One Month at SUSE – Retrospective of a Newbie
This is a guest blog written by Dmitri Popov, Technical Writer at the SUSE Documentation Team.
At the end of July 2016 I accepted a job as technical writer at SUSE. The prospect of moving to Germany and working for one of the biggest Linux companies made the decision easy for me. And once my wife’s employer green-lighted the idea of her working remotely, the rush to complete the relocation in just a month and a half was on.
Now that the trials and tribulations of moving from Denmark to Germany are largely over, and my first full month at SUSE is completed, I thought that a quick retrospective would be in order.
To be perfectly honest, after more than a decade of freelancing, the idea of becoming a full-time employee was a bit daunting. I’m happy to report, though, that my fears were unwarranted. My new colleagues were and are extremely helpful and made me feel welcome from day one. I feel privileged and humbled to work with such knowledgeable and nice people.
Even before my first work day, our team leader and his deputy introduced me to the documentation team and briefed me on what to expect during my first weeks and months at SUSE. Still, I was a bit curious what my first days at the office would look like. But that was taken care of, too: the team members had prepared an on-boarding Trello board, and I was assigned a mentor who, along with other colleagues, introduced me to pretty much everything: from the in-house toolchain and workflow to the best lunch places around.
The Trello board proved to be an indispensable tool for completing the required steps and procedures (setting up new hardware, installing software, subscribing to relevant mailing lists, etc.) and a great source of general information (finding people, what to do when you are sick, using the in-house wireless connection, and much more).
Apparently, the documentation team has developed a far advanced on-boarding process for new colleagues, and I was one of the first new hires subjected to this experiment. All I can say is that the Trello board made my on-boarding smooth sailing. Apologies for the tortured pun.
Speaking of the in-house toolchain, our documentation workflow relies on two major components: GitHub and DAPS (it stands for DocBook Authoring and Publishing Suite). The latter is a toolset for working and managing DocBook files as well as generating documentation in various formats. If you happen to deal with documentation in the DocBook format, you ought to take a closer look at DAPS.
And since the tool is released under an open source license, you are free to study, customize, and improve it.
All in all, it has been exciting several weeks, and I’m somewhat surprised how quickly I managed to get accustomed to my life as a SUSE employee and my new daily routine.