It sounds appealing: someone else does the work and you reap the rewards. In the digital age that “someone” doesn’t even have to be sentient. Automation is not just a powerful tool; it’s the wave of the future. But is there such a thing as too much automation and what happens when the process goes renegade?
Reddit user “FiletOfFish1066”, who was an employee of an unnamed San Francisco tech company, offers a cautionary tale. He spent six years playing the League of Legends video game, exercising and doing anything else he wanted. All of this “hard work” earned him $95,000 per year.
He was able to achieve this earthly paradise by automating all of his quality assurance role tasks during the first eight months on the job.
“In the past 6 years I have maybe done 50 hours of real work. So basically nothing. And nobody really cared. The tests were all running successfully. I had no friends or anything at work either, so nobody ever talked to me except my boss and occasionally the devs for the software I was testing.”
It took the company more than half a decade to catch on, but once they did, FiletOfFish1066 was fired. He left the firm with $200,000 in savings (due to frugal living) and a video game addiction. But his use of renegade IT automation cost him one important thing: during his tenure as resident-gamer, Filet forgot how to code. Now, as he searches for new opportunities, he finds himself lacking the marketable skills he once possessed.
Based on his comments from his now-deleted Reddit account, Filet seems to be remorseful. He now aims to re-learn everything he has forgotten and hopes to find another job where he won’t succumb to renegade IT automation.
True, I am a major proponent of automating the development process. I even co-founded DBmaestro, which offers a tool for database deployment automation. But when you’re dealing with automation, it’s still important to actively monitor your tasks and not just sit back idly.
If you aren’t managing your work in a well-structured framework, you risk repeating Fillet’s mistake à la renegade IT automation.
What do you think? Did FiletOfFish1066 get what he deserved or is he the poster boy for a new programming subculture?