May 5, 2009

Retrospectively Yours

One more co-op term down, one to go. What have I learned? Since I don't have any similar record for previous co-op terms, I'll flesh that out as well:
  • Spring 2006: Rational Robot sucks, as does most "business intelligence" software. There's no way I'm doing testing again. Working with other co-op students is fun. Working in Waterloo during the summer is not.
  • Winter/Fall 2007: Startup culture is refreshingly dynamic and fast-paced. That said, the almost complete lack of process produces crap quickly. Pair programming works. Food is adequate compensation for late-night project stints. The Salad King chilli scale is a game you can't win. Concurrency is always harder than you think. It's important to contribute in meetings - if you can't, you're not preparing enough.
  • Spring 2008: Big-company culture is a living contradiction. Perks are awesome. Silicon Valley is a bubble world in all the best possible senses of the term. Testing is a crucial skill in software development. Reviews are a Good Thing, no matter how irate they make you at first. Sleep is optional. Do more better. Warm climates permit vibrant cities. Never rent a place before you meet the landlord.
  • Winter 2009: Optimizing without a profiler is like driving with a nightshade on. Optimizing with a profiler will surprise you. Testing is a crucial skill in software development. Do less better. Like everything, parkour requires dedication. Like everything, building a computer is surprisingly easy once you actually do it. Presentations are less nerve-wracking than most imagine. People respect your efforts to speak their language.
Naturally, these observations are somewhat abridged, and I've more than likely forgotten 90% of the salient (and/or salacious) tidbits. If you really want to know, you'll have to ask me in person...

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