Opposite Ends of the Spectrum

June 4th, 2011 § 0 comments

I recently came from a small startup company in Houston where process was non-existent to a significantly large bank where process is king. After speaking with an ex-coworker, I came to an interesting reflection of the two ends of the spectrum. On one end, getting things done was an open field where you could choose etch your own path and very easily gets lost in all the choices. On the other end, getting things done was a pre-paved road with traffic lights, construction sites, and stop signs that get in the way of a predetermined destination. No matter what, my goal was to get to each of the checkpoints and hopefully have a successful deliverable. There has to be a happy medium, but I haven’t found that yet and would love to experience it.

My First “Third”

After four months in my new role, I’m finally working toward a release I understand and have a handle of the architecture and design of the application. I really can’t say much about the details of my job, but I create software for a part of the business of a fund of funds, in particular hedge funds. The business of a hedge fund has caught my attention, but unfortunately I’m not challenged on the technical side as I would like. The challenges touch many aspects of Michael Feathers’ book, Working Effectively with Legacy Code and I have been slowly trying to introduce unit tests to the team. Being a team lead here is definitely a challenging experience when the software and processes are already in place and the people are uncomfortably settled with them.

Wait, so what is a hedge fund? I’ll let the Khan Academy tell you the basics, it’s great!

There are other types of fund strategies that blow my mind. I’m not going to (I actually am not allowed to) get into any stories or details of what some fund managers do, but they really know how to find loopholes opportunities to make a dollar or two or billions, yes with a “B,” for themselves and their investors.

Teaching and guiding the team about best practices keeps me going and even pushed me purchase my first Android app, Read It Later, since there is absolutely ZERO service in the subways! Below are some things I have shared with the team and maybe they’ll interest you. If you’re not a software developer or have no interest in making your code awesome, you have permission to leave.

Derek Greer’s ongoing series on Effective Tests

This is perfect for Unit Test newbs and helps answer, a lot of the “whys.” Often times I get feedback about how long it takes to implement unit tests, but the return is ridonkulous. Unit tests do way more than just exercise your code – by making your code testable, it helps make it way more flexible, contain less dependency, and most of all: awesome.

Want more? Just subscribe to the Los Techie’s blog

Some GoogleTechTalks Videos on Unit Testing

If you hate reading, check out some videos from GoogleTechTalks.
The Clean Code Talks — Unit Testing
The Clean Code Talks — Inheritance, Polymorphism, & Testing

My Goal for This Month

After speaking with my colleague, about improving myself at work, I’m going to try out Pomodoro here at the bank. I’ll use KeepFocused and hopefully I’ll be able to determine where my inefficiencies are from week to week.

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