API Documentation: A True Story
When I’m in conversation with recruiters or hiring managers about my experience, it can be difficult to articulate my technical skills. This is a true story about how I advocated for application programming interface (API) documentation for a product I was selling at the time. The documentation didn’t exist in an easy to access manner for potential customers to test with their proof of concept (POCs) environments.
While working at this high growth startup from 2015–2018, there were many struggles, both technical and in the business. There were issues with KPIs, product performance, and how to maximize sales revenue. Senior leadership was (and still is) focused on growth and the company eventually filed for IPO in June 2020.
During this time, I was an engineer working with customers. The customers were obviously trying out the product and during this high growth phase, it was quite challenging as an individual contributor to not only deal with the internal changes, but with the needs of the customer. As any IT administrator or developer will tell you, it’s critical that a product works accurately and tailored to the individual users’ needs. This is where an API comes in.
While the same information contained in the documentation was previously (and still is) available within a product version, it was unnecessary and also not secure to spin up a (cloud/SaaS) instance of the product every time a customer needed to test integration into their test and/or production environment. As a result, I advocated for API documentation using their software development and collaboration tools at the time, as a remote field engineer. This platform is called Atlassian Suite.
I often get asked by recruiters if I know open source CI/CD (Continuous Integration / Continuous Delivery) tools such as Jenkins and Terraform. Atlassian Suite is a proprietary, more secure version of these open source tools.
The end result is the API documentation was published after a series of internal collaboration, which can be found here.