Saturday, January 29, 2011

My initial foray into professional software development – Experiences as a Developer

Its been a fortnight since I've started working full time in a professional software development firm and through this post, I am sharing my experiences. During this period, there have been a lot of revelations for me and many of my fears about work in an IT company have, needless to say, been allayed.
I started working with a small sized local software company that performs all the development activities for a UK based firm that sells products for converting mainframe legacy systems(IBM's i-Series) into modern ones(JavaEE based). Since this is solely focused business on software development, I was able to obtain various advantages that could've not been possible otherwise. Some of which are :-
No managerial bullshit about communication, teamwork & motivation (and what else the HR people can put in).
Simple product oriented workflow with flexible time lines.
A quiet workplace in the outskirts of the city (which is indeed a quaint place).

My only grouse so far (If I really need to proclaim one) has been long work hours (almost 10 hrs) which leave me with no time for outings and socialization on weekdays, but is fine by me as I am growing as a developer in leaps and bounds, and also because I am not much of a social fellow and all the other developers too are busy with themselves during work.

The technologies that I am working on are also my favorite and involve Enterprise Java (JSF, Hibernate, Spring and JPA). However, due to non proficiency in JSF, finally I am learning this framework. In the past, I've blogged against this framework and ever since 2007, have refrained until now in using this technology. The workplace requirements, however enforced this change and this is not as bad as I was imagining it to be.

The first day in the job was a huge eye-opener for me as I was handled a finished application to explore and document my findings. Upon seeing this massive piece of JEE mastery, despair set in quickly an I was beginning to feel panicked. Fortunately, I had done some open source development during my college years that proved to be quite handy for me (Just build the whole thing and unit tested it). By the end of the first day, I had some rough idea about that enterprise application that housed more than 100 JSF beans (that were integrated into similar number of service classes, DAOs, and other layers coupled with a complete in-house API that was stretching back to more than 10 years). To add my misery, the database was a DB2 instance running on AS400 platform remotely and was sluggish at the very best of the performance with no user manipulative tool at my disposal.

The subsequent days, surprisingly, eased this initial pain as I was informed by my boss that the application in fact was auto-generated by a in-house tool based on freemaker/velocity. Also, what was seemingly impossible one day, became reasonable the other and was accomplished on the third. For this success, I'll attribute to the long hours that I am putting at my workstation there instead of shying away from the problem, as the case was earlier.

However, before ending this, I'll sum up an excellent blog entry that I received quite earlier as a tweet:
Ingredients for a perfect technology workplace (read as IT)
Excellent people (Your boss & co-workers)
Excellent projects (That really stimulate you)
Excellent workplace (Or something similar, I can't recollect)

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