What do you do?

I don't often met new people and thus question of what I do does not pop up this frequently. But it has been hard to describe what I do to people who are not in the software development community since the first day I started my first job. Normally I just say I am a software developer and that tends to put most people off since they don't understand software at all. To them software is a black box, it is magic, it is voodoo. But every now and then there will be someone who does a bit of Visual Basic Scripting in the office and thinks s/he knows software development. This person would then try to probe deeper about what I actually do. In that situation, I'd have no mercy and just tell the person exactly what I do. 99.99% of the time, eyes would glazed over within 10 seconds and conversation would die as soon as I finish my sentence.


Recently my father-in-law asked me about my current project (via my wife). Note that he is a software project manager so I did not filter/dumb down my response. My reply is below and if you understand what I am talking about, give me a shout; ThoughtWorks is looking for someone like you!

We are developing the build & deploy system for the whole enterprise. That is, a system that allows in-house developers to build their applications and deploy the applications to the machines. Sounds simple but we are also implementing Continuous Integration concept using build servers, trigger off source control checkins. (The main reason ThoughtWorks was brought in as we are known in the industry as build expert, re: CruiseControl)


We are also solving their source and binary dependency problem so applications would be self-contained when they are built, tested, and packaged by the build server. The deployment/install process would allow environment specific properties to be substitute during deploy time so packages can be deployed to multiple environments without going through the build process again. (Build once, deploy everywhere)


Deployment process also includes workflow steps to manage code review/gatekeeper approvals, security audits, and code signing.


All of these are built with extensibility in mind so future technology, such as Ruby, IronPython, can be introduced into the organization via plugins with minimum alteration to the system.


In addition, we are also advising the client on code branching and merging strategy, best development and unit testing practices, dependency management, database upgrades (model and data) using delta scripts, etc.

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It’s a sign!

Wow, double wow! Scott Hanselman is moving to Microsoft! I worked with him very briefly when I was at Corillian and his deep knowledge of the .Net world inspired me to better myself. His fresh perspective on development process make me think about what kind of programmer I wanted to be. He probably won't remember me but thanks Scott!

And it is a sign because hopefully I'll have something to announce myself early next week.

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