Next Steps in 2011

Today I’m announcing a major change in my life: I’m leaving Mozilla Corporation and joining Khan Academy.

I joined the Mozilla Corporation in January of 2007, just over 4+ years ago, as a JavaScript Evangelist. During my time at the company I had an amazing opportunity to promote JavaScript. It’s been an incredible experience working with everyone at Mozilla. The company is easily one of the most developer-friendly organizations I can imagine, with some of the smartest coders in the world. Mozilla is hiring across the board – I strongly encourage you to apply if you’re looking for one of the best jobs you’ve ever had.

I had the opportunity to promote JavaScript as a JavaScript Evangelist (and build tools like FUEL, Dromaeo, and Processing.js) and work as a JavaScript Tool Developer (building tools like TestSwarm, FireUnit, and improving QUnit).

Over the past year and a half Mozilla gave me the ability to work on jQuery full-time. This has resulted in 9 releases of jQuery (including today’s release of jQuery 1.6) and a drastically improved jQuery organization (we’re now under the Software Freedom Conservancy non-profit, hold frequent team meetings, public votes, provide public status updates, and actively encourage participation). Thankfully the jQuery project is running quite smoothly these days, allowing me to scale back my involvement to a more-reasonable amount of time and take on other development work.

Lately I’ve been looking for a chance to get back into active application development again. I’ve been working on a few applications in my spare time (mostly mobile-centric applications, using jQuery Mobile) and an excellent opportunity has arrived.

Starting next Monday I will be working at Khan Academy full-time leading their Open Source efforts and JavaScript development. If you aren’t familiar with Khan Academy I highly recommend watching the excellent talk at Ted given by Sal Khan himself. In short: Khan Academy is attempting to revolutionize how students learn and how teachers are able to help students.

Learning, and teaching others, has been a life-long passion for me. I see Khan Academy as a fantastic realm in which I can help to promote education and work to design better tools for teaching and getting people involved with Open Source. More than anything else I want to increase the size and activity of the community around Khan Academy. This includes everything from getting more casual contributors (such as those writing problems sets) to getting more code and debugging contributions.

When I start I’m going to be working on rewriting the framework for creating problem sets, constructing the initial version of the iPad application, and working to improve Khan Academy’s Open Source efforts.

It’s incredibly important to me that Khan Academy is a non-profit and is working to ensure that all generated material (videos, exercises, and even the application itself) will be released for free and in the open. I’m going to be working to ensure that this continues into the future with help from contributors in the community.

Khan Academy is very excited to have me continue working on jQuery during my day-to-day along with continuing to speak at conferences. Additionally I will be continuing to live in Boston for the foreseeable future.

I should note that I’ve made a personal decision to scale back some other aspects of my professional life. I’m no longer accepting any new speaking engagements. For the rest of this year I will only be speaking at Velocity in June, the jQuery Conference in October, and Fronteers in October.

Additionally a new co-author, Bear Bibeault, has been brought on to help with the completion of my book: Secrets of the JavaScript Ninja. With his help the book should be finalized this year.

I’m terribly excited about this new opportunity and can hardly wait to begin. Thank you to Mozilla for the opportunity these past few years and thank you to Khan Academy for accepting me aboard. Here’s to a wonderful 2011!

Posted: May 3rd, 2011

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