UPDATE: After nine months I’ve now left New Scientist, it was an exciting place to work, and it helped improve my WordPress knowledge and dev skills, BUT the life / work balance was not right for me, and I decided that it was time to leave and spend more time with my wife – we only live once and I don’t want to have too many regrets!
Well after 18 years working for the magazine distributor Frontline Ltd, it was time for something new. It was a bit daunting, but probably more than time I tried a new challenge.
I was going to take a break of a few months, but before I’d properly finished at Frontline, I had an e-mail through linked-in (the ‘work’ Facebook for business networking), about a job at the New Scientist magazine. Now I’d read that as a teenager, and the job mentioned both Java and PHP/WordPress, which I’ve obviously been using in my own time for a few years now.
It was something I had to apply for – even though it would mean commuting to London from sleepy Peterborough. At least there’s a lot of trains between the two every day.
The interview seemed to go well… and before I knew it, I’d been offered the job; Lead Developer of the small web team, looking after the very busy www.newscientist.com website, while at the same time replacing it with a brand new WordPress home. Lots and lots to do – including learning and using Amazon AWS (their cloud web hosting solution). We’re also moving to a ‘DevOps’ set-up – where us developers also have a hand in operations – automating the build and release process so it’s as slick as clicking ‘put live’.
The WordPress site will need to handle up to 400,000 visitors a day – 6-7,000,000 page views a month+ So we are looking to load balance it across multiple servers, using caching, and other tricks.
We’re having to write lots of widget plugins in-house, to get the look n feel just right.
Lots of challenges ahead, but the people are fun (and brainy!), and working in London has its advantages – craft beer pubs for starters! My local (craft ale wise) is the Holborn Whippet, but 5 minutes longer walk also takes me to the Craft Beer Co pub in Shoreditch.