Who Am I?

I’m Christian Thomas, a freshly minted backend PHP developer at Bēhance

Why Am I Writing This?

Well, I’m officially three weeks in. My opinions are the most objective they’ll be for the foreseeable future, and I want to share some observations I’ve made as a new hire.

Observation 1 ) Culture

What makes or breaks a product or a dev team? Frameworks? Methodologies? Project Management? It could definitely be a little bit of each, but the big player in my opinion is culture. The development culture at Bēhance is by far the healthiest I’ve been invited in to. They’re about making something well and doing it together.

Usually you can walk in and quickly tell what category the dev team falls under:

  • Demoralized or bored from crap product and / or project management

  • Terrifyingly (back stabby) competitive

Bēhance’s dev team doesn’t fall into either of those categories. There is a sense of meritocracy and freedom from typecasting here. It’s as competitive and broad as you want it to be. We’ve got developers that are Alan Turing level but still talk to anyone (like me) and help out where they can. There are some really strong opinions, but they seem to get a fair hearing.

It’s clear that this is a place that’s intent on curating, pruning, and directing good product as an extension of a good internal culture.

Observation 2 ) My Imposter Syndrome

I occassionaly have to eliminate fear of being an imposter-dev from my psyche. I just wanted to put this in here if you do too. It stifles creativity and puts me in a defensive, static working mode. It comes and goes, but at a new place it tends to flare up.

The question creeps in more and more: “What if they don’t know how much I don’t know?”

One thing I appreciated about the interview process is that the hiring team got a really good assessment as to my proficiencies, deficiencies, and how they applied to what the team is looking for. It was a fairly in depth process.

At the end of the day, it was nice to just look at it and be like “Here I am. This is what I know. This is how I code.”

When they asked me to come on board, I didn’t feel like I had unconsciously duped anyone. I felt like “Ok man, they have a good idea of what you can do…and they want you to join up.”

Observation 3 ) Bootcamp

Alot of places I’ve worked refer to this as ramp-up. I guess that works, but all I can imagine is a gigantic ramp, and I’m pushed up it until I fall off the top. That point in time usually coincides with an assumption that I’ll be highly productive, because you know, altitude and speed or something.

At Bēhance we call it bootcamp and it’s a little different. There are intense informational sessions with all the different teams. Those are invaluable as you start to see the lay of the land. You’re free to discuss favorite toolsets, how elements of the session integrate with your new role, and any other questions you may have.

You’re also getting history and context.

Why was this architecture chosen? Are we staying with it? If not, where are we going?

You’ll get a little bit of each one of those questions answered thoughtfully by the people who own that domain.

I ended up being productive at the beginning of my second week. I don’t attribute it to how smart or fast I am, but rather the quality of the bootcamp process and the continued mentoring I receive.

Observation 4 ) The Code

I was immediately impressed with the fact that at Bēhance, we’re not afraid to refactor legacy code in parallel to new development.

The prevailing paradigm is that the code should be testable, innovative, efficient, and beautiful. And it should keep being refactored until it is more of all of those things.

The qualities that make our products successful filter down into the act of writing the code. I think that’s fairly rare and it makes me happy.

Hello / Goodbye!

So that’s about it for now and I hope this was a helpful peek into what it’s like being a newly hired dev at Bēhance. I’m off to a great start and it’s apparent that I’m working with a team committed to making things happen well.