Survivorship Bias

I started doing iOS roughly 12 years ago - December 2010. It was the counter-part of a project that I developed in Android first. You can still find screenshots of the app here and here. The code in Android was impossible to maintain. I would call it hot garbage - it was my first professional project. University didn’t prepare me for real life. With strict deadlines, with someone always on top of you, with no safety net. I had no guidance, or mentorship. On my first day at work I was given a laptop, installed Eclipse and an Android plugin and was swiftly throwed to the abyss. The original estimation was of one month - it took 3. From September to the end of November. Back then, there wasn’t nearly as much documentation as we have today. Looking for stuff on Stackoverflow was most of the time pointless. This is the main reason why I started answering people’s questions. In Portuguese we say “tive que partir pedra”, which roughly translates to “I had to break stones”. In my own context, it means that there was a lot of resistance to get things done. The app that I mentioned would take no more than one month and half to get done, with good quality, if I could do it now.

This has influenced the attributes I value. Not just when I view myself as an IC, but also when managing others. I truly value hard work and resilience. These two traits allied with drive and curiosity will make anyone go very far in this industry. Further than natural born talent. I don’t think anyone should go through the same experience I have had. It made my work less enjoyable and stressful. Sure I was working in iOS in 2010, an exciting world-shaping technology. But at the same time I was truly struggling for some guidance. With a good mentor, I could have learned a lot more in less time. This is the reason why we have things like the buddy system. Or why new joiners should spend their first couple of weeks pairing with more experienced engineers. Or why good onboarding documentation pays dividends. There’s a reason these initiatives exist and I doubt that any sensible person would reject them. I wonder how companies in 2022 that don’t have some of these in place survive.