Martin Albisetti's blog

17Jan/0911

Working at Canonical, 5 months later

A week ago I started going through my blog's logs, and realized that I'd had a jump in visits from Google. Digging a little bit deeper into it, I realized that a lot of people seem to be searching for "working at canonical" phrased in different ways. From what I can gather, it's split up into two groups: people who want to find a job in Canonical, and people who are considering a specific role and want to know what it's like.

So, I thought it would be useful to provide information for the dozen of people who land here every day  🙂

If you want to work for Canonical, check out the employment page, it always has the latest job offers: http://webapps.ubuntu.com/employment/
Among many other things, my team is currently looking for awesome people to join the User Experience Team, the coolest place to be today  😉

As for what it's like to work at Canonical, here's my take on it:
At this point, it's been a little over five months since I started working full time, although I was doing some contracting work before that, and I've been around the Ubuntu and bzr community for ages, so I already knew a lot of the people before joining.
One of the coolest things for me is that the way most of the company works, is basically the same as your typical open source project: mailing lists, irc, distributed, and filled with passionate people. If you have an open source background, the transition should be pretty seamless. Coming from other companies may take a little bit of getting used, but you know how it is, "your mileage may vary".
The Ubuntu-like atmosphere where everybody is extremely nice and respectful seems to span across the whole company as well. This was especially surprising to me considering that everyone is astonishingly smart, and have done amazing things I had read (and still do!) on news sites for years. My experience is that when too many smart people are together, it's a much more cut-throat competitive environment. Here, it is not. You could sit down and have a fantastic and interesting dinner with anyone in the company (I've shared meals with dozens of different people, and it's held up true every single time).
On the technical side, all the teams are constantly revising and improving work flows and tools, pushing towards the cutting edge by adopting all kinds of lean and agile development strategies, while still being very much test-driven. What can be more appealing to a developer than that?
Finally, there are so many interesting projects being worked on at the same time, it's often very hard to keep up with what's happening. Personally, I believe that the balance between open source development and projects developed in-house as services or for third parties, plays a very big part in making everything happen so fast a two-hundred-and-something people size the company. It's amazing how so many people are payed to work full time on directly on free software, directly interleaved with the community.

So, as you can guess, my recommendation is that if you ever get the chance to work for Canonical, take it, it will almost certainly be a fulfilling experience.

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