More Tricks of the Trade



More helpful tips for anyone stuck in a cubicle (especially if you happen to be a developer).

  1. If your building conducts repeated yet pointless fire drills, find a ‘white lie’ buddy and take turns ignoring the alarm. If you don’t attend and anyone questions whether you were there, your ‘white lie’ buddy can vouch for you.
  2. When mentoring a junior developer, it’s beneficial to all if you can prepare the junior for the onslaught of insanity when dealing with management. Simulate code review sessions with them and play the role of a manager, asking why the code isn’t in a mauve font and demanding that it can run on an Apple watch (even though it’s a Windows Service). When the junior breaks down and cries, you will then know that your job is done.
  3. If you keep dry food snacks at your desk, save any lockable drawers for the coveted goods (Doritos, Starburst, etc.) Generally, it’s safe to keep your healthy food (almonds, dry fruit, etc.) in your unprotected ones. If someone does violate your space and takes something from your desk, you have every right to execute them ‘hitman-style’ with a Nerf gun.
  4. If you’re unsatisfied with your yearly review, send a subtle message to your superiors. Visit the lobbies of several competitors in your area and tweet pictures of them with the hashtag #VisitingSomeFriends.
  5. Trust has to be earned from any new developer, even one that comes with a highly regarded CV. In order to vet a recent hire, introduce your new addition to a common library and encourage the newcomer to share any useful code for posterity. If the volunteered code resembles the random typing of a thousand monkeys, encourage the nascent member to upload the project to GitHub. In that way, you can warn the entire world of the monster that you’re about to unleash on it.

Peter Bolton is the author of Blowing the Bridge: A Software Story and has also been known to be a grumpy bastard on occasion.

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