My first job as a programmer was working with a legacy Visual Basic 6 application. Although VB has always been looked down upon as a programming language, it delivered a fundamental lesson for me.
The most important part of software development is not the technology or even the engineering. It is delivering useful features to customers.
Since that first job, I’ve worked on many exciting projects with technical challenges and great teams. I’ve been very fortunate in that my work has provided my family with the opportunity to travel. Over the past four years, we’ve lived in the U.S. — where we visited 25 states — as well as the U.K. and Denmark.
Fast forward to mid-2016 — I had left my job at a large multinational technology company in order to return home to New Zealand and I started to explore new job opportunities. In thinking about what I would pursue next, I found myself looking back fondly on working with that “subpar” VB language where I could deliver features to customers and customers would respond with happiness and satisfaction.
I realized that I was longing to get back to that satisfying work of consistently delivering features to customers.
So I started the year consulting, which was great for delivering new functionality. However, moving from project to project was wearing. Towards the end of my consulting work, I was asked to create a product roadmap. During my research I found Aha! and signed up for a trial. Not only did I find a very comprehensive and interesting product, I also had a surprise in the emails I received from Aha! during the trial period — one was signed by Brian de Haaff.
It was surprising because I knew that name. I had in fact briefly worked with Brian de Haaff and Dr. Chris Waters, the founders of Aha!, after their last company was acquired by a well-known public company that I ended up joining as well. A few swapped emails later and I was chatting with Chris about a position on the engineering team.
In my conversations with the team at Aha! I found that the company has many great characteristics that made me want to join: remote working, independence, transparency, a strong team, great hiring, excellent new employee onboarding.
But my favorite Aha! practice was the one that I was really looking for: We deliver strong features to customers quickly, frequently, without fuss.
Since joining I have been fortunate to assist with shipping many features, from dynamic SSL certificates for idea portals to custom fields for JIRA integrations. Even though I am separated from many colleagues by an entire continent, there’s as much teamwork and banter as there is between teams that work together in an office. Plus working from home allows me to spend more precious time with my family.
For me, working at Aha! is a throwback to the excitement of when I first set out as a programmer, but with far more professionalism. As a result of delivering features continually, our engineering team gets great feedback, satisfaction, and love from our customers.
That is why I joined Aha! — and why you should too.