Last Week at Bench

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This week is my last week at Bench.

I still clearly remember how I was interviewed by Ian and then joined the project, more than 5 years ago. The whole company was just 6 (!) people, including Pavel (our CTO), myself and one more software engineer. Our little development team was all in Russia, working remotely.

One of my first tasks was building this UI

Somehow we managed to grow into 230+ people company, located in Vancouver, BC, and raised $25 000 000+. Can you imagine what a crazy journey it has been?

Our first little office in Vancouver

So, why am I leaving? Two simple reasons:

  • I want more hands-on coding experience. I quickly became a leader and always made a big deal about things like team happiness and performance, onboarding, etc. My perfectionism at work always forced me to fix everything around me – software, processes, systems. Now I spend a lot of time managing people, which is great! But it’s not something I want to do for a long time, I realized.
  • I want to work in a company with bigger customer base / API hits / network traffic / etc. Bench has a great growth rate, but it’s mostly linear and the growth is restricted (since our service involves human aspect we have to scale that too and it’s hard).

But I’m really proud after all these years! When I joined the company the whole infrastructure consisted from 1 RDS instance, 1 EC2 instance for nginx and 1 EC2 instance for Tomcat. One shell script for deployment was the all ops tooling we had. We also had 0 end-to-end UI tests. 0 microservices. No REST API. No front-end frameworks. No GitHub or git!

And now we create eventing systems for real-time chat and notifications, use Docker for local, staging and production environments, run dozens of Scala microservices and ready to ship our React Native mobile app. All of that with almost 10x bigger development team! Let me say it again – I feel really proud.

My 5 years anniversary cake

I want to thank Ian, Pavel, Adam, Jordan, Parker, Trevor, Jeff, JM, Stefan, Ruslan, Gideon, Evan, Andrea, Xianny, Jamie, Paul, Kawai, Jen, Carly, Josh, Jordan, Roberto and many more great folks! Some of you are great mentors, others taught me something valuable, sometimes without even realizing that. And everyone without exception helped me with my journey. It’s been a great pleasure working with you!

PS: So, what’s next? I’m going to join Mobify as a Senior Software Engineer, Lead in November to primarily work on Platform stuff. If you don’t know much about this company go and check the homepage video. They build great products and have some very challenges problems to solve.