An Announcement: My New Position at Bitly!

Photograph of Colin Hemphill taken in his office
Written by Colin Hemphill
May 5, 20225 min read

The views expressed on this blog are my own, and do not necessarily reflect those of my employer.

Colin Hemphill + the Bitly logo on an orange background with white text

On June 6th I will be starting a new position at Bitly as a Senior Front End Engineer for the Link Experience team! You may know Bitly as the website that provides those bit.ly/**** short links you see all over the place, but there’s a lot more going on behind the scenes.

My Role at Bitly

Link Experience is responsible for the core Bitly product where users can create and manage shortened links. Much of my hands-on work will be similar to what I’ve been doing, focused on building beautiful and accessible user experiences in React and TypeScript. Ultimately my role will be to lead technical planning for front end initiatives, help set standards for modernizing our systems, and to collaborate and mentor alongside a talented and diverse group of engineers, designers, and product managers. I had fun and interesting conversations with many different people at the company, and am excited to start making cool things with them!

While Bitly has offices in New York, Denver, and San Francisco, I will continue to work fully remote from Austin. I’m excited about the steps they’ve taken to become "remote first" by reducing meetings and enabling comfortable working hours for folks in any time zone. In addition to many great benefits that are common in engineering these days, Bitly also has unlimited ad-hoc mental health days, half-day Fridays, great company employee resource groups, support for professional development such as company-sponsored conferences, and quarterly hack weeks for both engineering and design!

Many Thanks to The Zebra

When I was looking to transition out of my first job, it was a little difficult to find a company that would be willing to take me on. While I had technical expertise and good architectural skills, I had almost no experience working day-to-day with a team of engineers, reviewing code, or writing tests, and was used to a very informal process where I just kind of... did whatever I needed to in order to get my work done. After submitting applications and great coding exercises to a few different companies, I was turned down at later stages because my background was a bit more risky (and perhaps because I was so very very nervous).

The Zebra was at the top of my list for places that I wanted to work, not because car insurance is glamorous, but because it seemed like a mature company both in product and in culture. Not only did they take a risk that many others weren’t willing to take, but they also followed through on the promises that were made. The "best place to work" wasn’t just a title they added to their careers page, but a tangible thing I could experience as an employee.

Alongside the amazing directors, managers, and individual contributors that I worked with at The Zebra, I was able to do some exciting things there, and I’m truly proud to look back at the work we were able to accomplish. They understood my career goals and my personal aspirations, and worked hard to provide opportunities to help me reach them. It was always collaborative and never competitive.

If you were part of CX2, the Auto Funnel Team, or Team Odyssey, you can know without a shadow of a doubt that you made showing up to work a great experience for me, and I hope that I was able to do the same for you. Everyone I worked with across teams lived out the company values and made me feel that "All Stripes Welcome" was true. Thank you to all of my once and future Front End Friends, even if you spell "front end" wrong. 😉

Embracing the Front End

After more than 3 years working as a full-time engineer with a front end focus, I was able to prove to myself that React and TypeScript and styles and state management and buttons and forms and screen readers and SSR and SSG and all those little things that make the modern front end ecosystem what they are today are the best parts of the web. I love making such a direct impact on the people who use the websites that I build.

A few years ago it was TypeScript that was always on my mind—the thing I would advocate for above all other architectural decisions. At this point I can’t go back. If you want to know what’s on my mind these days, it’s definitely Vanilla Extract! 🧁

Next Steps

Before making the transition I’ll be taking a few much needed weeks off, so if you’re local and want to hang out during that time, please reach out! With Elden Ring finally behind me, I plan to spend some time with my new Canon R6 to continue working on my amateur photography skills.

A photo of a small stuffed zebra wearing a shirt with The Zebra logo on it

Announcement
Career Development
React
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