Truths they won't tell you about software engineering jobs

I found a lot this is spot on!


It is just like that, and not only in software engineering :slightly_smiling_face:

Yeah, in my electrical engineering days it was the same way. You come out of school thinking you know something when in reality you don’t know shit (yet). I just wish I had had better mentors when I was working as a co-op in the steel mills of Gary, IN. The jobs could have been interesting but my mentors were all crap at providing guidance/advice/interesting tasks. To be fair, it’s not something they were trained for either.

I’ve had much better mentors in the software development side of things. Tried to be a good mentor to my minions as well but probably failed on many levels.


Do you mind sharing where you went to school?

Way back when I don’t think there were many schools with Co-Op. Back when I was an undergrad I remember of hearing of 2 :
Notheastern (where I went) and Drexel.

  • Karen

Sure, I went to Illinois institute of Technology in Chicago. It was (and still is) a small private engineering school. Co-op wasn’t huge but it was the only way I got through since it allowed me to earn some money during the work semesters. Without that I’d have had to transfer to a significantly cheaper school.

The steel mills were past their heyday (this was the very late 80’s) and were using co-op engineers as cheap engineering. So, I suspect that the good engineers had found greener pastures before I arrived. Not that there weren’t some good engineers but I think they were overworked and not equipped to handle 19 to 21 years olds that didn’t know their *ss from a hole in the ground.

But it was good experience even if my mentors sucked. Some great stories of the various mills I worked at (EVERYTHING in the steel mill will kill you with either weight, temperature, speed, or combination of all). And setup up my first real EE job working for a foundry that made train wheels (yeah it’s a real industry!).

Hi Bob,

You keep amazing me, and you are indeed a fascinating man! Maybe you can post about your career on your Substack blog. I am sure it will be an exciting blog like your top-of-the-bill video lessons.

Yeah, no. No one wants to read my CV.

As a EE I worked at:
Steel Mill
Ceiling tile plant
Wall board manufacturing
Railroad Wheels Foundry
Food processing (Quaker Oats and salad dressing)
Food industry machine manufacturer
Auto plant
Precision tool manufacturing
Fueling system for new (at the time) Hong Kong airport
Plate glass manufacturing

I was not a happy as an EE. Too much travel away from home. Crappy hours. Too many hot, dirty, nasty conditions (didn’t touch mayonnaise for years after the food processing job). And because I wasn’t happy I kept job hopping trying to find a job I liked. The part I did like with the jobs was learning how stuff was made/how things are done.

After that I switched over to software development and I can’t even begin to list all the jobs I’ve worked on there as a consultant. Enjoy it to this day. Find it satisfying and rewarding.


Hello Bob,

Wow, that is a lot of jobs you have carried out over the years. Although many of those jobs were unpleasant, each one brought you closer to what you wanted to do.

The ways of life are unfathomable and sometimes take strange turns. Most important is that you finally found your dream job.

I am sure you are very good at everything you do! Like I said before, you are a very versatile man.

Kind Regards,


When I met my wife she was living with her then-teenaged children in Munster, in the shadow of the steel mills … not as hardscrabble as Gary but still an uninspiring place. She came to that area because she got a job as a reporter at the Times, worked her way up from fearlessly walking around the mean streets of Gary on the crime beat and ended up as an investigative reporter specializing in the environment – a rich source of material for that topic there, lol. She has a lot of stories to tell about the mills, too. Her kid’s grandfather worked in them. The first thing I noticed when we moved away from that area was how much more enjoyable the air was to breathe, lol.

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