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Cover image for What are the worst nightmares for devs? πŸŽƒ
Anastasia πŸ„πŸ»β€β™€οΈ for actiTIME Inc

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What are the worst nightmares for devs? πŸŽƒ

Let's share some of the worst-case scenarios and nightmare-inducing horrors in the work of the devs.

My #1 nightmare is cleaning up lengthy, real complex, unreadable, critically ridden code with bugs left behind by the previous developer πŸ‘»πŸ‘»πŸ‘»

Top comments (56)

tomassirio profile image
Tomas Sirio

Working really hard on something that is then never used by nobody or even scrapped and forgotten into oblivion

steinbring profile image
Joe Steinbring

I learned a long time ago that you need to separate the code that you write from your sense of professional self-worth. Write better code than you did yesterday and try to better someone's workflow but the app is the company's (not yours).

It took a major toilet manufacturer canning a Spanish-language HR app that I worked month on to learn that lesson.

rfaugusto profile image
Rafael Alberti Cantoni Augusto

Never thought of it that way. I know it seems pretty obvious, but "do today better than yesterday but the app is the company's" should bring us some relief...
I mean, if everybody thought of it that way, we would have so much people on the brink of war because of self-pride... :P

andrewbaisden profile image
Andrew Baisden

Ah hate when that happens. Once I was working on a new feature and then the CEO who's mind changes like the weather decided that he did not want it anymore...

merri profile image
Vesa Piittinen • Edited

You start off your day fresh. You have a clear goal on what you want to do.

You start doing stuff. But you encounter a nasty bug that prevents you from validating what you're doing, so you must resolve this bug first.

The nature of the bug forces you to resort to jumping from commit to commit trying to find the issue.

Your email starts shouting. Somebody had the idea to ask people share their calendars which has the side effect of sending email about it to everyone.

You have a meeting.

You have a second meeting.

After these you find the commit that breaks everything. You look at it in GitHub and it seems like a harmless one line change by Dependabot.

In reality it is a merge commit that contains a full version's worth of changes to hundreds of files.

You go for lunch.

You return back and are a bit tired, because food. You start trying to pinpoint the issue using bisect.

You have another 1Β½ hour meeting.

You are dead from all the meetings, the mail constantly throwing more stuff about the calendar, and the fact you now end up with mysterious blank white pages in every bisect commit you try, not helping to figure out the original commit causing the bug you try to locate.

Oh, sorry, this was my day today. Lines of code written: 0. Bugs solved: 0. Goals achieved: none.

yaythomas profile image

"can't you just. . ." coming from the mouth of a non-technical senior person being "helpful". Possibly goes with some vague hand-waving. 😱

On the more technical side, tricksy multi-thread concurrency bugs. Bonus points if it relies on a big service framework even to try to reproduce the problem.

anja profile image

When the requirements change and you have to start all over again

rafo profile image
Rafael Osipov

That's a widespread situation in an agile environment. Too few customers are ready to employ waterfall approach (writing a full technical description, before starting the coding part).

janegareth profile image

When a critical bug occurs during the demo πŸ˜…

jackdcasey profile image

Anyone else pre-record demos to combat this?

torik17 profile image

Week three as a junior dev I was given a task to clean up s3 buckets that hadn't been touched in years and accidentally deleted one that looked empty but had a CNAME redirect in it and took down production. The scramble to figure out what happened and the stress of what that might have meant if one of the senior devs didn't figure it out fast enough still gives me chills.

olivierjm profile image
Olivier JM Maniraho

@ben maybe we should have a sad reaction on comments.
This comment touched me, a day can't get worse.

maureento8888 profile image
Maureen T'O

Oh gosh, the worst possible nightmare! Worse than accidentally committing secret keys and sensitive files to repo πŸ’€

youhan profile image
Alireza Jahandideh


monderred profile image
Israel Rosas

"It needs to work on IE8" believe it or not a major Telecom company i'm working for requires this for every single project...

youhan profile image
Alireza Jahandideh


ben profile image
Ben Halpern

Data leaked is forever. If anyone has compromised user privacy, you can't un-compromise it.

ludamillion profile image
Luke Inglis

This. Tied with destroying user data in an irreversible/very difficult to restore way. Especially in a highly regulated industry.

Speaking for a friend of course...

zerosand1s profile image
Harshal Gangurde

Oh since nobody has mentioned yet, deployment on Friday

carlosds profile image
Karel De Smet

Second that. Don't do it, just don't...

realappie profile image

Editing a production database that doesn't have a backup, and ruining the production data in an irreversible way.

steinbring profile image
Joe Steinbring

Biggest longterm fear: Being told you don't "You don't really have enough experience with the stack that we are working with" when looking for a new job

Biggest midterm fear: Being asked "Why didn't your time estimate cover the new requests that we gave you since then?"

Biggest short-term fear: Realizing that an engineering decision is a dead-end and that I should have done something else 40 hours ago.

quasipickle profile image
Dylan Anderson

Anything involving certificates.

tominekan profile image
Tomi Adenekan

Having to make changes to code that was written by someone who did not know what they were doing.😡

jessesbyers profile image
Jesse Smith Byers

Working remotely while home-schooling, and a child knocks over a full mug of coffee onto the laptop, during a pandemic shutdown when the laptop cannot be easily repaired or replaced...

ifkas profile image
Ivo Culic

So much pain on this, I can feel it!

erik06 profile image

CORS issues...