My journey to Automattic

My journey to Automattic

So. I’m finally writing this. I’m extremely sorry if anyone was particularly looking forward to this post and I know I promised to write it way before. But you see, I procrastinate. A lot. It’s something I’m still working on, especially when it comes to writing.

Anyway, in this post, I’m pretty much gonna write on how an 18-year-old boy got into the company which is behind the software that powers 30% of the internet. Sounds big? It is! Also, this post is going to be long so please bear with me.

Who was I?

In the year 2011, I was a 12-year-old kid whose sole purpose in life was to top the school exams and become a superhuman (among other things). With that being said, I was interested in computers from the very start. Maybe not a pro at that time, I was still better than most of the others kids when it came to technical stuff. One day, for some weird reason which I’m yet to understand, I started wondering how websites were made and eventually, almost 7 years after, this is where that thought has led me. At Automattic, the company behind WordPress.com, Jetpack, WooCommerce, Simplenote and many other products!

And so the journey begins!

I started researching about website development in class 6th. At that time, I stumbled upon HTML. Eventually, I started making very basic web pages using plain HTML. My research on website development further led me to webs.com – a WYSIWYG website editor. However, I soon realized that I had little control over the code and it wasn’t possible for me to make my website look as cool and as pretty as the other websites on the internet.

My first website
Pretty much how my first site looked like. Source: w3schools.com

It turned out that if you really wanted your website online, you’d have to pay for domain name and hosting. Being a kid, I wasn’t sure if my parents would allow me to purchase it. However, I’m proud to say that starting from that day till today, my parents have always supported me. While learning HTML, I came across this cool language called  “CSS” which would apparently make a website look and work better. Hence, I started learning HTML and CSS more deeply and within no time, I was all over w3schools.com and YouTube, trying out any and every code that came my way.

While I was enjoying the amount of control I had when coding a website, I wasn’t a huge fan of coding itself. I missed the easy to use software like webs where I could just edit the text with a couple of clicks. Once again, I was out looking for a software where I could easily update my website without having to look at a lot of code. And that’s how I discovered WordPress! <3

Freelancing and my first job

After learning WordPress for a solid year, I started freelancing. For around 4 years, it went well. However, I’ve realized that freelancing might not be everyone’s cup of tea and it certainly wasn’t mine. Soon, I started searching for a part-time job. A friend of mine, Hardeep was (still is!) working with ThemeIsle at that time. When he told me of an opening for a support position, I went ahead and applied. Luckily, I got it 🙂

I learnt a lot of things from my first job – how awesome the people in WordPress community are, the importance of the WordPress community, why it’s necessary to contribute to WordPress among many other things. Also, around this time, I reached out to Siobhan and asked her on what it takes to be a Happiness Engineer at Automattic. She was kind enough to help me with this 🙂

WordCamp Nagpur
WordCamp Nagpur 2017.

Applying at Automattic (and getting hired! 😎)

In the June of 2017, I applied at Automattic and was also recommended by my friend and now colleague, Hari. Luckily, I got a response within 3 days and was asked to answer some questions after which we set up a time to chat on Slack. I was then given a project to work on and by the end of the project, got a positive response and my excitement reached cloud 9. Thereafter, I was offered a paid trial.

During the trial, I worked on WordPress.com forums (the process has changed since then) and was cleared on to the second round. When you get to the second round, well, you feel like a God. You have the complete control of WordPress.com sites but with great power comes great responsibility. At this time, I was asked to work on the paid products and this is where the trial gets rigorous. The idea is to have you work on the same things as a full-time Happiness Engineer and see if you are ready for it. If you have made it through the first weeks, you will now be asked to push yourself to prove that you’re a good fit for all this internal chaos at Automattic. During all of this, I had regular check-ins with my trial lead and hiring team. I was also asked to put at least 20 hours/week at this stage.

Automattic Grand Meetup 2016
Automattic Grand Meetup 2016

Finally, after my trial, I was recommended for a full-time position at Automattic and had a chat with the HR team. Well, you know how it went 😉 I was offered a full-time position which I gladly accepted! I’ve been working at Automattic for some 7 months now and I love every bit of it. If you’d like to learn more about the trial and the hiring process, check out these great posts by my colleagues:

If you feel like this is something you’d like to do, then go ahead and apply. We’re hiring! 

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