This Self-Taught Systems Engineer Builds on His Knowledge Alongside a Values-Driven Team at Fastmail

This blog post was originally published on Read on to learn about how Macon Gambill has jumped into his new role at Fastmail.

For Macon Gambill, his interest in an engineering career was piqued when he downloaded the open-source operating system Linux onto his personal device as an alternative to Windows. At the time, he was working as a business analyst without on-paper tech experience, but he knew he wanted to grow his coding skills and find a place where he can work alongside value-driven people and be challenged to grow.

A few certification programs, programming books and hours of practice later were only the start. Gambill wanted to learn more in a hands-on setting where he was working as a part of a team. After demonstrating his capabilities and showcasing how his values aligned with the team’s, Gambill joined Fastmail as a systems engineer in August 2022.

Fastmail is a subscription-based, ad-free email provider that protects customers’ data from solicitors. The Australian company went global after acquiring Philly-based email service Pobox in 2015. Pobox was founded in 1995 by then-Penn student Helen Horstmann-Allen, who is now the COO of Fastmail.

“I wanted to work at a company where I felt like I would actually use the product myself. Fastmail provides customers with a valuable product that values privacy, which I care about, so it was a really great fit,” he said.

As a Fastmail employee, Gambill has continued to grow his coding skill set while learning the ins and outs of the service’s infrastructure. Fastmail uses Linux for email distribution and Cyrus as its transfer agent. sat down with Gambill to discuss what he has learned during his first engineering role and more.

What was the onboarding process like for you as a first-time engineer? 

In a sense, I’m still onboarding just because the system has been around for a long time, so there are parts of the system that I just don’t have a reason to dig into unless they break. So, when that happens and I interact with a new part, I’m gaining more experience. It feels self-guided, which is rewarding, but I also feel supported in asking as many questions as I need to.

As you’re continuing to develop, what are you looking forward to at Fastmail?

I am excited about modernizing our infrastructure. Since we’re an email company, it seems like  we have been fairly conservative in some technical areas, but I’m looking forward to being a part of defining a new era of Fastmail.

Many people are likely curious about how your workday is impacted by your company being based in Australia. What have you noticed?

I’m a member of the Platform team, which has half of its members in the United States and the other half in Australia. If anything, it helps with our workflow because Australia is 15 hours ahead so that timing allows a team member to always be on call during local working hours, as opposed to nighttime shifts.

Besides that, it feels like I’m on a tight-knit small team that allows me to build relationships with my coworkers.

That sounds like positive teamwork. Besides that, how would you describe Fastmail’s culture? 

It is an open environment. I feel like there’s access to those making decisions for the company, and I can voice my opinion or experiences as a form of input. You feel like you’re valued and taken seriously, so I hope to continue growing here.

At Fastmail, we work on making email better for everyone. Building an incredible team is an important part of our company and our values. Check out our job listings page for opportunities to join our team!

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