My life took a turn for the better in 2008 when as a fresh-out-of-college graduate, I joined Nearsoft. In a sense, I feel like I was the first robot that passed the Turing test. But it took a little more than “3 easy steps.”
In 2008 I was in my last semester in school when I caught sight of a poster by Nearsoft that resonated with me. Later I checked their videos and it was obvious that they were not a “normal” company, but it sure looked like fun.
Once Upon a Time …
I ended up joining the company as an Intern. I started training as a developer with a client’s Web services technologies. This turned out to be a stepping stone to reach the next level in my career path.
Later I had an opportunity with another client team. However, it involved switching from pure development to QA and Automation. I had to think about that one, but I wasn’t sure–I didn’t know enough.
However, after looking into it, the position looked challenging. Eventually, it gave the opportunity to hone my development, testing, and test automation skills in the healthcare segment.
I gained a great deal of confidence working with all kinds of technologies through many, many scenarios.
The Sr guys in the team helped myself and another intern quite a bit and showed a lot of confidence in us. Perhaps more than we felt was justified.
Jorge, the other newbie in the team and I helped each other out quite a bit. Exchanging emails with the US team was particularly nerve wracking. We reviewed each other’s emails to make sure they were intelligible, polite (enough), not too long, not too short … you get the idea.
In particular, we were encouraged to not just present a problem, but also suggest a solution. No matter how crazy :)
It was a great boost to our confidence. I even ended up as QA Lead for quite a few of the releases deployed during my tenure.
Raising the Bar
As the company grew, the requirements for new people has also gone up. I didn’t want to rest on my laurels and fall behind. I felt ready for a new opportunity that would be more challenging for me.
The waiting paid off and in 2011 I had a chance to switch to a new team. It was the largest and most sophisticated team at Nearsoft at the time, and it has continued to grow ever since.
This new gig helped me to strengthen my communication skills and gave me a chance to work in an Agile environment.
Our team has the extra challenge of having to work with Agile and non-Agile methodologies.
Not a Piece of Cake
My first assignment was testing the security of the system. I had to do a lot of research in order to understand what everybody in my team was talking about. I also had to coordinate with a bigger team.
This was not going to be a piece of cake. I had no previous knowledge of the processes, protocol, or tests.
I had to catch up with pretty much everything. And I had to do it as fast as humanly possible.
The timeline was tight, the release was approaching, but in the end the results spoke for themselves. I was publicly recognized at a staff meeting for having excelled at my job. It was shocking and very satisfying at the same time. In fact, I was having a hard joining the online meeting and my team was encouraging to hurry up and listen to the good stuff that was being said about me. Very cool.
Becoming a Robot
I became a robot in 2009.
My focus, persistence, and discipline inspired Diana Arvayo, a peer and dear friend, to hang that moniker on me. And that’s when I became a proud “robot.” It has turned me into role model throughout Nearsoft. I certainly hope to remain such for a long time to come.
One of the most significant accomplishment was when I received an award as the “Most Dedicated Person” at Nearsoft. This was given to me in front of the whole company during an offsite.
I am convinced that working with my current team was a great opportunity to prove to myself. I am very grateful for this.
I was very touched by Clay Shirky’s Cognitive Surplus. The idea of crowdsourcing generosity really struck close to home. I can see many problems that could be addressed by using technology to leverage the generosity of many in solving local problems such as homeless animals, closing the digital gap, etc.
I hope that in time I can help bring this vision about.
This is something I could not even dream of when I started on this journey. I am so happy that this is where I’ve ended up so far. I am even happier face the future and see where it takes me.