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A long long time ago ( 2007 I think ) I worked for a company that made landing sites, so basically an email campaign would go out, users would be sent to a 1 page website with a form to capture their data, ready to be spammed even more. You know how it was back then.
So I worked with a guy who we had just hired, I didn't do the hiring but his CV checked out, so I gave him one of my tasks. Now most pages were made with js and html, with a PHP backend ( called with Ajax). Now this guy didn't know PHP so I was like all good, ASP works too at the end of the day we don't judge, we do like 2 or 3 of these a day and never look at them again. So he goes of and does is thing.
3 weeks later, the customer calls up to me they still haven't received their landing page. Ok so he probably forgot to email the customer np, I tell him to double check he has emailed the customer. Another week goes by end the customer calls back, same problem. At this point I'm getting worried, because we're days away from the deadline and it was originally my task.
So I go back to the guy and I tell him I want that landing page so I can send it myself, half thinking to myself that we had a freeloader, that guy that comes in to companies for 3 weeks, doesn't work, but still cashes his pay. But no, this was much worse.
So he tells me he has finished yet. I ask him why, what's the blocker ? You had 4 weeks to tell me you were blocked and couldn't progress. And his answer was simply, because I wasn't blocked I have been working on it this whole time. So I tell him to zip his project up and email it to me. We didn't do SVN or git back then, simply wasn't worth it. So he comes back to me and says the email server is telling him attachments can't be bigger then 50mb. At this point I'm thinking he didn't properly sized the art or something, so I give him a flash drive to put it on.
When I then open the flash drive, the archive is 300mb, thinking to myself, the images weren't even that big to begin with.
So I open it up, and I don't even find any images, just a single asp page. About 500mb. When I opened that up and it finally loaded, I saw the most horrendous things ever.
The first 500 lines was just initializing empty vars. Then there was some code that created an empty form with an onChange event that submits the form. After that.. it was just non stop nested if's. No loops, no while, for, foreach, NO elseif's, just nested if's, for every possible combination of the state the form could be in. Abou 5000 of them, in a single file. To make matters worse, all the form ( and page ) layout was hardcoded in the if's. Includes inline css, base64 encoded images, nothing but as dynamic, based on the length of the form he changes the layout, added more background etc. He cut the images up for every possible size of the page and included them in the code.
I showed it to my boss, he fired the guy on the spot. I redid the work from scratch, in under 4 hours. Send it to the client. they had no ammends to make, happy as Larry. Whish I kept the code somewhere.
Morale of the story, allways do a coding test on interviews, even if small things just to sanity check.4
I had a pretty good year! I've gone from being a totally unknown passionate web dev to a respected full stack dev. This will be a bit lengthy rant...
- Got my first full time employment dev role at a company after being self-taught for 8+ years at the start of the year. Finally got someone to take the risk of hiring someone who's "untested" and only done small and odd jobs professionally. This kickstarted my career, super grateful for that!
- Started my own programming consulting company.
- Gained enough confidence to apply to other jobs, snatched a few consulting jobs, nailed the interviews even though I never practiced any leet code.
- Currently work as a 99% remote dev (only meet up in person during the initialization of some projects.) I never thought working remotely could actually work this well. I am able to stay productive and actually focus on the work instead of living up to the 9-5 standard. If I want to go for a walk to think I can do that, I can be as social and asocial as I want. I like to sleep in and work during the night with a cup of tea in the dark and it's not an issue! I really like the freedom and I feel like I've never been more productive.
- Ended up with very happy customers and now got a steady amount of jobs rolling in and contracts are being extended.
- I learned a lot, specialized in graph databases, no more db modelling hell. Loving it!
- Got a job where I can use my favorite tools and actually create something from scratch which includes a lot of different fields. I am really happy I can use all my skills and learn new things along the way, like data analysis, databricks, hadoop, data ingesting, centralised auth like promerium and centralised logging.
- I also learned how important softskills are, I've learned to understand my clients needs and how to both communicate both as a developer and an entrepeneur.
- First job had a manager which just gave me the specifications solo project and didn't check in or meet me for 8 weeks with vague specifications. Turns out the manager was super biased on how to write code and wanted to micromanage every aspect while still being totally absent. They got mad that I had used AJAX for requests as that was a "waste of time".
- I learned the harsh reality of working as a contractor in the US from a foreign country. Worked on an "indefinite" contract, suddenly got a 2 day notification to sum up my work (not related to my performance) after being there for 7+ months.
- I really don't like the current industry standard when it comes to developing websites (I mostly work in node.js), I like working with static websites (with static website generators like what the Svelte.js driver) and use a REST API for dynamic content. When working on the backend there's a library for everything and I've wasted so many hours this year to fix bugs and create workarounds related to dependencies. You need to dive into a rabbit hole for every tool and do something which may work or break something later. I've had so many issues with CICD and deployment to the cloud. There's a library for everything but there's so many that it's impossible to learn about the edge cases of everything. Doesn't help that everything is abstracted away, which works 90% of the time but I use 15 times the time to debug things when a bug appears. I work against a black box which may or may not have an up to date documentation and it's so complex that it will require you to yell incantations from the F#$K
era and sacrifice a goat for it to work properly.
- Learned that a lot of companies call their complex services "microservices". Ah yes, the microservice with 20 endpoints which all do completely unrelated tasks?