Everyone Should Do Production Support for Six Months

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Looking back on my career in software, I realize how idiotic it was for someone to throw me straight into building brand new systems. I had no clue what I was doing. School armed me with plenty of basic know-how and theory, but that doesn’t cut a whole ‘lotta ice in the professional world.

I spent my first year building applications; wasting my time and writing unmaintainable code. Then I was lucky enough to be put on production support for a large email system for the better part of a year. This was the single most educational experience of my career.

Production support forces you to deal will all the crap that others have slung. You encounter cryptic config files, no config files, bad error messaging, and poor maintainability. You learn about evil.

That’s why I think newbs should start out doing support. Yes, it’s a pain in the ass. No, it’s not sexy. Yes, you will learn a ton. Most importantly, you will learn the pain points of a deployed system, and gain a healthy respect for maintainability.

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