This week, I turned my life upside-down.
I studied Computing Science at university. However, I never moved in to the computing industry post-graduation, and went another path. This never fully satisfied me, and I finally have taken steps to perform a career-switch.
Meanwhile, since the end of 2007, I've been sneaking some patches in to Mozilla Firefox. Due to time pressures, I've only ever been able to contribute fairly humble patches. I always longed to do more.
Today, I sent the following email to various Mozilla people.
A commitment Mozillians, I'm emailing you guys this, as you folks are the ones I have had most interaction with within the Mozilla community. It's something that I hope will be exciting - it is for me! So, a "good first bug" in late '07 began my Mozilla experience, with many more contributions from then on. However, in 2011, I've not been about much: I've came up for air a couple of times, and a few Graeme McCutcheon patches have made it in to the tree, but certainly not enough. My daytime job was consuming ever more of my time, and leaving me too little time to contribute to the project. In addition, said job was far from satisfying. Not in the IT industry, let's simply say I was certainly under-employed. A change was needed. A change has been made. As of this week, I've now cut down to part-time to work one day a week at said job. My plan is to use my now bountiful free time living off my savings, and essentially volunteering for Mozilla full-time. This next year, I want to make a meaningful contribution to the project. I've accumulated a long "to-do" list to work through. And Ehsan, I want to help you with your fantastic work to make /editor as loved as the rest of the codebase! I'm expecting to be more productive, as I'll no longer have the context-switch cost of coming back to Mozilla after periods of inactivity. Thus, I won't have to shy away from bigger tasks. I'll also aim to be more "visible" in the community. I tend not to participate much on IRC. I certainly didn't make the most of being at the 2010 Summit: Mike, you were my "Summit buddy", yet I never spent much time with you; Mr O'Callahan, I still owe you a game of Settlers! I need to overcome my shyness! There is an ulterior motive for this, and also an element of risk. I'll only have the resources to do this for about a year. Given what I'm attempting, you may wonder why I didn't consider applying to Mozilla, given that it is essentially going to be my "job". Honestly, I don't think at this point I would be able to offer any industry recruiter a compelling story as to why they should employ me. This applies even more so to Mozilla, which demands - and deserves - the best. By the end of this process I should have some formidable experience on my CV! I'm emailing you gents to make this commitment public. It won't do any harm to have an element of social peer-pressure. Making this declaration to you all, there will be eyes on me now. I'll be blogging on my newly-minted website (URL below) with - at the very least - weekly status updates. I'll blog this commitment there too, imminently. In addition, I thought it would be useful for you to hear this, given the fantastic work going on in the community on contributor engagement. So, there you have it. Any advice, feedback, is welcome. tl;dr - to appropriate Mr O'Callahan's blog title - Well, I'm Back!
So, as noted above, I'm posting this here, to add a bit of social peer-pressure. Visible to my friends, Mozilla people, and the universe in general. Mozilla is all about the open web; it seems appropriate to put my plan out in the open too.
Now the real work begins.