Truth about Booking.com
It is time to talk about Booking.com. I hear many people ask about us and guess what it is like. I hear lies. I hear truths. No one will really tell you. I will tell you and I wish be fair. Booking.com may be very good for you, but you need to know before you take job if you want it. Booking will tell you the good stuff, not bad stuff.
I will not mention names. I don't want to cause people trouble, but I see good people being pushed out door. This makes me sad because there is no hope of getting better. First, I talk about code.
Before I talk about code: remember that Booking has become the number one in what they do. They are making piles of money and are still growing fast. They are doing something right. I will sound upset about some of this, but some of what they do is good. They are very smart people.
Booking is destroying my career because I am not allowed to do anything new. I am not allowed to use new technologies. I'm not allowed to "design" anything big. I am not allowed to write tests. I am allowed to copy that 500 line subroutine into another module. If people have done that several times before, maybe it should be refactored instead of duplicated? If you do that, you get in trouble. One developer talks about "unforking" code is he refactor because he will get in trouble if he is caught refactoring. If you are not willing to cut and paste the same routine over and over, you are not "Booking Blue" and management will start talking to you about your attitude problem. Why? Cutting and pasting code is faster than refactoring code. They cannot measure how much work you save the next developer. They can measure how fast you make features. Booking believes that if they do not know how to measure something, it does not exist.
One developer was told that if he did not like it he could go back to the country he came from. I cannot go back. There is no work for me at home, so I must control-C/control-V all day. If I complain about it, important people who name we never hear will talk to my team lead and he will ask me why I am not doing what Booking wants me to do. My team lead does not talk to me that way because I am obedient. I am not paid bad, but I do not make enough money to save. I can not leave. I can not take another job in the EU. I can not go home. I must not complain. Others who complain too long are asked to leave. We have lost several good people because Booking gets mad at them. Booking does not like good developers. Booking likes obedience. They not even care about bad code. Some developers seem to enjoy deliberately writing code that other developers can not read. But as long as you are turning out features, no one cares. As one boss says, "we do not pay you to write nice code. We pay you to get job done. We can always hire more people to figure ou the code later." I don't understand this, but I hear it more than once.
When I was interviewed for this job, they asked me lots of MySQL questions. I don't know why. I have good MySQL knowledge, but I am not allowed to use it. Foreign keys "slow thing down". Joins are expensive, so like our code, we cut and paste our data. Much of our data is copied from table to table and lots of code is written to make sure it stays correct. It is never correct, but sometimes hard to know what is wrong.
We also have security holes. I will not talk about them, but Bobby could tell you some stories. Fixing security holes does not make money so often it is not a priority.
Now to talk about people. Booking does not want to hire developers who cannot communicate. This means we have amazing people to know. Most people here are very nice and very friendly. It is the only reason I can stand to be here. I learn nothing about programming, but people are really good. Every month we have Freaky Friday which is free drinks and snacks. Four times a year we have big parties. If you have a partner, they are forbidden and that is sad. If you do not have a partner, it is lots of fun.
Booking also offers lots of training. If you want to go into management, Booking will help you. They are good at this. Their training courses are very good and fun. Booking wants to hire more people and they need more managers. You can grow here.
Why to work here?
If you want to move to Europe, they will pay. Amsterdam is very nice. You might get a change to train for management. People are very nice and I like my colleagues.
Why not to work here?
If you care about technology and doing a good job, do not work here. If you like to write tests, do not work here. If you try to change things, they will talk to you about your attitude. If you do not stop, you will not have a job.