Management Isn’t a Bad Word

I have worked as a software developer for different people, with different styles, and different goals. I’ve loved managers, hated managers, and everything in between. I grew to be cynical about managers and the word “management”. The idea of a person who was a “manager” of programmers-as-people became somehow a role fraught with danger, both for the people who would report to the manager, and to the person in the role – who surely was a respectable person before taking the mantle. The concept of a manager seemed one to distrust. I’d say that this feeling is prevalent among software developers.

In November and December of 2016, I had the pleasure and honor of stepping in as the Interim Director of Engineering for Springbuk. I was sending myself into danger, knowingly! I thought that my experience co-directing Fretless, and leading community groups like Indy Hackers and Indy.rb, would provide the knowledge I’d need to step up and perform the role well. After all, I had been working with the Springbuk team for 10 months in a senior developer type role. No sweat, right?

Wrong. Surprisingly wrong! Up until then, I did not appreciate the pressure of being a manager. Being the boss of a team of 10 or so at a startup that is trying to move quickly, satisfy customers, please investors, etc. involved doing much I had never done previously. In fact, they were probably two of the most stressful months of my life. I learned a ton, as well as put myself on a path to learn more. I want to share my experience, what I have learned so far, and the resources that have put me on the path to learning much more.

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Reasons I Like JS Again: ES6

keep-calm-and-hate-javascriptI hated JavaScript. (See my last post.) Hated it – even as my colleagues at Fretless, Davey and Dave, wrote copious amounts of the stuff using various frameworks, and then began teaching week-long JavaScript bootcamps at ElevenFifty.

Oh, I still wrote it, but I wrote it with the attitude of a king condescending to shake hands with his lowliest of subjects. Instead of donning a royal glove, I clothed myself in sneers and vitriol. When Andrew, David, and Missy at OurHealth asked that I stop adding CoffeeScript files to their project, I managed to merely frown. (And then I went to Vim and converted the piece of code I was writing to plain-ol’ JS. Hey, man. Sometimes you appease those with whom you are working on a project. It’s the right, respectful thing to do. … I do think I left one .coffee file in there for them to remember me by.)

Thankfully, JavaScript, the language, receives updates and improvements, much as any other active software project. This June we’ll see the latest release of ECMAScript, the standardized language of which JavaScript is an implementation. It is called ECMAScript 6, ES6, or ES2015. It features what I see as vast improvements to the language. Though much maligning of JavaScript is due to misunderstanding, its current standard still suffers prominent warts that make every day use of the language frustrating for many. ES6 eliminates many of those frustrations, making JS more enjoyable for every day use.

I’m excited to tell you about some of the new features.

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