Looking Back at NovKiaSoft

Looking Back at NovKiaSoft

Today I woke up with a quite a weird feeling. For the first time in over 9 years (2005) I don’t have a job. While being laid-off wasn’t a surprise, read the news about Microsoft, it’s still a shock to the system when you take a step back and think about it.

I spent the last 7+ years with this group, that’s over a 1/4 of my life and my entire professional career. I went through 5 different job titles, 6 different bosses, and 9 different desk locations (in 2 different offices). I had the opportunity to work on many different products, using many different languages and frameworks, and through the lifetime of the product my software was used by over 100 million users every month. While it’s not all about the number of people that use my product I don’t know if I will ever get the opportunity to reach that many people again.

From my first day as an QA Intern to my last day as a Product Owner everyone at Novarra/Nokia/Microsoft has been nothing short of amazing.

  • On my first day I walk into the intern room and meet everyone. Not long after that I notice that the guy right behind me has porn all over his screen. While I didn’t know what to make of it at first I found out a little while later that he was working on an adult content filter and he needed test content. Let’s just say that made for an interesting first day story at home.
  • When our full time QA staff realized that Word documents and Excel sheet’s just weren’t cutting it anymore they trusted me and a couple of my buddies to come up with a solution. We got the chance to learn Ruby and Ruby on Rails and create a new system that eventually the entire company used. It was the first time I led a team.
  • I got the chance to travel quite a few times for all 3 companies. Domestically I travelled to North Carolina (RTP), Sunnyvale (Bay Area), Las Vegas (CES) and Redmond (The Microsoft Main Campus). I also got the opportunity to venture outside the country on my own to Finland (Main Nokia Campus) and London (Nokia World 2011).
  • I had the opportunity to take an idea from hackathon, to prototype, to full time development and finally production. It started with 3 guys on nights and weekends and it ended with over 1 million monthly active users. And to think all of that started because a couple of us were bored with the current product line. Wow.
  • I spent the final year and a half not ever writing production code but instead running a few teams and making product level decisions. I got nothing but respect from my colleagues even though I was way behind experience wise and I am so happy to have had that experience.
  • Because of my body of work from the last 7 years along with some good feedback from my leadership team I was extended an offer to join the Internet Explorer team out in Redmond. In the end I turned the offer down for personal reasons. Throughout the whole decision process just knowing that I have what it takes to make it in “The Big Leagues” was just mind blowing and incredibly humbling. I wish the IE team and my few colleagues that are making the move out there the best of luck and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for them.

Am I sad to see this journey end? You bet. But I know that because of the last 7 years at NovKiaSoft I am a better person, employee and engineer. We had quite the amazing and fun family that we got to work with everyday. I can only hope that I find the same feeling later in my career.