Learning From The Best And Definitely Avoiding The Rest

Dr Stuart Woolley
CodeX
Published in
6 min readJun 11, 2024

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Taking a not so random walk down memory lane, and learning some valuable lessons along the way.

“Image generated using OpenAI’s DALL·E.”

I’ve met an awful lot of different people during my long, and rather accidental, tenure in the Grand Game of Software Engineering.

Some of them have been inspiring, like when I sat in an office near the guy that was writing parts of Presentation Manager in OS/2¹. He told me to go contracting as soon as possible after I graduated and “work my balls off” for the first few years. So, I did².

Lesson #1 — Chuck yourself in at the deep end.

Sure, it’ll hurt at first. You’ll definitely panic, your imposter syndrome will go to DEFCON 1, but once you’ve done it a few times you know you’ll get through it, you know that things get better, and you’ll become harder, more resilient, and astronomically more resourceful as a result.

You’ll also develop an outer shell of protection against the opposing players in the Game, something that’ll serve you for all the time you’re playing.

And, don’t forget, contracting gains you valuable experience at 10x normal speed and gives +4 to cynicism, sarcasm, and passive aggressivenes. Oh, and lots more money than the permanent staff — particularly the managers.

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Dr Stuart Woolley
CodeX

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