My Journey of How I Went From Teaching English in Japan to a Career in Tech With The Coolest Company in the World

Democratize Publishing Part One

Meanwhile, in other news:

2014 February – Kosato & I got married ♥

one year later…

2015 February – Had our wedding ♥♥

and one year after that…

2016 February – Became parents ♥♥♥

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and before we knew it…

2017 February – Keimei turned one!

The first year of being parents naturally had a tremendous impact on us. It’s one of those experiences in life that you can’t really prepare for no matter how much you try — you just have to experience it to know. No amount of words can even begin to describe how much happiness and joy our little one has brought into our lives.

I made a promise on my son’s first birthday that I would do everything within my human capacity to provide the best possible life for our family, that I would be a father and husband they could say they’re proud of, and that I would forever continue to fight for our dreams. In order to accomplish that, I needed to act.

No more waiting around.

It was time to get shit done.

Twenty-seventeen was year of the hustle.

By this time, my web development skills and learning were well honed-in and exclusively focused on WordPress and I definitively knew this was the route I wanted to take and that the future of my career would be with WordPress.

But why WordPress? What was so special about WordPress that I had suddenly developed such a passion for it?

Well for me, I’m a big believer in purpose.

I believe there should be meaning behind the work we do, the decisions we act on, the products we use, and even the connections we make with other people.

Democratize publishing.

That is the mission of WordPress. WordPress believes in empowerment, the means to express yourself freely, and the idea of sharing & building upon ideas. And on top of such a noble cause, there’s an entire global community to back it up.

And for me, that’s what makes WordPress so great.

“People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it. And what you do simply proves what you believe” ― Simon Sinek, Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action

It’s very clear after looking into the history of WordPress and the ambitions of one of its founders, Matt Mullenweg (CEO, Automattic Inc.), that its broad vision is to essentially make the web a better place, both through its open source community and Automattic products such as WordPress.com, WordPress.com VIP, WooCommerce, Jetpack, and more.

So when thinking about what I really wanted out of a career, I realized that there’s nothing that would be more fulfilling than to be a part of and contribute to this movement, a movement whose goal is to have an impact on the world, and that’s exactly what WordPress has set out to accomplish. Many of the values and beliefs of the WordPress brand aligned so well with my own that I knew almost instantly that this is the road for me.

I started to research more about Automattic and the open positions that were available.

(Aside: It’s kind of funny when I look back at the very beginning of my web development journey, I created a blog on WordPress.com to document everything I learned about and coded. Little did I know that the very software and service I was using would ultimately become part of my destined career.)

Out of all the wrangler, engineer, director, and designer positions, there were a few that really resonated with my interests (design in particular), but at the time only one seemed to really match my current skills.

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And there it was.

After shuffling back and forth reading through some #a8cday posts provided by the above link and the job description page, I was met with this clever little flip-around message 😀

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Happiness Engineer? It does have a nice ring to it. Well then, …

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This was a meticulously crafted four-page list of all the goals, tasks, courses, projects, & events I planned for the year that were exclusively focused on getting a job with Automattic. I posted this on my living room wall where it stayed for the remainder of the year to remind me of what I set out to do. I had estimated dates of when everything needed to get done. I even set an estimated date of Spring 2018 as the time I’d be a Happiness Engineer (um, who am I to decide when I’ll be working for who, right?). Yes, I was not messing around. *SPOILER ALERT* I ended up getting the job with a start date in Spring 2018!

But before we jump to the juicy end, read on to find out what happened in between…


Jump to a Section

  1. Oh So Bittersweet
  2. Post-University Life
  3. Sapporo: My Second New Home
  4. My ALT Experience
  5. Living On The Poverty Line
  6. #NotAboutThatLife Part One
  7. #NotAboutThatLife Part Deux
  8. Learn To Code The Hard Way
  9. Democratize Publishing Part One
  10. Democratize Publishing Part Deux
  11. Welcome To The Chaos

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Movement. Growth. Ambition. Everything Builds.

12 thoughts on “My Journey of How I Went From Teaching English in Japan to a Career in Tech With The Coolest Company in the World

  1. Thanks for sharing your story, Paulo. Even though I knew the outcome I still held my breath a little there at the end, nervous for you! The GIFs were perfect too. Congrats on finding a career you love and on your beautiful family as well!

  2. I believe they’re always hiring. Lol. How long did it take you to do all those self-taught courses? I’m planning to apply, and I’m pretty glad I ran into your blog. I think I might do the same thing you did – take a lot of courses to prepare myself for the application.

    1. I’m pretty glad I ran into your blog.

      Thanks for stopping by! And I’m glad you were also able find something useful 🙂

      How long did it take you to do all those self-taught courses?

      In total, give or take 3 years — a bit long, but this was on top of a full-time job, parenting, and not having any background in web development. And I literally dipped my hand into everything i.e. programming, digital marketing, design, etc.

      I might do the same thing you did – take a lot of courses to prepare myself for the application

      Yeah, that would definitely help! If I were to look back on what I could have done to prepare more effectively, maybe I would’ve considered focusing more on CSS proficiency, WooCommerce, and making sure I know how to work & navigate the WordPress.com platform like the back of my hand 😄

      I’d be glad to answer any other questions, so feel free to shoot an email anytime: https://peaeb.blog/contact/

  3. What a journey! I recently applied to become a Happiness Engineer, and I’m very anxious. This would be my dream job and I can’t wait for my first interview.
    I’m currently learning JavaScript with TreeHouse and Codecademy at the same time, using the second to practice rather than as the primary source of learning tool. I’ve also learned CSS, HTML and Python from Codecademy but I might need to practice and start working on some websites of my own, to experiment and stuff.
    While the degree I’m pursuing at university is not related to tech at all, I really want to be a developer and I think the best way to do it debt free is through self-teaching.

    1. I recently applied to become a Happiness Engineer, and I’m very anxious. This would be my dream job and I can’t wait for my first interview.

      Nice, and best of luck! If you haven’t already, check out the Happiness Engineer blog:

      https://happinessengineer.blog/

      I really want to be a developer and I think the best way to do it debt free is through self-teaching.

      Absolutely. Being self-motivated to continuously learn is an invaluable quality to have. Keep at it, and you’ll eventually find that many opportunities start opening up for you 🙂

  4. Hey,
    This is the very first time, I read any post for word by word without any break. Most of the time, I read few sentences and just get the overview.

    But your post and the journey to Automatic keep me curious to read what will happen in the next line.
    It will really awesome.
    It also encouraging me to do my preparations for Automatic.

    Thank you for inspiring. 🙂

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