I have been working (~ 5 years & first IT job) as an application developer at a large financial institution with a strict corporate hierarchy, multiple LOBs, and heavily process-laden IT departments.
Now, one aspect of this culture is to use a lot of external contractors and vendors to port legacy code to current technologies. However, the internal developers are made to test (black-box) their code. A majority of the time these external developers do not ensure that their apps work end-to-end properly before releasing their code and wait for us (internal developers) to investigate issues/collect logs/any screen shots of failure/database logs etc.
I am wondering if anybody else has encountered such a situation in their role as developers in IT shops/orgs. Do you really improve technically or intellectually, especially, on large complex projects where testing can go on for more than 6 months ? For instance, I went a whole 7 months QC'ing and acting as a non-coding team-lead thinking that I should not let the team down. However, I see now that this is detrimental to my coding skills.