Team

WebDevStudios New Hire Experience

Let’s take a break from talking about WordPress acquisitions, new JavaScript frameworks, and the other usual stuff. Rarely does someone talk about their new job. In this blog post, I am going to share my new hire experience at WebDevStudios.

Interviewing

In today’s tech world, interviews get tedious. WebDevStudios (WDS) makes it a fair and smooth process.

First, Justin Foell, Engineering Manager, interviewed me during the second round of interviews and evaluated my skills and experience. Then, for the third and final round of the interviews, I had a paid trial project.

Greg Rickaby, Director of Engineering, explained the goals of the trial. He highlighted that the trial was to assess my skills, find the gaps and areas of improvement, and discover whether or not I follow processes correctly and communicate well.

Justin answered all of my queries, reviewed my pull requests (PR), and also explained to me what to avoid and to do better along the way. I realized that he made it easier to adapt to the WDS workflow in a short time.

Onboarding

The onboarding process was quick and fun. I got access to all the stuff that an engineer would need within a couple of hours.

The new employee orientation includes meeting everyone on the team personally, which surprised me. At first, I asked myself, should I really meet all of them? Why can’t it be an email or a Slack message?

After meeting the team, I realized it helps to get a step closer to my new teammates. I would call it a kind of ice breaker. Communication became easier. It is like I know something about each team member and the conversations flow naturally.

At my first job, I’ve never talked or even said hello to some of the employees in other departments during my three years of working there. Meeting the team at WDS consisted of a series of pleasant Zoom calls.

My onboarding partner was Adam Bates, Frontend Engineer. During our Zoom calls with our new coworkers, we would be repeating our same stories in consecutive meetings. He could literally talk about me and I can introduce him in detail. On the whole, I liked the personal touch and getting to know the teammates, other than just hearing their job titles and tech skills.

Supportive Team Members

In my opinion, employees leave their jobs mostly due to a toxic environment, bad managers, or feeling less appreciated. Lack of support might lead to frustration and helplessness.

WDS has a great work culture, where getting help is easy. I experienced this the very first day itself. We fill the gaps, switch tasks, hop on a call, discuss and get more clarity, work on it, review it and mark it done.

I have also noticed that people genuinely care about their team members when they get sick or are on flex time. I would say this ensures the work-life balance for everyone in the team.

When someone is delivering a talk at a conference, a podcast episode, blog post, also personal stuff, people care and they mean it. Whether it is a direct message or a public announcement, I can see how a team appreciates each other. We even have an internal employee rewards system. It is good to send and receive appreciation every day.

Title vs Role

Directors, managers, leads, and seniors play their roles and not their job titles! Of course, there is a hierarchy and processes, but in the end, they all show their support. I’ve witnessed the COO, Lisa Sabin-Wilson, working on difficult and time-consuming stuff by leading everyone.

Lauren Drew, Assistant Director of Project Management, listens to everyone, comes up with suggestions, and makes it easier for us to work together. Instead of going the “the client is always right” way, she recommends the best possible solutions to the clients and also works closely with the engineers. With many ongoing projects, demos, strategy calls, she never misses responding to any queries.

Justin helps us from strategy to deployment. I call him a lifeguard. Guiding and helping everyone without an I-am-the-manager attitude is rare. I wish every agency had more Justins and Laurens.

Cristina Dios, Project Manager, often asks “Is there anything that I can do to make your life or work easier?” Normally, I don’t like repeated questions, but hers are reassuring.

The lead engineers, Darren Cooney, Richard Aber, Keith Frey, and Oliver Harrison, do not just review PRs; they mentor the engineers and help them grow in their careers. I wonder how they find time to learn and keep up to date in spite of their schedule.

Speaking of roles, Corey Collins, UX Strategist, Bret Phillips, Digital Strategist, and Jennifer Cooley, UX Designer, juggle multiple facets as the team behind strategy. How do they do it?

All Questions Are Welcomed

Nowadays, I don’t have to wait for answers to my questions in programmer’s forums. At WebDevStudios, I can reach out to my seniors, leads, and fellow engineers in a group chat and get answers with guidance.

I get constructive feedback from Darren, Lauren Pittenger, Frontend Engineer, Laura Coronado, Marketing Strategist, on my writing. This helps me to get better at my craft and start my day without any stress.

If I get stuck somewhere on a task or I need to get a second opinion, I have a bunch of smart people around to help. Right from project plan till deployment. I am new to the workflow and some technologies, yet it gets easier day by day.

As Lindsey Bell, Frontend Engineer and my teammate pointed out, “There are no dumb questions. All are welcomed.”

Upskilling for Good (aka Continuing Education)

With Web 3.0 on the horizon, it is important to update your skills. I am now learning Next.js with the help of resources and time given at the work. Seeing other’s progress pushes me out of my comfort zone.

Alfredo Navas, Frontend Engineer, started with Full Site Editing with block-based themes and came up with a simple guide for beginners. I would say the best way to learn is to teach someone. I am sure he is mastering FSE now.

I am happy to see everyone learning and improving their skills. We share our knowledge and discuss stuff at engineering scrum meetings.

Another thing to consider is that continuing education gets aligned to career goals. This ensures that anyone can reach the top level in their career. WDS offers time, resources, and guidance.

Giving Back to the Community

On the whole, everything I’ve felt, observed, adapted, and followed comes under the motto of the company,Your success is our mission.” It is about the success of the team, the clients, and also this WordPress agency.

I am fortunate to work with an inclusive culture. Right from answering questions on various online forums, maintaining code and packages, sharing knowledge via WordCamp talks, books, and all other possible ways including Twitter Spaces, WDS gives back to the community.

I have finished my first Five For The Future (5FTF) initiative—a day to give back to the community at work. It felt like a mini WordCamp, a day full of fun and learning. Instead of just giving a day to contribute, WDS makes sure it is a meaningful and proper contribution.

You can get educated about 5FTF, collaborate with others, learn something new, get help and appreciation from peers and end the day by sharing your progress. I had to miss the 5FTF in August, yet I was given another day to take a break from client work and focus on contributing to the community.

I am sure that this summarizes the commitment of WDS to giving back to the community.

TL;DR

At WebDevStudios, what you see is what you get: the benefits, work environment, new technologies, career growth, etc.

Why should a new hire write about their experience at work? Well, why not? I wrote this as a way to appreciate my team members and share with you what the WebDevStudios new hire experience feels like. I am looking forward to working with the rest of the team on interesting projects and meeting everyone in person.

Join the WDS Crew!

How would you like to be the next WebDevStudios new hire? WDS is hiring. Review about our job opportunities and apply today.

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