Watching the Watchmen

Monitoring lets our teams know when something unexpected is happening in our live environment. Our monitors keep watch, so we don’t have to.

However, systems change and so do teams. Information is forgotten, products and services may be handed over to new teams.

The biggest concerns of a year ago may be yesterday’s news. How should we keep our watchmen relevant?


Learning to lead

Things I’ve learnt since becoming a Principal Engineer

At Tes, a Principal Engineer looks after one or more teams of engineers with the aim of helping the individuals grow and to enable the team to work together to develop and support our services. Principal Engineers across Tes Engineering meet every week and are “responsible for the overall health of the engineering team”. Read more about our management model here.


An introduction to AWS Lambda

Phil, a Senior Engineer at Tes, gave a great introduction to AWS Lambdas during our weekly knowledge sharing session. These hour long sessions are meant for Tes Engineers only, but this session contained a lot of useful information that I’m sure is relevant for people outside of Tes as well.


Mentoring for Growth

Mentoring is essential to how we work at Tes engineering. Let’s take a look at at the value of mentoring and ways you can structure a mentor chat.

A mentor offers help in these key areas:

👂 Be a person to speak to and listen
👐 Offer support and comfort in times of stress
🧭 Help people navigate the organisation
🏋🏻‍ Help people grow capability
🎆 Celebrate success!


Interview with James Mundie

Everybody, meet James! He is an Associate Engineer at Tes who loves to climb mountains in his free time. He is also a recent career changer. Learn all about him, his background and his exotic travels in this interview.


Restoring Mongo Data Using the Oplog

Everyone who works with data worries about accidental deletion and should have a good understanding of recovery strategies, ideally before an incident occurs. If you’re using Mongo, you can restore data to an arbitrary point in time using the oplog, provided you are using replication and have a recent backup.

This blog post will walk you through a simple data deletion and recovery scenario using this method, and should be accessible even if you have limited experience with Mongo.


Hosting a remote Global Day of Coderetreat

Back in September 2019 we decided to host a Global Day of Coderetreat event. Since we’re a remote first digital education company, this event would also be conducted remotely. The event would be globally available and would include people inside and outside of TES. A few questions you may have 🤷🏽‍♀️ What is a Coderetreat? Originated at the Codemash Conference in January 2009 by Gary Bernhardt, Patrick Welsh, Nayan Hajratwala and Corey Haines.


Tech Standards: Superagent

At Tes, we use superagent as our standard request library.

Three years ago, a review of our codebase showed that we had six different request libraries in use on the client side across our different services: superagent, isomorphic-fetch, browser-request, whatwg-fetch, reqwest, and axios.

Engineers had a discussion to try to find a single library to meet all our needs.


The Art of Pull Requests

I joined TES 3 months ago and in that time have been reflecting on some things I have learnt - raising good PRs is one of them. My prior experience is using trunk based development, where everyone on the team commits to the master branch. I work in the Security Engineering team now and we use PRs a lot, which was new for me. One of our responsibilities in the team is to look after the AAA services.