I just got roped in by my colleagues here to tell you about another cool job opportunity at Mozilla:
Tech Evangelist – Jetpack
As Tech Evangelist for the Jetpack project, your job is to lead the effort to build a rich ecosystem of add-ons and APIs by telling the world about our awesome technology; mentoring project participants who interact with add-on and API developers; and channeling feedback from developers into the project planning process.
You see the big picture, and you get other people to see it too.
You make add-on development great!
develop, distribute, and conduct videos, blog posts, presentations, tweets, tutorials, example add-ons, and other informational and educational materials about project tools and technologies
lead Mozilla’s Add-on Ambassadors program and mentor project participants in technology evangelism principles and practices
assist the product manager in determining developer needs and setting project goals and priorities
at least five years experience in the software industry as a tech evangelist, community manager, product/project/program manager, technical lead, software engineer, or in another related position
exceptional written and verbal communications skills, including the ability to communicate with add-on developers, API developers, journalists, business types, and various other folks on their own terms and at their own level of technical knowledge and understanding
a strong desire to make add-on and API development great
a BS degree in computer science or a related field
experience evangelizing, managing, designing, or developing software products for developers, especially software development kits and API libraries
experience managing, designing, or developing modern web sites and applications
experience working in and with open source projects
experience working for non-profits or other kinds of mission-driven organizations
Last week I handed in my notice at Yahoo to leave them for pastures new. I’ve been with the company for almost 5 years (which would have given me a gumball machine) and I have to say that I do not regret a single moment.
So yeah, I quit! Anybody for a Hot Piece of Engineer/Evangelist?
So yeah, another Yahoo jumps the ship – I can already see people talking about talent bleed and all that. To all the people who blog, write and publish that Yahoo is not a technology company and there is no innovation going on I can only say: bullshit.
Yahoo rocks as a tech company
The amount of talented people I was lucky enough to work with is one of my best takeaways from the time I had at Yahoo. The amount of innovation and kick-ass tech being produced is staggering, too. Yahoo doesn’t blow its own horn about it enough, that is all. If, as a web developer you look at the Yahoo homepage and see the JS implementation and the performance you will see what I mean. Yahoo also publishes and gives out the findings for free. The design pattern library, YUI and the performance guidelines can be used by you to be as awesome without much work.
In Yahoo I learnt a lot I previously thought I knew already – having come to the company with already 8 years of experience. I got a chance to hone my speaking and training skills and I witnessed the birth of amazing technologies like GeoPlanet, YUI, YQL, YSlow, BrowserPlus and all the other things you probably miss out on if you see Yahoo as a huge ad company on its way out like some of the rag mags of our tech world love to paint it.
It is about the people
The thing that kept me for a long time in Yahoo are its people. You can have fun working there. Travelling the world and visiting different offices I was amazed just how much local flavour is retained rather than being a Silicon Valley drone someplace else. It is also OK to be outspoken in the company and nobody gets stopped from blogging, tweeting or writing their own thoughts on their own server. Going through a few interviews I found this not to be the norm at all with other companies like Yahoo.
I find myself being in contact with all of the people I care about outside the company channels and there is no way that I will not use these connections in the future to share great ideas, get inspiration and bounce off previews of the things I will release. There are far too many people to thank personally for the time I had in Yahoo and this is not for public – you know who you are.
Yahoo has its problems, and given time I will write about a few I can mention. None of these are really surprising given that they are a big company. Putting too many people together to solve a problem will always result in a lot of noise vs. signal – it is simply human nature.
So why am I quitting?
It is actually very simple – my job is done here. I’ve spent the last two years evangelising Yahoo and left over a hundred different presentations, numerous blog posts, demos and screencasts and other info on its technologies and how they fit into the larger picture of technology or how you can use them to make your life easier.
I find myself repeating what I said before and getting congratulated for getting people excited about technologies like YQL just to get the final blow of “I had no idea Yahoo did anything like that! I thought you guys were almost dead”. I don’t mind the misinformation – albeit wrong – I mind that I feel I ran in circles telling people about the real Yahoo just not to be backed up by other official statements and actions of the company.
I proposed to start a full evangelism department in the company (based on requests from engineers which also lead to me writing the Developer Evangelism Handbook), training up engineers to talk to the world and get them excited and offer evangelism and training as a natural evolution for engineers who want to talk about what they do. Right now Yahoo has two full-time developer evangelists: Tom Hughes-Croucher in the US and me for the world. There were no plans for that to change in the near future so maybe a change is in order.
The other thing is that I have been in the company too long. As I mentioned in my talk at Fronteers this year it is amazing how much better you work when you concentrate on the good things about your job. If you’ve been at one place for a long time you start to get tainted and always see the “this will not work as it didn’t before” instead of the “fuck yeah, let’s do this”.
The good news is that the man who brought me to Yahoo in the first place, Murray Rowan, is now in charge of YDN international, so I am confident he will find a replacement for me soon.
So what’s next?
Later today I will publish a chapter of a book I started but never went anywhere – so this is one of the goodies I will leave immediately. Update this is now live get the book chapter here.
As for the new job…
You know, what? I keep that announcement for tomorrow. I have a new job and I am as excited as a 12 year old in a candy shop with a free puppy section. There is a hint in the source code of the Wait-till-i.com start page and I can say that I am very much looking forward to being Wash and playing with Dinosaurs:
I am also very much looking forward to being able to rant and realise that it is me who can and will fix the thing I am annoyed about:
Again, me leaving Yahoo is not on a bad note – I just see myself in the way of people who should get a chance to shine. I will still be rooting from the sidelines and talk about their stuff when I like it. My last day is the 24th of November, my last official Yahoo gig is YUIConf in Sunnyvale and I will be at Science Hack Day in Palo Alto. Then I will go to Jordan to talk to the Maktoob people about the wonderful world of Yahoo Tech and on the first of December my new job starts – with me brewing a coffee in my own flat in North London and writing my first mails to the people I had so much fun with during the job interview.
I am right now sitting at Heathrow Terminal 5 in London on my way outbound to a two week stint in the Silicon Valley (Sunnyvale/Mountain View) to meet with the US team. And here are the things that made me happy this morning:
Constructing a POUR web site has some very solid advice on how to build a good web site. I am tired of people shoe-horning new acronyms though. POSH was a bad idea, so was HIJAX. Not because of what they stand for but for giving a way out. Hearing sentences like “yeah the solution is bad now, but we will go for a POSH one soon” or “this will be redesign with HIJAX in mind at a later stage” make me want to scream – an I heard both several times.
Ever since I started working for Yahoo in England I’ve been lucky enough to recommend a lot of developers I wanted to work with for ages and get them hired to work here. One thing that annoyed me a bit is that we only took on very skilled and experienced developers. I consider a good team not to be people that are very very good but also a team where new developers can come in and grow with the rest of the team, learn from the others working on real projects and thus having a steady, maintainable, healthy flow of talent coming in replacing those that leave or want to move into other positions.
Now we get the chance to do so. If you are a web developer and you want to work with the very skilled people here in the west-end of London, check out the official job description below and send me a CV. Just comment here and I’ll mail you directly or send a mail to email@example.com.
Here’s the official job description:
Yahoo! Junior Web Developer – Job Description
As the world’s number one Internet brand Yahoo! delivers news, entertainment, information and fun to over a half billion people every day. Our European web development team, based in London, is seeking standards-savvy front-end developers to work on Europe’s busiest sites.
You should be able to provide examples of your work showing use of progressive enhancement techniques (e.g. unobtrusive scripting), and clear separation of structure, presentation and behaviour layers.
Solid knowledge of standards-based, accessible, cross-browser web development
PHP programming skills
User-level experience with BSD/Linux
Experience using version control systems such as CVS & Subversion
Client- and server?side performance optimisation techniques
Search engine optimisation
Experience in developing web applications with rich client interfaces using AJAX, drag and drop, and other DOM Scripting techniques.
Experience of Web Services (eg REST, SOAP, XML-RPC)
Knowledge of web site internationalisation issues and experience developing web sites in multiple languages particularly in Europe.
Use of the following technologies: XML/XSLT, Perl, Microformats, JSON, Flash/Flex
Experience developing functionality/applications by assembling existing code modules
You will work closely with Information Architects, Visual Designers, User Researchers, Software Engineers, and Product Managers to ensure that our web based products in Europe provide the best possible experience for our users.