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Legacy guy is leaving

Today, I’m leaving my current employer, Kartena, after almost exactly seven years. It feels weird, exciting and a bit sad. Leaving colleagues you truely like on a personal level, and worked with more or less every day for seven years, really sucks, to put it mildly.

When I left my previous workplaces, it has never been with hesitation: either I had to leave because there were no more work, or I just really wanted to get away. Now, it’s a bit more difficult; I really love part of what I get to do at work, and I still look forward to going to work almost every day. It makes deciding to leave a bit harder.

So, why leave? Seven years is one reason. I want to try something else. Another, related reason is legacy guy. You know, that guy who knows how everything works, since his been at the company since forever. Being legacy guy is nice, people will come to you and ask questions about how stuff works, and you reply, feeling good about yourself. Slowly, your work starts revolving around knowing how everything works, especially the bizarro stuff that no one really wants to know, that cruft that can only be explained by “historic reasons”; you also happen to know the historic reasons.

I have a talent for being legacy guy. It’s really easy for me to remember arcane details about how systems work and where to look in the code to figure out why stuff breaks. That’s all well and good, and mostly copiously useful as a developer. The downside can be that you are the go-to guy for all sorts of stupid stuff, while other can work on new exciting things. What you use your mind for, forms how you think. I don’t want to let old software that everyone hates form my thoughts, I (mostly) want to build new stuff. While maintaining old software is part of the job, it should be done with sensible refactoring and modernization, not using legacy guy’s freak memory.

This means I’m no longer going to work full time with geo or GIS, which is also a bit sad. Hopefully there will be some geo-related work (because we know everyone want maps), and I’m determined to continue with open source geo in my spare time (much like now).

I will start at DotNet Mentor, which is an even smaller company than Kartena. Despite the name, they’ve told me that it’s not going to be just .NET. We’ll see. They seem like cool people, and I’m really excited about it.

Leaving Kartena - photo by Erik Olsson (I look a bit too happy in this shot, it must’ve been all the beers. Photo credits to Erik Olsson.)

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