A story from my last job



  • When I got hired at my previous employer they had a very relaxed interview process, just small talk and no technical questions. I got hired as a programmer with another guy who also had almost 10 years of C++ experience. Cool. Our first project was to be supervised by one of their senior developer. The other guy started a few days before me and he and the senior developer started working on our first project.

    The project was to develop a module for a trading system. Besides coding the module, we also had to call it from the existing code. The place to call it from was a single 30 000 LOC file written in C which implemented the actually trade logic. The other guy was supposed to develop the module and I was to do the integration.

    When I arrived for my first day I was given a pile of a couple of hundred pages of code. The senior developer had printed out the 30 000 LOC file for me so I could start looking into where to do the integration. WTF! I explained it was difficult to understand a system just from reading code and I would prefer to learn the system by debugging it and see what happens. Also reading C code from papers is ridiculous, I mean how do you find a function which is being called in a pile of printout? Go through them all? Put bookmarks?

    I started to doubt my senior developer. After a week or so I had got my development environment up and running and were learning the application and where the new module should be called from. After a month I had added calls to a test module which I developed and just logged calls. I asked the other programmer how the real module was doing and he said he almost was done. Just one weird thing, every time I walked into his cubicle he quickly hide some book under some papers, except one time when he wasn't fast enough for me to see the book: C++ for dummies! What programmer reads "... for dummies" books?When I finally received the module from him it was a mess and clearly copy and pasted from books and different webs sites. I fixed some bugs in it and integrated it with the rest.

    After that project I was luckily moved to another department. The other programmer got laid off shortly afterwards, after working there for a year he never produced anything else than that module. The senior developer then, well I found out this was his first job as a developer at all, he used to work as a system operator before but changed position just before I started there and requested that he got the title senior developer since he been with the company so long. He was also let go after one year and never produced anything.

    So the lesson to learn is never accept a position at a company where they don't test your programming skills.



  • I just had an interview yesterday.  They asked me a few programming questions, but spent more time telling me about their benefits and how laid back the company is.  So this makes me sort of nervous :(



  • Doesn't every company tell you how laid back they are? I guess the days of "we run a tight ship around here" are gone, particularly in the IT world.

    The 200 pages of code reminded me of myself. When I'm trying to figure out someone else's code, I do like a print out. That's assuming it's a method, function or class; 200 pages is quite excessive. I am old for an IT grunt, and kind of grew up with the big line printers and terrible, terrible displays. A few years ago I worked with a grad student in his early 20s, and I remember noticing how he never used print outs to figure out code. I was jealous.

    And by the way, I make sure with my 'for dummies' books, I put a piece of masking tape over 'dummies' and write 'geniuses.'



  • Some of the things they told me:

    "You can basically make your own hours, hell i don't even come in until noon sometimes!  They don't care as long as the works done!"

    "I hope you don't always have to go by the book, because we have tight deadlines and don't always have time to test everything 100%"

    "Theres ALWAYS free food and coffee in the break room"

    Those are just a few things i remember.  This went on for a good hour.



  • Allow me to be a little cynical:  ;^)

    "You can basically make your own hours, hell i don't even come in until
    noon sometimes!  They don't care as long as the works done!"
    <font color="#ffa500">Translation</font>: You can sweat and worry about whether you can really come in late, until I get pissed one day, capriciously change my mind, and start chewing your ass about it.

    "I
    hope you don't always have to go by the book, because we have tight
    deadlines and don't always have time to test everything 100%"
    <font color="#ffa500">Translation</font>: We never test anything.

    "Theres ALWAYS free food and coffee in the break room"
    <font color="#ffa500">Translation</font>: Your co-workers will always be in the break room. When you finally go on break, there will be nothing. In 3 months, I will retroactively deduct coffee expenses from your paycheck.

    No, I'm not really this cynical. Don't pay attention to me; enjoy your job, if things go well!




  • HAHA, if their company name includes the word Zero, be afraid be very afraid.  Get a contract done to protect yourself at least ( termination clause, how much your getting paid and for what[contract,project,hourly]).  I just got screwed in a similiar situation.


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