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What my better fuck-up as a developer taught me about taking ownership

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.cult by Honeypot is a Berlin-based association belvedere for developers. We write about all things career-related, make aboriginal documentaries and share heaps of other untold developer belief from arou… (show all) .cult by Honeypot is a Berlin-based association belvedere for developers. We write about all things career-related, make aboriginal documentaries and share heaps of other untold developer belief from around the world.

This commodity was originally appear by Tomasz ?akomy on .cult by Honeypot, a Berlin-based association belvedere for developers. For the latest updates, follow .cult by Honeypot on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin and YouTube.

Building software is what we — developers — are paid for.

Unfortunately, more often than not we’re also paid to break stuff. Then, we get an “amazing” befalling to fix what we’ve broken.

I don’t think we talk enough about those stories.

Do you know how your Instagram feed is full of complete highlights? Well, it’s the same when it comes to developer horror stories. I’ve heard some which would make your skin crawl. It’s funny though, we don’t often share these stories.

I acerb accept there’s a lesson to be abstruse from every ‘fuckup.’ And there’s allegedly a funny story behind every odd rule your aggregation has.  “Why do we have a code freeze before major holidays?” — because Mike and Jenny had to spend their entire Christmas Eve brief the database after a yolo-merge.

Why can’t I push anon to master? I know what I’m doing!” — sure, but one time Andrew wrote-off two weeks of work off the repo when he accidentally force pushed to master (I am not making this up, this actually happened in my career).

Why is there a admonishing on my shirt cogent me not to iron it when I’m acid it? Who does this?” — you know the deal, it happened once, and now it’s a around-the-clock warning.

Now, I want to tell you the story of my better fuckup from when I was still a junior engineer.

Did addition order fried motherboards?!

A bit of accomplishments before we continue. At the alpha of my career in tech, I worked as a Junior Software Architect at a Samsung R&D Center in Poland. I was being paid to build some pretty unique apps — my team was creating JavaScript applications for… SmartTVs.

Side note: architecture apps for TVs is admirable because there’s only one resolution you need to care about, so we could style entire apps with position: absolute; because why not! SmartTVs have an entire motherboard in them (with decidedly good accouterments — we’re talking about assorted core processors and gigabytes of RAM! In a freaking TV!). At this point (back in 2013/2014) accouterments was cheaper than software [citation needed].

In 2013, while at Samsung I was moved to a brand new agitative project: Tizen. I was moved since I had ‘vast’ acquaintance with C , apparently, two semesters at university was enough to qualify.

To quote Wikipedia: Tizen is a Linux-based mobile operating system backed by the Linux Foundation but developed and used primarily by Samsung Electronics.

At the time Tizen was really acid edge (operating systems under heavy development tend to break all the time) but one day we got a present from HQ.

Three brand new shiny motherboards with the newest Tizen firmware.

In under an hour, two of them were fried to the point of no return.

Yes, I actually fried the ???? out of them.


Well, I was told to accomplish a system update on those motherboards and to follow the instructions I was given.

Unfortunately, the instructions did not take into annual a quirk in the newest system version, and assuming those steps turned the rather big-ticket SmartTV motherboard into a abortive piece of plastic.

After doing the system update on the first board I knew commodity funky happened. Did I make a mistake? I must have, crap, what do I do now?

Since I didn’t have a lot of acquaintance I absitively to simply repeat the steps one more time, this time making sure that I followed the instructions 100%. Turns out that I did follow them accurately both times.

I could have affected I didn’t touch those boards, maybe they had accustomed broken — honestly, anybody would have believed me.

After all, this was cutting-edge stuff, things were declared to break.

But in the end, I absitively to tell my team lead:

  • We have a problem…
  • I followed the instructions correctly
  • but… 2/3 of our shiny new boards are actually bricked
  • the manual needs to be adapted as soon as accessible because it may affect our other departments

Luckily he just chuckled and asked me why I’d gone and fried the second motherboard anon after I broke the first one.

Lessons learned:

  • Take ownership — admit when you’ve made a mistake, don’t try to blame it on others. Acknowledge the abortion and try to become a better person/engineer having abstruse a admired lesson.
  • Raise issues early and clearly — it’s even better to raise an early alarm (even if it’s false) than to be silent when commodity is acutely broken.
  • Follow instructions and documentation, but within reason — documentation can get anachronous and a software architect needs to be able to deal with that. And it’s allegedly advantageous to make sure the docs are up to date.
  • Don’t try to hide things that are broken (or suboptimal). Being open with others can bring you a long way and, at the very least, it’ll position you as a accurate member of your team.

Appear February 22, 2021 — 09:57 UTC

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