Good Boss!

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#1 depricated  Icon User is offline

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Good Boss!

Post icon  Posted 13 December 2012 - 06:11 AM

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[edit: this might belong in the Corner Cubicle rather than Caffeine Lounge...sorry if so]

So I thought I'd share this, see if anyone wants to share their own experience.

In September I was hired on to my first full-time programming job. I'm the only developer on my team, and I'm to work with my boss (who isn't a programmer, really) to build/expand/maintain a custom application for the team. He had a shell of it built in Access just using the built-in forms and queries tools, and I was to take what existed there and expand on it. So I dove in to the VBA and started using it to do things like access Outlook, etc. Still, it was just VBA and I wasn't that excited.

About a month ago we sat and discussed where to take the program moving forward. I brought up the idea of making it a full on application and not just an extension of Access, and of using SQL instead of Access. And he's gone with it!

So this week we got Visual Studios set up and I'm starting on a full rewrite of the application into VB.NET. He intends to try to learn some so he can help out, so VB it is. We're still working on the SQL license (corporate paperwork and all that) but that should just be a matter of time.

So I'm excited, I think it's awesome that he has listened to my thoughts, even when he understands that he doesn't know what he's getting in to. In the past, and granted not working in a development capacity, when I've brought up changes in technology I've only been shot down.

What kind of experiences does everyone else have with situations like this? Have you had bosses who would honestly listen to you and weigh your opinion, or bosses who refused to listen to ideas for such change? In my experience, guys like this are rare in the general IT world.

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#2 DarenR  Icon User is offline

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Re: Good Boss!

Posted 13 December 2012 - 06:17 AM

unfortunately the bigger the company the harder it will be to make changes.

My compnay uses tables on all their web pages which drives me nuts and I have been trying to get rid of them for 2 years now. Everytime I make a web page, I go and look at it a few days later and someone has taken all my code and put it in tables. I once asked why they did this and they said they didn't know any other way. So I said, "dude tyou have been coding for 15 years and your stuck in a rut and should learn clean coding styles" They have ignored me and still do.

Just wait until you work for a company who doesn't comment any code and then they tell you it is important to comment the code... you will be like "wtf"


I am happy for you that someone listened to your idea wtg
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#3 darek9576  Icon User is offline

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Re: Good Boss!

Posted 13 December 2012 - 07:19 AM

@depricated - if you are the only developer in the team and it is your first programming gig, then i must say you are very brave. I do not think i would go to a company where i don't have opportunity to learn from others when having limited experience and all responsibility is on me from day one.
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#4 AnalyticLunatic  Icon User is offline

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Re: Good Boss!

Posted 13 December 2012 - 07:40 AM

Congrats on implementing change.

My Story, if anyone cares:

Spoiler


TL;DR: Ramblings of why I loved my Analyst position and it's Finals week so apologies for the wall of text.

For me it's really the little things that make a good boss.
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#5 depricated  Icon User is offline

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Re: Good Boss!

Posted 13 December 2012 - 09:19 AM

View Postdarek9576, on 13 December 2012 - 07:19 AM, said:

@depricated - if you are the only developer in the team and it is your first programming gig, then i must say you are very brave. I do not think i would go to a company where i don't have opportunity to learn from others when having limited experience and all responsibility is on me from day one.

Thanks :) I was very clear in the interview that I don't have experience and would be refining as I went - I didn't exaggerate my skills (and they haven't been disappointed in the least). They're ok with that. There's also a team of programmers I can go to if I really need a hand, and of course here. I would love the opportunity to learn from coworkers though, and one thing we discussed was possibly moving me onto a team in the future where I could do just that. I'm not the only developer here, just the only one on this particular project. So far it's running in production quite well, the next iteration is ready to roll out next week, and in the mean time I'm building the .NET version before we begin the next(and hopefully last) iteration of the VBA version.

All in all, as of this week I am where I've been trying to get to for years. It's...kind of intoxicating. It's not my end goal by any means, but it's the start I've been trying for.
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#6 Curtis Rutland  Icon User is online

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Re: Good Boss!

Posted 13 December 2012 - 09:35 AM

I have two great bosses. They're both technical, since they both used to be programmers (my supervisor only recently stopped programming in favor of managing, my manager is a little further removed, but still excellent technical knowledge), so convincing them of programming realities takes no effort; they automatically "get it". They're also willing to use bleeding-edge technology; for one project we were using ASP.NET MVC 4 while it was still beta (since we knew it would go gold before the project would). It's just a joy to work for them.
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#7 gregwhitworth  Icon User is offline

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Re: Good Boss!

Posted 13 December 2012 - 09:49 AM

I've had all sides, I started working for a small web firm as a web designer and front end coder and wanted to start working on server side stuff and she said that I didn't have the right type of brain to do it. She was very compartmentalized and thought if you designed you couldn't code, and if you code you can't design (it wasn't merely based on job roles as there would be time I would have nothing to do and would show her server side code I was working on to no avail).

Then I worked for an ad agency which really let me make all the decisions as far as technologies were concerned because they had no idea in this matter, which was great, but was also a detriment because I ended up having to be an all-in-one (server manager, graphic designer, front end, back end). And then the worst part is they would create deadlines for projects that were completely unrealistic because they didn't understand what it took to accomplish the task.

Now I work for a large corporation managing all of their online and internal web stuff. I am no longer a one man show but it is taking a while to get used to the corporate security and other process stuff.

I am excited to hear that you have indeed gotten a boss that respects your knowledge and gives you the keys to make things happen. Good luck on your project!
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#8 farrell2k  Icon User is online

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Re: Good Boss!

Posted 13 December 2012 - 10:18 AM

View Postdepricated, on 13 December 2012 - 01:11 PM, said:

About a month ago we sat and discussed where to take the program moving forward. I brought up the idea of making it a full on application and not just an extension of Access, and of using SQL instead of Access. And he's gone with it!

So this week we got Visual Studios set up and I'm starting on a full rewrite of the application into VB.NET. He intends to try to learn some so he can help out, so VB it is. We're still working on the SQL license (corporate paperwork and all that) but that should just be a matter of time.


Congratulations. Hopefully, a raise is coming your way. :)

Are you guys using MSSQL? I can tell you that if you're using MySql you absolutely do not need a commercial license for an internal application like this.
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#9 depricated  Icon User is offline

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Re: Good Boss!

Posted 13 December 2012 - 10:49 AM

View PostCurtis Rutland, on 13 December 2012 - 09:35 AM, said:

I have two great bosses. They're both technical, since they both used to be programmers (my supervisor only recently stopped programming in favor of managing, my manager is a little further removed, but still excellent technical knowledge), so convincing them of programming realities takes no effort; they automatically "get it". They're also willing to use bleeding-edge technology; for one project we were using ASP.NET MVC 4 while it was still beta (since we knew it would go gold before the project would). It's just a joy to work for them.

This is how I'm hoping things go for me. My boss is former military field communications specialist, no background in programming really but he is very technically minded and very open to ideas. I appreciate that about him, two great qualities that seem hard to find.

View Postgregwhitworth, on 13 December 2012 - 09:49 AM, said:

Now I work for a large corporation managing all of their online and internal web stuff. I am no longer a one man show but it is taking a while to get used to the corporate security and other process stuff.

I am excited to hear that you have indeed gotten a boss that respects your knowledge and gives you the keys to make things happen. Good luck on your project!
How is the corporate stuff, do you often run in to roadblocks when you want to implement something?

View Postfarrell2k, on 13 December 2012 - 10:18 AM, said:

Congratulations. Hopefully, a raise is coming your way. :)/>

Are you guys using MSSQL? I can tell you that if you're using MySql you absolutely do not need a commercial license for an internal application like this.

Thanks :) The company already has a corporate MSSQL license, it's just a matter of us getting approval to set up on a server and use it.
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#10 h4nnib4l  Icon User is offline

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Re: Good Boss!

Posted 13 December 2012 - 12:09 PM

Having a boss who is a good software engineer is awesome. My boss will always err on the side of good architecture and solving problems the "right" way, no matter who he has to tell to wait. He's always up on the latest stuff; even if he doesn't have the time or inclination to learn the latest, we don't even have to ask if we can move on because he actually expects it. He doesn't pay attention to the hours we keep as long as we finish our work, he is adamant that we constantly learn and improve (even if that means we eventually outgrow our positions/the company), and guarantees that the company will pay for at least one professional training or event per year. I couldn't have scripted a better place/position/boss for my first job, but that makes it tough, too. I don't want to stay in the area, the company doesn't have an office where I want to go, but I'd bet a paycheck that I'll be worse off at another company, with another boss. I guess that's a pretty okay problem to have, though.
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#11 supersloth  Icon User is offline

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Re: Good Boss!

Posted 13 December 2012 - 12:17 PM

eh, sometimes. i had a boss who had made the move from programming to management right before i joined the staff and he was QUITE the micromanager and liked things done his own very weird way. i've also had bosses who didn't know shit technically but always listened and had their employees backs. i think the management style of the boss is way more important than their own technical skillset. (though, if they are naturally a good manager, knowing the tech side is obviously a huge positive)
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#12 magius96  Icon User is offline

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Re: Good Boss!

Posted 13 December 2012 - 12:37 PM

I've had both types of managers, and I must say my favorite type is the one who has your back. Right now I have a manager who's always got my back, and does know a bit about programming. She was actually my C# programming professor in college.
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#13 Craig328  Icon User is offline

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Re: Good Boss!

Posted 13 December 2012 - 06:52 PM

I've had the fortunate experience to work for two knowledgeable bosses as well as a host of idiots. The two I liked I liked for different reasons. The first one was early in my career and he taught me the foundation of what I use today. He's the one who made it clear that there's always more than one way to skin a cat. The other good one was more recently and he pretty much let me do whatever I needed to do to get the job done.

Those two, unfortunately in my experience, are rather rare. The rest were all sorts of wrong. Non-technical owners of small firms. Guys who thought they knew what they were doing but were little more than effing idiots who spent their days trying to come up with ways to justify their existence to their bosses. Guys who micromanaged every single detail to the point they may as well have done the coding themselves. And then I've worked for two out and out criminals.

My experience has led me to prefer working contract with very strict terms. I'm simply at the point where I don't believe practically anything anyone says in a superior capacity. I'll do what I'm told, code what I'm told and hit deadlines with competent work. It's gotten to the point that if I'm given instructions via a telephone call, I immediately summarize my understanding of the content of the call in an email, define the work, state the expected deadline with a mandatory blurb of something like "this is what I'll be doing per your instructions so advise me if you disagree or I misunderstood". I don't let anything vague pass as work orders anymore. I've known people who I later figured out were always deliberately vague so they could have argument wiggle room later. Basically: people who plan to have acrimony in advance and actually actively create it (for what constructive purpose, I have no idea).

Point being: good for the OP for his experience. Cherish it. It's rare. The jobs where you're allowed to do your job and not get mired in chickenshit, soap opera BS are not as common as we'd all like.

This post has been edited by Craig328: 13 December 2012 - 06:53 PM

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#14 Robin19  Icon User is offline

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Re: Good Boss!

Posted 14 December 2012 - 06:16 AM

View Postdarek9576, on 13 December 2012 - 08:19 AM, said:

@depricated - if you are the only developer in the team and it is your first programming gig, then i must say you are very brave. I do not think i would go to a company where i don't have opportunity to learn from others when having limited experience and all responsibility is on me from day one.

That is also my situation. This is my first IT job. I've been here for almost three years now. The other employees (including my boss) got networking degrees and have learned "programming" (mostly VB script stuff) on the job. They decided to hire someone (me) backwards. I have a programming degree and have had to learn networking on the fly. It's not all their fault, the ERP proprietary language is horrid. I'm the only one that doesn't fill my code with GOTO commands.

But I like working for my boss. He lets me work on my own to solve problems. He also isn't dogmatic about solutions. I'm free to use whatever I want. I came into the job with some classes in VB, Java, and C++. We have a mission critical application of mine in daily use that uses WPF C#. He let me expense a book on C# and a book on WPF because I recommended writing the program in a language we hadn't used before.

Shortly after I was hired he detailed a problem they were having. The factory workers want the engineers to view the information on their HMI for later use. So the workers would use the Print Screen feature on the box to make a physical print out of the screen. Inevitably these would be lost over time so it was hard for the engineers to go back and view them again. It also wasted paper and ink. He thought a digital solution would work better. Two weeks later I had finished my VB app. A shortcut to he app is placed on the desktop and a shortcut key is made for it. When the user presses the key combination my program saves an image of the screen to network folder listed in the registry. When I showed this to my boss he was shocked. He admitted he was thinking of searching online for software to buy that would meet our needs. He was hoping I would find something for less than $500, so free was a great price for him.
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#15 magius96  Icon User is offline

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Re: Good Boss!

Posted 17 December 2012 - 10:29 AM

View PostRobin19, on 14 December 2012 - 08:16 AM, said:

Two weeks later I had finished my VB app. A shortcut to he app is placed on the desktop and a shortcut key is made for it. When the user presses the key combination my program saves an image of the screen to network folder listed in the registry. When I showed this to my boss he was shocked. He admitted he was thinking of searching online for software to buy that would meet our needs. He was hoping I would find something for less than $500, so free was a great price for him.


I have a technical problem with what you said...According to your own statement, it took you two weeks to code this new solution. If you earn $10 per hour that means your boss actually spend about $800 for your solution. I point that out because in my position it is expected that I will spend one hour researching possible solutions, then compare the cost of purchasing one against the cost of me developing one. Two weeks of development for me would have actually meant the company spent over $2000 on the solution when there were hundreds of other projects that could have been completed instead.
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