Tales from The Trenches Archive

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Don’t Fix the printer

I was hired on as a software engineering intern at a company in LA. Early on, one of my coworkers urged me to never fix the printer less I become “The guy who knows how to fix the printer.”

Lord I wish I knew what he meant.

I was assigned to a team project, and, thanks to a background in IT, I turned out to be really good at fixing builds and determining whether a bug was legitimate or if it was some failure of the vm or machine.

Honestly, 90% of the time, you just had to rerun the build script to fix the problem.

Now, the QA team we had in LA was great, we got along well as the QA would actually sit at desks next to the developers, and bugs would get shown to us immediately (a QA was considered a team member and
would participate in meetings and daily standups).

But we had a few QA teams in India, and apparently we were having some trouble with them, as almost no bug they reported was reproducable on our end.  My boss, knowing my knack for this assigned me to work with the these teams via teleconference.

Essentially, this ended up with me doing nightly conference calls and remote desktop sessions where I’d explain what a build script did… Repeatedly.  The QA team members were in batches of 3 or 4, and seemed
to have the technical prowess of the average grandmother.

...a few weeks in, it was reported to me they’d been filing bugs like this for 3 years, and not one had been verified, or even checked… Guess who got that job?

I haven’t written a line of code in weeks.