My Experience as a Developer Support Engineer at CloudBees

It’s now close to four years since I started working as a developer support engineer (DSE) at CloudBees and now is a good time to explain what this position means for me. This post is a good entry point for people who would like to know more about the activities performed by this amazing team. On the other hand, I was looking forward to put this down on paper so I can share this link with my relatives when they ask me again: “Well…Carlos… Can you remind me what do you do at work?” during the next family dinner :)

Why did I say it’s amazing? So far, my experience in this team has exceeded my expectations. When I was contacted to join the DSE team, I worked as a Java web developer; in other words, I was one of the people who used to break the Jenkins builds. During my interview, I stated that I really wanted to continue developing my technical skills. Now, I can say that my request was more than fulfilled because we are always exploring new technologies and processes in order to keep up with industry trends. As an aside, a good DSE is eager to learn new stuff constantly. The other point which fascinates me about working here is the cultural diversity and the support engine which works, thanks to the coordination of a team distributed among Australia, Europe, North America and Canada.

My recipe for customer service success

The support engineering team’s backbone is customer satisfaction. In my opinion, the recipe for making our customers happy has the following ingredients:

  • Empathy for the customer’s situation. Once a customer reports an issue, we communicate with them using the best channel (mail, call and/or screen share) depending on each particular case. Understanding the issue and its impacts on the customer’s business is the first rule.
  • Customer trust in the support service. Depending on the priority of each case, the support team commits to updating the customer based on the SLA. As soon as possible, a DSE offers a hypothesis based on pieces of evidence from the required data (logs, configuration files, validation tools, etc.) to troubleshoot the problem. After a deeper analysis, we find a root cause analysis and provide a solution (or a workaround).
  • Fluent collaboration across the company. Within the support team, we map the skills and expertise of every member, so we have an idea of whom to ask for each technological topic. On top of that, among the more senior support engineers, the backend engineer group jumps into those cases when a colleague needs help. Finally, but not least important, we collaborate with the engineering teams responsible for product maintenance.
  • Creative thinking to avoid the same issues impacting customers. We try not to stumble twice. DSEs have a proactive attitude when we identify something that can be improved by sending a pull request to its code repository.
  • Willingness to constantly learn/train. DSEs schedule their agenda to gain the right set of DevOps skills based on their career interests which are aligned with the product roadmap. CloudBees offers internal product update sessions every Friday and allows its employees to become certified engineers.

The three pillars of support engineering work

DSE diagram

DSE work is based on three pillars: customer experience, knowledge and tooling.

Behind the scenes of the support portal, there is a set of defined, standard processes (for example, assisted updates) that aim to make communication more effective and further improve the customer experience. We take the feedback from customers seriously as well as our own experiences. At CloudBees, your words matter!

DSEs validate, from the front lines, that product documentation covers the customer’s needs. In addition, we extend it via knowledge base articles with pieces of useful information for our daily work: required data, troubleshooting guides, known issues, and best practices. Beyond documentation, we verify reported bugs and analyze suggested RFEs by our customers.

The first letter of DSE focuses on the tooling part of the job. As developers, we design, document and code a set of projects which help us to automate and standardize routines within ticket management or any other process of interest within the team’s activities. Those activities include querying customer details, data capture, data sharing, monitoring, analytics, diagnosis, creating/destroying lab environments to reproduce reported issues, interview process and so on. I said “mainly” because we are also empowered to fix product or community bugs we find during the case management.

At this point in the post, you probably understand that one of the major difficulties for a DSE is the context switching and the frustration it may cause. To tackle it, the team agreed on the EDT formula: we schedule a dedicated portion of our work time for education, development and training (EDT) activities. Proposals like this formula were born during our retrospectives, brainstorming sessions to propose new initiatives and assess the performance of the existing ones. We fail, we try to make it happen fast, and you know… we learn from our mistakes.

Are you interested in joining us?

CloudBees is growing, we have added more products to our portfolio, more customers are trusting our solutions and services. The support team is constantly looking for talented IT engineers who are able to balance their work based on priority, are customer-facing and friendly, dynamic and good team players. Are you ready for your next challenge? Join the hive!

Additional Resources

About Carlos Rodriguez Lopez

My professional mantra: ” Never stop learning.” I joined the CloudBees support team in March 2016. I started my career in 2006 in London (United Kingdom), two and a half years later, I moved back to Seville (Spain). Since March 2013, I’ve worked as a software engineer. Before CloudBees, I’ve held other positions related to IT such as a functional analyst, data analyst, software instructor and webmaster.