Most non-tech people don't understand what a software developer does. Being a remote developer takes that one step further. Not only does your job consist of staring at seemingly indecipherable computer hieroglyphs, but you do it from home too. Or, even stranger, from a coffee shop, a beach, the top of a mountain, the bottom of the ocean. Okay, maybe not that last one, but you get the point.
The fact that this is an actual job still baffles most people. They ask questions, they tell stories, and we've compiled the best of them in this blog post. Here are the weird things that X-Team developers have heard about themselves from people puzzled about their job.
Be Careful of the Government
Together with his friends, X-Teamer Phanor Coll was talking about computer security and white hat hacking. Phanor said that he had been learning about cybersecurity topics like Kali Linux and Metasploit. One of his friends couldn't bear it any longer and asked:
“Tell us the truth. You're just saying this to justify all the traveling, the money, etc. But you're already a hacker, and probably for the government opposition too. Please be careful, if the governments find out about this they'll throw you in jail... Or worse.”
Phanor laughed and told his friend not to worry. While he lived in Venezuela, he wasn't working for the government opposition nor for the government (as someone else had asked him before). He was just a remote developer who likes to travel.
The Life of a Drug Dealer
When X-Teamer Caio Landau met his girlfriend's parents for the first time, and when they realized he traveled while working at the same time, they asked his girlfriend whether she was sure he wasn't a drug dealer.
To Caio, this made sense. He was better paid than most people in Brazil, never had to go to an office, had his meetings in English, and traveled all the time. It fit the bill of an international drug dealer.
Eventually, they stopped thinking he was a drug dealer and took it a step down: if not a drug dealer, then probably a smuggler. They've since turned round to the idea that he's a remote developer, although Caio realizes they probably still think it's a "too good to be true" story.
You Don't Really Work
Over his career, X-Teamer Diego Seghezzo has had to answer many questions related to his work. Most people think he doesn't really work. He just sits in front of his computer all day.
Diego tells those people that, while work isn't tied to a regular office 9 to 5, the effort you put in remains the same. You still have to achieve goals and meet client expectations.
The difference, however, is that you don't have to commute. So no traffic jams and no real disruption to your work if the world is hit by a global pandemic. There's also no need to be seen sitting in your chair for a set number of hours. You just have to meet or even exceed your client's expectations.
Running a Sting Operation
Another X-Teamer had just moved out of the city into a rural village. He and his wife were slammed with work when they arrived, so they didn't have much time to get in touch with their new neighbors at first. That seemed okay, because you can spend years living in the same block with people in a big city and never get to know them. But that's not how it works in a rural area. You're expected to familiarize yourself with the community.
A few months later, when they eventually got better acquainted with their neighbors, they learned that their behavior had been so suspicious that everyone in the village had been gossiping about the true nature of their being there.
After all, they rarely left their flat except when they'd disappear for a few days on end, they were overheard talking in English and, sometimes, Russian late at night, and they had a new car that was mostly just parked in front of their house.
The village concluded that the X-Teamer and his wife were undercover police officers running a sting operation, pretending to be a couple, driving an undercover car, and quite possibly reporting their findings to the FBI.
Stealing the Internet
When an X-Teamer, his wife, and his brother whipped out their laptops to get some work done on a ferry trip back from Sweden to Poland, people became suspicious. The only place they could work at on the ferry overlooked the sea and people could see the code they were writing.
That, in itself, wasn't a big deal because it wasn't sensitive code, but people kept giving them weird looks as they walked by. During the hour they worked, they heard people say:
“Look, they're hackers. I saw that in the movies.”
“Doesn't that look illegal?”
“I don't know about this. So suspicious.”
“They're stealing the Internet.”
There was no internet on the ferry. People thought the X-Teamer's locally run web apps were running on some piece of the Internet they'd somehow stolen. Thankfully, the ferry trip went by without any horrible accidents and everyone safely went on their way.
Those were a few of the weirdest X-Team stories. What are yours? What have people said about your job? Follow us on Twitter and let us know!