First month at Mozilla

It’s been one month since I’ve joined Mozilla as a software engineer. I am part of the system engineering team that handles taskcluster.

Taskcluster is crucial for Mozilla projects. It orchestrates thousands of builds, tests and release tasks daily. It deserves a separate post, which I will do next.

It took me exactly 1 month to contribute.

There are things that are new to me, and I would like to share some of those:

Many people work in Mozilla long years

5-7 years is the usual number. Quite often you meet people that have worked 10+ years. But there are those who have worked since the beginning.

It would be good for me to find out what motivates them ;)

Working on open-sourced projects makes lots of people open, too

They discuss things they are working on and problems they have.

I admire how John Whitlock keeps his dairy public where he describes all the things he’s working on.

Would be great to follow the same principles and share my progress, as well.

Importance to self-organize

Being remote demands you are able to organize yourself:

  • create your own schedule and stick to it. Free to work evenings/mornings/combination of both with long pause in the afternoon
  • keep detailed log of all activities (meetings, tasks you are working on, things you learned, etc)
  • make your own notes of every meeting. It helps to revisit them, so you have a better understanding and make sure you don’t miss something.
  • write down people’s names, what they are doing and how you can help each other. There are way too many people to remember everything
  • write plans/goals for the next day, next week, next month, …
  • dump all your ideas at the end of the day, things that you didn’t finish, or would like to work on, and use it a plan next day
  • keep a list of all the things you discover, everything that you can improve, fix, change or remove. Revisit and check if you can execute on those
  • review past meeting notes to spot forgotten action items

Time is relative

If you try to schedule one on one with people, some will be happy to talk to you tomorrow, some next week, some next month. Urgency is usually not a thing compared to the startup world.

Community involvement

For Mozilla the community is the integral part of their being. In my Taskcluster project we have weekly community meetings. It gives an excellent opportunity to talk to people outside of Mozilla who use the same project. Give them status updates on the progress. Take feedback and listen to their opinions.

Those meetings happen even if there is only one person joining. Which is great!

Mozilla originals

Turns out there are many wonderful projects that are being developed or originated at Mozilla:

  • bugzilla .. as old as Firefox or even older. Fun fact, JIRA is coming from Gojira, Japanese for Godzilla.
  • sops modern way of managing secrets which can check-in to vcs
  • letsencrypt standard nowadays for HTTPS certificates
  • json-e extended json to convert boring yaml into dynamic yaml

I’ll keep discovering and extending this list.

Contribute - Codetribute

If you feel like contributing but don’t know where to start, there is a great page: Codetribute

You can choose your preferred language, pick a bug/task and improve something.