My journey from a passionate developer to the CTO of Meteor.js

I started my career in software development in 2008, working mainly with Java and focused on web apps. This article will focus on my story with Meteor, jumping to 2015 when I first heard about Meteor.js.

First time with Meteor.js

I’m from Goiânia, Brazil (I love pamonha, you should try it), but in 2015 I lived in Rio de Janeiro, working for Petrobras, a big company in Brazil. My contract there was coming to an end, and I decided to look for a new job. That’s when I heard about TecSinapse, a remote-first company with many Java and JavaScript projects. Wait, a remote-first company? My dream was to work remotely, and we are still talking about the year 2015.

To start the process, they send you a test where you can choose any programming language and stack of your choice. My primary skills were with Java, so I went with it. Later, in one of the interviews, I heard that their Innovation Department mostly used JavaScript with Meteor.js. At that time, I was studying AngularJS, and when I looked at Meteor’s website, I didn’t understand it at first. But I decided to try. I implemented the same test again, using JS and Meteor. I fell in love with Meteor.

Sharing knowledge

I have always been present in local dev communities as a volunteer, organizer, and speaker. After implementing that web app using Meteor, my first thought was that I had to tell everyone about it. A significant event was about to occur in Rio de Janeiro, and I proposed a presentation that the organizers quickly approved. This was my first presentation about Meteor.js at MobileConf Rio de Janeiro in 2015: “Meteor – it’s never been easier to develop for web and mobile” I made other presentations and even created a Meetup group in Goiânia, my hometown. If you saw me in any event, I was there telling everyone to try Meteor.js.

Well, I joined TecSinapse and was always looking for tasks related to Meteor. We have developed many Meteor projects, some internal and others for external partners. Outside the “office”, I also developed my apps with Meteor, and I even participated in the Startup Weekend. In this program, you test the idea of a startup over a weekend. Our team won third place, and they highlighted our app. Meteor was so productive that at some point, our mentors recommended that we should pause the development of the app as implementing the complete MVP so quickly could be suspicious to the judges.

After this event, some people asked me to create a course to teach Meteor. People were very impressed with how much we could achieve in just a few days. I couldn’t find an affordable lab, so I started teaching in the living room of my apartment. People were impressed with Meteor, and even a Brazilian living in Germany managed to find my course and do it remotely. It was going great, but my wife and I decided to move abroad.

Moving abroad

In late 2017, my wife and I decided to move abroad. We wanted to study English, and I aimed to start an international career. We moved to Ireland, and to stay there permanently, I needed to find a local company that could sponsor my work visa. I found it in 2 months, and then I left TecSinapse. In the new company, as a full-stack developer, I went back to working mainly with Java on the backend and TypeScript on the front-end using Angular.

What about Meteor?

Nothing was challenging for me on the backend, so I focused more on the front-end tasks. Soon I was giving presentations to the Irish and American teams sharing knowledge about Angular. Outside the office, I continued using Meteor. My cousin also lived in Ireland and offered me to work on his company project. It was a web agency that used to outsource the creation of apps, but they wanted to learn how to implement it themselves. But his manager gave us a week to come up with something concrete and present it to him, so he could cancel the project with the third company and pass it on to us as freelancers. My cousin should also learn how to develop it and teach his team.

Well, we were using Meteor. In 7 days, we implemented a few administrative screens, we added user accounts, and the app was working for Android and iOS. We convinced his boss, and he hired us to develop the app, which we finished in about four months.

Remember that I arrived in Ireland as an exchange student? Many Brazilians do the same, and one of the great doubts of all was how to know if an exchange agency was good or not. I used Meteor to create an agency reviews app (Gullbi). In a short time, we had hundreds of users, and some of the agencies even approached me to develop apps for them.

During my time in Ireland, I even started a company with a few friends. Clubien, a marketplace for wellness and beauty professionals. I was the CEO and main developer of the app. We worked hard on it for more than a year, but the pandemic prevented us from proceeding with the startup.

Working full-time again with Meteor

In 2020 I was looking for a remote-first company again. The pandemic started, everyone was working from home, and I decided I didn’t want to go back to the office. That’s when I joined Pathable to work on their team of nomadic developers. I also live as a digital nomad today.

Pathable has grown a lot during the pandemic. Shortly after joining the team, I got promoted to Tech Lead. The Pathable platform includes five Meteor applications grouped into clusters, running across hundreds of containers on Meteor Cloud. Their team is fantastic, and I learned a lot working there. If you want to learn more about Pathable and its tech stack, check this post in the Meteor blog. (https://blog.meteor.com/why-pathable-uses-meteor-to-power-virtual-hybrid-events-61747542c1b7)

Joining the Meteor Team

I had been working at Pathable for a year and a half when I had the opportunity to create the first Meteor University course through a partnership between Meteor Software and myself. It was a great challenge, and we are pleased with the result. The feedback has been excellent, and we are working hard to release the next one in April.

It is important to mention that I had already worked with Filipe (former CEO of Meteor.js), and after creating the course, I got even closer to the Meteor team. When we talked about an opportunity to join the Meteor team, we had also discussed the possibility of me becoming the CTO of the company. And so I decided to leave Pathable to accept this new challenge, first as a Tech Lead.

As a Tech Lead, my main priority was organizing the team and ensuring that we were working on important things and not only urgent ones. We have made good progress so far, but there’s still a lot to improve. 

The promotion to CTO

If you are not aware, Filipe left Meteor a few days ago. He decided to pursue his dream of helping in the education field in Brazil. After he decided to go, we had several meetings, and Tiny decided to promote me as Meteor’s new CTO! Filipe and I are still in touch almost every day, and during this transition, I’m also dealing with the whole business side. The beginning has been quite challenging. We have a lot to evolve to be more transparent and better communicate with the community. This is one of our main goals.

Another primary goal is to make Meteor.js even stronger. We know that several other options have emerged over these 10 years of Meteor. I still believe that Meteor is one of the best frameworks for developing web and mobile applications. And I know many things need to change to make Meteor future-proof.

Perhaps, this could be the subject of another blog post?