I took my first big step into open source and Drupal through the Google Highly Open Participation Contest back in 2007-2008. The next two summers I went on to participate in Google Summer of Code and just last month I started working full-time at Google! Never did I imagine such a progression back when I first started.
Working for Google is a great opportunity for numerous reasons not the least of which...it's Google. The software, languages, and tools that Google uses are quite different from the tools to which I am accustomed, but have lots of similarities. It has been encouraging to see the similarities to Drupal in the processes and reasons for the ways things are done. The story behind Google's testing efforts follows a similar path to that of getting testing into Drupal core, the difficulties, processes setup, and the systems put in place. Hearing the same reasons for decisions as we came up with in the Drupal project has been encouraging. On the flip side looking at the differences in development processes and tools has been rather enlightening.
The aspect that I am most excited about for Drupal is using my Google "20% time" to contribute to Drupal. Having the ability to spend more regular time working on Drupal projects such as qa.drupal.org is something that I believe will make a big difference. On my first 20% day, Friday (today), I will be working on the next generation testing system to replace the current qa.drupal.org. The system is the open sourced portion of the platform that powers ReviewDriven. The code can be found on github at drupalorg_qa, drupalorg_qa_worker, and also through a number of projects on Drupal.org which will become the primary hub. The plan is to run the new system alongside the existing system and to demonstrate it to the community in the near future.
Another big change that came with the job was the move to Mountain View, California from Omaha, Nebraska. Quite a big change both in environment/living style and leaving friends/family to which I am still getting used to, but I expect it to be a rewarding opportunity. I would like to thank those in the community whose encouragement has meant a lot to me, specifically Angie Byron (webchick) and Kieran Lal (amazon).
Lastly, did I mention the amazing connection speed form my office! :)