A few months ago, I started to consider some of the awesome things happening in frontend development these days. Things like React, Sass, Web Components. Technologies that revolutionize the way that we work. I was able to attend SmashingConf NYC this year, and heard some awesome talks on topics like web performance and dynamic static site strategies that got me really excited about the landscape of new tools available in my line of work.
Then I went back to my job.
Coming back from New York helped me to put my finger on a couple key things that are important to me in how I structure my worklife. Versatility and flexibility are both things that I identified as highly valuable in my personal journey as a developer.
Capital One is an awesome company. They are very forward thinking with they way they approach the Banking/Small Business sector, and being such a large company, there are some fantastic upsides, like higher salaries, more opportunities, awesome offices, etc.. But, having identified exactly what I wanted from my workplace, I felt that it was a good time to move on to a place more structured around versatility and flexibility.
First, versatility. I want to work for a company that moves quickly, gets things done, and uses whatever technologies, methodologies, and mentalities necessary to push the boundaries of innovation. The web dev world is moving fast these days, and when it easily takes 6mos+ to piecemeal a new methodology into an existing massive codebase, the market very easily could have moved on by the time it's in place. While there is always something to be said for “this is the way we've always done it forever”, I prefer to work in an environment where I’m able to prioritize innovation/progress in the projects that I'm assigned to, and my personal growth as a developer.
Second, flexibility. Smaller companies tend to be more able to foster a remote-friendly culture because they aren't dealing with the overhead that comes with a larger amount of employees, whereas larger companies often make the call to prioritize uniformity. “Come in at 9am, sit and work until 5pm, and go home” definitely keeps things manageable... but it doesn’t result in increased employee happiness. It results in stagnation. People get used to going every day to their job, doing the same mundane tasks, conversing with the same people, and going home. This is by no means a bad thing for most industries – it pays the bills. In the web industry, though, this sort of thing isn’t just boring, it can very easily cause you to be left behind in an ever-changing market.
A way to break out of this cycle of stagnation is to introduce variables that change on a daily or weekly basis. Whether that’s where you are, or what you’re working on or learning. Working remotely is an awesome way to solve for the issue of where. It allows you to work at home when you want to be at home, or work from a coffee shop or coworking space when you need a change of scenery. Attending conferences or local meetups is a great way to introduce yourself to the new what things that are out there, and get informed about what you should be trying to promote in your work projects.
These are issues that I identified in my work life that I wanted to try to solve for. And, unfortunately, it was going to be difficult to get exactly what I wanted in such a large company. While Capital One is doing great things in their industry, and we had a great run together, the time had clearly come for me to start looking for a workplace that was aligned more closely with my personal values. When I recognized that, I started looking at job listings for smaller companies, specifically ones that actively support a remote-friendly culture. In this search, I found some great resources, like weworkremotely.com, remoteok.io, and r/remotejs. All of those are resources I used to find a new job that fit me, and held similar worklife values to mine.
I joined Coinigy on October 15 as a remote senior frontend developer. Coinigy embraces the qualities of flexibility and versatility I was looking for. As a relatively young, small team, we are actively looking for and utilizing the latest technology possible. As a remote-first company, flexibility is built into the culture at a fundamental level.
Tomorrow, I start another week working with Coinigy. I feel reinvigorated again at the vastness of the possibilities in the industry that I work in. I love building things on the web. It is my passion.