If you are interested in the experiences of Bill Gates, Thomas Edison, or Soichiro Honda as an engineer, you can easily find the information by searching the web. However, there must be many other engineers in the world who have made endless efforts in addition to such well-known engineers. And each of them must have a unique and precious experience.

If you wanted to know more about the experiences of these engineers, how would you go about finding out about them? When I thought about the answer to this question, I could not find an easy way to get that information.

Imagine this.

If you are a newcomer to the world of engineering, don't you think that if you can hear in advance about the most successful and most unsuccessful experiences of engineers who have had a variety of careers, you will be able to make great use of them in your own career?

If you are a young engineer in the middle of your growth, don't you want to learn from your predecessors to further improve your skills and accelerate your work in the future?

If you are a veteran engineer, wouldn't you like to take some time to compare your past experiences and appreciate your own efforts and those of other engineers, even if only indirectly?

I had a strong desire to learn about the most successful and most unsuccessful experiences of "unknown" engineers who were not readily available in the search results.

 In this book, we have interviewed engineers (with their permission) about their successes and failures in all kinds of technical fields, from newcomers to veterans, to create a collection of useful information that we can share with you.

In addition to paying the engineers for their experiences and efforts, we also interviewed them with our own money, and ordered the work of a designer to ensure that we do not treat their soulful experiences carelessly. In order to pay respect to the engineers as well as to avoid treating the soulful experience carelessly, we ordered a designer to help us with the binding and design.

I hope this will be of some help to you in your career.

October 01, 2021


Experience Report 1~20

Experience Report 1

Male, Company employee, Distribution (wholesale), System Engineer, 30 years

Q1. What kind of work do you do?

We are doing system development for a corporate system in the distribution industry. Last year, we migrated the entire system from an on-premise system to a cloud-based system. Our system development work includes the development and maintenance of an online order and supply system via the Internet (private). The development is done on a Linux server using JSP (JavaServerPage) for web-based application development. We develop programs using powercobol for business application development and Symfoware for the database system. As for the operation work, we perform daily monitoring (on duty at night) and respond to recovery in case of system abnormalities. We are also developing tools for automatic operation processing according to the business schedule.

Q2. Please tell us about the biggest failure you had in your engineering career and What was the biggest failure in your engineering career and how did it change your behavior?

Since I have a long career, I have experienced many failures from the days of general-purpose machines to the current cloud-based systems. Nowadays, system hardware costs are much lower than in the days of general-purpose machines, so we can build three environments: a development environment, a verification environment, and a production environment, which allows us to develop safely. In the days of general-purpose machines, the development environment and the production environment were co-located due to cost limitations. The biggest mistake we made was when the system members were revising the inventory management system, we tried to make a copy of the inventory running in the production system for testing, but the definition of input and output in the JCL (a tool to run the program) were mistakenly reversed. Since the inventory is managed in batches, the number of items in stock in all the warehouses in the company went to zero, and we were left with no choice but to cry. In the distribution business, not being able to take delivery was fatal. To make matters worse, the previous day, we had cleared the backup (save) at the end of the business day and restored it to the production inventory after clearing it because we had planned to copy the current status. As it happened, I had made an alias copy of the backup of the inventory after the close of business two days earlier, so I used two days' worth of transactions (receipts and disbursements of purchases, sales, returns, etc.) and hastily created an application to restore it. However, it took until midnight that day to restore the system, so the shipping operation was suspended.

 The reason for the failure was that we left the backup and restore of the inventory to a single member of the team. After that, we made it obligatory to have more than one person manage backups and restores of databases (important files) whenever they were done manually, and thoroughly managed the documentation for applications and reports.

Q3. What is the one thing you are really glad you did?

When you have been working for a long time, not only in the systems field, you may find yourself on either the supporting or the receiving end. I think the same thing can be said for the supporters and the recipients. The scope of systems-related work is very broad. Depending on the size of the company, the systems department within the company may take on some menial tasks. Even in such cases, I think it is important to try everything. I myself have always tried to do everything before I think about it. Naturally, things don't always turn out the way I want them to. I have made many mistakes. However, I think I have always remembered to try new things. Another thing to remember is that while it is necessary to improve your skills in system technology, you must also improve your skills in business matters. If you don't have business knowledge, you won't be able to do anything. While trying to improve my business knowledge skills, I have been working on cloud-based systems since the days of general-purpose machines (Hitachi, Fujitsu, NEC). I think I was more influenced by the trends of the times rather than taking the initiative to make proposals to the company, but I think my attitude of trying everything was good.

 I hope that young people will not be discouraged by one or two failures, but will continue to take on the challenges of the new era.