What I Didn’t Understand as a Junior Programmer

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I remember the first time I saw a codebase over a million lines. It was at my internship, a large 10+ year old system, in multiple languages, thousands of unit tests, organized into several projects and dll’s that would take the whole night to recompile. Some of the projects had complex build processes, requiring extensive scripts, and even our source control had custom hooks preventing us from committing code that didn’t follow our style guides. It looked like it would take me a week just to read through all the documentation. My lead programmer told me it usually took people a year to understand the project in depth, but my internship was only for 3 months.

Wow, I thought. Is this what it takes to be a real programmer?


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