A Fond Farewell

A 30 Day Writing Challenge

It’s Day 13 of 30 Day Writing Challenge. I’ve not learnt anything today, I’ve been tidying up the loose ends at my current job. You’ll be glad to know that my final release is out the door, I’ve written (some) documentation, and I’ve handed everything over.

I want to take a moment to appreciate everything I’ve learnt in this role.

  1. As I said at the start of this series, I’ve wasted an opportunity to write a brief post every time I learn something new. A load of folks in the Inline Block community have taken on the 30 Day Writing Challenge, and it’s really spurred me into proactively writing every day. I’ll continue to share the things I’ve learnt. They might not be deep dives, but just a few hundred words that trigger memories or further research is equally helpful.
  2. Since last August, I’ve had a trial by fire learning to build distributed systems. Previously, I’ve been an iOS developer and a PHP developer. I’ve designed and built some moderately complex applications but nothing prepared me for the scale of this role. I was given a database of 100 million records. My job was to find a bunch of extra information about each record, mostly from external rate limited services. There was no way that a monolithic application would work. We settled on a microservice architecture which enabled us to process about 3 million records an hour at it’s peak. Our business is eCommerce, so Black Friday is our busiest time of the year. I set the system running 24 hours before Black Friday. It worked and we made a ton of money. I’ll call that success.
  3. This job has also given me the confidence to tackle any problem. I’ve always been pretty confident in my abilities, but I started this role having never written a line of Java or Go. They’re the two main languages we use. As a client-facing engineer I always used to say “I’m platform agnostic, I’ll work with whatever stack you have”. It wasn’t entirely untrue, but I would definitely push in the direction I wanted. Today I trust that, surrounded by the right team, I can figure it out.

I’ve learnt a lot. I’ve had experiences I didn’t expect. I feel like I’ve left a mark on this company and this team. What more can you ask from a job?

I’m ready for the next problem — bring it on!


This is a post in my 30 Day Writing Challenge. I’m a software engineer, trying to understand machine learning. I haven’t got a PhD, so I’ll be explaining things with simple language and lots of examples.

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