"Rabea is leaving? How long has she been here?"
"Only six months? Who would do such a thing?"
That’s how the conversation between two of my colleagues went when it was announced that I had resigned.
Yeah, maybe a bit unusual for someone working in a corporate job to leave so soon. I certainly wouldn’t have done that in my old career in B2B marketing. You have to stick it out for at least a year. Otherwise it looks bad on your CV.
Pah… That was the old me! The new me jumps at an amazing opportunity when it presents itself.
And that opportunity is my new job as a resident apprentice at 8th Light!
I just completed my second week there and it is fantastic.
8th Light is a software consulting company which writes applications, works with clients to improve their existing codebase and teaches best practises. 8th Light considers writing software to be a craft. Code should be written in a way that makes it easily maintainable and enhanceable.
A big part of achieving this is Test Driven Development (TDD). It means that we need to write a test before we can write any code. The code then needs to make the test pass. And then we can write another test and more code etc. Sounds a bit tedious at first but trust me, two weeks in, I understand why you want to do it that way. In fact, looking back at my previous experience, I wish everyone would practise TDD. Not only because your code is less likely to have bugs. But also because it improves the design of the application and forces to make code more modular (otherwise it's hard to test).
Code quality is a huge focus at 8th Light. Which suits me just fine, because that's what I want to learn: how to write good code.
Even with my limited work experience I know how convoluted and bad code can impact delivery timelines. Because it suddenly becomes a lot harder to add a feature or to make a change. And it also impacts developer happiness. It is frustrating to implement what should be a small feature when the codebase is messy, untested and full of “just hack it out and fix it later” type code. Because “later” never comes.
At 8th Light I feel like I’ve landed in a little bubble of beautiful code and amazing people.
Which leads me to another reason why I wanted to work at 8th Light: everybody there is incredibly motivated to learn new things and constantly improve their skills. No matter which level they are at. And they’re extremely helpful to beginners! I'm very lucky to have so many fantastic developers around me who can help me with all my questions.
In my old job I felt that I wasn’t learning as quickly as I wanted to. And things that I considered important to learn, weren’t a priority. So I did my own learning before or after work. I would get up early, practise code katas, read up on object oriented programming or tried to understand TDD. And then I went to work and changed the CSS of a page or fixed the Pinterest share button on our website. Which can be an interesting conundrum to solve, but I didn’t feel that it was really helping me become a better developer.
This summer I started getting to know more and more people at 8th Light. And the more I started learning about their approach, the more excited I became about it.
At such an early stage in my career I want to learn how to do things the right way. I want to be able to refactor my code while relying on tests, not relying on my crossed fingers. I want to learn how to write code so that it’s easily understandable for other developers.
And I want to work with people who believe the same. Who are as passionate about what they do as I am. Who support the London tech community and help newbies out and sponsor diversity events.
So, as you can imagine, I’m very excited to be working in the right place now!