My first job

My first job was as a programer at YDreams (now called YDreams Global). 

I integrated a team of 6 fellow programmers and one of them was the friend that had invited me into the company. I later found he was also the one that contributed the most for me getting the job. This was because he told management I was just like him. At the prospect of such strong referral they didn’t hesitate to bring me on-board.

We developed projects based on Actionscript: small interactive things like a puzzle that you would complete by dragging pieces with a flashlight or walking over an interactive video.

We used image tracking software as a core library and used a webcam and a projector display to detect movements. It was quite cool.  

Most of the projects consisted of:

– Projector display;

– Webcam;

– Software doing pattern detecting and tracking and triggering animations or actions;

As a team we started developing what we called YCom, our own library with common used classes and utils. With every project we would add something to YCom, making it more useful and increasing code reusing. We also developed unit tests for this code. 

We developed a strong culture of “team” and occasionally bashed out on other teams such as “designers“, “project managers“, Q&A, management, IT, etc. 

We started a team blog where we wrote about things we would learn on projects and also about code experiments and code snippets. 

On lunch hour we played video games and played together which created a nice work environment where people (and myself) liked and enjoyed. 

We started off on a small room with the 6 of us and later moved to an open space. We worked most of the time on a project allocated to each of us where we collaborated with a PM, designer, QA, etc. We used trac to manage tickets and source control. I enjoyed working there. 

Working there had a feel good factor because it was in a University campus and also because of PR the company was always on the news which made us feel famous in a way. 

The culture was very informal to a point people would use flip flops to work and there was a team just doing R&D and developing stuff that we could re-use in client projects. Boy, those were the days. 

After a year working there and my internship was over I got offered a contract. The contract was to earn less than I was making during the internship which got me real angry and upset. I end into that meeting thinking how I would negotiate a good salary for myself and was shocked when I was told I would be actually earning less. According to the HR person this was quite normal and had to do with all the expenses the company now had to incur since they were no longer getting subsidies by the state to sponsor the internship. I said “Yes” to them externally but was screaming “No” inside. I went home that day and updated my CV and started posting it online everywhere I could find. Since my and Ana had talked about working abroad before I did something else too. I wrote on the CV that my address was in London (I think I used Spotify’s office address). I though that would sparkle the interest of companies in London and that they wouldn’t call someone that had an address in Lisbon. After two days I started getting phone calls from head hunters and booked two job interviews in London for the next weeks. 

I went to the interviews and both came back with a job offer (boy, those were the days). One was for central London and the other was for a job in a UK company but for a position in Darmstadt, Germany. 

The position was for a junior software engineer and to work as a contractor for the European Space Agency that has it’s operations center there. I decided for this position because I figured the European Space Agency must have a lot of resources and super technology and smart people would be there and it would be fun and exciting to work.

I took the job and moved to Germany the next month. Ana would also quit and start looking for job offers there meanwhile.