I joined the 383 team as a Front End Engineer in January, and was asked to keep a diary of my experiences. Here’s a round up, from applying for the job to the end of my first month at 383!
The interview process
I have just started considering moving on from my current job when a previous colleague of mine tells me that his workplace, 383, is looking for new people and he’d like to recommend me. The morale boost comes at such a great time and, because he has such high standards, I know 383 must be a top notch place to work at.
My friend passes on my CV and I get an email to invite me to the first part of the interview process — a 30 minute phone call with Matt, the Head of Engineering. Talking to Matt is easy and feels less like an interview and more like a friendly chat, just to see if I fit the requirements they are looking for.
The second stage of the interview process includes preparing a project, two mini presentations, and a face to face interview. This all sounds scary but actually turns out not to be hard at all. The project is well within the skill set needed for the role and I have a lot of freedom to create it whichever way suits me best. The presentations are really fun to do as well. I have to present for a minute on a hobby or passion, and then for a minute and a half on an environmental organisation that could be helped by using the company’s resources.
The third and final stage of the interview process is an interview with Sukhi, 383’s founder. I’m pretty nervous — I’ve never had an interview with someone so high up before! — but it’s really great. He’s very down-to-earth and open and transparent about the company. We have a great conversation and I’m asked some very important questions such as what I would do if I moved into my dream house and it was haunted (depends on the ghost), and to rank my favourite Die Hard films (1, 3, 4, 5, 2).
Not long after the final interview I get an email offering me the position as a Front End Engineer at 383!
The first week
My first day at 383 doesn’t start until 10am, which gives me time to change my trousers and shoes twice and my top three times before I’m happy with my first day outfit…! I’m greeted by Operations Manager Natalie who gives Salvo, another new starter, and I, a tour of the office and briefs us on health & safety. Then we sit with Andy from IT support to get logged in and set up.
During the first week, we complete 383 Cadet Camp, with presentations from every part of the company covering how the whole business works. I learn more in this one day about business than I’ve ever known before! I find out about careers that I never knew existed and all the things a business has to consider to be able to run. I also learn how I fit into those inner workings and where I can help out and work with other departments.
Leon and Hannah, the Product Delivery Lead for the Busy bees team, give me a full introduction to the Busy Bees project, talking about how the team works and reassured me that they aren’t going to throw me in the deep end straight away! I’ve been assigned a buddy from the team to get me started so I don’t have to worry about taking someone away from their work when I have questions.
Finally, I get started on my first real task — making a button! It’s a great way to get started as surprisingly there’s a lot to consider about how a single button can be used anywhere in a mobile app, and how it might need to be modified for each situation.
My first week ends with Five for Friday, a 383 ritual where the team downs tool at 4pm and gets together to share five cool things that have happened in that week at 383. It’s a great way for people to find out what cool things are happening in other parts of the company.
The first month
My button is amazing! It can change colours and have text and/or icons and it looks beautiful. My team mate thinks so too as it’s been approved (after a couple of changes were made) and accepted into the library of code that everyone can use. It feels good to already be contributing to the project and it’s only my first real week at 383.
By week three, I’m definitely getting faster at my job now and the work is making more sense the more I get stuck in.
I also have my very first sprint planning meeting, held at the end of every two week sprint. We meet with the client and bring the team together to work out the plan for the next sprint, so everyone knows what is happening. We try to make sure we plan it so that we’ve got something to do for the whole two weeks without getting overwhelmed.
It’s really good to meet the clients, who are friendly and happy to get involved with the prioritising of tasks. It’s great to know that we are working with people who are as invested in the project as we are. This is the first sprint that I’ll officially be contributing to. I’m a bit nervous, but the whole team treats the results of a sprint as a team accomplishment rather than the results of individuals, so the pressure I feel is definitely only coming from me and not anyone else.
I have my first 1:1 with my line manager to make sure I’m settling in well. We also have a chat about how my career can grow within the company and what training opportunities are available for me. It’s really good to know that I won’t outgrow 383!
We celebrate payday and the end of January, aka the longest month, by going to a local pizza place for lunch. Very tasty!