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Wow this one deserves a rant. Where should I even begin? I got a new job for over half a year now doing work in an agency. We're building websites and online shops with Typo3 and Shopware (not my dream, but hey). All fine you might think BUT...
1) I have been working on the BIGGEST project we have all by myself since I started working at this company. No help, nobody cares.
2) If something goes wrong all the shit falls back to me like "wHy DiDnT yoU WoRk MoRE?". Seriously? How should one dev cover a project that's meant for at least two or three.
3) The project was planned four years ago (YES that's a big fat FOUR) and sat there for 3,5 years - nobody gave a fuck. I got into the company and immediately got the sucky shit project to work on.
4) I was promised some time to get familiar with the projects and tech we use and "pick something I like most to get started". Well that never happened.
5) I was also promised not to talk directly to our customers. Well, each week I was bombarded with insults, a shitload of work and nonsense by our customers because (you guessed it) I was obligated to attend meetings.
6) The scheduled time for a meeting was 30 minutes, sometimes they just went on for over two hours. Fml.
7) Project management. It does not exist. The company is just out to get more and more clients, hires more god damn managers and shit and completely neglects that we might need more devs to get all this crap finished. Nope, they don't care. By the way: this is not like a 200 employee company, it's more like 15 which makes it even sadder to have 4 managers and 3 devs.
8) We don't use trello (or anything to keep track of our "progress"), nobody knows the exact scope of the project, because it was planned FOUR FUCKING YEARS AGO.
9) They planned to use 3 months on this project to get it finished (by the way it's not just an online shop, it has a really sophisticated product configurator with like 20 dependencies). Well, we're double over that time period and it is still not finished.
10) FUCK YOU SHOPWARE
11) The clients are super unsatisfied with our service (who would have guessed). They never received official documents from us (that's why nobody knows the scope), nor did they receive the actual screen design of the shop so we just have to make it up on the go. Of course I mean "I" by "we", because appearently it is my job to develop, design and manage this shit show.
12) My boss regularly throws me in front of the bus by randomly joining meetings with my client telling them the complete opposite of things that we discussed internally (he doesn't know anything about this stupid project)
13) FUCK YOU COLLEAGUES, FUCK YOU COMPANY, FUCK YOU SHOPWARE AND FUCK YOU STUPID CUSTOMERS.
14) Oh btw. the salary sucks ass, it's barely a couple of bucks above minimum wage. Don't ask me why I accepted the offer. I guess it was better than nothing in the meantime.
Boy that feels good. I needed that rant. But hey don't get me wrong. I get that dev jobs can be hard and sucky, but this is beyond stupidity that I can bear. I therefore applied for a dev job in research at a university in my dream country. Nice colleagues, interesting projects, good project management. They accepted me, gave me a good offer and I can happily say that in 6-7 weeks my current company can go fuck themselves (nobody knows the 10.000+ lines of code but me). Just light it up and watch it burn!19
My advisor thought that my MCL algorithm behaves a bit strange, so he wanted me to investigate it. I said I'd be happy to review the code because I anyway considered refactoring, and asked if I can have another pair of eyes to help me.
A more senior PhD student was assigned to help me, and by the suggestion of my advisor we tested my code against a very well-written and well-performing implementation of MCL. This implementation was written by another professor, who is a close friend of my advisor and the actual supervisor of the student assigned to help.
But this implementation was optimized for a very specific type of maps, and on the maps I worked on it just failed consistently. The student, in a misguided attempt to protect the pride of his advisor and subsequently his, wasted days adding code and fine-tuning the implementation.
In the meantime, my MCL has a stable configuration that converges on both types of maps. It behaves differently, but the outcome is about the same as the other implementation.
I am a little sick of wasting my time (week+) on someone else's attempt to reassure their ego, so I'm doing my planned research work on the weekend...1
Biggest challenge I overcame as dev? One of many.
Avoiding a life sentence when the 'powers that be' targeted one of my libraries for the root cause of system performance issues and I didn't correct that accusation with a flame thrower.
What the accusation? What I named the library. Yep. The *name* was causing every single problem in the system.
Panorama (very, very expensive APM system at the time) identified my library in it's analysis, the calls to/from SQLServer was the bottleneck
We had one of Panorama's engineers on-site and he asked what (not the actual name) MyLibrary was and (I'll preface I did not know or involved in any of the so-called 'research') a crack team of developers+managers researched the system thoroughly and found MyLibrary was used in just about every project. I wrote the .Net 1.1 MyLibrary as a mini-ORM to simplify the execution of database code (stored procs, etc) and gracefully handle+log database exceptions (auto-logged details such as the target db, stored procedure name, parameter values, etc, everything you'd need to troubleshoot database errors). This was before Dapper and the other fancy tools used by kids these days.
By the time the news got to me, there was a team cobbled together who's only focus was to remove any/every trace of MyLibrary from the code base. Using Waterfall, they calculated it would take at least a year to remove+replace MyLibrary with the equivalent ADO.Net plumbing.
In a department wide meeting:
DeptMgr: "This day forward, no one is to use MyLibrary to access the database! It's slow, unprofessionally named, and the root cause of all the database issues."
Me: "What about MyLibrary is slow? It's excecuting standard the ADO.Net code. Only extra bit of code is the exception handling to capture the details when the exception is logged."
DeptMgr: "We've spent the last 6 weeks with the Panorama engineer and he's identified MyLibrary as the cause. Company has spent over $100,000 on this software and we have to make fact based decisions. Look at this slide ... "
<DeptMgr shows a histogram of the stacktrace, showing MyLibrary as the slowest>
Me: "You do realize that the execution time is the database call itself, not the code. In that example, the invoice call, it's the stored procedure that taking 5 seconds, not MyLibrary."
<at this point, DeptMgr is getting red-face mad>
AreaMgr: "Yes...yes...but if we stopped using MyLibrary, removing the unnecessary layers, will make the code run faster."
<typical headknodd-ers knod their heads in agreement>
Dev01: "The loading of MyLibrary takes CPU cycles away from code that supports our customers. Every CPU cycle counts."
Me: "I'm really confused. Maybe I'm looking at the data wrong. On the slide where you highlighted all the bottlenecks, the histogram shows the latency is the database, I mean...it's right there, in red. Am I looking at it wrong?"
<this was meeting with 20+ other devs, mgrs, a VP, the Panorama engineer>
DeptMgr: "Yes you are! I know MyLibrary is your baby. You need to check your ego at the door and face the facts. Your MyLibrary is a failed experiment and needs to be exterminated from this system!"
Fast forward 9 months, maybe 50% of the projects updated, come across the documentation left from the Panorama. Even after the removal of MyLibrary, there was zero increases in performance. The engineer recommended DBAs start optimizing their indexes and other N+1 problems discovered. I decide to ask the developer who lead the re-write.
Me: "I see that removing MyLibrary did nothing to improve performance."
Dev: "Yes, DeptMgr was pissed. He was ready to throw the Panorama engineer out a window when he said the problems were in the database all along. Didn't you say that?"
Me: "Um, so is this re-write project dead?"
Dev: "No. Removing MyLibrary introduced all kinds of bugs. All the boilerplate ADO.Net code caused a lot of unhandled exceptions, then we had to go back and write exception handling code."
Me: "What a failure. What dipshit would think writing more code leads to less bugs?"
Dev: "I know, I know. We're so far behind schedule. We had to come up with something. I ended up writing a library to make replacing MyLibrary easier. I called it KnightRider. Like the TV show. Everyone is excited to speed up their code with KnightRider. Same method names, same exception handling. All we have to do is replace MyLibrary with KnightRider and we're done."
Me: "Won't the bottlenecks then point to KnightRider?"
Dev: "Meh, not my problem. Panorama meets primarily with the DBAs and the networking team now. I doubt we ever use Panorama to look at our C# code."
Needless to say, I was (still) pissed that they had used MyLibrary as dirty word and a scapegoat for months when they *knew* where the problems were. Pissed enough for a flamethrower? Maybe.10
Got this rude ass email from an idiot client who thinks I'm solely responsible for figuring out how to link his 3rd party email/newsletter sign up form to his new website without any access to the account. He "doesn't have the time to research". Newsflash asshat, I'm not responsible for your 3rd party shit. Go contact their support. 🙄😑14
CTO: Research, problem analysis, customer need validations, and data based prioritisation is stupid.
Me: So, then why should we solve this problem?
CTO: Because my team invests a lot of time in here (read "because we build a shitty system in past without thinking and we are doing it again").
Me: I don't see this as a good idea.
CTO: I become emotional when I request product to align and they don't. We must solve this problem and not what customers want.
Me: I am not participating here.
CTO: And I want you to work on weekends to support my team.
To anyone asking for tips and tricks to start programming or become good at it, here is your ultimate golden advice: learn how to google and stop asking stupid questions like this before doing a quick research.
1. You will most likely to learn better if you do your own research before asking for help. Even if you can't solve problem, you will be better and better at googling over time.
2. It is instant source of information. No need to wait for response (except response from server of course).
3. It takes only YOUR time.
4. Much more possible solutions/answers to your problems/questions.
5. Your quality of life will be improved over time. Not only your dev life but your daily life too.11
*me and my manager, during my appraisal meeting
me: *talks about work done in previous project, and the current one under him
manager: but your JIRA throughput is very less.
me: the tickets which I pick are more research oriented and almost always take more time than the other config- fix type ones, and due to me being shifted from another team, there has been an increasing learning curve, I realize that, but...
manager: look at Jack, his throughput has been consistently high.
*me, after realizing my appraisal has obviously gotten affected and this discussion will lead nowhere
me: I would like to have a chat with HR before I sign the form with the percentage increment you are offering.
*me, with hr the next day
hr: your manager tells me that your throughput has been less than satisfactory.
me: *goes on to explain about the type of tickets I have been working on, along with other enhancements done to make people's lives easier
hr: but the throughput...
me: where the f**k do I sign?2
It's rant time again. I was working on a project which exports data to a zipped csv and uploads it to s3. I asked colleagues to review it, I guess that was a mistake.
Well, two of my lesser known colleague reviewed it and one of the complaints they had is that it wasn't typescript. Well yes good thing you have EYES, i'm not comfortable with typescript yet so I made it in nodejs (which is absolutely fine)
The other guy said that I could stream to the zip file and which I didn't know was possible so I said that's impossible right? (I didn't know some zip algorithms work on streams). And he kept brushing over it and taking about why I should use streams and why. I obviously have used streams before and if had read my code he could see that my code streamed everything to the filesystem and afterwards to s3. He continued to behave like I was a literall child who just used nodejs for 2 seconds. (I'm probably half his age so fair enough). He also assumed that my code would store everything in memory which also isn't true if he had read my code...
Never got an answer out of him and had to google myself and research how zlib works while he was sending me obvious examples how streams work. Which annoyed me because I asked him a very simple question.
Now the worst part, we had a dev meeting and both colleagues started talking about how they want that solutions are checked and talked about beforehand while talking about my project as if it was a failure. But it literally wasn't lol, i use streams for everything except the zipping part myself because I didn't know that was possible.
I was super motivated for this project but fuck this shit, I'm not sure why it annoys me so much. I wanted good feedback not people assuming because I'm young I can't fucking read documentation and also hate that they brought it up specifically pointing to my project, could be a general thing. Fuck me.3
So, as I'm currently cut off from the world of tech, my anxiety in regards to research has settled and I actually enjoy doing it again on my terms. It just makes me jealous to look at all these people developing cool stuff and wanting to get in on the project and maybe improve a part or two, particularly the robot kind. I want to slap some neural nets on majority of the robotic shit I see, or optimize them, or do something to make them more robust... But I don't have a research position right now where I can spend time and money doing that. So I just sit in front of my laptop and sulk.
... And literally this is why we can't have nice things. Cuz I'm not hired to make nice things. Literally.2
At the institute I did my PhD everyone had to take some role apart from research to keep the infrastructure running. My part was admin for the Linux workstations and supporting the admin of the calculation cluster we had (about 11 machines with 8 cores each... hot shit at the time).
At some point the university had some euros of budget left that had to be spent so the institute decided to buy a shiny new NAS system for the cluster.
I wasn't really involved with the stuff, I was just the replacement admin so everything was handled by the main admin.
A few months on and the cluster starts behaving ... weird. Huge CPU loads, lots of network traffic. No one really knows what's going on. At some point I discover a process on one of the compute nodes that apparently receives commands from an IRC server in the UK... OK code red, we've been hacked.
First thing we needed to find out was how they had broken in, so we looked at the logs of the compute nodes. There was nothing obvious, but the fact that each compute node had its own public IP address and was reachable from all over the world certainly didn't help.
A few hours of poking around not really knowing what I'm looking for, I resort to a TCPDUMP to find whether there is any actor on the network that I might have overlooked. And indeed I found an IP adress that I couldn't match with any of the machines.
Long story short: It was the new NAS box. Our main admin didn't care about the new box, because it was set up by an external company. The guy from the external company didn't care, because he thought he was working on a compute cluster that is sealed off behind some uber-restrictive firewall.
So our shiny new NAS system, filled to the brink with confidential research data, (and also as it turns out a lot of login credentials) was sitting there with its quaint little default config and a DHCP-assigned public IP adress, waiting for the next best rookie hacker to try U:admin/P:admin to take it over.
Looking back this could have gotten a lot worse and we were extremely lucky that these guys either didn't know what they had there or didn't care.
I got a little jaded at work (the normal officer politics stuff), so I started doing less work, and reaching out to recruiters.
My boss noticed I was having a go, reached out and offered a raise and a new computer. I told him I'd have to research market value for the raise.
In the mean time I got an offer for 50% more than what I'm making now. I'm heading to him today with my research in writing. Either way I'm getting that raise!3
remote team bonding/social activities like playing pictionary or whatever
can we not? maybe its cute the first time, but we're all awkward and i just wanna go home
i dont even understand where this is coming from, if u actually want to make people happy u could just send them home earlier
otherwise why have this stuff instead of just making us wageslaves work like normal anyway
is this another thing like how the hiring budget is bigger than the retention budget or is there different MBA research for why the fuck this is a thing to begin with2
The following paper combines recurrent neural nets for vision with methods from reinforcement learning research:
Apparently an agent learned to catch a ball 85% of the time, without being explicitly told to track the ball. The RL algorithm rewarded the agent *only* for successfully catching the ball. The system itself used this reward signal to set its *own* policy/goal, which was used to guide it toward the goal of tracking the ball itself--all on its own.
Behold, the very infancy of the paperclip maximizer problem.3
Update about my boss:
I was early too judge. Maybe still early to form an opinion.
But dude seems pretty level headed. Yes, he is agressive. Yes, he has weird way of complicating things.
But I got to learn things from him. I earned his trust, just like I did in the past with other managers. He is confident about my performance now. He gave me space to ramp up and pushed me to limits.
But now, Floyd is settled. Maybe with time, I might get occasional unpleasant interactions, but those are part of every job.
However, we as a society decided to be in agile mode. Fix a problem and the solution gives rise to another one.
The business head of my pod is going crazy over the deliverables.
They were surviving for years with a product manager. Everything was driven by tech without any research.
And now when I am in, they want everything to be done yesterday.
We spent some decent amount of time on strategy and it turned out to be good. Now they are questioning that why ain't I delivering?!
It's been a week we finalised the strategy, let me get some space and time to structure and plan the execution.
Business heads are pretty nice and level headed people. Just that I don't understand the sense of urgency. I get it that my pod often has to deal with fire fighting given the nature of the business, but holy fuck! Stop pressurising to deliver everything together on a war foot.
They are like, we'll ask for more resources. But whose gonna tell them that 9 women cannot deliver a baby in 1 month.
I need time for discovery and research. Without that, don't expect impact.
As the only PM space, leading the entire vertical, how can I even focus on multiple initiatives?
I really miss my previous life of my first company. It's exactly an year when I left them and I changed two companies since then.
My learning and earnings sky rocketed, but WLB took a toll.
I miss the time when I could finish my work in an hour and did whatever the fuck I want while at work like browsing new topics to learn, exploring places, attending events, connecting with people, making social posts to learn, finance as a hobby, yada yada..
These days, I feel too burned out. Not that I am worried about job stability, because I trust my skills.
But more due to the fact that I have to constantly focus on work for the time I am in office. No free space or time to collect myself together, process things, and focus.
This leads me to thinking about work (read processing office discussions), at home too.
I cannot enjoy music. Feels like a load.
I no longer attend events or meet people after work. No more wasting time on the internet.
And most importantly, I am not bored anymore. I miss being bored. I miss living a boring, mediocre lifestyle.
I miss doing my side projects and polishing my portfolio site ten times a day, because I got nothing better to do.
I used to spend time learning right grammar and why American and English words are different and which to use where.
I miss spending time of Google Maps exploring borders and remote regions.
Weekends fly by. No hobby to pursue. No free time.
I miss the days when I had nothing to do and I was bored and I could do anything.
I used to be always happy. Because no responsibilities. I used to be always up for a meetup. I used to be available for a phone call.
Now it's nothing but work which is surely exciting and some foundational learning with good enough money, but I miss my time when I used to get bored because I had nothing to do.5
I maintain two websites for my employer. The head of my department and my manager decided it’s best for me to focus my time on website A and website B should be replatformed to an out of the box solution. For website B, we’d work with our IT team to find something suitable.
I did some research and came up with a list of possible solutions. IT looked into solutions that would work with the org’s best practices for tech. A few sales pitches and demos were arranged with the top choices.
Stakeholder for website B is really digging in her heels. SH keeps badgering our Product Manager and IT about why can’t we just build in-house. The out of box solutions don’t do everything she wants.
PM tells SH that no solution will be perfect. PM also reminds SH that comparable institutions just use Google sheets/forms and do everything by hand. So choose an out of the box platform or use Google forms.
Plus, the list of improvements the SH wanted for website B would take at least a year if I did them on my own and there’s no budget to out source the labor. That’s not counting bring the code up to best practices or improving database efficiency.
I’m glad I don’t have to work with Stakeholder anymore. SH and her department were just a pain. They want a lot of custom tech solutions but they freak out at the smallest talk about tech issues.
Alright, my very first post here was about this project and I am thinking it out loud again.
I see a problem and I am struggling to find a solution.
Now what I am thinking of is to articulate the problem well and state WHY I believe it needs to be solved. There are some reasons which must be presented in a capitalist way.
Furthermore, I am thinking of doing a market research to understand various demographics, validate the idea, and figure out the product-market fit.
Now, this qualitative research and quantitative data will help me decide whether it is worth putting in the efforts to solve the problem or not.
And since, we have an MVP already (funnily yes, we built it before all of the above), that will help me validate the tangible solution.
Once we get a confidence boost, then it will be time to get that single transaction which has net positive cash flow.
Start scaling to 'next billion users', so a billion transaction with net positive cash flow.
I won't be branching out into multiple verticals before be able to sustainably scale the core USP.
And while the second half sounds like, 'I have a million dollar idea', I am trying to be more and more realistic and rationale instead of falling in love with my idea.
I don't even have an idea (read solution) to fall in love with. Rather I have a problem that is bothering me.
So, yes, I am continuing this journey to solve the problem which started in second year of my hostel room and has evolved over 10 years.
Need advice about switching to contracting.
So I had 2 years of exp as an android dev, then I had a 1.5 year gap from doing android and now for the past 6 months Ive been doing android again fulltime. Im thinking of switching to contracting due to my debts and boring project and life crushing slow corporate processes in my current fulltime job, so I need tips and advices as to where should I start looking for new contracting gigs and in general what should I pay attention to. If it helps, I am based in EU, but am open to any EU/US gigs.
Now the full story:
Initially when I joined my current fulltime job after a break I had zero confidence, lowered my and employers expectations, joined as a junior but quickly picked up the latest standards and crushed it. Im doing better than half devs in my scrum team right now and would consider myself to be a mid level right now.
Asked for a 50% bump, manager kinda okayed it but the HQ overseas is taking a very long time to give me the actual bump. I have been waiting for 10 weeks already (lots of people in the decision chain were on and off vacations due to summer, also I guess manager sent this request to HQ too late, go figure). Anyways its becoming unnaceptable and I feel like its time for a change.
Now since I have mortgage and bills to pay, even with the bump that I requested that would leave me with like maximum 700-800 bucks a month after all expenses. I have debts of around 20k and paying them back at this rate would take 3 years at least and sounds like a not viable plan at all.
Also it does not help that the project Im working on is full of legacy and Im not learning anything new here. Corporate life seems to be very slow, lots of red tape kills creativity and so on. I remember in startups I was cooking features left and right each sprint, in here deploying a simple popup feature sometimes takes weeks due to incompetence in the chain. I miss the times where I worked in startups, did my job learned nre skills and after 6 months could jump on another exciting gig. Im not growing here anymore.
So because my ADD brain seems to be suited much better for working in startups, and also I need to make more money quick and I dont see a future in current company, I am thinking of going back to contracting. All I need right now is to build a few side apps, get them reviewed by seniors and fill my knowledge gaps. Then I plan of starting interviewing as a mid level or even a senior for that matter, since I worked with actual seniors and to be honest I dont think getting up to their level would be rocket science.
Only difference between mid and senior devs that I see atleast in my current company is that seniors are taking on responsibility more often, and they also take care of our tools, such as CD/CI, pipeline scripts, linters and etc. Usually seniors are the ones who do the research/investigations and then come up with actual tasks/stories for mids/juniors. Also seniors introduce new dependencies and update our stack, solve some performance issues and address bottlenecks and technical debt. I dont think its rocket science, also Ive been the sole dev responsible for apps in the past and always did decent work. Turns out all I needed was to test myself in an environment full of other devs, thats it. My only bottleneck was the imposter syndrome because I was a self taught dev who worked most of my career alone.
Anyways I posted here asking for some tips and advices on how to begin my search for new contract opportunities. I am living in EU, can you give me some decent sites where I could just start applying? Also I would appreciate any other tips opinions and feedback. Thanks!3