Open-Source Projects and Your Dream Job

When my wife and I decided to relocate to the Detroit area from the East Coast, we knew there would be few more important things than landing a great job. Finding one would give us confidence that we’d made the right decision.

As a web developer, one of the first things I look for when assessing an employer is open-source projects. This provides me with a benchmark for determining how active the development team is, what kind of tech they are working with, and — perhaps most importantly — whether their interests align with my own.

When I first came across the job posting for a Senior Web Engineer at Ambassador, I was pleasantly surprised to find several well established open-source projects already underway. At the time (two years ago as of this writing), the team was primarily working in Angular which — to be honest — wasn’t my first choice in front-end frameworks. They did, however, have a well organized open-source Angular component library, which immediately piqued my interest despite my personal preferences.

Shortly after I arrived, the Ambassador Engineering team made the decision to adopt React as our front-end framework. Given that Ambassador had spent several years developing in Angular, we knew there would be a significant learning curve investment up front. We took the risk with confidence that down the line we would see a big return on that investment. We’d also heard great things about the Redux architecture, especially while leveraging ImmutableJS, and found ourselves excited at the opportunity to rebuild our apps from the ground up.

It has been over a year, and it is clear that we made the right choice in switching frameworks. In fact, we are so inspired that we have built and open-sourced yet another component library. We call it React {ions}. The project isn’t entirely new (we literally started it on our first day with React), but we are continuously adding new components and enhancing existing ones, so it always feels new. The investment of quality time to build easy-to-implement components has been a huge productivity boost for us.

Open-sourcing ensures that we are making changes or additions for reasons that are not only important to us internally, but that make sense for anyone who might be implementing them. React isn’t the only framework that has inspired us to push new open-source projects. Check out Redux Clerk, which we use to handle reusable action creators and reducers for async CRUD operations. This is another example of how our risk in changing frameworks has turned into reward.

If you want to try out React{ions} for yourself, take a look at our getting started guide. If you’re interested in joining a web engineering team with a penchant for open-source projects and ping-pong, take a look at our current openings, we’re hiring.