My first two months at SensioLabs - by Jakub Zalas

Having joined SensioLabs UK 2 months ago, I thought it’d be a good time to share my experience so far of the company and the people. SensioLabs has just started in the UK, so it’s an exciting time to join for any Symfony Developer. It’s part of the Inviqa Group, which brings a lot of professional experience gained on delivering enterprise level PHP projects. SensioLabs UK might be a new company, but it builds on the experience and knowledge of Inviqa. We’re all one big family. I’d say it’s the best of two worlds: being part of a new and growing company combined with the support of a skillful and experienced team. You’d be amazed how much your self-development is boosted when you’re working with a team of so many smart and talented people. It’s an inspiring environment to be in.

My first week was all about meeting the team and learning how the company works. I was surprised at how many devs I already knew from various PHP community events which made settling in a bit smoother. I was assigned a ‘buddy’ who made it even easier to assimilate with the group (thanks Arturas!). I got my laptop, set-up my work environment, and did some small open source coding.

During the weeks that followed I worked on various tasks; from projects through to consulting, to preparing new training content. The variety was great. I spent a couple of days with Richard, our Symfony Guru, in MyBuilder‘s offices helping with a Symfony1 to Symfony2 migration project. I also got involved with a 1-day pair-programming session with their lead developers who wanted to see how Behat works in practice.

Then there was Symfony Live London 2012 – a conference organised by SensioLabs UK for the community. The company puts a lot of emphasis on self-development and supporting the community – lots of training and conference days paid for, and I got lots of help to organise and host Behat and Symfony meetups.

One thing that hit me when working on a client project was how successful we were at introducing clients to the Agile methodology. We were doing just enough specification to get us moving, and the client was flexible with the requirements which helped us deliver faster. The final result was we only delivered features that were really needed, including several new ones which the client initially didn’t realise would be valuable.

From my past experience I know it’s hard to teach business people to work in this way but the end result is much better. It also means we work as a team with the client. Agile is thoroughly understood by the team members – I finally don’t see blank expressions when talking about user stories, acceptance criteria or story point estimation!

To conclude, I’m really happy I took the decision to join SensioLabs UK. There’s so many exciting things happening these days in the world of Symfony, I cannot imagine a better community to be involved with. For a Symfony guy like myself, there is no better company to work for than SensioLabs, the creators of the framework.

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