If you read blogs.sun.com much, you probably understand why people work at Sun, but I’m not sure it’s been put into words at yet, so I’m going to give it a go. (maybe a little more coherently than some others have talked about their employers, but hey, he has passion for what he does so he gets full marks from me)
I like playing with new technology : I know this sounds geeky, but I get kicks playing with software I haven’t used before. I’ll happily read software manuals in my spare time and follow discussions about new products, contributing when I can : working at Sun means I can get my hands on early builds of lots of new software products, which is really cool.
For example, I don’t work directly on any component of Solaris these days, I was involved in the localisation of Solaris 2.6 and 7, but I’m still able to run the latest & greatest builds on my desktop and laptop and log bugs against anything I come across that doesn’t seem right. (Oh, did you know you can run the latest builds of Solaris too ?)
It’s not just about software though, I like hardware too – and wandering around a lab in this company is quite a sobering experience. You open the door, and get hit by the “whoosh” of lots of massive servers all working flat-out at various test-related tasks. How many times would you get to hot-swap a power supply on a v880 or a CPU board on a E25k for the fun of it ? (before I came to Sun, I didn’t know this sort of thing was possible) Sun hardware rocks, even our “low-end” stuff these days can absolutely scream along.
But it’s also not just about the software or the hardware, it’s about the people – the folks working here are just plain cool. As MaryMary says, at this company, you get to meet and work with a lot of techno-celebs (who are her close personal friends!) and you can learn a great deal from these people. Do a Google for
“sun distinguished engineer” and you’ll see the sorts of folks we have working here. Along with the rocket scientists there’s a huge diversity of engineers at Sun who’ve come from all sorts of different backgrounds : as well computer scientists, I know astronomers, physicists, mathematicians and English graduates all working as engineers for Sun Ireland.
And finally, it’s not just about the software or the hardware or the people, it’s about the culture at Sun. There’s a real hunger inside Sun to do things the right way – we’ve got a vision of where computing is going, we believe in it and have stuck to that vision since the company was founded 20 years ago. Every employee you meet in the halls understands that vision and it shapes the way we do things – something I’m not sure you get in other companies.
So that’s why I work here – I’m sure there’s other things that attract people to the company, possibly our iWork program, or the benefits package, I’m not sure – but we’re hiring, you know…
Update, Oct. 2005: These days, I work on test development for ZFS, so I am actually working on Solaris again (and I *like* it!).