Hello Automattic!

I’m very pleased to express my interest to join your team as a JavaScript Engineer!

I have been considering applying at Automattic for about two years now, since my friend and your own Mahangu encouraged me to do so. I feel I’m now prepared for this role more than ever before.

In this page, I would like to answer the three questions for applying at Automattic and then I will talk about myself and why I want to work here.

Thanks so much for reading this and I hope you will enjoy the rest of the content!

The Three Questions (and their Answers)

Tell us the details of an interesting programming problem you’ve worked on. What made it interesting?

While building CaseFora, a platform for lawyers to research, write commentaries and publish their work based on past cases and judgement, we had an interesting situation. It was a Single Page Application built using React, Redux and the WordPress REST API.

We felt we needed a more thorough searching mechanism than the WordPress’ default search. After some research, we came across Jetpack’s Elasticsearch. We went ahead and bought the Professional Plan and wanted to use it on the site.

But alas, we couldn’t use the widget for the React web app. This meant I had to build the search functionality using React. I built the UI using React and the code to connect to the remote API using PHP inside mu-plugins. The endpoint used GuzzleHttp to query the JSON data from https://public-api.wordpress.com. I connected to the search functionality endpoint inside mu-plugins using Axios and Redux.

I felt this was interesting since the task took a lot of reading of the documentation, creatively querying for results and patiently constructing the front-end based on the search results, for example fetching the court name from custom taxonomies. Now, when you search for defendant on CaseFora for example, you will get very relevant results on a clean interface with a quick load time.

I plan to make this project more generic and open source it in the form of a plugin so that it can help many more people to enable search on their front-end Single Page Applications.

How do you use our products and/or their competitors? How would you improve one of them?

I’m writing this page using WP Calypso and I have used and written custom blocks for Gutenberg. I use many other products such as Akismet, WooCommerce and Jetpack. I use Akismet to protect my blog from spam, which has been very effective to be honest. I have used WooCommerce for powering simple stores, and combined it with WooCommerce Bookings to build complex integrations with a remote kiosk to get booking availability and to purchase tickets –  in other words to power the entire online experience for an Adventure Park in the Emirates. I have previously mentioned how I have used Jetpack.

I have a suggestion for Calypso. I feel there can be a more straightforward way to enter Calypso when we log in from wp-admin. Also, I feel Gutenberg performance needs to increase. For instance, when I pasted a large block of HTML inside Gutenberg, it waited for some time and then the page crashed. I’m sure this will get better over time as Gutenberg nears the release date.

What questions do you have for us?

I love to attend and speak at events. For instance I will be presenting at WordCamp Kochi and WooSesh. How do you support Automatticians to attend and speak at events and conferences?

A Bit About Myself

I’m Muhammad Muhsin, a Full-Stack Engineer from Colombo, Sri Lanka. I completed my degree, a BSc Software Engineering at Plymouth University with a First Class Honors, becoming the batch topper and winning awards. Before that I completed my Cambridge GCE Ordinary and Advanced Level exams in Colombo.

My interests are in writing clean code with documentation, pursuing open-source development, blogging and writing for publications such as Smashing Magazine, photography and of course eating out with friends and family.

My WordPress Journey

I started blogging with WordPress in 2015 while I was at college and instantly fell in love with the platform. Right after college, I built a startup around WordPress while my friends were looking for jobs. I built themes with Underscores and built many must-use plugins. I have built multiple sites for government organizations which included multi-lingual sites using WPML. I have built a complex WooCommerce integration project, which I mentioned before.

I have a plugin on the WordPress repository. I have also open-sourced many projects built around WordPress, React, Redux, React Native and WordPress REST API.

I also write for Smashing Magazine about WordPress. I have submitted my third article, where I teach about how to build Gutenberg blocks from scratch using the plugin I built and published as example.

I’m now looking at the next challenge with WordPress and joining a company like Automattic would surely help me get there.

Why Automattic

I feel Automattic has some of the most talented folks working from around the world and I think it would be a real honor to be working alongside them.

I have met many Automatticians (both online and offline) from around the world and I was very impressed by their kindness, friendliness, their willingness to help and a love of open source. For instance I wanted to clone Calypso on my localhost and get it running. I ran into some issues and created an issue on GitHub. Within minutes I got a response from an Automattician – I don’t think it was an accident. I couldn’t help but think it comes from the culture at Automattic.

I have watched many interviews and State of the Word talks of Matt Mullenweg and I think Automattic is heading in the right direction, and would love to be a part of that.

Lastly, I have always wanted to give back to the WordPress community. The WordPress community has been very kind and helpful for me and my career and I think it’s a responsibility to give back to it. I have done that in the past by organizing meetups, mentoring others regarding WordPress and by volunteering at a WordCamp.  I believe joining Automattic would be the ideal way to contribute to WordPress and give back to the community.

Conclusion

I hope this cover letter was useful for you in considering my application for JavaScript Engineer at Automattic. I thank you for reading this and I hope for a positive response from you!

Yours truly,
Muhammad Muhsin