Ylan Segal

The REPL: Issue 60 - August 2019

Issue 60! I’ve been posting my favorite links to tech articles every month for the last 5 years! I’ve linked to 163 in that time (not including the links in this post). And, now that I am looking back… I realize that I’ve made a mistake and I re-used #53 for the 2018-12 and 2019-12 issues. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Engineers Don’t Solve Problems

This article by Dean Chahim is not about software engineering or computer science. It’s about Mexico City’s infrastructure and the decades-long battle to prevent flooding in the city. The article stroke a chord with me: Mexico City is my home town, it’s where I went to University to obtain my degree in Civil Engineering. The article illustrates how engineers make trade-offs that might have far-reaching consequences, and are not immune from political and socio-economic influence. There are lessons there for all engineers.

How to Build Good Software

Software has characteristics that make it hard to build with traditional management techniques; effective development requires a different, more exploratory and iterative approach.

Li Hongyi writes a thoughtful article on why software projects are not the same as other engineering projects, and require different management techniques. Successful software projects are very iterative and oscillate between cycles discovery and consolidation.

Arcs of Seniority

Stevan Popovic breaks down engineering seniority into a few factors: Independence, authority, Design, and Influence. During once career each of these develops in an engineer, and mark different types of seniority. As expected, not everyone reaches the same maturity in all factors at once. Each senior engineer has it’s own mix. The illustrations on the articles are particularly helpful.