Mike MJ Harris

New Job, New Infrastructure


It has been a quiet few months on the blog front - that's been down to three things: New job (internally at MOO), new infrastructure (we moved to the cloud) and life (hey it's not all about tech - went on some holidays, took some time out - don't need to explain that to you). I did want to update some of the new stuff I'm getting to work with during office hours and how that impacts what I work on in my spare time.

New Job

After 18 months in the Browse team at MOO I moved to the Money team. In the Browse team we were looking after the shop window of MOO where you look at the range of products. The two main deliverables we worked on was a new Java based CMS (Magnolia) and a front end redesign (where we build a shared style guide, implemented more complex design updates and used tools including jQuery and React.). Some of the big challenges were making an easy to use system for our editors to update content and making fast, highly cachable pages that deliver a responsive smooth experience. The Money team is very different with the focus on the account and checkout flow of the website. The cool new product is a react/redux based single page app talking to java services in the backend. In addition there's a whole bunch of legacy php and java services to maintain and improve. It's been a big shift and the opportunity to work with a range of new tech.

New Infrastructure

The other big change at work has been a move to the infamous cloud. The platform operations team has had a huge amount of work to do over the past six months to make our infrastructure fully represented by reusable code using terraform and ansible. I really enjoy the dev ops part of software engineering and it's been great to help out and work with that team. There was a firm deadline and we were asked to work two Sunday's in a row. I'm against any company that expects you to work long weekends and evening as the norm. Occasionally doing so, especially when it is an interesting project, is just part of being in a good relationship with your employer. In addition we have been well looked after with time of in lieu and compensated with food and drinks. Plus there's the usual week to week freedoms and flexibility. We get looked after so happy to help out in return.

Work Life Balance

I'm generally reasonably good at balancing out work and life. I try and listen to my body and balance it against demands at work and my own schedule. The work we do is super interesting and even outside of work I do tech related stuff like work on side projects or write this blog. Moving to a new job I have high expectations of myself to perform at work. Getting to work with new tech is super interesting and a great experience. When there are real world problems you learn much more than building another hello world app. With both the new job and the move to the cloud the skills I've been learning at work have matched up with areas of my own personal development. As such time I'd of spent learning new tech in my spare time I have used to expand my knowledge of the new tools and frameworks used in the office. Not only do I learn more but I've been able to relax more during the day feeling that I'm delivering above and beyond what is expected.

That explains the lack of blog posts for a while. Life is settling down now and after some busy months at work I made sure I took some time to invest in my fitness and also took some time off. The wheel keeps on moving and now I'm back to a more balance place where I get to work hard at the office and play around more with my own projects in my spare time. I've got a couple of posts I'd like to write over the next couple of months - firstly about commissioning a personalised piece of art for my twitter banner and the second about using MOO to print out images from an online personal project to help decorate my shed. Let's see if the ebb and flow of life makes those a reality.