Dev Swap: Twitter and Etsy’s Engineer Exchange Program

Whoever said that ‘variety is the spice of life’ probably didn’t have software development in mind, but it still rings true. Working on the same application, in the same office, day after day, can kill your creative spirit and make you lose the will to live work. This is part of the reason why uTest is so appealing to testers, as they get access to a wide variety of new projects and new ideas.

It’s also true in the world of developers. Realizing the benefits of variety, Twitter and Etsy have entered into an engineering exchange program. Here’s a quick explanation from the Etsy engineering blog:

Your first week at any new job is (at least if you chose a good job!) filled with tons to learn, new ways of doing things, and working models that you might have considered unattainable in the job you just left. How great would it be to have that experience more than once per new job you take? Twitter and Etsy are working together on a new project to help our engineers learn from each others’ practices, with the idea of making both of our engineering teams better as a result.  We hope to learn what makes each other tick, how we celebrate our successes and learn from our failures, and how we can each be better in the end.

This week, one of Etsy’s Staff Engineers is traveling to San Francisco to spend a week at Twitter, observing and helping out, learning what Twitter does particularly well, and seeing differences that may reinforce or refute beliefs we’ve held as core. Likewise, a Twitter Platform Engineer is traveling to Brooklyn for the week, and watching what Etsy does well and poorly, all while helping out (and, of course, deploying on her first day).

Personally, I think this type of program would do wonders for all departments within a company, especially testing and QA, as testing challenges vary greatly from company to company. While there’s a lot that can be learned through seminars, online courses, conferences and blogs, nothing beats hand-on, first person experience.

Anyway, if this sounds like the type of company you’d be interested in working for, check out this interview we did with Noah Sussman, Etsy’s test architect. Here’s what he said about the company’s hiring criteria:

I hire software engineers who value quality and who are interested in how complex systems fail. These are the people who customize our mocks and fixtures, manage our coding standards, build static analysis tools, develop Jenkins plugins, design the CI system in general other things of that nature.

Then there is another equally important set of people whose skillset is generally described as “hardcore QA chops and a deep connection to the Etsy community.” The people I’ve hired here have many years of formal QA experience in high-risk industries like finance. These are people who are willing to use what they know about formal process, to help Etsy avoid the need for formal processes.

Here I look for talented QA analysts who are longtime Etsy users and deeply involved in the Etsy community. These are the people who develop functional testing tools, manage Selenium integration with CI and work with others in the organization to formulate test plans and resolve bugs. They also design and improve the process by which we triage bugs found in production.

I’ll close this post by asking: What company would you want to work at for a week? Let us know in the comments section.

Essential Guide to Mobile App Testing

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *