Having just passed the 2 month line in my time here with scrazzl, I figure it’s about time I jot down a few thoughts about what we’re getting up to in here, and what it’s like to join such a young company early on.
Who am I?
My name is Daniel Hunt, and I’ve joined the scrazzl tech team as a senior engineer.
What do I do?
But, more specifically, I’m a dedicated techy who likes to keep his fingers in all the pies :)
What pies do I ♥?
I ♥ JS.
Ask me to choose between JS and PHP and I’ll cry. Ask me to choose between JS and anything else, and I’ll hug you with curly braces.
Naturally enough, this has recently developed into a heavy interest in all things Node, but I’ve yet to find an excuse to build anything scrazzl related in it :)
I ♥ databases
There’s just something about the hidden world of database schema design/maintenance/improvement that floats my boat.
The strictly normalised approach of standard relational databases (such as MySQL) has been my bread and butter for years now.
I ♥ JS & databases
As you’ll read a little later, I’ve recently come to love the combination of the other 2 things I love most.
I ♥ PHP
At this stage, PHP is a mature language. There are plenty of other upstarts claiming the mindshare amongst new developers, but I’ve yet to come across something to pull me away from its allure.
When it comes to web development, rapid prototyping and easy maintainability, PHP holds its own with elegant style.
I’ve been lucky enough to have been surrounded by many, many great PHP developers in the past, who have helped me climb the development ladder. As a result, now that I’ve joined a startup, I want to make sure that others get the same chances I got.
I ♥ the cloud
I’ve been lucky enough to have been exposed to Amazon’s EC2 regularly for the past few years - almost as soon as it was available, if I remember correctly.
Without it, nothing I’ve built over that time would have the flexibility, capability or reliability that it would otherwise have had. The cloud, as they say, is the future.
But it’s not. It’s the present. We’ve already arrived at the future.
Why did I join scrazzl?
Since entering the workforce a number of years ago, I’ve found myself gravitating towards smaller companies with every job-hop I made. More recently, I had found myself happy with the work I had done in my previous role, as the lead developer on DeviceAtlas.
Having spent a number of years there, honing my (admittedly, considerable ;) ) skills, I decided it was time to look for a new challenge. scrazzl popped up on my radar not long after I started scouting for one of those challenges, piquing my interest immediately.
The combination of an interesting problem to solve, a clear requirement in the market for the product itself, an enthusiastic CTO and a chance to help build the tech-stack from the ground up turned out to be too good an opportunity for me to skip.
So, I took the plunge.
2 months in
As I mentioned above, I’m now 2 months into my time here. In that time, I’ve been exposed to a whole array of technologies that I’ve been looking forward to trying out for a very long time, some of which I’ve mentioned below.
We are, first and foremost, a PHP dev house.
Our core libraries are written in PHP, as are our toolkits and anything else we find needs doing.
The wealth of development knowledge in scrazzl is incredible, and the elegance with how the main systems have been created knows no bounds. (too much? yeah. too much…. ;) )
Our main website is built using Zend Framework
Having only had limited exposure to this framework before joining scrazzl, I was a little apprehensive about just how easily I’d be able to jump in and start adding to the codebase.
Luckily enough, scrazzl has a pretty strict coding standard, so not only was everything well documented, but the existing code more or less steered me through the forest that was the initial learning curve.
We’ve used MongoDB extensively
As it relies entirely on JSON data structures, I feel right at home when playing about in MongoDB data. Easy to understand, and easy to get started with, this has been one of the highlights of working at scrazzl so far.
Schemaless design feels very natural once you shake off the shackles of SQL normalisation - it’s obviously not suitable for everything, but we’ve found it ideal for our analytics system.
Its speed is truly remarkable: even when dealing with very large data sets I’ve yet to see it crumble under the strain.
Knowing what I know now about NoSQL data storage mechanisms, I’ll be very reluctant to jump straight into a standard MySQL install without first considering the reasons for using a relational database!
Our servers run on Amazon EC2
I mentioned how much I love EC2 above.
It’s all true.
- I love the flexibility it provides, by allowing us to bring up/tear down servers at will.
- I love the redundancy it allows you to build into your systems, by forcing you to think of WHEN something will fail, not IF.
- I love how easy it is to build scalable solutions (such an easy thing to say, I know….).
But most of all?
I love that scrazzl uses it.
What’s it like in scrazzl?
scrazzl is a young company. So young, in fact, that we’ve been looking for more people for a few months now, and are hoping to grow very fast, very soon.
The technology we get to play with daily is interesting, self-rewarding and because we’re building our stack from the ground up, completely under our own control. I’m really looking forward to expanding what we have as the team grows - we have some very big plans in place for every corner of our systems! :)
The work itself is very rewarding, and absolutely every line of code written has a direct impact on what we do.
With so much work to do, it’s very important that everyone gets on well together. I think I’m very lucky to have managed to move all the way from huge multinational companies, down to a small startup and found myself on a great team of people. We pump through an amazing amount of work, are constantly evaluating one another to make sure that no one is getting left behind in the (organised) mayhem, and somehow we still manage to have a laugh each and every day.
If you’re interested in what we do, and would like to join us, feel free to contact us directly - email@example.com
We’re looking for great people to help the fantastic atmosphere we’ve already started to build here to grow - so don’t be shy!
I’m looking forward to the following months, where we will be launching our site officially, signing up a whole raft of customers, building our team significantly and partying until the small hours.
Well, I’ve got to have something to aim for, don’t I?