Working at Quobyte was great. I was able to work on a sophisticated software project, and I learned so much about the design, implementation, and maintenance of real enterprise software. And while working on “software defined distributed storage” doesn’t sound nearly as sexy as Airbnb, Uber, or Oculus Rift, I am confident that I was able to gain at least as much knowledge and growth here as I would have anywhere else.
Most valuable to me was absolutely learning what being be a full-time software engineer feels like, without the foosball tables, beer on-tap, ball pits, and glamorous dressings of many software jobs advertised in Silicon Valley. As the ex-googlers at Quobyte said, the great technology products of Google and other technology companies at their core are ultimately the result of long, hard, and grueling hours of development work.
Not to say that the foosball and beer are all for show – a fun and beautiful place to work definitely helps, and our office had its fair share of perks too, with a great view, plenty of sugar, and a well stocked fridge. But at Quobyte, people got their drinks and snacks in the morning but rarely left their desks besides for lunch until it was time to head home. At the end of the day, the lack of physical distractions like foosball and beer but also the focus of my coworkers really helped me realize that this job really comes down to repeatedly creating, testing, and maintaining software, day in and day out.
My colleagues at Quobyte were fantastic. In addition to being extremely intelligent, they were so patient with me and never complained at my unending stream of questions and relatively glacial pace. And while more assertive feedback would have definitely accelerated my progress, I became so much more self-aware of my own lethargy, where it came from, and how to deal with it since I came to realize it on my own. I learned not only how to ask more questions, but also why I was hesitant to do so and how to improve them to be easier and more effective. I learned which sorts of obstacles made me apathetic and easily distracted, and how to turn those into challenges I was eager to tackle.
Quobyte is probably one of the most enriching pieces of software I could have worked on, as it was small enough that a dozen easily accessible colleagues could explain every piece of it to me, but also intellectually fascinating and complex. I was able to learn about procedures and the theory behind good unit testing, differences between various unix distributions, and algorithms used for efficiently maximizing data redundancy and fault tolerance.
And to be clear, the software is pretty good, too. Distributed storage is one of those things that almost nobody thinks about but almost everybody needs. And we do a good job at it too, having higher performance, scalability, and efficiency than anything else in the industry. In addition to the development knowledge, I was also able to learn about what it means to sell software as a business, and how exactly the business development and marketing aspects of that work as well.
I don’t really have a way of ending this, besides from saying: working at Quobyte was great and I’m excited to see what my next job has to offer.