At the beginning of August, I joined Automattic, a company that is closely tied to WordPress (but they are not one in the same). That probably means I should blog more.

I got excited about working at Automattic (or “a8c” as in an “a” followed by 8 letters followed by “c”) after talking with my once-and-future coworker Drew. Drew joined a8c last year and we were talking about how I love open source and the open web. He pointed out that a8c was all of those things and I should really look at signing on. The only hurdle was the hiring process.

Automattic’s hiring process is well documented (hn discussion) but appears to have evolved since that was written. My own process was résumé, then chat on Slack, then code test, then paid trial project, then a chat with Matt Mullenweg on Slack. Happily, that resulted in an offer and here I am.

The trial project is a great way to get to know how the company works, so you can get a feel for if this is really a place you want to work. Remember – interviews should be as much about finding out if you want to work there as a company finding out if they want you to work. Both parties are taking a risk with an accepted job offer. A trial project adds a lot of information which removes risk.

I’d love to tell you more about what I’m doing as a JavaScript engineer at a8c, but I’m not actually doing it yet. Everyone’s first 3 weeks is the same: support rotation. A couple days of training and then you are thrown into the deep end. It’s a really good exercise (and that word fits, since it’s something that creates growth even if it’s tough); it teaches you a lot about what users are doing and a lot about what goes on behind the scenes. It also communicates that the company really values user experience in a way no mission statement can.

I don’t know if the support rotation would work at other companies but it’s been a better on-boarding than I’ve experienced anywhere else. It might only work because WordPress is already familiar to new hires, unlike the financial services companies I’ve worked at in the past. It might be the culture of using internal blogs and chat so that there is a ton of searchable documentation. There’s also a tech talent war. I wonder if other companies would be able to hire if they said that you’d start off doing front-line support (and I wonder how many big egos a8c has avoided by warning new hires they’ll have to do front-line support).

I’m really excited to be working at a fully distributed company and at a place that believes in making the web a better place.

5 responses to “I’m an Automattician”

  1. Congrats man! I haven’t used WordPress in awhile, because I fell down a hole lined with the shavings of many yaks while building my own blog publishing toolchain. But Automattic is one of my favorite companies ever!

Leave a Reply