Sarah Neuber has been with OnTheGoSystems for six years. In that time she has progressed from being on 1st support to becoming a fulltime developer on WPML.
We decided to ask Sarah exactly how she has managed to evolve during her time with OTGS, what it was like for her when she first started, and what advice she would give to others starting out.
I joined OTGS in June 2014 as 1st tier WPML support. I had to help as many people as possible that came through the forum with questions and whatever other WPML related issues they might have had.
The support forum was looked after by 2 full-time supporters at the time. I was the 3rd supporter when I joined the company and there was no formal training as we have it now.
What helped me was that I was a multilingual WordPress theme developer before I joined and I had a decent grasp of WPML’s strengths and limitations within the context of theme development.
I struggled with everything, haha, but I am not one to give up easily. I like to finish what I start.
My goal was to have my technical knowledge and skills at least one step ahead (or one level higher) in relation to the difficulty of the forum tickets I was handling. As the questions increased in difficulty, the technical abilities had nowhere to go but improve.
I now work on the Translation Proxy team as a developer. My official title is Senior software engineer. The TP team looks after 4 public and 3 internal-use Rails applications. Among the responsibilities are planning, scheduling, assigning work both for maintenance and new feature development to myself and Warren.
I am still occasionally involved in support, however, not as often anymore thanks to capable supporters we have these days.
I had a desire to provide good and practical support to OTGS Clients, a love of learning and a curiosity to understand how things work.
From 1st support I was moved to 2nd tier support and before I knew it I was leading the small support team we had at the time. My tasks as support team leader brought me in daily contact with the WPML development team and that naturally grew into handling small development tasks.
From there I was asked if I would be interested in learning Ruby and that developed into working along with the Translation Proxy team where I am currently.
None of this was because of ambition or the goal to get to a certain role or position in the company. My only focus was to do my job and do it well. The rest just naturally grew in that direction on its own.
Very much! Among other things, the nice people I work with every day create a pleasant atmosphere within the team.
Biggest inner drive? I don’t think there is one thing. I think it is the sum of small everyday things (both work and non-work related) that come together at the right time and in the right amounts.
OTGS has encouraged learning and has created opportunities for me to try different tasks.
We usually learn best when we are calm and unhurried. I think it is important to create that atmosphere when training people.
You should also be patient. Allow others to learn at their own pace. Let them dictate that pace.
In addition, good management and mentorship starts with me. How well do I manage my personal resources such as time and energy. I also think it’s important to think about good personal leadership and whether I am investing in the right resources.
I have to remind myself of these things every time!
Teach and mentor someone who wants to know and do what you know and do right now.
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