It's finalized. I'll be moving back to Calgary and joining the team at Neo.
After a 6 month job hunt for the perfect job I firmly believe I have found it. I wanted some very specific things, and I was willing to bend a bit on a lot of them but ultimately Neo was just a perfect fit in (quite literally) every way that matters to me.
First a foremost, Calgary was the top choice for myself and Jaimie to live. We considered Toronto, staying in Vancouver, and even Cambridge (England) was on our radar while I scoped out a position at a games studio that was very interested in having me fill a need in their core web systems team; but I digress.
Calgary as a city is my favorite place to be for so many reasons. I cannot stand the road ways and traffic patterns, but otherwise it's been a perfect city for Jaimie and I's personalities. We lived their before, for about 2 years until deciding to do a Europe trip and ending back in Vancouver for Christmas time with the family. We didn't know what our next chapter was going to be until we quickly realized how much we desperately missed the city that now felt like home. So this was a massive first point on where I wanted to be for any job. Alternatively if I had accepted a remote position, we'd have been moving to Calgary anyways.
Financial Technology (FinTech)
Working with financial technology is fascinating to me. It's not specifically the money aspect but more about the number crunching. It's about the locale considerations, formatting, timezones, tracking of funds for security, all of these really complicated problems that you see in programming, amplified by the fact that you're dealing with real money, that influences real life, and that applies pressure that you need to do things right.
It may be a bit misguided, but with that in mind I believe that the FinTech sector of programming is creating less error prone code because the responsible companies – those who cut less corners – are the ones who run into fewer problems that reduce trust with their clientele. It encourages and influences the importance of writing test covered code and incentivizes pushing a launch date instead of a "fix it in next release" mentality. This lets a product or service hit the market when it's done right instead of picking up the bug reports and pieces of things that aren't working as intended, and knowingly didn't work as intended on launch. It's for this reason that I prefer to work in technology-first companies that either sell software or solutions rather than a company that has a bigger "tech department" that just builds to help the company's actual primary purpose (ex. manufacturing).
Apollo GraphQL, TypeScript, React, buzzwords!
The unique thing about what I see in Neo compared to a lot of other businesses I've worked with, is their unique position to steer the ship early (being a start up and all) but that they have specifically ended up with their technology stack being identical to what I would have selected if I were on my own. I want to rephrase that slightly. Their technical choices, as a company, with many differing opinions and backgrounds... have resulted in the exact same choices I would have made independently. My only train of thought when I read their stack was that I already knew there was a darn good chance I'd blend well with the culture in their office.
I love working with GraphQL because it really makes you understand the information you're preparing for your API on the server side, and cherry picking the data required on the client side. It's a much better approach to information transferring than REST in almost every way. Additionally in TypeScript and client side with React (their website uses Gatsby!), it's just... perfect. 🎉
Neo is a start-up, as start-up'y as it gets, except none of the the needless* distractions that don't actually help the way we ... assume? It's a more objective business, yes there's the freedom of start ups where "due process" doesn't kill any potential of fun before it even makes it out the meeting room door, but it's not going to be a good spot for me to practice my foosball and gaming skills either. Which it's a damn relief because I've never cared for that in an office space really anyways. I've played my fair share of NHL games but it's so much nicer to have these settings in that giant house of yours that you can buy when the company growing and has become wildly successful, instead of selling them for half price liquidation when the office is being shut down.
I'm stoked about the environment I've seen.
I committed to a dedicated technical stack for 2020 as a promise to myself to improve upon the skills and languages that I felt were the best for my future. It's a relief that I found a position that embodies my career goals so well. I cannot wait to get started and see where the future takes me, the company, and how it will direct my future.
I also want to dive deeper into why I love Calgary so much and also about the amazing new place I'll be moving into when I get there!