The software developer role today has moved far beyond Wikipedia’s definition as “a person concerned with facets of the software development process." Besides their core programming work, developers are immersed in marketing, support, and other activities, which means they must continuously switch contexts—a process brains struggle with that university doesn’t really prepared you for. When coding, you are focusing on managing many dimensions and details. When support can’t handle an inquiry and needs your expert advice, you must interrupt that mental context with all its details and dimensions and solve an issue that might have occurred with an older version of the software or software running on a different platform than the one you are using. Participating in a marketing call to discuss conference speaking is again another completely different context to confront. If you are working in a startup or a smaller fast-growing company, chances are high that you encounter many of those switches in a single work day.
Arianna Aondio, a developer for Varnish Cache and Varnish Plus, also handles second-line support and is actively engaged in marketing activities for other peer developers. While the software she is working on is all about performance and flexibility, Arianna became frustrated when her brain couldn’t make all these switches at a similar speed. Arianna shares her experience and the solutions she has found to overcome these issues, showing how the use of technologies such as virtualization, containers, and Amazon Web Services has helped her to soften the effects of context switching by gaining the brain a bit more time and helping to automate the switches.
Arianna Aondio is a Varnish expert and the developer of Varnish Cache. She holds a bachelor’s degree in engineering of computing systems from the Politecnico di Milano. When Arianna is not busy writing code, she is likely to be traveling or taking part in outdoor sports.
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