Last Friday was my last day at Telstra Purple, formerly Readify; I have accepted an offer that was too good to pass up. This is a non-technical post about my career move; I have some meaty technical content coming soon!
# Why am I moving?
When I started at Readify, they wanted someone to help grow an AWS capability at a company that was traditionally a Microsoft shop (Azure, C#, .NET, Office365, Sharepoint), particularly in WA. Leaving the company nearly three years later, the WA squad has completed a good number of successful AWS engagements (including some for very large clients), there are other gigs in progress, and many team members have achieved various AWS certifications. I feel like I can chalk this one up as a mission accomplished.
The absorption of Readify into Telstra Purple also affected my decision. Purple is a new professional services arm of what is traditionally a national telco. Telstra has a long history of laying cables and building cell towers, but not so much with software consulting. I wrote in a previous post about what to look for in an employer, and certainly Purple still scores well in most of these areas, and there are some benefits to being part of a massive parent company; but the company has definitely changed from the one I joined, and some benefits that we enjoyed in the smaller company had changed or gone, and the level of bureaucracy has increased.
Finally, consulting is generally not very deeply technical work. Every couple of months (give or take), you work in a different team, for a different client, in a different business domain, with a different tech stack, a different set of legacy code, and different policies and procedures. It's not like working on a product team, where craftsmanship can help form the product over a long period; consulting gigs are (mostly) short and sharp, with a defined outcome, and no time to develop anything deeply (both in terms of technical work and relationships with people). The best consultants aren't necessarily the people with the best technical skills; there's nothing wrong with that, but I have done it for about a decade now, and I was really looking for something with more of a deep technical focus.
All these things said, I really enjoyed my time at Readify and Purple. Consulting, while challenging and somewhat exhausting, has been very rewarding. There are some really great people in the Quokka (Perth) squad, and I learned a lot from the experience. I don't think I would have had the offer I received without that experience. So farewell Telstra Purple…
…and party on 🤘
# Where am I moving?
I actually had two different offers to choose from, which was an extreme luxury during a global pandemic, and one I am very grateful for, given the number of people in many industries currently unemployed due to the pandemic.
The role that I passed on was to head up a new development team working for a local boutique manufacturing company. They have had a proof of concept for a software product related to their industry developed by an agency, and want to build an internal capability to develop it further. This would have been a largely on-site role, focussed on managing people and working across the whole development process. Turning this role down was actually a really difficult decision, they seem like a really nice outfit.
The role that I accepted is… drum roll… Senior Vice President of Technical Product Management at DevFactory! A lofty title, which I hope I can live up to! It is fully remote work for a very large, international company (based in Austin Texas) in a highly focussed, high-level software architecture role: very different from the role I turned down and from my previous consultant roles.
# What will I be doing?
From the job description:
In this role you will join a very passionate and experienced team responsible for all of the important technical decisions on every product in our large portfolio of enterprise software solutions. You’ll spend your time making the most important technical design decisions.
A couple of things really excite me about this role…
I will be working fully remotely and mostly asynchronously via Crossover. There will be some face-to-face meetings, which will result in some strange hours, but I have always worked strange hours anyway, so that is not an issue. I have also been working remotely already during the pandemic, and have advocated for it for a long time now, but this role is defined as being fully remote; I think there's a key philosophical difference there.
Being a company that works fully remotely and internationally, and beyond that, pays an equal salary regardless of location, should also give it some really amazing diversity. Companies can encourage diversity, but this style of working adds a new depth to this and makes it truly international, in terms of the experiences and perspectives that people have.
Finally, and just getting back to my earlier points about consulting, this is going to be deeply technical work, but at a high level with a lot of impact. It won't be about managing teams or coaching clients, and it won't be about writing code, running scrum teams, or dealing with production support. I think it's going to be a step up in terms of what's expected of me, but it's a challenge I'm ready for.
The interview process was very extensive, I spent around 24 hours of effort over a period of a few weeks. This tells me that I will be working with some really bright and committed people. It also gave me a feel for the type of work that I will be doing and what they expect of me. Of course, I can't share details here, but I actually really liked the online application process.
Anyway, don't be a stranger if you see me around, I might be in need of some in-person human interaction! I'll still be running Perth Serverless (hoping to run a remote event soon!) and going to various tech events and conferences. Or give me a yell @leftclickben on Twitter.