Should I Apply to Automattic Now or Later?

Automattic advice

A reader of Man of Hustle emailed me last night and asked for some advice before applying to Automattic:

Hi Eric,

I came across your Man of Hustle blog while researching about working for Automattic.  Thank you for your blog by the way; I really appreciate your openness and passion.   I’m interested in applying for the Code Wrangler position at Automattic and I was wondering if could trouble you for some advice.

First, some background about myself.  I currently work as a web developer for [redacted] where I’m doing Ruby on Rails development for [redacted] web application.  I’ve also had solid experience with Java, Perl and PHP in prior jobs.  I’m more of a back end developer, but of course I’m comfortable with HTML, CSS, JavaScript and jQuery.  Here’s summary of my career history.  [redacted link]

So I have extensive professional web development experience and use alot of open source libraries and tools on the job.  However,  I’m lacking in open source contributions. I love programming but that manifests itself more in my professional life.  I do want to get more involved in contributing to open source projects.  I just need to squeeze in the time among my other responsibilities and commitments outside of work.

Also, although I have solid experience with PHP, I don’t have much experience with WordPress.  That is about to change as I have volunteered to rebuild a friend’s non-profit organization’s website on WordPress.

And now finally my question.  Do you think I should go ahead and apply for the Code Wrangler position now or should I wait a few months to build up my WordPress experience and open source contributions and then apply?  Which choice would maximize my chances of getting the job?

Well, Should This Person Apply to Automattic?

First, I don’t ever mind giving advice when asked. That being said, one should always understand that advice is very much an opinion and can be wrong.

In this specific case, I would recommend that the reader go ahead and apply to Automattic, based off of the following:

  • Many Automatticians weren’t hired their first time.
  • I believe that a no from Automattic is often more like a “not right now
  • The application review process takes a while

And while you’re waiting for a response, I would go ahead and:

  • Get some experience with WordPress
  • Get active in open source
  • Deep dive into JavaScript

JavaScript is quickly becoming an essential skill at Automattic as well as in web development in general. I would suggest that you get at least some experience with Backbone JS and/or Facebook React to get started.

Disclaimer:  I have no input on the hiring process, so am, unfortunately, not the best person to ask. So, take this with a grain of salt.

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