Visas and Work Permits — 10 min
Welcome to our series Inside Remote Software Engineering jobs! This series includes a collection of interviews with members of our engineering team, who will each share their background, professional journey, and story of what it’s like to work as an engineer at Remote. The interviews showcase the diversity and expertise of our engineering team members and explore how Remote engineers shape the future of work at our company.
I am Archelle (/'är-shel/) and I am currently based in Sydney, Australia (Fun fact: A very common spider in Australia called the Huntsman spider, despite its large and terrifying look, is considered friendly). I have been with Remote for two years and I work in the Engineering team. I was initially part of the Techops/IT Operations team and then moved to the Site Reliability team.
The SRE team is responsible for maintaining the infrastructure running our product, providing tools that ease product development, and monitoring and improving our systems.
During the start of the pandemic, I was locked down in the Philippines, my home country, after a year of working in Sydney. There were many restrictions back then, and I mostly stayed indoors. I took this opportunity to learn about DevOps tools and eventually got my first job in this field while working remotely. When the COVID situation eased up, the company I was working at then was planning to get its employees back into the office, so I started looking for fully remote jobs. That’s when I came across this article, and the rest is history.
I work earlier than the rest of my team because I am based in APAC while they are in Europe. Since we work async and globally, I start my day by reading through company announcements, emails, and team updates. I respond to some help requests when I can, which is probably just 10-20% of the job (Note: our team also has a weekly SRE on-call rotation for managing support). The rest of the time, I am working on projects. On Mondays, I go to our weekly team syncs and catch up with my manager and teammates. I also schedule coffee chats with other Remoters whenever possible.
One of the first projects I worked on when I joined the company was an automation for one of our social Slack channels called #celebrations. Whenever it is someone’s birthday or work anniversary, an automated message pops up on the Slack channel to greet the person. I’m always happy to see everyone being celebrated and remembered on their special days.
A recent one I’ve worked on is creating a Content Delivery Network (CDN) distribution that requires authentication from our identity provider. I’m happy that this project allowed all Remoters to access previously restricted pages, and I got to practice both my TechOps and DevOps skills in doing so.
People: I like how I get to work with very kind and bright people at Remote. I consider myself lucky to have amazing managers and teammates in both roles I’ve had. I’ve also had great experiences working and interacting with people outside my team. I’ve found workmates that I could consider as friends even outside of work.
Career: I have grown my skills over the two years of working here. I got to transition to an SRE role from a non-traditional background in Operations, compared to the more common Developer path. I was able to learn and work on many tools and technologies, and I got to enhance my skills with the help of my team.
Culture: I don’t have to conform to the traditional work setup and I can work FROM anywhere. When the borders started opening up, I was able to relocate back to Sydney quickly and easily. I also don’t have to attend many meetings, and they are mostly for socials rather than work.
Async work is a double-edged sword. Since we are working in different time zones, and we don’t have traditional working hours, I don’t expect replies right away for non-urgent matters. This might also mean that I will have questions that may take a while to be answered.
To make up for this, we document our work as thoroughly as possible, and we communicate in public channels so that information and context is publicly available whenever needed. This way of working might take some time to get used to and may feel uncomfortable at first, as private chats and meetings are usually the norm. In the long run, though, the async way of working has compounding benefits. For instance, I like being able to accomplish my tasks without relying on other people’s availability and skipping pointless calls to focus on my actual work.
My advice would be to first find a job that you like. Work on your skills and join communities that will help you improve your knowledge (chances are you may stumble on some open roles). And lastly, choose a company whose values align with your work ethic. It’s one thing to land a role and another to stay. Be committed, stick to your values, and enjoy the journey.
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