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31 August 2023

10 Years of Wikimedia Foundation

by Željko Filipin


I apparently really like writing x years of something blog posts. So, let’s write another one.

In October it will be 11 years since I started working for the Wikimedia Foundation. So, it’s the last responsible moment to write about the first decade.

I have a bad memory, so there’s no way I can remember things that happened over a decade. Luckily, I’ve been documenting things on this blog. With some Internet archaeology, I should have enough material for a blog post.

Why Are You at the Same Job for More Than a Decade?!

I was freelancing in 2012. I was looking for a new client and applied for a job at a Foundation. I didn’t think much about it. I didn’t expect to get the job. I didn’t expect the Foundation to become my only client soon. I didn’t expect it to become my employer eventually. I surely didn’t expect to work there for a decade.

In about a month I’ll be 46 years old. In about a month I’ll be at the Foundation for 11 years. That means I’ll be working for the same company for about a quarter of my life. In a world where the average tenure at a big tech company is about 4 years, why would I more than double that?

In no particular order.

I’m spending my life making the world a better place, instead of spending my life making somebody rich. I really like working for the Foundation because of its mission. Wikipedia is one of the best things that has happened to the Internet, and that’s just one of the Foundation’s projects (admittedly the most important).

I really like the people I work with. The people I worked with over the years range from great to amazing. I worked at places where I didn’t go along well with people. It makes a world of difference when you like your coworkers. It might help that we’re countries or even continents apart and see each other only a few times a year, at most. 😅I think I would like them even if we saw each other every day. 😉

I really like the projects I’m working on. The projects are interesting, challenging, meaningful and force me to learn new things all the time. I could not wish for more.

The benefits are pretty good. I’m paid well. I have plenty of vacation. Parental leave is amazing (4 months for fathers!). I really appreciated it when my last child was born.

It can’t be all unicorns 🦄and rainbows 🌈! What are the things that are frustrating? The Foundation is not perfect. The people working there are not perfect. I’m not perfect. For years I’ve had my own company and invoiced the Foundation monthly. A few years ago they insisted that all of us get hired by a third party, in my case Safeguard Global. They don’t have an office in my country so I’m actually hired by a local company. In short, it’s complicated. I’ll let you imagine how complicated it can get to get some things done (expenses, vacation, parental leave…) when (in some sense) I have 3 employers.

Let’s move to some statistics.

Job Titles

I try to keep my LinkedIn profile up to date. According to it, I had 4 job titles in the last 10 years:

I’m not sure what it says about job titles in general, or maybe only in software development. I’m doing pretty much the same thing all the time. Developing an end-to-end testing framework.


In 2012 I joined a very small Quality Assurance team that was formed just a few months before I joined. As far as I remember, it was just Chris McMahon and me.

In 2013 I joined the newly formed Release Engineering team. I have a lot of nice memories from those years. The only thing I didn’t like were deployments. Both train and backport. But, I have learned a lot from those.

In 2019 I joined the newly formed Quality and Test Engineering team. Because of COVID, I’m yet to meet most of the people from the team in person.

In retrospect, apparently I have a thing for newly formed teams.


Oh man, were there events. I sometimes describe working here as just enough travel. Well, before the pandemic. All travel stopped then.

Some of the cities and countries I have visited for conferences or offsites are:

One of the places I have visited the most is San Francisco, California, USA (2013, 2015, 2016, 2018, 2019, 2020). That’s where the office is, so we used to go there a lot.


I like internships. I was a mentor several times. Most of them happened during COVID-19. I guess I had time for mentoring since I was not traveling.


In 2012, I was hired to write Selenium tests. That’s what I have been doing since. We started with a framework in Ruby, but switched to JavaScript a few years ago.

The Ruby framework had decent documentation but the current JavaScript framework has even better documentation. I am a bit subjective on that topic because I wrote most of both Ruby and JavaScript documentation (T246425).

Over the last decade, I’ve been involved in several smaller projects. I’ll highlight a few of them.


Gerrit is a code hosting and code review tool.


When I started, we were using Bugzilla for tracking bugs and tasks. In 2014 we switched to Phabricator .


A big thank you to Tyler Cipriani for great advice on how to make this post better.

tags: wikimedia - years