Joel Dean

Joel Dean

Cross Platform Software Engineer – Mobile Gutenberg
Joined September 2019

What led you to apply at Automattic?

I was born and raised in a rural community on the small Caribbean island of Jamaica.There was one thing that was very prominent in my upbringing thanks to my Dad — exposure to technology. We were the first in my district to own a desktop computer, with access to the internet and a printer. I vividly remember our yard swarming with students who needed to do research papers that were a part of standardized exams, or print homework. It was very uncommon to have access to the internet from the comfort of your home! This remains a challenge in many communities all across Jamaica. One of the main reasons I applied to Automattic was because the company’s vision and mission, centered around creating accessible technology for all, appeals to a reality I want to be a part of shaping. With Automattic, I am confident that I am playing an active part in making the web a better place.

“Interviews can be gruelling, however, my experience with Automattic was as seamless as one could hope for.”

Tell us about your interview process and how it was unique

Interviews can be gruelling, however, my experience with Automattic was as seamless as one could hope for. Once I had made it to the interview stage, I was pleased to know it would be on Slack chat, as I was already comfortable with the tool. There was the added value of being able to think through my answers in an environment optimized to reduce bias, rather than worry about appearing professional, or if my voice sounded assertive enough.

The code test that followed gave me a space to showcase my skills without a timer or observer. I enjoyed Automattic’s approach because I was able to make a lasting impression by completing the task independently, communicating at the appropriate intervals, and being able to make changes based on feedback.

The trial was exhilarating but not without its challenges. I realized the environment was conducive to collaboration as I was able to assiduously work through the tasks assigned to me with my trial buddies. The experience highlighted the strong systems Automattic has in place for onboarding new hires, as I was able to navigate the content of the company’s knowledge base pretty seamlessly to become productive in the shortest possible time. My trial was a success and I am happy to have since served Automattic in the Mobile division as a Senior Mobile Engineer.

What does a day in the life look like for you?

A typical day in my life as an Automattician begins with some much needed self-care. Automattic offers mindfulness perks to it’s employees so I make use of this with the Headspace app, where I meditate each morning and consume mindfulness podcasts during my sauna session. Once, I have completed my self-care routine, I grab a cup of coffee and I sync up on all P2 pings (our internal blog), and any Slack and Github notifications, to get an idea of the highest priority items I may need to attend to. I then go into a session of deep work, focusing on creating and reviewing PRs for Gutenberg, the cross platform editor for powering page and post creation in WordPress. I then break for the gym and lunch by early afternoon. After lunch, I usually go into another deep work session before signing off.

“I don’t have to separate my home and work life because the culture embraces remote work as the optimal way to work.”

What’s the best part of working at Automattic?

For me, the best part of working at Automattic is that it feels like family. The folks on my team, and the rest of the company, actually care about my well being, and I don’t have to separate my home and work life because the culture embraces remote work as the optimal way to work, which means being at home with family and navigating all that may bring.

What do you like about the company culture?

I like that the company culture creates a space for collaboration and empowerment. I appreciate the efforts to be diverse and inclusive — with all the various ethnicities, time zones, languages, and nationalities of people coming together across the globe to contribute to one core mission.

How does Automattic help you achieve your long term career goals?

I am given opportunities for skill building, career progression and a space to share my thoughts, dreams, and realities. I am always working on new products and initiatives that allow me to learn new technologies and processes that will be impactful in the work I will do in the future.

What does Automattic do really well?

Automattic facilitates several avenues for clear communication in an async way that provides flexibility to do one’s best work.

What would you say to someone considering applying for a role within Automattic?

Automattic is a great company to work for because it has been fully distributed since inception. This has allowed the company to create a sustainable remote culture that thrived even during a global pandemic. Automattic’s commitment to open source has also been a game changer for content creation, and our contributions to the WordPress community at large have helped to make publishing more accessible to all.