As of about a month ago, I am officially in the business of house protection.
That’s a really terrible joke way of saying I’ve joined Under Armour Connected Fitness to work on the API team. I’m really excited about the team’s mandate from the company and where the Connected Fitness division is going, in general.
In my previous post, I outlined some things I was looking for in a new job. As a refresher: Ruby, social justice, APIs, hypermedia, service oriented architectures, practical design, not moving away from Austin. UACF hits all of those except the first two, and it hits them hard.
The UACF Platform is a HAL(ish) API, so the company has been doing hypermedia in one way or another for a while, now. And I think there’s high-level buy-in about the benefits hypermedia can bring to a public API like ours. In a similar vein, there’s serious work being done on the SOA-front across the company. Having the technical leadership interested in going where I want to go and in using the tools that I want to use is great.
One thing I’ve been particularly delighted to see in practice and talk about with my new teammates, is how Under Armour’s dedication to quality and doing sound engineering transfers to the world of software. The philosophies that govern how the company has thought about building their physical products dovetails very nicely with my thinking about what good software engineering is and what I’ve described as practical design. Specifically, the API team isn’t tasked with making a platform so we can check off a box; we’re being asked to make a best-in-class API. My personal goal for the team is to make an API that other companies envy and want to emulate in every facet, from documentation to performance and I feel like we’ve got the backing from the top to make that happen.
As for not moving away from Austin, UACF just moved into new offices in Austin’s old Seaholm Power Plant. While the space is amazing, the bigger deal, to me, is that Austin is Under Armour’s Connected Fitness HQ. It is obvious to me that Under Armour is seriously invested in the Austin office and team.
I won’t, however, probably be using much Ruby. The code bases I’m interacting with today and will probably be interacting with for the immediate future are all in Python. It’s likely the new code bases I mess with will be in Python or Go (neither of which language, I should say, I hate). There may be a little room here or there for Ruby, but I don’t expect it to factor heavily. I did some real soul searching on this topic before I accepted their offer. It came down to this: I am more interested in APIs and SOA than I am in sticking dogmatically with one language, however much I may love it. I think that strategy also has longer legs in terms of career viability. Computers will probably be talking to each other long after Ruby and all the languages we use now are out of fashion.
Under Armour also didn’t score especially high on the social justice front. There are bright spots and dark spots and I think having a large retail marketing segment of the company has a weird effect on things (Cf. general media representations of marginalized people). However, I think this is something that can improve and that I can be helpful in making that improvement. Our entire industry (our entire society) has a long road to walk on this one, so it’s not like I was going to find a place where I’d’ve felt comfortable resting on my laurels.
At any rate, now I work for Under Armour. Which is weird to me, in some ways, but I’m really looking forward to seeing what awesome stuff we can get up to.