S10E01: Welcome to the Good Place

I have started to rewatch the Good Place with my partner. I mean, I’ve watched it before. She hasn’t. No spoilers!

New role, new season, new project that I’m not going to talk too much about. I’m going to complain, like a lot, mostly about building infrastructure with Python – there are some genius brains at Amazon – but I won’t be talking too much about what the project is about.

First week in the new role is complete. It’s reasonably likely I’m going to get paid on time, though perhaps not the right amount. That is possibly closer to my fault given I moved in the middle of the month. Nonetheless, I’ve money put aside, so I won’t worry for the moment.

Permission has been granted to move my role to the sunny climes [are you sure? Ed.] of Manchester. Now comes the very difficult bit, which is getting up there to look around flats and try to imagine my stuff in other people’s space. I am Very Bad at this, because I lack imagination. I lack imagination because I am autistic. If you are new here, hello! I am autistic. This may come up again.

Managing this move at the same time as starting a new role is going to be a really interesting challenge, and I’m hoping to lean on as many professionals as possible. If you’ve got Mancunian recommendations for decorators, interior designers, estate agents, or anything else you think I might need please let me know.

This week I’m trying to bend my brain around infrastructure as code and where it should live in relation to the application(s) it supports. The pattern I’m currently moving towards is that each app should probably contain its own stack, with a separate repo for deploying shared layers like the database. Should a microservice architecture be sharing a database? Don’t know. Should the infrastructure be versioned separate to the application, or should the whole lot have one version? Is an infrastructure change ever a breaking change? Don’t know that either.

Lots of questions team, lots of questions, and not too many answers yet. But some interesting threads to pull on and some interesting work to do that’s going to give a lot of people one fewer headache.

The team is interesting. Three developers, all of us at different levels, and all of us struggling with different things. For me, I can already feel myself struggling not to do the glue work and I couldn’t help doing some upward coaching with my line manager. At the same time, I think if I put in the effort I’ve got the support to implement really good engineering practices and raise the bar. I also think we’re fully three-quarters of the entire engineering community in the entire unit, which is kind of exciting. There’s a kind of startup feel to it – by which I mean there’s a whole load of technical debt, more work than we can handle, and a genuine feeling in the team that we’re building something that matters. It’s going to be really, really cool.

Emails went out this week for the CS LGBTQ+ network’s mentoring scheme. At the same time, I put the finishing touches to some changes to the system. I’m genuinely absurdly proud of this. I think there are maybe one or two areas it could be improved but this is the first library I’ve ever published and I’m really incredibly proud of myself. It’s got a really good changelog, even if it is missing a few patch versions. The web interface is going to be really challenging to generalise, but it looks fantastic and it works. It really works.

It’s weird. This is a space I’ve been working on for so long. I’ve been working on this problem for as long as I’ve been employed in the digital space. I sat down and worked out that, assuming we get the numbers we’re expecting, I’ll have reduced processing time by 99.9%: from 25 hours to 97 seconds.

I just think that’s neat.

A little while back I tweeted about the journey I’ve been on to get this working, in production, to help solve real problems. People were very nice about it.

I am so lucky to be able to do this alongside my job, and apply what I’ve learned to my job, and take the things I learn in my job back to this service. It’s astonishing.

Anyway. At the end I said I was hopeful I could apply this to the Fast Stream, because that’s where this idea started. I’ve not looked at the news today, so I can only hope that that opportunity is just around the corner…

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