It has been two weeks since I started working in Automattic. Overall, it has been a great journey so far, and I am looking forward to the opportunities that I will experience in the upcoming days, weeks, and months.
Home Office Upgrade
One of the nice perks that I utilized is that the company gives an allowance for us to set up our personal home office. Since I and my wife moved to our new house, we haven’t really got a chance to set up a proper home office for us to use for our daily working activities (both I and my wife are working from home most of the time).
My previous working setup consists of putting anything to be used as a working table. Most of the time I utilized an empty box (from a food processor that we have) and put a laptop on top of it. Sometimes, I also use my wife’s breastfeeding pillow (surprisingly, the pillow feels nice).
I can finally say that the new working space that we have is proper enough to support our daily working activities. The full setup that I and my wife use are mostly covered by the allowance that Automattic gives (it mostly covers my working equipment). By the way, a suggestion, if you folks have enough money to buy it, a Herman Miller chair is a game-changer (I use a Mirra 2 chair).
Every new joiner at Automattic, regardless of the role, will start their first two weeks in a Support Rotation. In the Support Rotation, we are effectively acting as a Happiness Engineer, helping customers from all around the world with their problems.
In the day-to-day activities of being in the Support Rotation, we either answer support tickets that the customers send out or being standby to answer them in live chat settings. One good thing that I’m glad that Automattic has is that the documentation that they have is rock solid, it effectively helps me in doing my role in the support rotation.
In my opinion, the Support Rotation is acting as a unique onboarding experience for the new joiner in the company. Not only does it allow us to have a full two weeks to gather as much information related to the products that Automattic has, but also it acts as a tool for us to understand the customer’s frustrations and pain points when using the said products.
I’m very excited to announce that starting this January 2022, I’ll be a part of a fully distributed team as a Software Engineer at Automattic – The company behind WordPress.com (yay, this blog 🎉), WooCommerce, Tumblr, and more!
As a major contributor to the Open Source community (WordPress powers ~43% of the web), Automattic allows me to explore areas that I’ve been looking for to contribute to the Open Source community (and, of course, getting paid from it). Joining Automattic also made me reflect on my earlier day back in the University when I was tinkering with WordPress, making side projects out of it, both paid and volunteer.
Initial Call with a Recruiter
My experience started when I got an email from one of the recruiters in Automattic. I received several emails and LinkedIn chats related to the new opportunities, but this email captured my interest. Not only because the company is familiar to me, but also because the email mentioned that Automattic is a fully distributed company. At that time, I had no idea that Automattic was operating in a fully distributed way.
The recruiter asked me to fill in a calendar schedule to have a short video call session, and I did. The call was brief and enjoyable. The recruiter explained what they were currently looking for. She also asked me about my previous working experience and my view related to the Open Source community in general. The call was concluded with a step-by-step explanation of the Interview process.
TIP: it is a good idea to do a research of the company before the initial call with the recruiter, also prepare some questions that could be asked at the end of the initial call session
Code Test Phase
After the initial call with the recruiter, Automattic invited me to their Slack (as a guess account, of course). Over there, I was invited into a private channel and all stakeholders related to my recruitment. One of the Automattic members then explains related to the code test phase.
In the code test phase, I was invited to a Github repository. Over there, the detail of the task is highlighted. One nice thing about the code test phase is that the test environment is already created for us (basically, Automattic gave me a virtual environment along with already installed tools and also cloud IDE to work on). I was asked to make an improvement to a WordPress plugin.
TIP: this is where both of your coding style and communication style is being judged. You don’t need any familiarity in PHP or WordPress at all, as everything is easily researched. Communicate all blockers / questions in the Slack channel (they will happily unblock you on that). Make a good commits, and think about the tests on the code.
This was by far the most unique phase in terms of recruitment from a company that I have ever experienced. After passing the code test phase, Automattic will send you an offer for a trial phase. In this phase, Automattic pays you USD25 / hour to finish a 25-40 hours trial project.
One special thing about the trial phase, and the one that I appreciate, is that Automattic expects you to manage the time you take to finish the project yourself. You can spend weekends only for example, or on workdays, after you finish your actual job, it’s entirely up to you. They also allow you to take a break if you have a personal or a professional responsibility that you need to take care, as for myself, I took a 2-week break in the trial phase because my wife was giving birth to my newborn son (in a sense, a parental leave break). I approximately finish the project in around two months’ time.
As for the project itself, it was about utilizing one WordPress plugin library and building integration with one of Google’s services. The integration involves building an OAuth2 authentication and authorization and understanding the API contract of the aforementioned Google’s service. Also, it is required to have a good approach in terms of the performance of the integration that is created.
TIP: in this phase, they take a deeper look into your coding style and your communication style. Also in my opinion, they also take a look into how you manage your time in doing the project. It is a good idea to communicate your plan to approach the project and your blocker to the Slack channel
And that’s it! after the trial phase is finished, the last phase is the offering. As for the offering, I had a chat with someone from the Developer Experience team. We discussed my aspiration and my preferences in the team. After a few days, they gave me a team and the related documentation related to the team and asked me whether I’m okay with the team mentioned. So in a sense, I know what team I’ll be joining even before joining the company (which is a good thing!)
After the team is decided, then I have another chat with the HR representative related to the benefit, and the detail of the contract. In the end, they send me a contract and I reviewed and signed it.
Waiting For the First Day
What’s left is to wait for the first day, and welcome to Automattic 😊