First-day-on-the-job dev: I accidentally nuked production database, was instantly fired

Um. Who put production credentials in onboarding doc?


"How screwed am I?" a new starter asked Reddit after claiming they'd been marched out of their job by their employer's CTO after "destroying" the production DB – and had been told "legal" would soon get stuck in.

The luckless junior software developer told the computer science career questions forum:

I was basically given a document detailing how to set up my local development environment.... which involves run[ning] a small script to create my own personal DB instance from some test data.

After running the command I was supposed to copy the database url/password/username outputted by the command and configure my dev environment to point to that database. Unfortunately instead of copying the values outputted by the tool, I instead, for whatever reason, used the values the document had.

Unfortunately, apparently those values were actually for the production database (why they are documented in the dev setup guide i have no idea). Then from my understanding that the tests add fake data, [I] clear[ed] existing data between test runs, which basically cleared all the data from the production database.

Honestly i had no idea what i did and it wasn't [until] about 30 or so minutes after did someone actually figured out/realised what i did.

Many of us at The Reg were cringing, wincing and sucking our teeth at the weekend when we read the tale, especially when the junior dev claimed they'd moved across a country (it was not specified which) to take the job. The post has since attracted over 4,000 comments, most of which are supportive, and many of which tell the poster they're likely not legally liable for the screw-up.

The post concluded:

While what i had done was sinking in, the CTO told me to leave and never come back. He also informed me that apparently legal would need to get involved due to severity of the data loss. I basically offered and pleaded to let me help in some way to redeem myself and i was told that i "completely fucked everything up".

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If you can identify the company in question, which apparently has at least 100 staffers, a dev team of "around 40+ people" and "mostly positive Glassdoor reviews", please get in touch here. If you have a similar tale of woe for our On Call column, let us know here. ®

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