5 Things That Actually Scare Developers (and One That Does Not)

As a developer, you may feel yourself somewhat distanced from the global hustle and bustle. After all, you live in a world that's logical. A world, where even the most wicked things can ultimately be debugged and where emotions are more or less unnecessary unless you want to blow off some steam.

Still, it's Halloween. While you may walk the world unimpressed and slightly annoyed by all the pale-faced ghouls, blood-stained zombies and sexy witches bringing more chaos to the streets, don't you wonder what it is that drives the people in costumes? Don't you start feeling the smallest of cravings to feel creeped out and sync with the emotional landscape of this day? Don't you get a strange, unexplainable yearning to feel chills running down your spine and get a good, proper scare?

Read on because we are developers here. We know the Undead are among your favorite races to play. That's not scary! Oh, but these five…

5 Things That Really Scare Developers

1. The Great Wizard of QAz

You feel great, full of motivation, energy and determination because you have just successfully finished a complicated, important and urgent task. Your code works brilliantly and sizzles, and you feel really proud. But then the QA comes by in a casual stroll and says in (what seems to you) a vicious, cruel voice, “Could you come here for a second…”

2. Oooh, what does this button do?

You're handling support tickets today, bravely manning the flanks, taking care of the rear and advancing the avant garde. It's early afternoon, just before you take your second cup of coffee. You're thinking, "I'm starting to feel a little cranky. I'll read just one more ticket and go get my espresso." Then you open the ticket that reads something like this: "Hi! Installed [your product] and I have no idea what to do with [some run-of-the-mill feature]. Can you send me an example of how to implement [feature] in an enterprise finance application using the [framework] for [language] with [RDBMS]? Thanks!" 

Did your heart skip a few beats yet? Very well! This will be one jolly good Halloween. Read on.

3. The Day that shall not be named

You work hard day after day closing major features and small tasks with finesse, taking strange people's advice when things get twisted in the name of progress, reaching new peaks of coding wizardry, when one morning you wake up with a funny feeling. Your mouth is a little drier, your heart beats a little louder and you feel uneasy closing in on your desk. What is that?! Then you see a flashing light on screen – your team lead is writing to you. A piercing sensation goes through you head as you intuit what's creeping around the corner. She's writing to say the deadline is tomorrow. Are you ready?

4. He may as well be Dormammu

There's one particular type of human that you are simply mystified by. He rarely appears to you during the day, but at night you're sure he does something dark and twisted (after all, no one has a good reason to smile so cheerfully every time you meet). You live your life largely undisturbed by creatures of this sort. You code, you chat, you read SlashDot, then suddenly one of their kind materializes behind your screen. "Hey! You know you mentioned how you were working on this interesting project last week? Well, it definitely sounds like there’s an article behind this, and the blog would really benefit from such a piece. Could you write something? Yes? Thank you so much!" Having to write words. Words!

5. You'd rather read an entire AMA (down to the 197th comment of the 94th question)

This great big feature has stopped working in the latest release. The guy who wrote it no longer works for the company. You get a special visit by your team lead's team lead. That's when you know things are dead serious. "We need you on this," he says. "Here's Draco's code. We never convinced him it was a good idea to comment his code. I'm sure it will take you no more than a day or two." You've never felt so alone.

And One Thing That Doesn’t

When it comes to making mistakes, developers are ahead of the game. The general wisdom goes “Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, they are inseparable from success.” Coding is often a venture into the unknown. Every developer knows and has long learned to expect that the code he/she writes is bound to have some bugs, which will show their dreadful faces sooner or later. That’s a fact of life, much like the sun setting and hops fermenting. Developers are not afraid of mistakes.

So, take your scariest blunders and go roam the streets scaring laypeople with your pet mistakes. That should brighten everyone’s mood. And while you’re at it, you’re very welcome to share them with all of us on Twitter using our Halloween hashtag #scarycode @telerik.

And if this article got to you, forward it to a friend to give them the holiday creeps, too. Happy Halloween!

Recommended scary movies for developers:

  • Deployment on Friday (the 13th)
  • A Nightmare on Bug Report Street
  • I Know What You Did Last Check-In
  • The Conjuring: Closing a Bug Report as ‘By Design’

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