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Search - "but it could be ever so much better"
I'm drunk and I'll probably regret this, but here's a drunken rank of things I've learned as an engineer for the past 10 years.
The best way I've advanced my career is by changing companies.
Technology stacks don't really matter because there are like 15 basic patterns of software engineering in my field that apply. I work in data so it's not going to be the same as webdev or embedded. But all fields have about 10-20 core principles and the tech stack is just trying to make those things easier, so don't fret overit.
There's a reason why people recommend job hunting. If I'm unsatisfied at a job, it's probably time to move on.
I've made some good, lifelong friends at companies I've worked with. I don't need to make that a requirement of every place I work. I've been perfectly happy working at places where I didn't form friendships with my coworkers and I've been unhappy at places where I made some great friends.
I've learned to be honest with my manager. Not too honest, but honest enough where I can be authentic at work. What's the worse that can happen? He fire me? I'll just pick up a new job in 2 weeks.
If I'm awaken at 2am from being on-call for more than once per quarter, then something is seriously wrong and I will either fix it or quit.
pour another glass
Qualities of a good manager share a lot of qualities of a good engineer.
When I first started, I was enamored with technology and programming and computer science. I'm over it.
Good code is code that can be understood by a junior engineer. Great code can be understood by a first year CS freshman. The best code is no code at all.
The most underrated skill to learn as an engineer is how to document. Fuck, someone please teach me how to write good documentation. Seriously, if there's any recommendations, I'd seriously pay for a course (like probably a lot of money, maybe 1k for a course if it guaranteed that I could write good docs.)
Related to above, writing good proposals for changes is a great skill.
Almost every holy war out there (vim vs emacs, mac vs linux, whatever) doesn't matter... except one. See below.
The older I get, the more I appreciate dynamic languages. Fuck, I said it. Fight me.
If I ever find myself thinking I'm the smartest person in the room, it's time to leave.
I don't know why full stack webdevs are paid so poorly. No really, they should be paid like half a mil a year just base salary. Fuck they have to understand both front end AND back end AND how different browsers work AND networking AND databases AND caching AND differences between web and mobile AND omg what the fuck there's another framework out there that companies want to use? Seriously, why are webdevs paid so little.
We should hire more interns, they're awesome. Those energetic little fucks with their ideas. Even better when they can question or criticize something. I love interns.
Don't meet your heroes. I paid 5k to take a course by one of my heroes. He's a brilliant man, but at the end of it I realized that he's making it up as he goes along like the rest of us.
Tech stack matters. OK I just said tech stack doesn't matter, but hear me out. If you hear Python dev vs C++ dev, you think very different things, right? That's because certain tools are really good at certain jobs. If you're not sure what you want to do, just do Java. It's a shitty programming language that's good at almost everything.
The greatest programming language ever is lisp. I should learn lisp.
For beginners, the most lucrative programming language to learn is SQL. Fuck all other languages. If you know SQL and nothing else, you can make bank. Payroll specialtist? Maybe 50k. Payroll specialist who knows SQL? 90k. Average joe with organizational skills at big corp? $40k. Average joe with organization skills AND sql? Call yourself a PM and earn $150k.
Tests are important but TDD is a damn cult.
Cushy government jobs are not what they are cracked up to be, at least for early to mid-career engineers. Sure, $120k + bennies + pension sound great, but you'll be selling your soul to work on esoteric proprietary technology. Much respect to government workers but seriously there's a reason why the median age for engineers at those places is 50+. Advice does not apply to government contractors.
Third party recruiters are leeches. However, if you find a good one, seriously develop a good relationship with them. They can help bootstrap your career. How do you know if you have a good one? If they've been a third party recruiter for more than 3 years, they're probably bad. The good ones typically become recruiters are large companies.
Options are worthless or can make you a millionaire. They're probably worthless unless the headcount of engineering is more than 100. Then maybe they are worth something within this decade.
Work from home is the tits. But lack of whiteboarding sucks.39
My college organised some interview with a company, with the whole demn class. We went there, it was quite far away (50km) and the CEO invites us to a meeting room.
Where he bores me for 2 hours talking about their projects in argiculture and NSA like spying systems at tankstations.
They were caputuring license plates at gas stations and with that information gather data about the person, such as salary (by looking at their car), house adres ect. All without people knowing. And than targeting them with specific ads and offers.
The class of sheep were super excited but it pissed me off. Because he told it like it was some awesome advancement in technology that none of us could probably ever do.
He was demeaning us, saying we would do some simple wordpress sites there and other things. We are probably not good enough forc te big stuff.
Asking him some really hard questions about his projects made him so pissed he almost wanted to kick me out.
When it was finally over, there was some test that you have to do if you want to work there. If you were good enough at the test, you could!!!! (YEEY)
Uhm, I said; no thank you I dont want to work here.
Later I talked to my classmate and friend who always thinks he's better then everyone in class even tho he barely understands OOP programming. He was asking me if he should try to get the internship. I told him; dont. They have no value for us and they think they are the greatest company on the planet.
The fucking idiot go so pissed, he stopped talking to me alltogether and blocked me everywere. I AM NOT EVEN JOKING. Just because I gave my FUCKING opinon about a company he likes for no reason.
So this idiot does the test (which was fucking simple btw, I did it too and compared the results and I had 95%) He gets invited for another interview and gets told he will be paid 200 euro's per month 😂. and a free meal everyday!! 😪 hahaha . That doesnt even cover commuting costs!
My "friend" told him that the train costs more every day. You know what the CEO said? "Yeah but you can learn so much here the also brings value and you're just a last year student. But I think you are really brave for asking more"
So in the end, he couldnt take the internship and I was fucking right. Really I hate these kinds of companies thinking they are heaven on earth when they are clearly not.
I am happy I told them no before putting my dignity on thd line.14
Static HTML pages are better than "web apps".
Static HTML pages are more lightweight and destroy "web apps" in performance, and also have superior compatibility. I see pretty much no benefit in a "web app" over a static HTML page. "Web apps" appear like an overhyped trend that is empty inside.
For example, an average-sized Wikipedia article (30 KB wikitext) appears on screen in roughly two seconds, since MediaWiki uses static HTML. Everipedia, in comparison, is a ReactJS app. Guess how long that one needs. Upwards of three times as long!
The legacy (2014-2020) HTML-based Twitter.com loaded a user profile in under four seconds. The new react-based web app not only takes twice as long, but sometimes fails to load at all, showing the error "Oops something went wrong! But don't fret – it's not your fault." to be displayed. This could not happen on a static HTML page.
Arguably, another supposed benefit of "web apps" is that there is no blank page when navigating between pages, but in pretty much all major browsers of the last five years, the last page observably remains on screen until the next navigated page is rendered sufficiently for viewing. This is also known as "paint holding".
On any site, whenever I am greeted with content, I feel pleased. Whenever I am greeted with a loading animation, splash screen, or skeleton screen, be it ever so fancy (e.g. fading in an out, moving gradient waves), I think "do they really believe they make me like their site more due to their fancy loading screens?! I am not here for the loading screens!".
> "Yeah, but I'm building a webapp, not a website" - I hear this a lot and it isn't an excuse. I challenge you to define the difference between a webapp and a website that isn't just a vague list of best practices that "apps" are for some reason allowed to disregard. Jeremy Keith makes this point brilliantly.
> For example, is Wikipedia an app? What about when I edit an article? What about when I search for an article?
> Whether you label your web page as a "site", "app", "microsite", whatever, it doesn't make it exempt from accessibility, performance, browser support and so on.
> If you need to excuse yourself from progressive enhancement, you need a better excuse.
– Jake Archibald, 20138
When I was in college OOP was emerging. A lot of the professors were against teaching it as the core. Some younger professors were adamant about it, and also Java fanatics. So after the bell rang, they'd sometimes teach people that wanted to learn it. I stayed after and the professor said that object oriented programming treated things like reality.
My first thought to this was hold up, modeling reality is hard and complicated, why would you want to add that to your programming that's utter madness.
Then he started with a ball example and how some balls in reality are blue, and they can have a bounce action we can express with a method.
My first thought was that this seems a very niche example. It has very little to do with any problems I have yet solved and I felt thinking about it this way would complicate my programs rather than make them simpler.
I looked around the at remnants of my classmates and saw several sitting forward, their eyes lit up and I felt like I was in a cult meeting where the head is trying to make everyone enamored of their personality. Except he wasn't selling himself, he was selling an idea.
I patiently waited it out, wanting there to be something of value in the after the bell lesson. Something I could use to better my own programming ability. It never came.
This same professor would tell us all to read and buy gang of four it would change our lives. It was an expensive hard cover book with a ribbon attached for a bookmark. It was made to look important. I didn't have much money in college but I gave it a shot I bought the book. I remember wrinkling my nose often, reading at it. Feeling like I was still being sold something. But where was the proof. It was all an argument from authority and I didn't think the argument was very good.
I left college thinking the whole thing was silly and would surely go away with time. And then it grew, and grew. It started to be impossible to avoid it. So I'd just use it when I had to and that became more and more often.
I began to doubt myself. Perhaps I was wrong, surely all these people using and loving this paradigm could not be wrong. I took on a 3 year project to dive deep into OOP later in my career. I was already intimately aware of OOP having to have done so much of it. But I caught up on all the latest ideas and practiced them for a the first year. I thought if OOP is so good I should be able to be more productive in years 2 and 3.
It was the most miserable I had ever been as a programmer. Everything took forever to do. There was boilerplate code everywhere. You didn't so much solve problems as stuff abstract ideas that had nothing to do with the problem everywhere and THEN code the actual part of the code that does a task. Even though I was working with an interpreted language they had added a need to compile, for dependency injection. What's next taking the benefit of dynamic typing and forcing typing into it? Oh I see they managed to do that too. At this point why not just use C or C++. It's going to do everything you wanted if you add compiling and typing and do it way faster at run time.
I talked to the client extensively about everything. We both agreed the project was untenable. We moved everything over another 3 years. His business is doing better than ever before now by several metrics. And I can be productive again. My self doubt was over. OOP is a complicated mess that drags down the software industry, little better than snake oil and full of empty promises. Unfortunately it is all some people know.
Now there is a functional movement, a data oriented movement, and things are looking a little brighter. However, no one seems to care for procedural. Functional and procedural are not that different. Functional just tries to put more constraints on the developer. Data oriented is also a lot more sensible, and again pretty close to procedural a lot of the time. It's just odd to me this need to separate from procedural at all. Procedural was very honest. If you're a bad programmer you make bad code. If you're a good programmer you make good code. It seems a lot of this was meant to enforce bad programmers to make good code. I'll tell you what I think though. I think that has never worked. It's just hidden it away in some abstraction and made identifying it harder. Much like the code methodologies themselves do to the code.
Now I'm left with a choice, keep my own business going to work on what I love, shift gears and do what I hate for more money, or pivot careers entirely. I decided after all this to go into data science because what you all are doing to the software industry sickens me. And that's my story. It's one that makes a lot of people defensive or even passive aggressive, to those people I say, try more things. At least then you can be less defensive about your opinion.53
I have been working on this software for 3 years now. The code base was a working prototype made by my boss before I came, not more, not less. Php + Angular. Have been refactoring a lot, backend is backed with hundreds of tests now, frontend still lacks a lot. Still a lot of programm structures are still the same weird ones my boss once created in a rush between two meetings while learning Angular to get the prototype finished. Now it's used in production which makes hard to refactor, because we have to maintain backwards compatibility. Neither the parts I added or refactored completely are satisfying, because they are built on this structures, because i never got any feedback for anything I decided and because I changed my own paradigms over time.
So I am all alone on this project. All genuinly new projects are assigned to the new team members (i was the first one, no we are five plus my boss) because I wont have time, have to maintain the old one. So I never can do something new which is quite frustrating.
I did a little side tool, the only thing I invented and did completely by myself in our repertoire - and now some stakeholder shows big interest onto this. Instead of giving me the task to make a real project from this my boss wants to give it to them to develop it. Why? Because I need more time for the main application.
Also the more the software is used the more bug tickets and feature requests come. I was crying for help for months but the others had appareantly more important stuff to do.
This might be true to some extend. Yesterday we had some kind of crisis meeting and my boss wanted again to assing pur junior to help me, who has a shit load of other things to do and is a student. I insisted that this would not be enough, and one of the fulltime devs has to get involved because the thing is our core application and I am only part time btw. So my boss said we wont decide today but one of them should do it. They should have some time to figure out who which is understandable but it's not that I didn't keep saying this for months. Now they are all like whimp whimp when I have to do php i will quit. The new projects are all typescript, with node backend if any. But alas, one of them even said yesterday he doesn't want to do js anymore. Okay... but... this is our tech stack then get another job allready?
And I should do the same probably. But then again I feel very sorry for my boss who helped me in very dark times of corona and more. If both of us leave, the project he worked on for decade (including convincing poeole, collect money..) might be suddenly at it's end while he is so exited about it's access today...
I also get insecure if it's really that they hate php so much or that they don't want to work with me personally because maybe I am a bad team Player or what?
I experienced the same at my old workplace, got left alone with big parts of the project because they didn't want to do php and js in this case and it ended up five devs doing the python backend and me doing the frontend and the php cms part all alone. Then I quit and now everything seems to happen again.
And then again I think I am only fucked up so hard by this stuff because I do not really like being a developer at all. I only do it for the money and because I am good at it (at least i think so. Nobody ever bothers to ever to read my code and give me feedback, because you know, php and js). So I guess I would hate any other job in the field maybe likewise?
This job *is* convinient, salary, office
position, flexibility could not be better. At the end of the day it's not that stressfull. And i don't have any second of freetime (due to family) or energy i could offer a new and more demanding employer, can't work over time or even take a fulltime position, can't home office, can't earn less, can't travel very long to the office and especially can't go back to school to learn something completely new. Some of these constraints are softwe then other naturally but still my posibilities at the Moment are very limited. That might change in about five years if the family situation changed. So it would most likely be reasonable to stay until then at my current job? And bear being alone with this app, don't getting involved on any new project, don't learn anything new, don't invent anything.
There was one potential way out, they considered offering me PHD position to the upcoming ml part of the project... But I learned that I would attend to a bunch of classes at university first, which i would like to, but I don't think i have the time.
I feel trapped somehow. I also feel very lonely in the Office because those fucktards keep saying in home office.
Man, I don't want to go to work today.6
So at work, there is this class/model thing that's for storing translated strings. It also supports n-level nested macros, cascading lookup (e->d->c->b->a->blank), and I've added transforms too. The code is a bloody mess and very inefficient (legendary dev's code), but it's useful.
You call methods with a symbol representing one of the strings, and it does... whatever you ask, like return text, booleans, expand macros and submacros, pass in data to interpolate, etc.
But I just learned something today.
Its `.html` method... doesn't support html. In fact, calling it strips out all html, takes whatever is left, and attempts to convert that back into html. Because that makes so much sense. So, if you have an html string? Don't call html on it.
Also, macros use the same <angle brackets> as html tags, and macro expansion eats unknown macros, so... you can't mix html and macros, meaning you cannot inject values into your markup. That's a freaking joy to work around. (You end up writing a parser every time.)
So no, if you have an html string, you need to get the raw data out and handle it yourself. Don't reach for that shiny .html method; it'll just ruin your day.
It's the little things that make my day so terribly long.8