New beginnings with Obtiva

with 3 comments

My decision to transition to Obtiva wasn’t an easy one. I left a very stable job at Highgate where I would head an ever growing team of developers. In many respects, after a mere two years, I achieved the prize that many developers are striving after.

I had my own office with any equipment I wanted or mentioned. My work hours rarely went beyond forty. My salary steadily increased as I acquired more skills. I was paid to learn at my own pace. But more than all that, I had an employer that cared for me as a person. I was in a family and a family is what I left.

Joining Obtiva put me back at the bottom of the food chain. Now, I’m a green Software Apprentice and it’ll be awhile before I head a team of developers. Instead of leading I’ll be learning. I’ve been demoted.

Why would choose someone that?

First, being the worst on a team of oustanding developers can’t be compensated for with environment, equipment, or money. You can’t compensate for learning next to people who have already traveled the path and know how to avoid the holes on the road ahead. Pairing with great software developers is invaluable. If you’re new to programming and have not had the opportunity to pair then you need to demand the experience.

My first day at Obtiva I talked with Gareth Reeves and he showed me the ropes of rails.vim. One of my long-term apprenticeship goals is to master one of the ‘universal’ type editors inside and out. Right now, emacs and vim are more powerful than my ability to use them. I strongly dislike being the weak one in the relationship. I knew huge productivity gains were dormant in these and Gareth gave me a quick tour of rails.vim’s power. I’m impressed and excited to grow into vim.

Second working at Obtiva, I work with rails. Obtiva offered some of they first training classes for rails development and the continue to stay on the edge. Ruby and Ruby on Rails are a breath of fresh air. My first language is Perl and it has served me well, but I’m happy to say “Goodbye semicolon you won’t be missed.” Rails makes it so web development doesn’t suck, but Ruby makes it so refactoring doesn’t suck. Drying up code is painless and the number of keys I don’t press when writing Ruby is magic. Throw ActiveRecord into the mix and programming stops feeling like programming.

After two days working alongside Dave Hoover at Obtiva’s office. I’m excited again by what I don’t know about the world of programming. More importantly, I’m shocked at how easy software development can become. Obtiva takes best practices and continuous refactoring seriously. I’m beginning to seeing how much these tools can increase your productivity per hour. I’m even more convinced that the “right process will produce the right results” (see TPS).

Writing in Perl much of my programming was about syntax, data structures, and capturing errors. Dave and Rails have a great way of transitioning programming away from the those aspects of software development. The focus of our programming is on proper model relationships and business concepts. The transition is difficult to describe and is sure to be a constant theme on this blog.

Written by syntatic

May 18, 2007 at 4:04 am

Posted in obtiva, programming

3 Responses

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  1. Hey Brian! Great to see you have a blog up, and it’s neat to hear more about your background. I’ll be watching your feed. By the way, I totally claim the title of The Worst ;-). Man, what a great article. I can relate to so much of Dave’s book it’s scary.


    May 24, 2007 at 5:21 am

  2. Hello Brian,

    I dropped you an email via Work With Rails regarding a few questions I’m having. But in case the email doesn’t reach you, my email is and I’d love to hear from you.



    Alex Le

    August 4, 2008 at 11:57 am

  3. HI Brian
    I saw a part of your blog in the book “Apprenticeship Patterns” and it gave me a lot of insight.
    Thank you for your sharing!

    Cognos Chen

    May 16, 2013 at 2:48 am

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