Some loose thoughts after 9 months at Citrix

Firstly, where did those 9 months go? Wow.

Back in July 2016, I joined Citrix. Long overdue, I wanted to collect some loose thoughts, so here goes:

Being more Senior is still weird, but good

It is still an odd sensation going from being one of the most junior staff members of a team, to one of the most senior.

One of the things I’ve been struggling with is a feeling of contribution. In IT Ops, ticket jockeying provides a somewhat tangible reference for contribution. Not necessarily value, but it’s a measure of some sort. In my role at Citrix, I’ve tended to end up doing more research, reading, querying and “experience-based advising” than what I used to call “work”. I’m getting used to it, and we’ve made some great progress in maturing what we do, and how, but it’s still an odd sensation for me. I frequently have days where I feel like I did nothing.

One very nice thing about the change in team dynamics, is that it’s enabled me to achieve something I was sorely missing before: the ability to watch and attempt to help/mentor junior members of staff grow. I always knew this was something I wanted to do from my very first interactions with my manager at DisplayLink (hi Chris A!). Chris mentored me, helped me, and guided me through some personally tough times when I was young, and I always knew I wanted to pay that forward.

Team Interns

The team that I’m on hire year-long placement Interns every year. This programme is one of the reasons I joined. A testament to their experience with us, and the calibre of those Interns, is that many of them come to work for us once they finish University. This year’s Interns joined on the same day I did (4th July), and it’s been a pleasure to see how they’ve both grown into their roles, slightly specialised based on their strengths, and the contributions they’ve been able to make: actual tangible contributions to Citrix products and efforts. Not just cute side-projects. Well done Dan and Roddy.

On pivoting to Software Testing

I’m still not sure I feel like I can describe myself as a Software Tester. I have a lot to learn, still. Only this week did I learn about GDP

I once described what we do in the team as “Sysadmins who happen to do a bit of Software Testing” because, primarily, the team manages an entire internal Citrix XenApp/XenDesktop environment running pre-release builds, with new deployments every two weeks. A start-up sized IT department that regularly deploys pre-release code. That in itself is a feat. What’s been fascinating for me, is that when something does break and we need to report bugs to Dev, it’s basically the same process as troubleshooting an IT Operations issue. Transferable skills for the win! 🙂

Citrix genuinely cares

I’d heard about the Citrix culture before; but I’ve now experienced it in depth. The company is unique. Citrix genuinely cares about its staff and their well-being. It also cares about charity, community, diversity and progressive values. Some companies say the right things, and put out fluffy press releases, but Citrix actually lives and breathes this stuff. It might not make a difference to some, but to me it’s very important.

That’s it from me. Hopefully my next proper blog post will be sooner than 9 months 🙂