Jane Bailey

Jane Bailey is a self-published author of urban fantasy novels as well as a part-time blogger; in her day job, she works in SQA, where she sees plenty of WTFs.

Death by Consumption

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Tryton Party Module Address Database Diagram

The task was simple: change an AMQ consumer to insert data into a new Oracle database instead of an old MS-SQL database. It sounded like the perfect task for the new intern, Rodger; Rodger was fresh out of a boot camp and ready for the real world, if he could only get a little experience under his belt. The kid was bright as they came, but boot camp only does so much, after all.


Lowest Bidder Squared

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Stack of coins 0214

Initech was in dire straits. The website was dog slow, and the budget had been exceeded by a factor of five already trying to fix it. Korbin, today's submitter, was brought in to help in exchange for decent pay and an office in their facility.


An Indispensible Guru

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Simple budgeting spreadsheet eg

Business Intelligence is the oxymoron that makes modern capitalism possible. In order for a company the size of a Fortune 500 to operate, key people have to know key numbers: how the finances are doing, what sales looks like, whether they're trending on target to meet their business goals or above or below that mystical number.


A Passion for Testing

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Absolute Value

The interview was going well—as well as one could possibly expect. Alarik, the candidate, had a no-nonsense attitude, a high degree of precision to his speech, and a heavy German accent. He was applying for a job with Erik's company as a C# developer working on an inherited legacy codebase, and he'd almost earned himself the job. There was just one routine question left in the interview:


Software Possession

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KUKA Industrial Robot Writer

Jon worked for a small company that specialized in automation of inspection systems: basically the industrial version of home automation, where you glue together a series of disparate automatable parts to create a specialized workflow. Jon was the only software person at his 15-man company. The client was in Russia, and the company was in the USA, so communication went through email and primarily via a client representative, Sam. Sam would gather the requirements verbatim from the client and hand them to Jon; Jon would augment the software to meet their automation needs, and send a new version over to Sam to deliver. It worked, after a fashion. The system was designed to control a robot that mostly opened boxes, picked things up, ran a series of quality checks on the things, and put them back.


All That Glitters

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Iron disulfide pyrite

Sometimes the writing is on the wall; sometimes, you know you have to get out. Today's submitter, Pietyr, was in just that sort of situation. He decided to head for greener pastures, hoping for a job with a good atmosphere, someplace where he could take it easier and enjoy his work more.


It's The End Of The Month As We Know It

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Calendario abril-junio 2008

If you ask an engineer whether it's safe to cross a bridge, he'll happily walk you through how safe bridges are, how the mathematics work out, how far we've come in structural safety. You'll come away from the conversation feeling confident that no bridge will ever collapse anywhere on the face of the Earth. If you ask a software engineer about banks, however, you'll likely come away terrified, with a 50/50 chance you're now convinced to put all your money in bitcoin. Banks are notorious for bad software decisions—not so much because the decisions are worse, but because most people assume banks are more careful and security-minded.


What's The Floating Point?

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Photograph of the San Francisco Mint Coin Adjusting Room. Tables have assay scales at each station. Coin counting... - NARA - 296577

There are a number of gotchas that trip up new programmers: the difference between declaring a variable and initializing it, the need for semicolons to terminate lines at times, and off-by-one errors, to name a few. All of us in the industry have met genius self-taught programmers who can put together extensive, well-architected applications in their sleep—but all of us have also met self-taught juniors who barely grasp the basics and think that's all they'll ever need. There's a reason degrees and formal training exist, after all.


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