Clear Skies Ahead: Navigating Our First Years in Services

Wizeline is a few years old already, but we also know we’re on a long journey. The services sector is always competitive, and we’re competing more and more with more established consulting firms.

They earned their market positions one project at a time—each success easing the path to the next client and more complex projects. Not all of their projects went well—they made mistakes and suffered setbacks, too. Handling those problems and setbacks earned more trust, more projects, and more opportunities with more clients.

Earning our stripes

We have a good—and growing—portfolio of clients. We’re earning trust and opportunity with each new project.

We interview and hire for the projects we want to earn, and the process of earning them.

The phrase “hours of boredom, punctuated by seconds of terror” has been applied to a lot of jobs and activities, including aviation. Many airline pilots have military backgrounds—before flying the “big iron,” many flew fighters, served as test pilots, or both. As a really extreme example, “Hoot” Gibson flew for Southwest Airlines after a military career and several Space Shuttle missions!

These pilots’ experience and professionalism is more than sufficient for routine flights, smooth landings, and the like. However, that experience is invaluable when things go wrong—severe turbulence, mechanical failure, and worse.

We hire for our engineers to deliver the software equivalents of “routine flights and smooth landings” most every day—but ready for “severe turbulence and mechanical failure” when it comes.

Maybe Brian Kernighan’s assertion

Debugging is twice as hard as writing the code in the first place. Therefore, if you write the code as cleverly as possible, you are, by definition, not smart enough to debug it.

“The Elements of Programming Style”, 2nd edition, chapter 2

is a good parallel in our work. We look for skills and experience in excess of the ordinary needs so that reserve can be for extraordinary things (not just debugging!)

  • Continued professional growth and learning
  • Helping others with their professional growth and learning

Preparing for the journey ahead

At Wizeline, some of our ‘overage’ goes into teaching, learning, and open source.

In 2018, 70 Wizeliners volunteered their time, experience, and talents to more than 80 Wizeline Academy courses in 8 cities. More than 4,000 people (90% from outside Wizeline!) benefitted and grew from these initiatives. Those who volunteered and taught upped their game by preparing and presenting these classes. Many others attended. Some did both!

Some of our engineers also contribute to open source—creating and maintaining new projects, or contributing to existing projects. For some, it’s an after-hours and weekend activity; for those who want more social connection, we also have a group that meets and works many Thursdays after office hours.

Interested? Let’s talk about helping each other get to our respective “What’s next”s.

Written by Bob Mazanec, Software Engineer at Wizeline
Written by Bob Mazanec, Software Engineer at Wizeline

Nellie Luna

Posted by Nellie Luna on October 1, 2019