Tower of Babel

I’m a month into my first job as a developer, and I’m beginning to learn the language–not the programming language, but the company language.

In my first weeks, there were so many new terms being thrown around that I felt like a Martian at a UN meeting. There are at least 50 languages spoken here, and it’s very difficult to tell which language a word belongs to, when everyone keeps mixing them together.

First, there are the programming languages: a steam pot full of Ruby, Java, HTML, CSS, and Javascript.

Then, there’s the company-specific language: application names that have nicknames for their nicknames, department names that sound like people names, computer names that sound like band names, people names that sound like computer names, and acronyms for BLOODY EVERYTHING.

There are a Lori and a Dori, neither of which are human. There are a Toddy and a Will, both of which are human, neither of which uses the name reflected by his email address.

There are 3,000 Johns and so far all of them are human. I am, however, working from a very small sample size. It’s quite possible that non-human Johns will be discovered with further analysis.

There are a Puppet and a Jenkins, which could have been humans or computers or bands or departments, but are in fact, tools that Google could have explained to me.

I would try to document these things for the next new dev, but even as I speak, Loris and Johns are being replaced by newer, more abstract acronyms.

I guess it’s every MAN for herself. (MAN’s a department, right?)

6 thoughts on “Tower of Babel

  1. Take a deep breath and remember you’re still in the middle of your 6 month grace period, LOL. Seriously though, thanks for writing about your job adventures. It helps people like me know what to expect going into the tech industry.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. My brother, who has been in the industry for almost two decades, was just talking about this the other day! He feels like employers don’t spend enough time training on their specific implementations and patterns, instead just relying on people to pick it up. I ran into something like that in my time as an electrician. Beyond the industry lingo, each crew had their own quirks and habits. It is interesting to see how some things cut across different disciplines!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve definitely seen it in other industries too. I would say the biggest difference is that in this industry, it’s hard to tell what things are company-specific and what things are technology-specific. I’m always asking myself, “Is this a term I should already know?” I have this fear that the term will turn out to be, for example, a common Bash command or an application that any experienced developer would know about.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh yeah! I think that really comes with being partially self-taught too! I learned electrical work hands-on from my dad. By the time I struck out on my own, I had a pretty thorough understanding of it, but I was always afraid I would say something stupid to one of the “real” tradesmen and ruin my reputation forever! From what I understand, even industry vets feel like they are always on the verge of saying something profoundly dumb about their field, so it’s not just us neophytes!

        Liked by 1 person

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