Last year I was in a small town in Laos reflecting on the previous seven months of travel while anxiously wondering what life would be like after the completion of my one-year backpacking adventure. I was living my dream of traveling around the world, prompted by a strong desire to take a break from work. I knew I needed a change after a career consisting exclusively of Fortune-500 companies. I wanted something different -- a smaller company where I could be empowered to have an impact, a new industry to learn about, interesting technical problems to solve, and a product with a broad reach. I was lucky enough to find Tapjoy.
It has been just over 30 days since I started my job here at Tapjoy, and although it doesn’t feel that long, I have already learned a lot.
While my first day began with the usual HR onboarding in the morning, immediately after lunch I found myself on a bus to Lake Tahoe for the annual Engineering Offsite. Barely into my first day, I was intimidated by the prospect of having such an intense experience with the entire engineering team. We spent two full days listening to talks on technical tips and tricks, talking about different areas in which our engineering organization can improve, getting insight into planning our own personal development, and spending a lot of time in team building events. In hindsight, the offsite was the best way to start my new job. I learned about the advertising business, the multitude of technologies that we use to run our business, and I met all of the engineers. Not many people can say they spent their first week getting an overview of their work and company along with the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful Tahoe scenery.
After the offsite, I began to settle into the San Francisco office. I joined a small team of engineers working on the Tapjoy SDK. Our team is charged with writing the iOS and Android SDKs and also the Unity and Air Plugins, which are then distributed to publishers to help them monetize their apps. The code we write is integrated (across various SDK versions) in more than 9,400 active apps and over a billion devices. I can see the personal impact I have when I reflect on the scale at which the product I work on is employed.
I’m still familiarizing myself with our code base and our product. If there’s one thing I have learned in the short time that I’ve been here, it’s that we have a very strong engineering focus. We’re deploying code all the time without causing any service interruptions. We’re constantly pushing the boundaries of our system to support more load at higher scale. We’re improving different areas of our code to reduce technical debt. These are all things that excite me.
Even though it’s only the beginning, I’m excited and ready for the new set of challenges and opportunities here at Tapjoy.
Is it the career change that I dreamt of when I was in Laos? I’m happy to say that it was.