Git Init: My First Two Weeks at DockYard

By: Rowan Krishnan
Dozens!

How I Got Here

Two weeks ago I started working as an intern at DockYard - though it feels like I’ve been learning from the employees here long before then. If that sounds a bit confusing, I can explain.

As a young and (excessively) restless developer, I’m constantly experimenting with new libraries and frameworks. The “Projects” directory on my laptop is a messy graveyard of half-finished Todo apps, CRUD blogs, and coding sandboxes created to try out a promising new language or technology. You probably know the type, or share some of these same symptoms.

Dozens!

I decided to check out Ember.js a year ago, and soon realized that I kept finding myself back here on ReefPoints. I was reading fantastic pieces by DockYard engineers on almost every topic pertaining to Ember development. I learned a tremendous amount about the various nooks and crannies of the framework, but more importantly, began to recognize what makes Ember such a great tool for building truly ~ambitious~ web applications.

So when I read Michael Dupuis’ email to the Tufts CS group about DockYard looking for new developers, I knew that this would be a fantastic opportunity. Directly working alongside some of the most prolific OSS contributors and JavaScript engineers in the Boston area is not something to miss out on. DockYard takes their engineering seriously, and I really wanted to level up my engineering skills this summer. It was a perfect match.

In the past couple of weeks, however, I’ve realized that there’s far more to this place than just a deep knowledge of web development.

What makes DockYard so special?

One of the things that I immediately noticed clearly defines this place is the sheer amount of collective knowledge shared between everyone in the company. I’ve only just started to get to know people here, and it seems like each member of the twenty-two person team has a unique area of expertise. DockYarders include the creator of an incredible web framework, expert JavaScript and Ember.js engineers, Boston architectural enthusiasts, and craft beer sommeliers. If you put all of these people in a room together and have them work on creative projects, you’re bound to get great results. There is a contagious, inventive energy in the air that is noticeable right when you walk into the office, and you can tell that DockYarders are proud of the work that they do.

Expertise and mastery of craft is ingrained in the culture here, but so is self-improvement and knowledge sharing. DockYard does a fantastic job of consulting and working with their clients, but they do just as great a job of training and educating their own employees.

I’ve experienced this first hand. Despite how intimidating it could have been to pair program with an engineer on an Ember client project (and fumble around with an addon that they created), it has never really felt that way. It’s why every Thursday two DockYarders do an in-depth presentation on a topic of their choosing, which are then frequently taken to conferences around the country. It’s why the Slack channels for technologies like Ember and Phoenix are constantly buzzing with questions and back-and-forth conversations about best practices. And it’s why you’re reading this blog post from me right now: sharing of experience is not just encouraged, it’s expected.

Time to get to work!

I think I’m joining DockYard at a really exciting time for both the company and the software consultancy industry as a whole. There’s such a wide variety of interesting and challenging projects being started, and the tools with which to build them have never been more promising or enjoyable to use. DockYard recognizes this more than anything else, and makes sure to invest their time in projects and technologies that have the most future potential.

My goal for the next three months is to learn as much as possible from the many talented individuals in the office, and hopefully be able to contribute in my own way. I’m excited to get hands-on experience working with clients, but I’m also looking forward to participating in the many traditions that separate DockYard from other companies: Wicked Good Ember, hallway talks, monthly outings, DockYard Fridays, and countless others. I know that at many points I will struggle, and perhaps even fail, but that’s okay. In fact, that’s what I signed up for - a challenging new experience. Here’s to a great summer.