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Did I ever tell you kids about the time I worked for a company that got a contract to develop an iOS application around some object detection software that had been developed by another team?

Company I was working for was a tiny software consultancy, and this was my first ever dev job (I’m at my second now 😅). Nobody at the company has experience building mobile applications but CEO decides that the app should be written in React Native because _he_ knows React Native.

During a meeting with the client, CEO jokes about how easy the ask is and says he could finish it in a weekend. Please note that Head of Engineering had already budgeted a quarter for the work. CEO says we can do it in a week! And moves up the deadline. And only assigns two engineers to project. I am not one of those engineers.

The two engineers that are put on it struggle. A lot. They can’t seem to get the object detection to work at all, and the code that’s already written is in Objective-C. I realize one of the issues is that the engineers on the project can’t read Objective-C because they have no experience with Objective-C or even C. I have experience with C, so I volunteer to take a look at it to try to see what’s going on.

Turns out the problem is that the models are trained on one type of image format and the iPhone camera takes images in a different format.

The end of the week comes, they do not succeed in figuring out the image conversion in React Native. There’s an in-person demo with the customers scheduled for the next Monday. CEO spends the weekend trying to build the app. Only succeeds in locking literally every other engineer out of the project.

They manage to negotiate a second chance where we deliver what we were supposed to deliver at the original schedule.

I spent the weekend looking up how to convert images and figure it would be a lot easier to interface with the Objective-C if we used Swift. Taught myself enough Swift over the weekend to feel dangerous. Spoke to Head of Engineering on Monday and proposed solution — start over in Swift. Volunteer to lead effort. Eventually convince them it’s a good idea (and really, what’s the worst that can happen? If this solves our main problem at the moment, that’s still more progress than the original team made)

Spend the next week working 16 hour days building out application. Meet requirements for next deadline. Save contract.

And that’s ONE of the stories of my first dev job that got me hired as a senior engineer despite only having 10 months of work experience in the industry.

Comments
  • 2
    Great story! Keep them coming!
    I began iOS development when there was no Swift to fall back to 😆.
    I don’t miss that Objective-C crap at all!
  • 0
    Nice story
  • 0
    he called us kids...were you referring to @kiki ..?
  • 0
    nice story
  • 5
    I g’et passion & ownership of a project, but spending 16 hrs a day is brutal. Did you count transport etc in those hours and did you get compensated?

    I used to pull off stuff like that too. When I was single.
    Learned the hard way, that you’re effectively giving away your time for free and will be replaced when you start underperforming.
  • 0
    The old fart is telling her ancient ios stories again 🙄
  • 1
    @electrineer ancient? lol! I was using Objective-C before it had ARC! That’s ancient!
  • 0
    did you join that company as an intern ? did you know only "c" that time before learning swift ?
  • 3
    @lotd Ah, the experiences of youth. Thankfully it was an entirely remote gig, so no commute time to factor in.
  • 3
    @nebagec718 I joined as a regular software engineer. I knew JavaScript, Python, and C before I joined and had written a number of React and Redux applications while in bootcamp.
  • 2
    What happened next momma shackles??
  • 1
    @AleCx04 Jajaja they eventually hired an actual iOS dev to build out the rest of the application and I returned to my main contract 😂
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