20 Signs of a Bad Software Company for a Programmer

If you see more than a few of these things happening at your company, it is probably not the greatest place for a programmer to work for.

1. Everyone codes on Windows

2. No-one uses Emacs or Vim

3. Managers don’t understand why someone needs a big monitor

4. Hardware is outdated

5. If looking at code makes you want to vomit

6. You are paid for your presence not for your productivity

7. Multiple manual steps are required to build the software

8. Agile zealots roam freely

9. Company does not provide good benefits, because they actually cost money for the company

10. Innovation is almost impossible because of rigorous processes

11. The office is empty after 5 p.m.

12. People complain, if you play video games during the day, but not if you smoke cigarettes

13. Every team has to reinvent the wheel, because sharing code inside the company is very difficult

14. Estimates are not treated as estimates

15. Multiple meetings every week

16. Every class has a one or more patterns in its name

17. CEO has never programmed

18. You don’t have to write any code in the job interview

19. Using one tool for everything

20. Not realizing that people are the most important resource for the company

How many are true at your company?

0: You are one of the lucky ones
1-3: Not bad, you could be doing a lot worse
4-6: As long as they pay you enough, you can take it
7-9: Maybe you should start updating your resume
10-12: Life is too short to work there
13-16: You want scream your lungs out
17-20: Run and don’t look back!

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19 Comments

  1. I guess the whole list can be condensed into a single term: “code monkey attitude”. If programmers are seen simply as resources, the company is definitely doing something wrong.

    I’ve personally experienced many of these (uni env, must have gotten unlucky or something…). It’s really stifling to work in a bad environment.

  2. Egbert says:

    By putting down your personal preference for OS and editor as the first two items, you undermined the whole point of an otherwise nice story. It screams “watch out! uncooperative linux zealot here!”

  3. Naicigam says:

    21. You have partners acting as religious people telling you what platform and in what env you must work with to be “like them”.

  4. @Egbert You couldn’t be more wrong. It screams “watch out! uncooperative mac zealot here!”

  5. Andy Patel says:

    This site needs a “like” button for posts such as this.

    10/10

  6. Juhapekka Piiroinen says:

    Excellent post and i have to agree that your list covered the reasons why I have changed the job few times. =P

    But I think that one big point which was missing was the “lack of trust to the people in charge of the company” or “continues strategy and organization changes”.

    As in, if the company changes it’s organization structure and strategy each year, then it seems that the people in charge does not know what they want or what do they need to do. They are just using the 8-ball to make some kind of decisions to gain more personal benefits, or just playing poker with the resources. On the other hand, if there are no balls in the game, it usually means that the company is unable to make the required adjustments in-time/asap as they distribute the changes for a longer period of time, and hopes for a miracle.

    Anyway, the result for me was 0. :p

  7. I agree with Juhapekka, however, the reasons you gave, makes the company bad for everyone, not just for the programmers. It’s nice to hear that the result for you is 0 at the moment :)

    If the company doesn’t have a clear vision or values that it holds on to, it will look like they are actually using a magic ball to make the decisions. I really like the book “Built to Last” by Jim Collins. It opened my eyes why company values are actually important.

  8. Igotit says:

    If anyone uses Eclipse and has the problem No.3, I recommend you a plug-in: Easy Middle Button ( http://aodaren.com/easy-middle-button/ ) ^_^

  9. Roads Wilson says:

    Hi,,,

    Its very useful information which guide me to realized that its basically done from the lack of trust to employees.
    Roads Wilson
    Flash Player Crash

    Thanks

  10. ap says:

    Everything else makes sense, except

    11. The office is empty after 5 p.m.

    Perhaps I’m reading this wrong, but it seems you’re suggesting that programmers should typically do overtime. That’s absolutely wrong. If anything, they should work less than the typical 7 hours a day, as their performance demonstrably goes down after that.

  11. Hi…

    Great post and really very informative this is fact with this world.Thanks

  12. Fandi says:

    Veeeerrryyyy Funnyyy…
    LOL… I Like this very much…
    The “Run and don’t look back” kinda make me ROFL

  13. Software says:

    Great post. I like it! :)

  14. Jojo says:

    I know a software company called Maxwell Guider Technology in Taiwan which is really bad design capability and most importantly they are unwillingness to commit after 9 months software development delay, Poor Customer Service for ask for extra money to finish the program, like a highjacker, good luck if you choose them

  15. Winstone Wolf says:

    usually, the companies for which we provide Consulting Services score 21 out of the 20 Points possible…

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