My First 6 Months @ Readify

As of today, I am no longer on probation at Readify. Happy days!!! With this milestone, I wanted to take a few moments to reflect and share my experience of the first six months in the business.

Going into Readify I knew I would be surrounded by brilliant minds, but I didn’t realise how good it would be to learn and work alongside them. At first it was such a challenge to not be intimidated but I could see the continual opportunities for growth. While I hadn’t previously given much credence to certifications or even MVPs, of which there are an extraordinary number of at Readify, I quickly changed my opinion after seeing them operate. It has certainly inspired me to work on the depth and breadth of my own technical knowledge. As such I have committed myself to obtaining a number of certifications that interest me, starting with a MCSD in Web Applications. Fortunately, the company has good provisions for professional development to support this.

While the team all know their stuff technically, what differentiates Readify from many other technology companies is the emphasis on leadership, teamwork, influencing and soft skills. I have previously been in environments with many incredibly smart people and have also been in environments with many influential and charismatic leaders. However, it is certainly rare to have so many technologists who are articulate, influential and also enjoyable to have a few drinks with! I have particularly enjoyed working with the Principal Consultants. It is obvious almost immediately why they are where they are, as they can always seemingly communicate ideas quickly, readily and convincingly with only a few short sentences.

Another observation which I believe separates Readify from other organisations I have worked for is their desire to promote on merit. In the past, I have felt that often the wrong people get recognised by seemingly only using their social or political skills to climb the corporate ladder. While building trust and camaraderie with your team will never go astray, the emphasis at Readify does appear to be actual job performance. More importantly for myself however, while I may not currently be a Principal Consultant, I am encouraged to be as good as I can be and am consistently empowered, supported and shown how to improve. Other organisations I have been at expect the best people, but with no idea how to *produce* the best people. At Readify though it seems the main ceiling is myself and how much effort I am willing to invest to mastering all aspects my craft.

Finally, the company’s annual kick-off was certainly an eye opener and highlight for me, which was held soon after I started. What I now remember most vividly after several months was how executives admitted mistakes and addressed how they would rectify them. This was done openly on stage with little sugar-coating. In my experience, management tended to not admit mistakes until it was too late with half of the company suddenly retrenched. Alternatively, mistakes were swept under the carpet and never talked about. Since kick-off, I have seen management continually ask for feedback from the entire company and then diligently attempt to follow through to make it a stronger organisation and a better place to work. The results may not always please everybody, especially with such a diverse and intelligent crew with strong opinions, but it is definitely not for a lack of effort or desire. I remain impressed by the genuine and transparent way in which management conduct themselves.

Overall after six months, I am certainly enjoying the challenge, culture and the environment that Readify provide. With the benefit of hindsight, of the opportunities that presented themselves to me at the time, I have no doubt I made the right choice with Readify! It has been a long time since I genuinely looked forward to coming to work each morning.

Goodbye, Old Technical Books!

After recently doing a clean up of my study, I re-discovered a bunch of my old technical books. Exciting, riveting, blog-worthy stuff I know! 😛 So, I thought I would indulge in a few quick minutes to reflect before they hit the recycle bin. These timeless classics included:

  • Various early versions/editions of “Java in a Nutshell”. My first job in the industry was as a Java developer, which I managed to get while I was still at uni. It was such a blessing and I don’t think I realised how much so at the time – thank you to Peter Moore, Tim Jordan and the crew at Cortex eBusiness for the opportunity! In hindsight, it was such an exciting time in the industry riding the dot-com boom and bust, working on Australia’s leading e-commerce projects and the bleeding edge technologies of the time. I do miss the energy of a start-up.
  • The Python, Perl, Linux and general web titles reflected my desire to improve in the LAMP technology stack many moons ago. I still dabble in Python from time to time, usually for odd jobs on personal projects. Later on, I ended up doing 1-2 years of Perl, although not necessarily by choice … it wasn’t that bad in the midst of doing it, but I don’t think I remember or could even read much of it now! I can still get by with Linux, but tinkering with the OSX terminal occasionally is about as much as I do these days.
  • Please don’t mistake me for being a Photoshop or design whiz seeing “Photoshop in a Nutshell” there! I think it was for Photoshop 5 or something and was one of the more pristine books in the “recycle bin collection”.
  • SQL Server 2000 and Active Directory 2000 “Black Books”. In the early years at my previous organisation, I was a jack-of-all-trades while the IT department was getting established, and thus as part of this ill-defined role I performed some DBA and network admin duties. I have always enjoyed working with databases, and even tutored the subject at uni. I still have much respect for the SQL Server product and think it’s one of Microsoft’s better offerings, and thanks to Readify’s fantastic professional development program, I am planning on finally obtaining my MCDBA next financial year (doing my MCSD at the moment). And while I don’t really enjoy doing network support, the hands on time with Active Directory has proven to be a solid foundation for me as a developer now focused in the Microsoft space.
  • Don’t know how on earth I ended up with a “Visual Basic Controls” book!!! I had managed to avoid VB until very recently when I had to work on some legacy code at a bank.

Now, time to join the 21st century and unwrap my Kindle!