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123dev #44: Skills, stories, and software every dev should know

123dev #44: Skills, stories, and software every dev should know
By Justin Garrison • Issue #44 • View online
The newsletter passed 250 subscribers and 200 Twitter followers this week and I appreciate you all. ❤️ I love reading your replies and seeing you all share issues too. If you have suggestions for future topics feel free to hit reply and send them my way.

Multiple pumpkins are carved and animated using stop motion
Multiple pumpkins are carved and animated using stop motion
Comments
Hard work, unnoticed
We’ve all worked hard on something only to have it go completely unnoticed or the work completely cancelled. It really sucks. It’s out of your control, but that still doesn’t make you feel better.
When this happens to me—it has happened a few times in the past two months—I focus on what I learned doing the work. Was there a hard problem I solved? Did I work too hard and should I put better boundaries in the future? Knowing what I know now, would have have solved the problem differently if asked to do it again?
Just because someone else didn’t notice doesn’t mean the time was wasted. It’s a good opportunity to watch out for people doing good work and make sure you let them know you noticed and appreciate it.
Onboarding
I’m helping onboard someone at work and it reminds me of what it was like for me at Amazon. Sometimes, I think everything should be automated so we don’t have to go through this process each time, but then I remember that companies and processes change all the time. Automation is a lot more work to maintain than documentation.
I also remember that part of onboarding is building trust. The person has already been hired which shows everyone trusts they can do the work. But as humans we need to build trust over time and onboarding check-ins are a great way to start building it.
Being new you also need to learn what’s normal and acceptable. The best way to do that is by talking to people. You’re constantly watching for how and when people communicate. If everything was automated you would have every account and application you needed and be given a task list to start working. You would miss out on building trust, watching how, when, and where people ask questions, and who they go to for answers.
Would it be more efficient? Yes. Would it be better? I doubt it. It would be impersonal and could degrade team and company culture into minimal, transactional communication for the sole purpose of business delivery optimization. That sounds like a terrible place for people to work.
Links
You can’t find one thing that made you fail any more than you can find a single thing that made you successful. I love how simple that idea is and how clearly it stops people from looking for root causes.
Root cause of failure, root cause of success – Surfing Complexity
Roblox had a 3 day outage and I feel really sorry for the team responsible for fixing it. I don’t know any details, but from a case study I read they use Hashicorp tools (consul, nomad, vault, terraform) with a 4 person SRE team serving 100,000,000 monthly players—might be more now.
One thing I found interesting was people online seemed surprised at the small team size relative to the amount of players. It’s not the scale that is a problem, but the scope of work and the company’s dependence on reliability that causes more burnout.
I was on a team of 4 in Disney Animation with a smaller scale and a larger scope and it was hard to manage all our responsibilities. However, with Disney Animation we had more freedom with reliability because we had no public facing services that would cause direct revenue loss.
My time as SRE at Disney+ was on a team of 4 with direct customer impact if we had an outage and similar scale and scope to Roblex. It was very stressful, but not entirely uncommon from what I’ve seen in the industry.
An Update on Our Outage - Roblox Blog
I started a casual club on Twitter for people who like to read and discuss white papers I call #PaperClub. I’ve learned a lot from reading papers and would love to share what I’m learning and learn from others too. We’ll be reading the papers and then discussing them in Twitter spaces once every few weeks. The first paper we’re going to read is the Google Borg paper which is a great read for distributed systems design.
I’m semi-cheating with this newsletter because I’m sharing my tweet which has two links. One to the Borg paper and one to the Twitter Space. If you want to add a calendar reminder for the space open the link from a mobile client and click “add to calendar”.
Did you enjoy this issue?
Justin Garrison

1 gif, 2 comments, and 3 links to make you a better developer and person

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