On 10 Years at Zend

10 years ago, as I write this, I was on a plane from Burlington, VT, to San Jose, CA, where I'd be starting work at Zend Technologies the next day as a PHP Developer.

I started on the eBiz team under Daniel Kushner, and was tasked with moving our home-grown, website that was developed originally in PHP 3, and which was running on PHP 4, to a dedicated CMS. An additional requirement was to "dogfood" code from a new project, Zend Framework, being developed in-house and with select industry partners. We would announce the framework publically the following month at the very first ZendCon (actually, "Zend PHP Conference and Expo", but folks started nicknaming it ZendCon almost immediately), and provide an initial public preview the following March.

Of course, all the CMS solutions at the time were still running only on PHP 4, and Zend Framework was targeting PHP 5, so we had a fundamental disconnect with the requirements. The only reasonable solution was to use web services. As such, my first contribution to Zend Framework was Zend_XmlRpc_Server, which we started using for a middle-tier services architecture with which the front-end CMS would communicate.

On top of that, a ZendCon tutorial speaker dropped out, and I was asked, along with Mike Naberezny (who was heading the Zend Framework efforts at the time) to fill in. This would be my first time speaking at a conference.

It was an amazing trial by fire. I was often unsure during my first six months whether or not I was really up to the task, and expected to be let go or to resign practically every day. Fortunately, Zend had, and continues to have, an incredibly supportive team, and I was able to move into roles with increasing responsibilities over the years.

In 2007, between Thanskgiving and Christmas, I moved over full time to the Zend Framework team. The following spring, I was promoted to Software Architect. A year later, in 2009, I was promoted to Project Lead. In 2013, I was promoted to Principal Engineer, the title I hold today.

I have some wonderful colleagues, and have had a number of great bosses/supervisors at Zend. In particular, I have to thank Boaz Ziniman, Andi, and Zeev (my direct supervisor since 2009) for their trust and support over the years.

Since joining Zend, I've written more lines of code than I care to count, worked with hundreds of contributors from literally all over the world (timezone calculations, something I never cared about before, come naturally now), travelled to seven countries on three continents (Europe, Asia — well, Israel — and South America), spoken at dozens of conferences, made many friends, and watched my children grow into amazing human beings.

Not bad for a liberal arts major from Montana! I'm hoping the next 10 years can be as lucrative professionally and personally!