From Mobile to Web: A story about changing teams at Wyzant
I can remember the importance of my experience tutoring for a local middle school early on in my college career. I watched as kids soaked up knowledge at incredible rates and, better yet, experienced what it was like to be one of the people teaching and fueling their excitement to learn. It was a wonderful experience for me — one that gave me a whole new perspective on the learning process.
It was at this time that I began to understand that teaching and learning from one another is our most powerful tool as a society; something so powerful that I wanted to make sure the work I did from there on out involved contributing to that dynamic. So, I decided to pursue a career as an engineer because I knew this meant signing up for a lifetime of not just learning new things, but having the opportunity to teach them, too.
One of the top reasons I chose to start working at Wyzant was because of the company’s focus on learning. Since this is a company built upon the philosophy of not just learning, but learning with an individualized focus, I figured that foundation would lend itself to a company culture built around much of the same. So, my Wyzant journey began about a year ago as I was interviewing around for iOS engineering positions.
I always asked myself, “Would this company be supportive of not just my present, but future career wants should they evolve down the road?” It’s one thing to be told the answer you want to hear from those you interview with, it’s another thing to be shown through tangible examples. My interview felt personal and informative. Compared to some other places where you only meet two people and maybe only talk to them for an hour or two, I got to meet five or six and was given plenty of time to ask them questions, which is important to me. One of the people I met that day had moved from Customer Support to the QA team throughout his tenure at the company because he was interested in the tech side of things. I was fairly confident in the fact that Wyzant would be more than happy to invest in any of my career pursuits that would allow me to grow and learn.
Just a few months ago, our engineering team decided to make the move from .NET to Ruby. While not a small undertaking, the willingness to make this transition showed me Wyzant is clearly passionate about making changes, big or small, that will be beneficial to the company and their employees. So, I expressed interest to my manager in moving to the Online team — I wanted to add web development to my skill set, and our online learning tool is an all-around awesome product, especially from an engineering perspective. As soon as I brought up the idea, not only was my manager supportive, but he was really excited about having the opportunity to help me grow as an engineer.
Shortly after that conversation, I moved to our online tool team and hit the ground running. I spent about a day with the team, getting my environment set up and making sure I knew all about the architecture, technologies and frameworks used in the project. Since I had been working at Wyzant for a year, and was fairly familiar with our online learning tool already, that’s all it took for onboarding! At the end of my first day, I picked up a story and got to work. My team members have been great about answering any questions I have as I go, and I am looking forward to continuing to learn so that I can make impactful contributions to our online learning tool — which is a core product at Wyzant.
The process of switching teams at Wyzant not only changed the focus of my engineering career, but it also helped me learn the following valuable lessons:
- Don’t be afraid to speak up. This one is simple; if I hadn’t spoken up about my career wants, nothing would have happened to help them along. I think too often we make mistakes in assuming our managers know what we want or not being direct enough when asking for changes.
- Get involved. Being involved in a committee outside of my day-to-day team and in the Wyzant interviewing process goes to show that I strive to provide value, no matter what the subject is.
- Pay attention. The timing of this change couldn’t have worked better. Putting in this request right in the middle of a much larger technology pivot meant our engineering team was already buckled down and ready for a big change, making this team-switch small and an easy “yes”.
Knowing what you’re looking for in your next role makes it much easier to find the right one. As a company that invests in its employees and is laser-focused on learning, Wyzant is a great place for me to be. Working here has allowed me to choose a future that benefits my passion for continued learning, while benefiting Wyzant as well!