Why did I join Google Fiber, and take up making WiFi routers?
Part of it was an accident of the team; I worked with the engineering team part-time (a 20% project, those still exist!) before joining, and since they started and finished later than my 100% team did it easy to do both.
The team turned out to be unusually awesome once I got to know them, and willing to help me learn how to be a software engineer.
I was excited about Google Fiber’s promise to make the Web work better for everyone, and about WiFi routers because they were on the critical path to achieving that, and no one else had a plan for them then.
What happened in the end?
I got deeper into Linux systems than I’d ever been before, and deeper than most people get to go nowadays – even at Google! – with containers and clouds and other shiny things close at hand.
I gave our WiFi routers to a couple hundred Googlers, and helped run down the bugs that they turned up using tech support skills that I’d started learning in my last job. This grew as we went along, and saved us from shipping serious bugs we didn’t catch any other way, and I think I’ll miss this community more than anything else from my current job.
I’m pretty sure we didn’t fix the Web for everyone, but we did make a pretty awesome WiFi router – it was able to get my parents’ WiFi working where an Airport Extreme failed.
This was a good first project.