself in a cauldron of work while at my job, to deeply relax at home, and to give my remaining drive to exploring what I can excel at creatively. My two starting points are forming a one-man standup/otherwise show, and writing some children's books with a friend.