S10E03:

This week I’ve done DNS training, presented my mentor programme software, and I read the decision that overturns a half-century of legal precedence in the United States. My unqualified opinion is that it’s weak shit. To other queer folk: they’re absolutely coming for us next. It’s not going to stop just because there’s an ocean in the way.

But let’s talk about my week!!!

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I presented my mentor programme software to a group of interested folks from across the public sector. The hard work has mostly wound down now. I think it’s feature complete now, and I’m already working on a neat extension to let users take advantage of notification software like gov.uk/notify or something AWS-flavoured or whatever the young folks are using these days.

The feedback was generally pretty positive, and I recorded it for folks who couldn’t make it. I’m going to release that on Wednesday – I’d like to do some edits and see if my second performance was any better. Reflecting on the video, I need to be better at telling folks where the software actually lives, but also at demonstrating the power of the software. At the moment I do a run-through, but what that actually looks like is me clicking “Upload files”, some files being uploaded, the system thinking for ten seconds, and then me downloading some files. I might bring back/repurpose the demo grid I made when I was convinced this would be used for the Fast Stream and get people to try to beat the computer, or send round the sample data beforehand and see if anyone can even come up with a solution. I dunno, at the moment it feels like that time when the Queen pulled a lever to start transferring electricity to the National Grid and a clock went ‘dink’. There is so much energy and complex machinery happening underneath, and I want people to get that – but maybe that’s just because I built it.

Thoughts, please.


A role has come up at work. I’m only five weeks in and already I want a new role. Well, not really. I’ve wanted a more senior role for ages and I think I made the wrong decision in taking this one. Well, not really. I made the only call I was going to make, me being me and me being in the situation I was in. All I can do now is review my situation and make the next, best possible, decision.

The worst thing about this is that I really like my team. The work we’re doing is great. The things we’re building are proper complicated with all kinds of technical challenges. And I think if I wanted, I could ask for the things I think I’m lacking at the moment – line management, more stretch, more of the wider view.

But then I’d also like to get paid an appropriate sum to do those things. A friend of mine, a comedian, says that she says no to things, that she sets boundaries, because she can – so that the next person, who doesn’t have that luxury, will nonetheless be protected by those same boundaries. It’s the same thing for me. Just because I can do this work on the cheap, I shouldn’t. It’s not helping my fellow workers, particularly those from under-represented groups.

And so my choices are to just put up with it, and find the joy – because there is joy in lots of things that we’re doing! – or to make the move. And feel crappy about it for a bit.

Yup. Yup, them’s my choices. Damn. I was really hoping another one would present itself as I wrote.


A minor gripe now. I was approached the other day by a recruiter for a large tech company. Their hiring process is basically the same as my current role, but the pay is almost double, and the work is equally challenging. I told the recruiter I was turning it down because of the recruitment process, and that’s mostly true. I’ve been working in the open for almost a decade. I admit I’ve only got one library published on PyPi, and reading through the changelog and readme of any project that’s not your own is boring.

But I’m convinced that the best way to examine my capability, as a developer, is by looking at the things I have built when I’ve had time, and focus, and no distractions. Look at them! This the quality of code you can expect!

Whereas what was being asked was three random coding tasks in 45 minutes. Is that how we work now? Two week timeboxes have been reduced to 45 minutes because of cutbacks? The amount of money this company was willing to gamble on me, and they refused point-blank to look at the actual code I had actually written in actually comparable contexts. I can’t understand it. If you wanted a portrait painted and your assessment process was “Draw me a dog in fifteen minutes” rather than a portfolio review people would rightly think you were completely mad.

Anyway. Please stop asking folks to do whiteboard tests. It’s very silly.

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