Candidates often ask what the first weeks will be like at Proton. And that’s understandable. I can imagine how a company’s onboarding can seem like a black box. Every workplace has its own way of operating, educating and orienting new folks. Plus, that period is critical for someone going from a novice to a full contributor. The good news is we too want you to succeed and get up to speed in the most transparent way possible, so with this in mind, I’ll take you through the key milestones of what joining the Proton team looks like.

Once you’ve signed

Once the paperwork is signed, we’ll contact you to ensure you have everything you need to start. After your offer is signed, the void between “now” and the start date will be padded with information from your manager and HR setting you up with all the sweet benefits we provide along with all the standard paperwork. Now would be the time to let us know if your current laptop doesn’t quite cut it or it gets so hot that you could sous vide an egg on. We can get you one of the cool new fanless ones that’ll keep the temps as cool as the winters in our Boston headquarters.

Other action items on our end include:

  • Setting you up with a e-mail. If you have a desired alias, let us know.
  • Inviting you to planned company and team meetings, such as our monthly All-Hands, where the whole company meets to discuss vision and goals weekly Team Planning, where you’ll help set the agenda for your team; and optional lecture-style conversations, such as our Machine Learning 101 series. Some folks like attending one or two meetings to get familiar with our environment before their first day. They’ll be on your calendar and you’re welcome to join them.
  • Sending you a granular breakdown of your first day’s schedule. First days can sometimes seem unpredictable, so we want to make sure you know what to expect coming in, and we’ll send you a bullet point list of your first day’s happenings.

Your first day

Congratulations, it’s your first day! We know it can be a big transition. Fortunately, we’ve done it before and have a plan to make it easy.

Your first day will usually be light because we know you’re getting adjusted. Your goal is to meet people, dig deep on your job responsibilities, and get set with a concrete project. We want to get you asking questions ASAP rather than providing a big “Proton bible” you have to read — and won’t remember a week later. We’ll also point you to our company so you can see high level company goals, organizational structure, or our vacation policy.

Your first project

Your first project will be something real. It isn’t an exercise in a simulated environment. In other words, you’ll get to contribute to production almost immediately.

The nature of the project will depend on the team you join. If you’re an engineer, you could be asked to bake a new route in our API layer or fix a text-align issue in our frontend.

For any non-engineers who’ve found their way here, you might be asked to respond to a customer question or run a user research call with a user. We pick projects strategically so you can learn the basics and we can support you if you have questions. We know these initial projects take much longer than they would for someone completely up to speed. If you end up needing more time, that’s fine.

On my team, client engineering, we recently onboarded Mike Falkner and Dave Moreau. Mike came on as our Lead Sales Engineer. In his first week he built presentation materials for a client call and ran a meeting by himself. Dave, who joined as an Integration Engineer, created a new API route to make it easier for our team to install our product on a clients’ online stores.

Digging in: your first weeks

Your first few weeks you’ll be busy with your project and digesting information. We’ll also give you more projects so you have more opportunities to learn through practice.

We want to make sure that in your first weeks you are:

  • Set up: you should have access to all our tools
  • Informed: have an understanding of our product and industry
  • Seasoned: an active contributor on your team

It may feel like we’re jumping to step three right away on your first day. In reality, we’re using practice to prompt you to ask questions and learn how our systems work. If you focus on the goal, the first two steps will come naturally.

For example, say someone asks you to fix some data in a database.

You might ask: “Where is the database? How do I access it?” Then you’ll learn we run it on our Kubernetes cluster. ”Is there a development and a staging area I can use? How do I deploy my changes?” Before you know it, you’ll know everything you need. We like people to ask questions and ask often. The question mark and search bar should be your best friend. Embrace not knowing things - it’s natural - you’re new, and there are people that have done it before, and chances are we either have answers or documentation links to point you to.

Your first month

From your second week onward you should begin to understand the basics. If we’re doing our job well, you’ll be independent and may even have a few ideas to contribute during our planning meetings. Now, we can think even bigger. We’ll discuss your career goals over the longer term. At Proton we take your career seriously, and to help you succeed, we need to know where and what you’re aiming to achieve. We want you to thrive on your terms, and we have a transparent career ladder to guide you.

Your first three months — and beyond

Good stuff, you crossed the finish line! By now you should have contributed to production, met a bunch of new people, and fully oriented yourself. In other words, you’re ready to rock.

We take you seriously, and that starts with getting you on board. We think our project-driven approach will help accelerate your ability to learn and make those lessons stick. It drives ownership and gives you a real sense you’re contributing. We look forward to seeing your application, and hope this overview helped you get a deeper sense of what we’re about.