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Most successful? Well, this one kinda is...
So I just started working at the company and my manager has a project for me. There are almost no requirements except:
- I want a wireless device that I can put in a box
- I want to be able to know where that device is with enough accuracy to be able to determine in which box the device was put in if multiple boxes were standing together
So, I had to make a real time localization system. RTLS.
A solo project.
Ok, first a lot of experiments. What will the localization technique be? Which radio are we going to use?
How will the communication be structured?
After about two months I had tested a lot, but hadn't found THE solution. So I convinced my manager to try out UWB radio with Time Difference Of Arrival as localization technique. This couldn't be thrown together quickly because it needed more setup.
Two months later I had a working proof of concept. It had a lot of problems because we needed to distribute a clock signal because the radio listeners needed to be sub-nanosecond synchronous to achieve the accuracy my manager wanted. That clock signal wasn't great we later found out.
The results were good enough to continue to work on a prototype.
This time all wired communication would be over ethernet and we'd use PTP to synchronize the time.
There was a lot of trouble with getting the radio chip to work on the prototype, ethernet was tricky and the PTP turned out to be not accurate enough. A lot of dev work went into getting everything right.
A year and 5 hardware revisions later I had something that worked pretty well!
All time synchronization was done hybridly on the anchors and server where the best path to the time master was dynamically found.
Everything was synchronized to the subnanosecond. In my bedroom where I had my test setup I achieved an accuracy of about 30cm in 3d. This was awesome!
It was time to order the actual prototype and start testing it for real in one of the factory halls.
The order was made for 40 anchors and an appointment was made for the installation in the hall.
Suddenly my manager is fired.
Ehh... That sucks. Well, let's just continue.
The hardware arrives and I prepare everything. Everything is ready and I'm pretty nervous. I've put all my expertise in this project. This is gonna make my career at this company.
Two weeks before the installation was to take place, not even a month after my manager was fired, I hear that my project was shelved.
"We're not prioritizing this project right now" they said.
It would've been so great! And they took it away.
Including my salary and hardware dev cost, this project so far has cost them over €120k and they just shelved it.
I was put on other projects and they did try to find me something that suited me.
But I felt so betrayed and the projects we're not to my liking, so after another 2-3 months I quit and went to my current job.
It would've so nice and they ruined it.
Everything was made with Rust. Tags, anchors, RTLS server, web server & web frontend.
So yeah, sorry for the rambling.5
I was working as a software dev contractor at this company providing specific e-learning services for a specific industry X.
One day the CEO posts on Linkedin about an interview discussing the potential of gaining $100k per year working in industry X after getting specialized training for 6 months (using our e-learning platform of course) .
My gross income at the time was $65k. My experience was about 7-8 years. Now the thing is you might say "gee that's pretty low for a dev, especially a contractor", and yes I agree, but you have to understand a few facts:
1. I am from eastern Europe (cheapish labor - which btw for all of you out there from the West, including Germany and whatnot, it is xenophobic to consider easterners cheap and it personally insults me and my ability - but that's another story)
2. I was happy to accept the offer since it was the best I had up to that point :))
Now, by the time the LinkedIn post I was heavily invested in the product development. I personally had written 30% of the code (frontend and backend) compared to the whole development team (about 15 devs)... and yes you might argue that performance is not measured by number of lines of code... but trust me when I am saying I did the most on that product, and I am not saying this to brag, I actually care about the stuff that I work on.
When I saw that post on Linkedin I thought to myself "what kind of BS is this? I am a dev and devs are supposedly the best paid workers out there, and a guy from industry X that just got trained for 6 months would get more than me?! WTF?!"
So I messaged the CEO ...
Me: I noticed the post from linkedin about $100k by working in industry X, I am curious how does one get to that revenue per year? What is your advice?
CEO: The best way to obtain value is by creating value which you maximize continuously.
Me: and how does one maximize value?
CEO: it does not matter how hard your work but how large of an impact you make!
Me: ... and how do you measure impact? (me thinking about performance reviews for contract negotiations - and because performance reviews should be SMART -> meaning it should be measurable somehow)
CEO: Simon Sinek says ... << insert motivational quote here because I don't remember and don't care >>
I just lost if after reading the name "Simon Sinek" ...
So you see my dear friends ? It is all fairy dust, smoke and mirrors, in the end it is about maximizing profits, lowering costs and maintaining the illusion of opportunity... when there is none.
Lord is my witness... I hate hypocrisy and quackery ...
You can imagine that my contribution on that product immediately lowered, doing the bare minimum to meet the contract demands AND I FEEL NO REGRET.
%&#$ YOU SIMON SINEK.4
The universe has taken a cactus.
It proceeded to gift the cactus with a toxin that greatly enhances the stimulus of pain.
After the universe watched it's miraculous creation it decided to shove it up so far my arse that my gag reflex turned on and I puked a lot of cactus.
Didn't sleep well, weekend hardware migration finish, today an old server got moved.
Some part, most likely the redundant PSU, had a short circuit - decided to take the switches out... Which are the only non redundant hardware...
There was only one critical system in the whole rack, that was one redundant firewall.
Guess what happened..... Naaaa?
For whatever reason, the second firewall didn't kick in, so large part of internal network unreachable as VPN was on the firewall.
That's not cactus level yet.
Spontaneously a large part of the work at home crew decided to call, cause getting an email wasn't enough.
So while all the phones were ringing and we had the joyful fun to carefully take apart a whole rack to check for possible faulty wiring / electric burns / hardware damage and getting firewall up and running again...
Some dev decided to run a deployment (doable as one of the few working at the company at the moment -.-).
I work from home, but we had a conference phone call running the whole time so I could "deescalate" and keep others up-to-date. So me on headphone with conference call, regular phone for calls, while typing mails / sms for de-escalation.
Now we're reaching cactus level, cause being tortured by being annoyed out of hell by all telephone ringing, the beeping of UPS (uninterruptible power supplies), the screaming of admins from the server room and the roaring of air coolers…
Suddenly said dev must have stood in the midst of the chaos… and asked for help cause "the deployment broke, project XY is offline"...
I think it was the first time since years that I screamed at the top of my lungs.
Bad idea (health issues)… but oh boy was it a pleasure to hear my own voice echo through the conference speaker and creating an echoic sound effect.
It was definitely worth coughing out my loungs for the next hour and I think it was the best emotional outburst ever.
I feel a bit sorry for the dev, but only a tiny bit.
After the whole rack thing, the broken deployment fixing and the "my ears are bleeding and I think I will never be able to talk again" action...
We had to roll out several emergency deployments to fix CVEs (eg libexpat).
This day was a marvelous shit show.
I will now cry myself to sleep with some codein.1
unrealistic dream :
in my 40s, being cto of a market leading product in its v10 stage, whose v1 i created from scratch. me doing nothing except creating the best remote work hustler culture for the company .
i will be making both : the topmost and bottomost engineers/managers give ppts and talks of product that they created, ll system and hl system designs and the decisions that went into it
i also want some powerful management/ ceos as friends, that drive our boat to greater heights and generate tremendous revenue+ fundings + profits
realistic dream :
to keep being SE1 (or at worst SE2/tech lead) in a company, do 4-5 hr non impactful work per day and earn 3x the inflation as am doing now. plus somehow get a lottery or something once in a lifetime , that is worth 100x my current income so that i could build a home and 2 cars and a children fund
dev is not a great thing to be dreamt about, but it certainly paves way for a happier and healthier lifestyle if done right
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?