… cos now I'm an Enterprise Systems Engineer!!!
After just over two years as a support engineer at GitHub, I'm happy to say I'm no longer a support engineer, but am now instead a systems engineer. Instead of supporting GitHub Enterprise, I now get to build, test, fix and enhance it. I'm technically a developer now.
It all started with me and a few colleagues from the Enterprise Support team enjoying a few in a tiny, smokey bar in Tokyo (ます家 芝大門店 if you must know ). During this conversation I mentioned I was interested in getting my hands dirtier than they already were from Enterprise Support and the topic of joining the On-Prem (that's what we currently call the team that develops GitHub Enterprise) team came up. We had a good chat about this and I put the topic and discussion away in the back of my mind as something to come back to and look into at a later date.
A few weeks after returning to , one of my colleagues pinged me on Slack to see if I was still interested. A little scared of the prospect of blindly changing careers - I've only ever done support as a paid profession - and it being broached sooner than I'd planned (i.e. it was the in the I needed) I said I was if I could have a "try out". After a bit of back-and-forth between my manager, my prospective manager and my colleague who'd be my mentor, it was agreed that a "work experience" trial would be a good idea and I had the blessing of all to give it a go starting on 4 Jan 2016 for 4-6 weeks.
During the discussions I'd started drawing up a list of issues I'd like to work on during my "work experience" ranging from stuff I'd already started, simple quick wins, things that have annoyed me as a support engineer to more ambitious ideas. These were documented in an issue within the On-Prem's team repository for all to see on day one of my "work experience".
Six weeks flew by and in that time I most of my list, whilst adding more issues and PRs as I went along. The six weeks culminated with a great mini-summit in Austin, TX with the On-Prem team and it was then that I finally made up my mind for certain; I'd been 80% sure I wanted to do this by the end of week four, but really wanted to see how I got on with the team face-to-face to be really sure.
So I'm happy to say that as of 1 March 2016, I am no longer an Enterprise Support Engineer and am now an Enterprise Systems Engineer.
If anyone else is considering trying something new, I highly recommend trying out a bit of "work experience". Publicly documenting what you plan to do is also an incredible motivator to force you into the thick of things.
I've had an amazing time working for the best Enterprise support team in the and will never forget my time as part of the team.
So it's onwards and upwards into the world of being a software developer for me.