Why I Joined Applitools (again): Dave Haeffner

Meet Our Team — February 2, 2022

Everyone has their own opinions. And some of them? Preposterous. Others? Downright controversial! Like, for instance, thinking that The Bourne Legacy is the best of all the Bourne movies (change my mind). Or that vim is better than emacs… and VSCode (!). You get the idea, and this is nothing new.

But what never gets old is when you can find a group of people where you can connect regardless of your opinions and feel like you belong. To find that group of people who can take you for you are (regardless of your poor taste in movies or questionable choice of text editor), riff on it, and (lovingly) rib you a bit for it. To do this in all facets of life is important, but most recently, I managed to find this group of people in my work life – having recently joined Applitools as a Software Developer. And ironically, this isn’t my first time working here.

In the not-too-distant-past I took some time away from my career to focus on my family. My wife was looking to head back to work after a few years away to focus on raising our young children. I was looking to take a break from work and endeavor on a different kind of challenge (family circus conductor). Fast forward to the end of what I affectionately refer to now as my extended sabbatical, things are different. My kids are older now and in preschool, my wife is back working, and I’m home twiddling my thumbs wondering “What to do?”

So I explored a few options.

Back into entrepreneurship? Sure, why not? So I looked into starting a new business. But man, that’s a lot of work! Last time I did that was in 2011. I did it by myself then and it was very hard. The conclusion? That’s a young man’s game. Nope, next.

Why not partner with someone instead of going it alone? Okay, sure. So I joined a friend’s startup as a technical co-founder. But that didn’t feel like the right fit either. So maybe freelance software developer? Done. That started out okay, but after a few months I realized it was lonely and not challenging me in the ways I was looking to grow. Hmm.

At the end of it all, a question crystallized for me, “What do I want to do and who do I want to do it with?” Me, a vim user with fantastic taste in films. Where I ended up was a headspace eerily similar to where I was in 2018.

Back then I decided that I wanted to make a go of being a full time software developer. To focus on the process of making high quality, high value software. But here was the rub. While I had experience working with a handful of programming languages (at least superficially through my work in software testing), I didn’t have a “proper” background. I don’t have a degree in computer science (I have a degree in network engineering, thank you very much), I’ve never worked as a developer for a company, and hilariously I failed my intro to programming course at university (I did much better the second time though!). But through my work in software testing I was able to parlay that into a position as a software developer working at Applitools, which turned out to be a life-changing experience for me. I got to work with immensely smart and talented people who welcomed me warmly, helped bring me along, and challenged me in ways that supercharged my growth (shoutout to Doron, Tomer, Gil, Amit, and Adam!). And it didn’t hurt that I got to work on fascinating, multi-faceted technical problems that forced me to grow my problem solving skills every day.

I remembered all of this fondly when searching for an answer to my question – “What do I want to do and who do I want to do it with?” Not only did I realize I wanted to continue my journey of software craftsmanship but I also wanted to go back to working alongside great engineers in a collegial environment. With people who both accept me as I am and challenge me to be better. To be in a place where I’m fed an endless supply of technical problems which are fascinating to a software geek like me.

On the tin, this is Applitools. And not for nothing, it also doesn’t hurt that they are building the most innovative stuff in the software testing space. I say this non-hyperbolically with over a decade in this industry (“I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe”).

So I was floored when I messaged my old manager to reconnect and tell him what I was thinking. Because very quickly this started a chain reaction of conversations which led to me ultimately answering the question “When can you start?”. Before I knew it, my start date was upon me. And you know what? I was welcomed back just as warmly as when I joined the first time. Now I’m well on the other side of my start date, back in the trenches, working alongside my fellow colleagues. And I gotta say, it’s great to be back!

Interested in joining? Come for the people and technical problems, but stay for the innovation that’s shaking up software testing (and maybe a movie recommendation or two :-)). Take a look at job openings here: http://www.applitools.com/careers

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