Automattic Women: Rossana Menezes

Welcome to Automattic Women—conversations with some of the remarkable women working all over the world to design and develop Automattic software and make the web a better place. Today’s interviewee, Developer Apprenticeship Rossana Menezes, chats with us from her traveling workstation somewhere around the globe.

Who are you, and what do you do?

Automattician Rossana Menezes

At Automattic, I started as a Happiness Engineer in 2017 and am now part of the Developer Apprenticeship Program, an internal pathway into core engineering roles here. I spent one year preparing to apply, working with a mentor, and in January I started as an Android Developer Apprentice working in the WooCommerce mobile team.

The apprenticeship works as a rotation. You are placed in one of our engineering teams across the company and will work full-time on that team for approximately 12 months. The focus of the program is on learning. While you need to have a certain level of programming knowledge to join, the idea is to prepare you to move to a developer role at the end. This has been an amazing experience so far. I am learning so much while also being able to contribute to the WooCommerce mobile app and help our users to manage their stores on the go. 

What’s a typical day like for you?

The best thing about working here is that there is no typical day if that’s what you want. Work-wise, a typical day starts by waking up around 5:00 am, because I am a morning person, and I can work whenever is best for me. So I wake up early, make some good coffee and open my computer to check Slack pings, P2 posts and any notifications on Github. 

Then, I spend about 5 to 10 minutes organizing my day. I use an app called Noteplan 3 that is connected to my Google Calendar, so I can add notes, and have my calendar on the same app. I add a to-do list for that day and as the day goes by and I work on the things I had planned I mark the items on my list as complete, sometimes add more items as they come up. 

Rossana and friends enjoy off-road biking.

With planning out of the way, I start my deep-focus time. It can be either working on a project I am currently assigned to, working on our backlog tickets on Github, reviewing a Pull Request, or focusing on studying something, since learning is a big part of the Apprentice program. I’ve created a blog where I share the things I’m studying.

I started studying programming using Java for a short time and then moved to Kotlin and found it a bit hard to go through its documentation. I felt that everything related to Kotlin was very focused on experienced Java developers, which was definitely not my case. So I  try to post about the things I’m learning using a beginner-friendly approach. 

Depending on the day, I might have a few Zoom meetings too, like 1:1 with my team lead every other Friday, team meeting every two weeks, paired programming sessions with one of my teammates, or group coaching sessions with the other apprentices in my cohort. 

And the best part is being able to do all that from my home office, from the nice coffee house downtown, from the boarding gate while I wait for my flight to Norway to visit my family, or from a super cute restaurant I found while walking around in Carcassonne, France. 

Depending on where I am, my day looks completely different. If I’m home, I usually work from 5:30 am to noon, when I have a break to exercise, eat, and run some errands. Then I go back to work for a couple of hours and work on things that are not necessarily related to coding. So if I need to write a P2 post, work on documentation, or test the app, I do that in the afternoon.

If I am traveling, I usually prefer to work without a long break, so I can finish early and explore the area.

By the sea, by the sea, by the beautiful sea…

What drew you to Automattic and what keeps you here?

What drew me here was the ability to work remotely. I have family in Brazil and Norway—and being able to work while I visit them made a huge difference in my quality of life. I am able to be in Norway for my nieces’ birthdays, spending the holidays with them or with my family in Brazil. I get to travel the world while I work, and this is amazing because traveling is one of my favorite things.

That said, what keeps me here is the company’s culture. Automattic walks the talk. Our creed is not just a bunch of words put together to make the company look nice. It is taken seriously. People here truly care about helping others, creating things that will help our users, and making the web more accessible and a better place in general. And I think because of that, the most amazing people are drawn here.

I work every day with a wonderful group of super smart and kind people who are willing to jump in and help anyone at any time. Also, here you feel that you matter as an employee. We are heard, we are respected, and we are supported and encouraged to grow. You have the freedom and autonomy necessary to balance work and personal life the way it works best for you.

What’s your favorite non-work activity?

Traveling, exploring new places, trying new food, and taking pictures of exciting things. 

That’s it for this edition of Automattic Women. Follow Developer Resources and Automattic Design to meet more wonderful women of Automattic. And if you’d like to do more than just read about these great folks, consider working with us!