We all make mistakes as software engineers…
… but at least you can avoid mine!
As software engineers we all make mistakes, whether in our software or our careers. Here are some examples of mistakes that I've made over the past 20 years:
- I once accepted a job offer only to discover soon after that I was massively underpaid.
- First month on a new job I wrote some perfectly fine code, except that it crashed every single night at 4AM. Pro tip: on-call engineers love getting alerts in the middle of the night.
- Later I designed a tool to make those ops engineers' life easier. It took me a few months at most to code, and then it took extra whole year to deploy because I'd neglected to get ops' feedback on how it should work.
- I once failed at starting a startup because I fell in love with the code and ignored what potential customers were telling me.
And these are just some of the mistakes that I have made.
I learned an important lesson from each mistake, but this was an embarrassing, expensive, and painful way to learn.
What if you could skip the painful mistakes and jump straight to the learning?
Maybe I can help.
My career as a software clown
Hi, I'm Itamar Turner-Trauring, and I'm a software engineer.
On paper I have a pretty decent resume: I've worked on open source projects used by Apple, Cisco and many others. I've worked on software indirectly used by millions of people. I've worked as a product manager for Google, I've co-founded a startup, and worked for a few startups too.
But some days I feel more like an involuntary software clown, spending my days slipping on banana peels, being hit in the face with whipped cream pies, and riding little teensy bikes around and around in circles.
Don't believe me? Here's what a former coworker has to say:
"Itamar's initial design for a distributed system had potential scaling challenges, and he was very open to acknowledging the problem and evaluating a suggested solution."
— Madhuri Yechuri, Founder and CEO, Elotl Inc
Honestly "potential scaling challenges" is a polite euphemism for "did not scale at all". But the important point is that I learned something from Madhuri, who has 15 years of experience building distributed systems at VMWare and Oracle.
You can avoid my mistakes!
Subscribe to the Software Clown mailing list, and every week I'll send you an email with one of my mistakes, and how you can avoid repeating it. If you're a new subscriber you won't miss out on any old mistakes; you'll get every one I've written from the start.
Here's what people are saying about Software Clown:
Are you reading @itamarst's "Software Clown" newsletter? If not, you should be: https://softwareclown.com
There's a gem in every issue.
— Glyph Lefkowitz (@glyph)
Every day you wait there are more of my mistakes you could be avoiding. Subscribe today!
Get a weekly email with one of my mistakes
"Itamar's Software Clown is like a secret guilty pleasure—just without the guilt. Definitely subscribe if you want to learn some things that Itamar learned the hard way."
—Victor Algaze, Software Engineer, Cisco CTAO