Four Years at DigitalOcean

Published June 20, 2020

Reading time: 3 minutes.

Today marks my four year anniversary at DigitalOcean, working on the Community tutorials and the Write for DOnations program.

It’s been a ridiculous four years. I started out in 2016 as a technical editor, working with external authors to create tutorials that walk readers through installing software. It was the perfect opportunity to blend my teaching experience, systems experience, and editorial experience. I would work with the author on the topic and outline, review drafts, and ensure that the article worked as written by testing out every step.

In 2017 I shifted my focus toward working on Python and JavaScript tutorials, as I have more professional experience as a software developer than as a system administrator. I published a handful of Ruby tutorials, and leveled up my skills with Docker, Ansible, and Terraform. I also participated in a ridiculously fun hackathon project with some friends. This project eventually made its way into production, as it solved a very specific need. I get to say I used Elixir in production.

2018 was a year of change, as my peers and manager moved on to other opportunities both inside the company and beyond. This created an opportunity for me to move into a people management role and build out a new team. Through this experience, I learned what it truly means to scale yourself through others, and I discovered that I truly love helping people get better at what they do.

In 2019 I began looking at how we could bring subject matter experts to write multiple tutorials for us. I brought in the How To Code in Go series, and our team hired our very first acquisitions editor to focus on doing more series work like this. We’ve since begun work on several other content series, including How To Code in Node.js and How To Code in React.

In 2020, DigitalOcean acquired Scotch.io and Alligator.io, two tutorial sites focused on front-end development. My team and I spent a significant amount of time reviewing this content and we’re now working to integrate this content into our existing library to create one of the best free educational resources for software development tutorials.

And most recently, I launched the first interactive tutorials which let you practice the commands you’re learning right in the browser. I am extremely excited about this and I hope it’s only the beginning, because I strongly believe that interactivity is the future of online learning, and I want to lead the charge.

A lot of things have changed over the last few years. I’ve met some great people, made some amazing friends, and shed some tears as people moved on. The business has evolved, and I’ve faced personal and professional challenges I couldn’t have imagined.

Four years is a long time to stay at one place in the tech industry, but I have the privilege of leading an amazing team, and the honor of working with some of the smartest and most dedicated educators in the world. In fact, none of the accomplishments I’ve listed here would be possible without the people I worked with over the years. I’m looking forward to what the next year brings and what we’ll do together. I have some exciting plans I’m hoping to put into motion.

If this all sounds interesting to you, I encourage you join our community and get involved. Consider submitting a technical tutorial proposal or answering some questions from others.


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