Restrictions your CS degree won't qualify you for

Restrictions your CS degree won't qualify you for
Restrictions your CS degree won't qualify you for

One of the universal experiences among engineers, it seems, is stepping into your first job and thinking, I do not understand how doing this. For how rigorous and challenging computer science programs are, there will be bits and pieces and sometimes entire skill sets of real-world software engineering that school doesn’t teach you. Whether your first job offers the training and mentorship to help you fill in the gaps, or you have to prepare yourself on nights and weekends, the panic and hustle to catch up are real. Because commiserating can sometimes be fun and informative, we interviewed a handful of engineers with CS degrees of what school didn’t prepare them for. First, dealing with angry users. Your CS degree won’t teach you how to handle an angry Twitter mob. Most CS programs don’t cover how to deal with angry users. Early-stage startup roles need it. Among the most robust stories we heard was the engineer was alone in the office when the site crashed. The company had switched from dedicated servers to AWS, something the engineer had little experience working with. For the next seven hours, he was the person on hand to get the site back online, while over 1,000 users rage tweeted at the company each hour. He likened it to pulling an all-nighter, but with 7,000 people screaming at you. A close second would have to be the engineer who started a rumor that his company hated Linux users. He shipped an extra feature without testing it on Linux. He knew a fraction of a percent of their users ran desktop Linux, but he didn’t grasp how vocal they would be. Within a day, there were threads on major dev sites discussing how the company was sabotaging Linux users, and his simple bug became a PR crisis. When tens of thousands of people use a product, there’s no such thing as a minor change, and if people don’t like a difference you made, they’re more than willing to share their potential caps-locked take. 

The course colleges should add social media and navigating outrage and subtweets. Building around hockey, legacy code, your CS degree will teach you software architecture. Your CS degree won’t show you where these magic numbers are coming from. If you think of the ancient or legacy words in your CS degree, you’ll work in C or Assembly. Working in a language written over 30 years ago is often easier than working around the spaghetti code another engineer wrote last summer. Complaining about messy codebases was a universal pastime among the engineers we spoke to. One, who began his career at a decade-old tech company, described the headache of deciphering a bug that was older than he was. Another told us about spending months refactoring code. A former founder wrote that. It was peppered with comments like we better change this soon. By then, those committing dates were several years old. As a fun addition, we spoke to an intern who complained about an ancient JavaScript framework he has to work with, which was first released in 2010 and was updated. It’s all about perspective. The course colleges should add refactoring, magic numbers, gibberish comments, and illegible jokes. Other engineers for your CS degree will teach you database systems. Your CS degree won’t teach you how to stop that one engineer from performing unauthorized writes to the DB. To be clear, this isn’t about playing into the stereotype that some engineers are anti-social. Most of the people we spoke with, but, shared some common difficulties around interacting with teammates. 

The first was dealing with incompetent coworkers. At school, you need not worry about what other people know outside of group assignments. When it turns out your teammate is a self-proclaimed hacker who does not know how to code, that’s a problem as was the code he copied, pasted, and tweaked from Stack Overflow that never ended up working. The second common problem is more about adapting to codependent, cross-team work in engineering. One engineer, who started his career working on a popular operating system, described the slow realization that its code, which passed all their team’s tests caused bugs in other, seemingly unrelated pieces of the product. Being the person who made six other teams shift into firefighting mode isn’t the best way to make friends at a recent job. The course colleges should add humans. Why they’re the worst sometimes, your job is to learn more. No matter what your university does or doesn’t teach in its curriculum, there will be gaps for you to fill in when entering the workforce. We heard from engineers who had never used version control or written tests in school. Other engineers said they graduated with no idea what production environments were. We heard from senior engineers who said that at the rate technology develops, there are new gaps in their knowledge that need to be closed. It’s the nature of technology. While it’s fun to run through the shortcomings of CS programs and commiserate about the difficulty of first jobs, all the stories we heard highlight a simple truth as an engineer. Your core responsibility is to learn more constantly.

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nwldg: Restrictions your CS degree won't qualify you for
Restrictions your CS degree won't qualify you for
One of the universal experiences among engineers, it seems, is stepping into your first job and thinking, I do not understand how doing this. For how rigorous and challenging computer science programs are, there will be bits and pieces and sometimes entire skill sets of real-world software engineering that school doesn’t teach you. Whether your first job offers the training and mentorship to help you fill in the gaps, or you have to prepare yourself on nights and weekends, the panic and hustle to catch up are real. Because commiserating can sometimes be fun and informative, we interviewed a handful of engineers with CS degrees of what school didn’t prepare them for. First, dealing with angry users. Your CS degree won’t teach you how to handle an angry Twitter mob. Most CS programs don’t cover how to deal with angry users. Early-stage startup roles need it. Among the most robust stories we heard was the engineer was alone in the office when the site crashed. The company had switched from dedicated servers to AWS, something the engineer had little experience working with. For the next seven hours, he was the person on hand to get the site back online, while over 1,000 users rage tweeted at the company each hour. He likened it to pulling an all-nighter, but with 7,000 people screaming at you. A close second would have to be the engineer who started a rumor that his company hated Linux users. He shipped an extra feature without testing it on Linux. He knew a fraction of a percent of their users ran desktop Linux, but he didn’t grasp how vocal they would be. Within a day, there were threads on major dev sites discussing how the company was sabotaging Linux users, and his simple bug became a PR crisis. When tens of thousands of people use a product, there’s no such thing as a minor change, and if people don’t like a difference you made, they’re more than willing to share their potential caps-locked take.
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