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Discussion on: Describe the worst coding culture you've been a part of

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Gabriel

On my previous job (2016), I was an intern software analyst working for a very big and important bank (as a contractor). Our team had to deliver software to process a big set of anarchic input data given in files and translate it to something that a risk calculator processor could understand.

Basically, there were two main parts: a Java 1.5 application that performed some mapping over files and a batch process that launched scripts in a certain order to make more changes to those files.

The version control system was ClearCase from IBM. But nobody really trusted it / knew how to use it. Instead, the best way to get the latest version, as suggested by the most expert dev there, was: connect to Production via SSH using (illegal) login details and (with the utmost carefulness) download the jar to your machine.

The production jar contained both the compiled code and a zip with the full source code. Once you decompress it the nightmare begins: a copy/paste, full of hard-coded values, encapsulation-free, with magic strings code. No less than 60 developers may have made changes to that code in the 10 years or so it was there.

It worked so well, that running it twice with the exact same input data resulted in different values at the decimal level (which was justified as concurrent issues to the client).

Now, for the script part, we had scripts dated on 2002, coded in KSH for an even older Solaris system (That is how I learned why learning UNIX is the best investment any dev can make. It will always be there!).

We had to translate those scripts to a much newer, faster and cutting-edge language: Perl. I felt like a cool techie when I learned it (ha-ha it was already old!).

And, on top of all that, my salary was barely higher than the suit I had to wear. While other contractors went there with t-shirts.