Dreams can come true! My first week as a Developer Advocate at MongoDB
Wooo it finally happened!! 🥑
This is something I have dreamt about for over 3yrs, ever since I became friends with the incredible Jim Bennett, Snr Cloud Advocate at Microsoft. We had many long chats over coffee at events, about what Developer Relations is about and it certainly sounded appealing! It's basically getting paid to do my hobbies!
I wanted to share a bit about my experience leading up to starting here at Mongo but also what my first few days on the job have been like. Of course, everyone's experience is different, but I know over all the years of dreaming about it and then waiting for this job to start, I was seeking every bit of info I could about what its like so maybe this will be of interest to some people.
Even before I started, the few weeks leading up to starting had things going on, beyond just the usual admin of paperwork and leaving my previous job.
As mentioned at the start, I spent a lot of hours making a short video to announce my job. I've dreamed about it for long enough so the announcement has to be memorable right?! Once that was posted, I was flooded with support and congratulations from friends all over the world and even my new colleagues who were all excited about me joining. How lovely!
I also very early on after accepting, received my computer equipment in the mail which was a first for me! I have always received my equipment on the first day in the office but I'm a remote worker now, things are different.
I was given a 13" Macbook Pro 2020, Magic Keyboard, Magic Mouse, Stand and USB-C dongle with support for ethernet, older USB and HDMI. I already have a full-size Magic Keyboard 2, Logitech MX Master mouse and a vertical laptop stand so some of this stuff isn't needed, but I was really impressed how quickly it all came, even if I couldn't play with it yet! Plus it's back to Mac for work, wooop!
I was also very kindly sent a hamper of selected Irish treats (my lovely manager Rita lives in Ireland so she wanted to send me something local). I also received a selection of artisan brownies from the company just to thank me for my time being interviewed and welcoming me to the company. Never been so spoilt before I start a job before. I knew very quickly I had made a good choice joining! 😍
The Friday before I started (Friday 28th May 2021), I woke up to an email to start setting up my IT account. We use an identity provider with MFA so once I was signed up, it was easy to get it working across devices, albeit with a very limited selection of apps available to me before I started. In my previous job, security was very tight due to the nature of the work so being able to access so many things from wherever I want is certainly refreshing!
The final piece of the jigsaw was to sort out the desk in my home office. From the day I moved in, the 2nd bedroom in my house has always been my office. But I still had the Ikea Malm desk that I bought in 2012 and although it was perfect at the time, as my needs evolved over they years (along with my gadget collection), it became clear (accelerated by working from home during COVID), that an upgrade was needed, specifically around width. The issue was getting the stuff I needed due to so many things being closed.
But if you follow UK news, you will know that since the end of April, things have begun to open up at different stages and this meant at last that not only was Ikea open for me to get the parts I needed (one piece was only available in store), but I felt more comfortable taking public transport to get there and also having people over to help me get it all upstairs and build it.
It's still a work in progress but this is a sneak peak of my new desk setup as it was on day -1:
This is the kind of desk I have wanted for years. Not just in terms of space but also aesthetic. I love dark wood with dark units and I wanted as many of my accessories to match as possible. Mission accomplished! ☑️
Still some changes to make including my Nanoleaf tiles back on the wall, addressing some cable management challenges, a desk mat and a new keyboard. I am hoping to get a Keychron K1 v4 107-key with RGB lighting but its currently sold out. I like this keyboard as it is mechanical yet low-profile, has RGB lighting and also easily switches between devices such as my work Macbook Pro, my own Macbook Pro and my Windows PC.
When it is all complete I will write a post about it including the items, what I have added/changed and more pictures so watch this space! 👀
Day 1 was very relaxed. I had a call with Rita to welcome me to the team and to make sure I know the team is all here to support me. Throughout the whole process from interview to accepting to waiting to join, I have always been reminded of how excited the team are that I have joined so I feel completely relaxed and free to ask questions already, wonderful!
I mainly spent the first day installing some basic tools on my laptop, ensuring I could access internal websites, doing new hire paperwork such as benefits, updating some information on the HR site, meeting new people on Slack and the most important part..ordering my new hire swag kit. 😉
I was also battling an annoying issue where my laptop was only getting 3840x1080, which is OK but not ideal on a screen that is intended to be 5120x1440! I was connected via a Thunderbolt-3 dock, which was connected to the monitor via Display Port so it should have worked. In the end I tried it with the Thunderbolt 3 cable directly from monitor to laptop and it worked, woo! That has some other downsides but it's good enough!
I then had a few other meetings including IT New Hire Orientation, meeting my assigned buddy Pavel and then a wider team meeting in the afternoon where we just got to know each other a bit better!
The best part of my meeting with Pavel was the onboarding document and Trello board that has been put together for me. It has guidance on things that might be important or useful from Day 1, Week 1 all the way up to month 6! Of course as time goes on, the number of suggested items on there reduces as I will be busy doing 'real' work, but I was blown away by how incredibly detailed it all is from links to tasks to tick off. As a fan of structure who hates not knowing where to start, this was just joyful!
Day 2 was also very relaxed. Although I had a nice list to follow, nobody was expecting me to go at a whirlwind, the main thing was to get used to things, ask any questions I needed and get to know our products and processes by reading lots of things and starting to watch some videos.
I also had the Benefits Orientation and a New Hire Meet & Greet with other new starters from EMEA and India regions. It was great to meet other people who started at the same time as me. I also got my first chance to help my colleagues. Our onboarding co-ordinator was having internet issues so she kept breaking up. Someone had asked how to change their profile name on Zoom since it had their full-name showing instead of their preferred name. I was able to step in and talk them through how to do it. Woo first helping of the new job complete! ☑️
This was also the day I worked my way through the usual new hire mandatory training on security, privacy, phishing etc. The phishing one was particularly memorable as it involved picking 'It's a phish' or 'It's legit' from examples. Thankfully I passed!
I also got invited to get involved in my first event, woo! MongoDB are sponsoring a hackathon next month that will be a hybrid of online and in-person either here in Manchester or a city about 1hr away on the train so very do-able. Apparently my only goal of this event is 'to have fun and meet other UK Developer Advocates'..I can take that! I should also have my new hire swag kit by then so I can proudly represent the company for the first time!
Hackathons mean a lot to me after my wonderful experiences attending Hack Manchester and also mentoring at other Hac100 events (RIP 😔) such as their youth hacks aimed at young women ages 12-18. So getting to attend another one as a sponsor will be great!
Day 2 was then rounded off with a wider team meeting where I got to meet and be welcomed by yet more people! So many people to meet, but everyone has been so friendly!
This was mainly a day of content consumption (while taking notes of course!), finishing off watching things like the MongoDB.live 2020 Keynote which was packed full of amazing information about how MongoDB is used in the real world, but also the amazing features that have recently been upgraded to General Availability.
My particular favourite was MongoDB Charts which allows you to quickly and really easily add data visualistion to your app/website. I already have a flurry of ideas of how I could use this! Watch this space! 👀
I also started installing some additional tools including VS Code and relevant extensions. I know, day 3 and only just adding VS Code?! That's the crazy thing about being a Developer Advocate. Once I start to get more settled into my role, I will be creating code samples for sharing etc., but a day 1 task isn't always adding the code related languages and tooling, like it would be for a developer.
It's more important that I get up to speed with our processes including workflow management from ideas to writing to review both by ourselves and externally, and other things that help us better serve our community.
I also had my first 1:1 with Rita officially, its lovely to have a manager I get on so well with! She even introduced me to how we look at most commonly searched terms in SEO that can help guide us to what it is the community is wanting to know that we might be able to create content to support. What fascinated me was that not only were there really obviously related search terms but also more generic ones that still actually apply to us.
It's great to see for real, just how seriously we take making sure we create content that is of value to our users, both internally and externally.
Last day of the working week! This week started with a Bank Holiday here in the UK so my first day was in fact a Tuesday so as I write this (Friday night UK time), its my last day of the week!
Today I focused on learning/upskilling again. This is going to be a common theme of my onboarding!
I watched some videos on being a better public speaker and doing good tech demos and began taking some introduction chapters on MongoDB University. I didn't realise this resource existed until I was learning more about MongoDB and WOW, what a site!
Just like my other favourite, Microsoft Learn, these courses are all free, available 24/7, include a mixture of videos, quizzes and interactive labs and have learning paths to help you know where to begin and what modules to take.
This also allowed me the chance to make sure my tools were configured correctly for MongoDB connections and create my first ever cluster as a MongoDB employee!
It's also unusually warm and sunny here at the moment and a new parasol that was desperately needed for my garden arrived this week, so I was able to spend some of my afternoon watching useful videos from the comfort of my beautiful garden!
Later on in the day, we had an EMEA catchup which was about just chatting non-work things and staying connected with people. Only 2 others turned up besides myself due to scheduling and other priorities so I got chance to meet two other colleagues, Diego and Mohit, for the first time, and just have a chat with them, very relaxed!
I then ended the day and week with a visit to see my personal trainer. On the way as I sat on the bus, I was able to tune in to my amazing teammate Lauren Schaefer who was streaming over on the MongoDB Twitch Channel!
I then rounded off the week with a full-body workout with my PT where we did things from dumbbell overhead press to deadlifting to body weight exercises including planking. I always feel great after a workout so it was a lovely to end my week this way and hopefully now COVID restrictions are lifting, I can end every week like this!
There we have it, a (hopefully chronologically accurate) summary of my first week at MongoDB! What an amazing start to a new job!
As you can imagine, it has involved a lot of reading, learning and taking things in. I have felt nothing but supported and welcomed by my colleagues from my own team and beyond and I really am delighted to finally be a Developer Advocate.
MongoDB is a company I had a heard a lot about before I started, including what a great place it is to work, but not used the products much. But just being a part of the 'family' from accepting the job offer to now, has shown me that this is going to be a great fit for me. People are friendly, helpful, passionate, knowledgable and welcomed me to the company with an onboarding plan sent down from heaven!
My new teammate Joel Lord also started this week, so its been great to share some experiences together, offer some tips (I had no idea you could sync Google Calendar to Zoom!) and be on this journey together.
I am going to sign off this post with a message to my team. Thank you for being a part of making my dream come true, thank you for making it such a great way to start and I can't wait to see what amazing things we achieve together! 🧡