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Life Can Be Tough, But We Are DAMN Good at What We Do!

kaelscion profile image kaelscion ・3 min read

Devvers, lend me your ears...eyes...ears? Whatever, just listen. The past six months have been rough for me personally. Health issues always suck, but they're a real pain in the ass when they almost kill you. Something like that can change the way you look at the world. That being said, it can be a surreal experience when you are suddenly forced to acknowledge that you do indeed matter, even in a small way, and that you can only ignore your body and mind's signals for so long before stuff hits the fan. I just got out of a critical care unit Monday and need to share the good with those who may need it just like I do. Because what is a community for if not support, encourage, and unconditional love (some of ya'll like to be prickly enough to only get love unconditionally sometimes. You know who you are, and I dig you anyway πŸ˜‹)?

So, here's what we're gonna do: Anybody who reads this post that inherently thinks what they do, either personally or professionally is too small to matter. For all of us out there that think "Junior Developer" translates to "coffee-getter with no talent or skills". For anybody that is having a harder and harder time refuting other's assertions that DevOps/QA/Front End/DBA work is just the crap that is put in place to annoy the "real geniuses" so that "the company can feel good about including non-critical staff in important work". For any person in tech that is female, brown or black, wears a hijab, dashiki, or yukata to work, or is just otherwise looked down on because of external crap or having the gall to value your cultural or religious traditions over the extreme views or ignorant opinions of others, this thread is for you. Whether you have an invisible illness that people think you are faking or a visible difference to your appearance that people think you should change, we're gonna show the "boss" in all of us.

Here's my contribution: Right now I am currently building a system for a client of mine that has one of the most low-level and accurate testing suites for GMOs in plants. They are tasking me with giving them a "market snapshot" of who the players are in the Corn Ethanol biofuel market globally so that they will better know how to make decisions with their products and services based on where their target customers are moving as an industry. To do this, I am putting my Data Junkie skillset to use by finding the company information (location, employee count, gross income, stock price, etc) of all the players in the US. Below is a screenshot of the runtime of two scripts that do this by extracting that particular data from the websites of the 204 players in the Continental US. The top runtime is a solution I designed and created for this purpose. The second is of a "copy and paste" solution I found online that is lightly modified to perform the same task as my custom solution.

high-volume-web-scraping-solution

"Hey wait, Jake. Are you grandstanding here?" How dare you ask that entirely true, accurate, and appropriate question! But seriously, that what this thread is about. I am a lone-wolf, back-end, guy-who-builds-stuff-that-is-never-seen-and-never-acknowledged kind of guy. And I have been for many years. Tooting my own horn is something I'm not usually comfortable with. But here, in this thread, BRAG YOUR BLOODY HEADS OFF. Because every now and then, we need to shout to anybody who will listen how damn smart, creative, and clever we are. Nobody is going to do it for us, so go nuts! Post screenshots or tell stories of things you've done that you think are really cool, innovative, clever, or elegant. Talk to me, and the community about your pet projects or nifty solutions that you're too nervous are not "cool" enough to get positive attention from your colleagues. They are not only cool enough, but they are too cool for those guys. So tell us, and don't be modest about it 😁 😁 😁! I very much look forward to your submissions!

Discussion

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codemouse92 profile image
Jason C. McDonald

As I've said on my many similar threads before...

"Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it's thinking of yourself less." -C.S. Lewis

To put that another way, humility is having an accurate view of oneself - not overinflated, but not flat either. That means being equally vocal about strengths and weaknesses, mistakes and successes, triumphs and trials.

For example, I am very good at manual memory management in C++. I'm great at refactoring, algorithmic efficiency, optimization, data structures, and debugging undefined behavior. I've actually written data structures that beat analogous std:: classes in terms of average performance.

Meanwhile, I am not good at path-finding algorithms. In fact, I know virtually nothing about them. I have no experience with graphics rendering. And my tendency to problem solve at the bare-metal level means I sometimes overlook handy abstractions that would save me time. It's not "NIH = Not Invented Here" so much as it's "FSESI = Forgot Someone Else Solved It". (Yet, my FSESI means I sometimes invent fantastic new solutions to things.)

I'm an expert in some things, good at others, and quite green in many others. That will be true of every developer for their entire careers, and I am no exception!

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kaelscion profile image
kaelscion Author

Couldn't agree more with your final sentiment! I read a quote recently that said about programming: "Find your super power. Then find a team filled with people with different super powers and go change the world."

Also, to quote another literary icon in conjunction with your quote: "Everything in moderation. Including moderation." I absolutely agree that there is a time for modesty, and a time to put in a little show to remind those around you why you are the go-to for your skillset. Thank you so much for sharing!!

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andreasjakof profile image
Andreas Jakof

β€žI'm an expert in some things, good at others, and quite green in many others. That will be true of every developer for their entire careers, and I am no exception!β€œ - Jason C. McDonald

Where can I sign?

Ahhh yes, forgot the bragging...
we had an external developer, who should write some merging of two data sources. It ran for about 2h before some scheduler decided to kill a hanging process. It was about 50k entries each and should have taken much less time, so I took a look. After i was done, it was done in under 5 minutes and I did not have to do much.
Saving intermediate search results to have them available saved a huge portion of the time. Early fail returns in comparisons another big chunk.

But to show the other side as well: I am currently into learning F# and I fail even on the simplest of tasks, which I could do in my sleep in C# or C++.

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ben profile image
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kunde21 profile image
Chad Kunde

I missed this when you posted, but I still want to congratulate you on pulling through and exercising your (underused) bragging skills.

A lot of my work and accomplishments at work are in the team-building and product development. Not really quiet or background work, especially with the great group of devs I'm lucky enough to work alongside.

I do need to brag a bit, though. I've been building assembly kernels for the go port of BLAS/LAPACK with the github.com/gonum/gonum project. It's up to about 5k loc for the x86_64 blas kernels, each of which nearly doubled the processing speed for the specific calculation.

Most users don't need to dig that deep into the code, plus they generally don't want to write assembly. I enjoy the challenge of building out the assembly kernels, plus the performance benefits are immediately available to all of the code that has been built on top of the gonum libraries.

Still more to do, but I'm proud of the work I've done there so far.

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sebbdk profile image
Sebastian Vargr

"coffee-getter" i wish my juniors were that bad.
I would never have to get out of my chair.

Seat sores do not grown on their own you know!..

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kaelscion profile image
kaelscion Author

Hey, we gotta get our 8 hours of sitting time in, for science! But all kidding aside, that kind of hazing, in my own experience, is declining. Back when I started in tech, the low person on the ladder was responsible for two things: 1. Taking blame for mistakes made by those above you. And 2. Producing great work that those above you could take full credit for. And while I completely understand that these things are still a problem in a lot of places, I can say that, personally, i've seen a sharp decline in such behaviors and tolerance for them by executives and management. And I really hope that this trend continues. But, boy do I remember being the errand wench early on!

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sebbdk profile image
Sebastian Vargr

That's gotta suck, i've never experienced that on my own person, i chalk it down to luck, because i have experience plenty of other unhealthy practices.

When i started my current employment the juniors were getting neglected.
I implemented pair-programming, mobbing, mentoring and organized teamwork and it's raised their output and quality greatly, even if they still have waays to go (and so does my team lead skills).

It's made me realize how much of a waste it is to hire a junior if you do not have the time to mentor and tutor them.

It's just plane bad business, which could be a factor in the positive trend. :)