A Work Term Comparison

Published in Polar Mobile

In many respects, comparing my first work term at Voice On The Go with my second work term at Polar Mobile is a difficult task. Polar Mobile is an organization of over double the size of Voice On The Go and it certainly felt that way. In general there were many more hoops to jump through in order to get your code to see with light of day. At Voice On The Go, I always had a clear understanding of who is in charge of what particular aspect of a task. At Polar Mobile, this was lost on me. There were times when I had completed a project and I wasn't sure who to report to or what happens next.

However, with this extensive process comes great things as well. Since the project changed hands several times, it often would collect a lot of feedback and testing. The code review process at Polar Mobile is something I cannot say enough about. I really did enjoy getting the constructive criticism given that it would improve my code style and thinking regarding certain problems. At Voice On The Go, there was no formal code review process. There seemed to be more of a mentality of "as long as it works" whereas at Polar Mobile the mentality is "as long as it is quality". I really did appreciate that particular mentality because it taught me to not rush my code just to meet deadlines but rather focus on the issue at hand and develop a lasting, maintainable solution that is absent of any ugly hacks.

The overall atmosphere of both organizations was also very much different. Being a small organization, Voice On The Go felt like a close, tight-knit group of people. Polar Mobile, on the other hand, felt slightly more divided by various departments or teams (which is natural as an organization grows). While I enjoyed my time at Voice On The Go, much of that was due to me making the situation enjoyable. Most came in to get their work done and that was that. At Polar Mobile, they have a very big focus on working hard and playing hard. I was told that precise statement during my interview and it was apparent on my first day. The level of dedication and investment that each person put into projects was very refreshing.

To wrap up, both of my work term experiences so far have been magnificent. Each placement taught me a very similar set of skills and I believe each subsequent work term will continue building on those from the past. At Voice On The Go, I got to greatly deepen my appreciation and fondness for the iOS platform and at Polar Mobile I had the chance to learn an entirely new technology stack. Looking back, I wouldn't change anything about either work term and the experience was truly invaluable.

Written By

Andrew Halligan

Published December 7, 2011