I’m coming up on my one-year anniversary at Coder, an Austin-based startup working on moving the development experience to the cloud. Joining a new company is always an interesting experience — you inevitably change the company with the expertise you bring in, but the company also changes you and the way you work. So I thought it would be good to reflect on what this first year’s been like, and to share that with anyone who might be curious about working at Coder.
I had some skepticism about moving all of my development to the cloud before joining Coder, but now that I’ve gotten to work with it, it’s hard to go back to my old local workflow. Having a consistent development environment, being able to share my in-progress projects just by sharing a URL, and having my dev environment accessible from any computer have all been huge improvements to my productivity.
Since we’re all developers ourselves, we’re also our own target audience. This also makes us our harshest critics, and keeps us at a high standard for quality.
The team is always looking at new and existing code as opportunities to spin out open source projects. The community that has formed around code-server is why Coder is where it is today, and the team is committed to keeping those roots.
Projects at past companies I’ve worked at mostly boiled down to putting a veneer on a CRUD interface. Coder has me exploring the limits of what the browser can do, learning the ins and outs of Kubernetes, and rendering desktop IDEs in the browser using WebGL.
A large part of the sales process is making sure that adoption of Coder’s tools will truly meet customers’ needs, which results in product feedback that is much higher quality. That quality feedback helps shape the product.
Coder has put a lot of effort into maintaining the company culture, and keeping people in high spirits during a very difficult time. Regular cross-team video coffee chats, 1:1s with every new employee, weekly game nights, and self-organized clubs have done a lot to keep the team’s camaraderie going.
The available talent pool for interviews and the diversity of the company has thrived with the change to remote. We’ve had a huge number of quality people from all over join the team, and that wouldn’t have been possible if we were limited to hiring in Austin.
I’ve been extremely fortunate to be at a company that’s been able to grow like we have, even in these uncertain times. It’s given me the flexibility to balance my personal life and work life when needed. And it feels good to work on a product that’s helping other teams cope with stay-at-home orders.