social stuff

👉 Thought Worker

2020.02.29

Six months ago, I relocated to Germany and joined ThoughtWorks as a Senior Infrastructure Engineer. It was an intense, but rewarding, experience. I got a lot out of it! Let me tell you of the days of high adventure …

my "I.A.C." presentation on last day at client

High costs of living in Amsterdam being one of the main factors, last August I decided to relocate to Germany (Hamburg) and start a new role at ThoughtWorks. For the unaware, ThoughtWorks is a large, global, IT consultancy company with 40+ offices worldwide.

After a full onboarding week, I was lucky enough to be staffed in a brand new Data Engineering project in Berlin. During these last 6 months, I did my best to support my team in infrastructure and software development. I also naturally grew into the Security Owner role within my team.

Meanwhile, I have decided to return to Amsterdam, where I’ve lived for the past 3 years and missed. I had to say “au revoir” to TW. I don’t like goodbyes, as I hope to keep in touch with people!

The ThoughtWorks Way

Right off the bat, I was impressed at my team’s capability to land in a new client, establish an operational ground, engage with management and engineering teams and deliver technical value from the first week. From my perspective, the main driving success factors were strong experienced team leadership, positive support from the client and “The ThoughtWorks Way”. Despite being a newly formed team, people were able to deliver high-performance results, due to the project methodologies being ingrained in each ThoughtWorkers DNA. Most importantly, without steering off from its core values of knowledge sharing within the team, either through presentations or, on a daily basis, firm belief in pair programming.

Pair Programming

Pair Programming is definitely one of the fervent core methodologies adopted by ThoughtWorks. Same as Tim Rogers stated in his “Kotaku Video Review” regarding Death Stranding, being new to it felt “like eating 60 pounds of vegetables at gunpoint”. Metaphorically speaking. Pair programming is a skill, its effectiveness requires patience, a good desk set up and a common understanding of its goals for being able to deal with delivery pressure and the closeness of working together with another engineer. Seeing it work at its peak, is like watching an orchestra at play, where two engineers slice through complex problems like a hot knife through butter.

Knowledge sharing is another core belief at ThoughtWorks projects. Engineers are incentivized, not only to do “Show And Tells” inside their own teams but also globally inside the client and ThoughtWorks itself, through “brown bag” sessions. There is ALWAYS something community going on at Thoughtworks!

Reading Ahead

For the past weeks, I have been interviewing in Amsterdam for Cloud-Native/Platform/Backend Engineering (get in touch if you’re hiring!). As usual, the experience has been mixed. There are always learning opportunities on both sides. I have practically 20 years of career experience as a Software Engineer, so, I have done a considerable amount of interviewing. Had I not been so far fortunate enough in my career to have been successfully interviewed by great recruitment teams, I would have never gotten a job in IT :-)

I greatly enjoyed the interview process at ThoughtWorks. There were challenges… for example, my 2010 Macbook Pro crashed twice while presenting the home assignment project in the final on-site interview! That added self-pressure, but we got past that as a team! I’m thankful to them for believing in me.

Anyways …

Apart from job hunting, I’ve been enjoying Amsterdam and having a busier social life while I’m taking a break “between projects”. I have been moving forward with preliminary work on a small book I’d like to publish at some point. “The Little DevOps Dictionary” (title is a W.I.P.) will hopefully be a collection of relevant DevOps related terms and their definitions. Mostly self-serving, as I found myself too many times having to Google search specific keywords.

Hopefully, useful for other people if it gets “out of the oven”. I’m also trying to fight the hordes and finish “Days Gone”