Dec 26, 2016

What it's like to work as a developer at BBC News

The BBC is a pretty large organisation. Today it employs around 20,000 people (actually around 35,000 when you include part-time and fixed-term contract employees) across a huge number of divisions. The BBC Careers website typically has over 100 vacancies posted on any given day. Before I joined the BBC, I found the sheer scale of it a bit intimidating. Usually I can get an idea of what it’s like to work for a company by reading their job advertisements and their engineering blogs, but with the BBC I was almost completely clueless. In this post I hope to shed some light on what it’s like to work as a developer or tester for BBC News.

Just a small disclaimer first: from an engineering perspective, the BBC is not like most other companies — it’s more like dozens of smaller companies, each with their own engineering department, working towards a common goal. News, Sport, Programmes, iPlayer, Radio… As digital products, these are all built mostly independently of each other. I work for BBC News, so a lot of what I’ve written may not apply outside of BBC News.

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Mar 28, 2016

How can we fix open source culture?

The recent kerfuffle around the NPM #unpublishgate and the Greenkeeper bot impersonation has got me thinking about the open source community and its culture.

Sometimes the open source community feels like a wonderful, cooperative, welcoming place. There have been times when maintaining an open source project has given me an enormous sense of satisfaction and well-being. On the best days, complete strangers offer valuable feedback and even actively contribute to my projects.

On the worst days I feel drained, unappreciated, and even abused. Stephan describes this more concisely than I could right at the bottom of Your “just” considered harmful:

This is the part of the open source culture that we need to fix. Entitled and toxic are not words that I associate with welcoming and inclusive communities. Yet they are completely apt descriptions of behaviour which is common within the open source community.

I don’t have any solutions to offer. I’m merely venting some frustrations which have been building up for quite some time. But we need to fix this. I don’t want to see this toxic behaviour cause another friend, colleague, or community member to suffer.

How can we fix open source culture?

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