SalesPad, A Retrospective

2021-05-01


Friday, April 30th marked the end of my four years and some months at SalesPad, LLC, and my first professional development position. It's been a great four years at SalesPad, and I come out of having learned a great deal about my trade, myself, and what I want out of my career and work environment.

SalesPad was my first foray into non-trivial development. I had done my fair share of smaller focused projects in school, and had even worked on an internal utility with Gordon Food Services in Grand Rapids, Michigan, as part of my capstone, but SalesPad was my real first experience collaborating with non-technical stakeholders and working with requirements defined by others (I had the good fortune to be able to make decisions about the stack that was used in aforementioned capstone project as well as being able to take somewhat of an architect role).

I started at SalesPad as an intern on the custom development/consulting team, where I mostly worked with AngularJS and JavaScript, but soon started diving into C#, .NET Framework, and Microsoft's T-SQL product. I had the great fortune to meet and work with a really smart guy named Matt Conflitti during this time period, and some time after taking on a full time position on the same team, I was able to experience the hilarious antics of Kent Sinclair biking to work everyday and trying to figure out where to stow his bike. After a couple of months of that, I transitioned over to a new team which was working on a new full stack project and was also implementing Git and sprint-based workflows. I had a really fun time on that project, exploring concepts such as SignalR, WebSockets, and RxJS. For a while, Angular (that's Angular 2.x+) managed to sneak into our package.json somehow, before it got removed, but in the end, we basically implemented our own version of Angular in AngularJS, which was pretty hilarious (and in retrospect, we should've just transitioned to Angular in whole). During this project, I worked side by side with someone who was allegedly a nihilist, someone that loved PHP way too much to be a a CSS developer, and probably the coolest frontend web developer that I personally know at this time (sorry, Shrider!).

After mostly closing that project, I transitioned to a "do everything" team, where I was working on basically every product at SalesPad, both product development and custom consulting. My manager at that time trolled me horribly when I went over to help him with some frontend web code: His keyboard had QWERTY caps on them, but he had remapped it to Dvorak, and even had VIM bindings for Dvorak in his IDE. I can say that I learned my lesson, and I'm never driving another developer's keyboard again.

For the next couple of years, up to the end of April 2021, I was part of a product development team at SalesPad, focusing primarily on a SaaS product. This was, for the most part, a pretty great experience. I got to work closely with a product ownership team involving UX and UI designers that were conducting user surveys and user testing to refine the product, as well as picking up React and Material-UI. It was during this time that I was able to explore other paradigms, such as micro frontends using Piral, and started working with unit testing and mocks in C# thanks to Joel Burke. I was able to explore in a more formalized capacity agile development and SOLID principles thanks to Joel, who was very proactively involved in improving the developer environment and software quality at SalesPad during his stay.

I've really enjoyed my last four years at SalesPad, and I'll be taking the lessons and experiences I've learned forward with me. I am glad that I've had the great fortune to work with a colorful gallery of developers that I am happy to call friends and cohorts, and I'll greatly miss working alongside them in the future. At the same time, I'm looking forwards to my next step, which will help me grow as a developer and as a person, and I am looking forwards to the new experiences and new people that I will encounter in the future. After all, variety is the spice of life, and a life well spiced is a life worth living.

Thanh Nguyen © 2021