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Worries about the future. Way too involved with software. Likes coffee, maths, and . Would prefer to be in academia. SpaceX, Twitter, and Overwatch fan.

We all play the game as jobseekers, but some things really are best left, at least initially, unsaid.

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I’m not sure which is the most stressful situation to be in — interviewing potential employees, or being interviewed as a potential employee.

I’ve written previously about things to watch out for from potential employers, but now it’s time to consider those traits within our software engineering selves that are most likely best left unsaid lest they be misunderstood during interview.

Caveat Emptor

Of course, if you’re old and jaded such as myself or you just have a compulsion to tell the truth, pay…


Arcane in-game methods to retain sanity, boost self-esteem, and not have to quit!

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I don’t know about you, but pretty often the whole entirety of my self-worth is completely and utterly tied up, or fully invested if you prefer, in my work as a software engineer.

Healthy this may not be, for various reasons¹, but it can often be a great source of both inspiration and motivation for getting stuff done.

Naturally, my own personal standards of work are much higher than those I apply to my actual paid work due in part to the ridiculous unrealistic timescales habitually imposed by management and the lack of appetite for spending money by the aforementioned…


Some companies’ ideas are appalling, but others are far closer than you think.

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Video conferencing absolutely sucks, no matter how you try to spin it.

Software implementations currently available are a pitiful range of proprietary incompatible monstrosities that suffer from endless feature bloat, haphazard bug-ridden lethargic cross-platform implementations, and never ending privacy issues.

Bearing that in mind, it’s frankly farcical that any company could suggest that a Comic Sans style metaverse with overbearing nightmarish cartoon avatars are the way forward. Let’s not even consider the privacy implications of having certain companies in charge of even more of your private data¹.


Hooking stuff up? Break out the CLI tools and embrace your legacy!

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In today’s world of software engineering the Python language is in danger of becoming the ubiquitous ‘goto’ language (pun intended) in the multitudinous connections between networked devices.

Some call this the Internet of Things (IoT).
I don’t as I’m Generation X and contrary about acronyms, but YMMV.

Using an interpreted language to do the plumbing isn’t optimal, IMHO.

The CLI tools from the UNIX / Linux world such as grep, awk, sed, tail, cut, et al. can, in most cases, do a far better job.

Quick to develop, reliable in operation, and simple to understand once you grasp the nettle.

Your Docker images will be smaller, your dependcies will disappear, and your reputation as a miracle worker will spread.

Go back to your heritage and understand why those tools are there!


Your working out is way more important than the actual answer.

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Rule #1

If there’s one thing I remember¹ from ‘O’ level maths at secondary school, now very much back in the dim and distant past, it’s Mr Steed² (our maths teacher) stating that immortal rule “always show your working out”.

Indeed, latterly our Pure Mathematics ‘A’ level teacher (Mr Nelson³, if you’re interested) renowned for his happy yet sardonic attitude⁴ would frequently distribute more marks around the page than for the final answer.

(This is somewhat easy to do with calculus, though, as the working out could ‘take you around the…


Tread softly, fellow office dwellers, lest you incur our mighty wrath!

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We’re a delicate tribe us software engineers, and tend to have a number of nuances that set us apart from the rest of society. We have a signature sartorial look, for example, and particularly odd preferences when it comes to food and drink, at least for the most part.

Above all, though, it’s our love of technology for technology’s sake, a love of semantic understanding, a desire to figure things out that really leaves us standing apart somewhat akin to the last ones being picked out for any kind of team based sport at school.

Alas, this love of technology…


It’s about the people, not the machines — they’re usually lovely.

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I’ve been in the game for some time now, having foolishly left academia with the mistaken belief that people in the ‘real world’ would find my learnings useful and pay real cash money for my valuable time.

Ah, the folly of youth.

However, I am a firm believer in what’s done is done and that the past cannot be changed (lest we disturb space-time in strange and horrible ways). …


I think so, but I’m not sure whether it’s entirely desirable to do so.

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Many people are worried about the ramifications of the emergence of true artificial general intelligence¹ — whether it would help us, ignore us, or just destroy us whether knowing it did so or not.

Some people even consider the development of AGI to be impossible.

Let us consider what may happen if it is possible — you have what you think is a promising candidate, so how can you attempt to understand, or perhaps control, its development or evolution.

You might want to attempt to box…


In software engineering using an agency really is your best way of changing jobs — but it can have downsides

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I’m hesitant to say I’m an actual fan of recruitment agencies for many reasons (that I’ll go into shortly) but the things they usually do right are to facilitate the search, process the application, and furnish the mediation processes on getting a new job — whether it’s a contract or permanent position.

Having that layer of insulation between you and a company is a Good Thing as it saves a lot of time (when searching), legwork (when arranging interviews), and heartache (when negotiating salary, terms and conditions, and suchlike).

Indeed, if you’re a contractor, having that layer of insulation is…


Stereotypes exist for a reason, and none more strongly than in the world of computing where your daytime drink really can define you.

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Workers, Clean Your Cups

Let’s just get it out of the way that I’m not going to be talking about alcoholic beverages as that really is a whole other kettle of fish altogether. In fact it’s a whole shady, little known story of where engineers occasionally actually venture out into public (often coerced by project managers, of course) and congregate to talk about new Swift paradigms¹ and how GHz isn’t a true guide to processor speed anymore.

What I am going…

Dr Stuart Woolley

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