Automattic WordPress

So You Want to Engineer Happiness

One of the best things about being a Happiness Engineer is telling people I’m a Happiness Engineer. Inevitably, their eyes light up and a smile inches across their face. Sometimes they let out a “For real?”

At a company where we’re allowed to make up our own job titles I’d have a pretty hard time giving up mine.

People often ask what it takes to engineer happiness all day, so I’ve compiled some thoughts on being a Happiness Engineer – or HE, as we affectionately call it. (Nearly everything at Automattic has either an acronym or a numeronym.)

What does a Happiness Engineer do?

Happiness Engineers at Automattic help users understand and enjoy the software we provide, from itself, to themes, to plugins like Jetpack, Akismet, and VaultPress.

What qualities make a good Happiness Engineer?

Happiness Engineers innately love to help folks solve problems and thrive on troubleshooting issues large and small. HEs think of clear and helpful communication as an art form and we are always working on perfecting it.

Here are some other qualities I think make a great HE:

word cloud

If you get impatient quickly when teaching your in-laws how to use email or have trouble explaining technical things without using jargon, this job is probably not for you.

Working remotely

Automattic is a distributed company, and nearly everyone works remotely – in 27 countries at last count. Most of us work from home, while cafés and libraries also witness their fair share of Automatticians pounding away at keyboards. Some folks craving a more office-like environment co-work from shared spaces – sometimes with their colleagues, like a group of Automatticians who co-work together in Boston.

Forums are fun

If you think you might make a good Happiness Engineer but have never helped people with WordPress-specific things before, a great place to test the waters before applying is in the support forums, whether for or If you get sucked in quickly and find yourself spending hours answering questions just because you enjoy it, that’s probably a good sign.

Extended happiness

A few of my colleagues have written insightful posts that really encapsulate the experience of being a Happiness Engineer or working at Automattic. Check out the words and experiences of Andrew (who leads the Core Happiness team), Zandy, Steve, and Aaron.


The Happiness Engineer job page puts it well:

As a Happiness Engineer, helping people is your passion. Our goal is to build relationships based on trust which result in happy, passionate, loyal customers and colleagues through listening to their needs and guiding them to the fullest use of the products we offer.

If that description calls out to you, why not do something about it? 🙂

14 replies on “So You Want to Engineer Happiness”

Hi Kathryn – nice article and THANKS for linking your statement, “We’re allowed to make up our own titles” to my article on the fantastic names you Automatticians have —

Gee – I recently started my own B2B writing business and never even considered what title I should give myself. Maybe I should follow your lead and be a Marketing Happiness Engineer or Successful Marketing Engineer … what do you think? suzyk

My pleasure – I was delighted to find your post!

I recently started my own B2B writing business and never even considered what title I should give myself.

Ooh – yes, why not go for something creative that’ll make you stand out. Good luck narrowing it down. 🙂

Excellent article.

I am 44 years old and I have been considering applying for a position as a Happiness Engineer for some time now. Is age a barrier?

While I am not a coding ‘expert’, I do have a working knowledge of the WordPress platform. As a hair designer for the past 22 yrs. I have a very intimate understanding of customer service and the often-understated importance of effective communication.

I just found out about and all I can say is I’m impressed and want in! lol Thank you for sharing your experience, and insight. I’m curious, what was your job title before working as a happiness engineer?

Wow what a challenging job.
I don’t really know how can I join your team. But I am almost sure that I will get an answer and a wonderful Automatician to talk to.
regards to all.
Hassan B.O.from Morocco.

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