Job assignments, positions and activities that programmers can engage in to learn, improve and perfect skills related to programming.

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328
votes
23answers
15k views

Overcoming slow problem solving due to increased knowledge of what might go wrong

This has been troubling me for some time, and I'd really appreciate the input of other professionals. Short background: I started programming when my parents bought me my first computer in 1988 (at ...
122
votes
23answers
10k views

When is a BIG Rewrite the answer?

Just read the question about the Big Rewrites and I remembered a question that I've been wanting answered myself. I have a horrible project passed down to me, written in old Java, using Struts 1.0, ...
81
votes
14answers
3k views

Hiring a programmer much more qualified & experienced than yourself?

My employer is hiring a programmer - more specifically, I am interviewing and selecting the person who will fill the position. The best candidate right now is far more qualified than I am, older, and ...
69
votes
28answers
5k views

Is it possible for a good programmer to have never used version control? [closed]

I am looking for an expert programmer to help solve a difficult situation. The interviews so far have been surprisingly disappointing. The best candidate so far is a very experienced programmer who ...
56
votes
40answers
3k views

What are the warning signs of impending doom to watch out for on a project?

Having worked on a failed project is one of the few things that most programmers have in common, regardless of language used, industry or experience. These projects can be great learning experiences, ...
52
votes
9answers
28k views

What's the difference between Entry Level/Jr/Sr developers? [closed]

Other than title and pay, what is the difference? What different responsibilities do they have, how knowledgeable/experienced are they? Basically what would you use to determine which one you (or ...
35
votes
13answers
6k views

When should I stop programming / coding? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: How old is “too old”? I often hear from my senior colleagues and other peers that being passionate about programming is ok but at certain experience/age one ...
35
votes
20answers
3k views

What are the steps in beginning a large project, when all I have is a big idea?

I am computer engineering student. I've been thinking about how I can handle a big project. What should be my first step to reach my goal in a more efficient and effective way? When I come up with a ...
34
votes
14answers
2k views

What is the right level of site blocking for you as a developer? [closed]

Almost all developers who work for a large corporation find themselves on the wrong side of site blocking software. It can be both frustrating ("Just let me read that damn blog!") and helpful ("Woah! ...
32
votes
37answers
3k views

Biggest mistake you've ever made [closed]

Similar to the question I read on Server Fault, what is the biggest mistake you've ever made in an IT related position. Some examples from friends: I needed to do some work on a production site so ...
32
votes
32answers
4k views

When someone asks you what you do, what do you say (e.g. programmer, developer, code monkey)? [closed]

Do you call yourself a programmer, a developer, or a code monkey? I personally prefer to say I am a developer.
28
votes
21answers
3k views

Working for free? [closed]

I came across this article Work for Free that got me thinking. The goal of every employer is to gain more value from workers than the firm pays out in wages; otherwise, there is no growth, ...
28
votes
15answers
47k views

Does having Master's degree in Computer Science help your career? [closed]

I am curious about experiences of programmers who have gone beyond college or university and now work in the industry. I am not talking about academia (you need PhD there anyway). Do you have a ...
27
votes
17answers
2k views

Do you think that exposure to BASIC can mutilate your mind? [closed]

It is practically impossible to teach good programming to students that have had a prior exposure to BASIC: as potential programmers they are mentally mutilated beyond hope of regeneration -- ...
27
votes
6answers
2k views

Pair programming when driver and observer have different skill level and experience

I know pair programming is an agile software development technique in which two programmers work together at one workstation. One, the driver, writes code while the other, the observer, reviews each ...
26
votes
19answers
2k views
25
votes
17answers
2k views

What's the best lesson you have learned in your career? [closed]

I think mine is "there's no such thing as a five minute job" - that programmers tend to be overly optimistic about development and that we should really think through a the implications before ...
25
votes
13answers
4k views

Is it worth to learn Experimental Languages?

I'm a young programmer who desires to work in the field someday as a programmer. I know Java, VB.NET and C#. I want to learn a new language (as I programmer, I know that it is valuable to extend ...
24
votes
11answers
795 views

Has programming for a living ruined your ability to enjoy technology?

To quote Arthur C. Clarke: Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. Used to be I looked on technology with wonder and amazement. I wanted to take it apart, ...
23
votes
7answers
3k views

How do you get into the zone? How long does it take? What steps do you take before? [closed]

Getting into zone is a pleasurable and fruitful process. We produce good source code and we get lots of satisfaction from our work done while being in the zone. But, how does one get into the 'zone'? ...
22
votes
11answers
2k views

What to choose: freeware, shareware or payware? [closed]

A few years ago I've developed a program that has a steady group of users. It became quite popular and now we have close to two million downloads on Download.com. At first I provided the application ...
21
votes
16answers
2k views

What is the hardest bug to find? [closed]

If possible write how to avoid this kind of bug (besides testing, of course, please write a specific technique)
21
votes
14answers
837 views

How do you overcome your own coding biases when handed legacy code?

As programmers, we often take incredible pride in our skills and hold very strong opinions about what is 'good' code and 'bad' code. At any given point in our careers, we've probably had some legacy ...
21
votes
7answers
2k views

Resume dilemma for professional job

On my resume, I list myself as having "7 years of hands-on experience programming in C". To clarify, I am a self-taught C programmer with some college courses thrown in the mix. I've worked on some ...
21
votes
7answers
488 views
21
votes
1answer
2k views

Any experience with Mono on production servers? [closed]

I am curios to use .NET for some web applications (e.g. ASP.NET MVC 2). However my budget is limited so I would like to use Mono on Linux. I have never used Mono before, and I haven't read about any ...
20
votes
14answers
1k views

Is the abundance of frameworks dumbing down programmers? [closed]

With all of the frameworks available these days, ORMs, dependency injection (DI), Inversion of control (IoC), etc., I find that many programmers are losing or don't have the problem solving skills ...
19
votes
2answers
1k views

Haskell web frameworks survey

There are several web frameworks for Haskell like Happstack, Snap, and Yesod, and probably a few more. In what aspects do they differ from each other? For example: features (e.g. server only, or ...
18
votes
8answers
1k views

Are programming skills and computer knowledge taught at university sufficient for industry? [closed]

I am student currently attending my fourth year at a Swedish university and will, if all goes well, take my Master's degree in Computer Science in winter of 2011. It is a respectable university, at ...
18
votes
7answers
553 views

Does using new techniques hurt productivity?

It seems that as experience with the specific set of tools you have to work with grows, the incentive to try out new things weakens. When I was new at this programming job, trying out new things, ...
17
votes
14answers
1k views

How should older programmers respond when interviewed

How should older programmers respond when interviewed and 'confronted' with questions similar to "we are a young bunch, will you be able to fit into our culture?". What about the experience an older ...
17
votes
4answers
1k views

How much difference does experience make? [closed]

I see many job adds which require at least x years experience. The question is how do you know when a candidate has the required years of experience? What do you expect from a person with x years ...
17
votes
19answers
6k views

Do good project managers need a programming background? [closed]

Sometimes I can't stand it when project managers ask me to estimate time to complete for various tasks. An estimate is a guess, and guesses can be wrong. Generally, bad requirements and ...
17
votes
11answers
5k views

How many programming languages is a programmer expected to be an expert at? [closed]

Do most programmers specialize on a single stack, leaving other things be, or are they expert at multiple languages at the same time? If it's more than one, how many is standard? By expert, I mean ...
16
votes
14answers
1k views

Education vs. Experience

I'm going through a rough time. I'm a CS student at UIUC, which I hear is one of the top schools for CS. I love computers and programming. I've been pretty much doing it my whole life. I'm a freshmen ...
16
votes
9answers
811 views

Work experience instead of education?

I wanted to name this topic as "Education vs. Experience", but this topic already exists. I've read that discussion and though what I'd like to ask is related with that topic, the question is quite ...
16
votes
2answers
352 views

How to recognize a bad client before you start to work for him? [closed]

I'm sure that many of you have encountered a bad client. I'm also sure you took some measures to prevent such encounters in the future. What is the most influential characteristic of a client that ...
15
votes
11answers
1k views

Helping junior programmers get past their shortcomings? [closed]

What are your common gripes about junior developers that join your team or whom you have to work with? Obviously they are inexperienced so you can't expect them to know everything, but what skills are ...
15
votes
6answers
1k views

Can fixed scope + fixed deadline + fixed price contract ever be made to work with “agile”?

Some projects we run internally using scrum, whilst still being "fixed everything" to the customer. Mixed success on our part (the customer likes the visibility of the burndown chart). Any ...
15
votes
3answers
1k views

Integrating into a new team

I've just joined a new company where a lot of the developers have been working for more than ten years. How do I integrate into the team without stepping on too many toes?
14
votes
7answers
1k views

What do you think of the F# language? [closed]

What do you think of the F# language? I would like to learn it's positive and negative points. What is your experience with this language? When should or shouldn't someone use F#? See also: F# at ...
14
votes
6answers
1k views

How can I improve my skills while working on actual projects, in the absence of more experienced developers?

I'm the lead developer at a small company, working with C# and ASP.Net. Our team is small, 2-3 people, without much experience in development and design. I don't have the opportunity to learn from ...
14
votes
2answers
447 views

Have You Ever Had To Code “Badly” For Your Team?

I've been on the constant road of learning new concepts in OOP, Software Design, Architecture, etc. But there are times when you are in a team where those concepts are foreign to them and they don't ...
13
votes
17answers
466 views

What do you consider to be the prime cause of software defects (and how to minimize them) [closed]

I define defect as : "something within the application design or code which prevents it functioning as per requirements." I'm looking for ideas about the causes of defects, eg the human factor, ...
13
votes
4answers
2k views

Backtrack My “Education”

A while ago, I decided to start programming. I really, just jumped into a language (Perl) and went from there. What I regret is that I just jumped in: I didn't learn the basics (if you would call ...
12
votes
6answers
2k views

Is there such a thing as a super programmer? [closed]

Have you come across a super programmer? What identifies him or her as such, compared to "normal" experienced/great programmers? Also. how do you deal with a person in your team who believes he is a ...
12
votes
7answers
1k views

How employable am I as a programmer? [closed]

I'm currently a Ph.D. student in Biomedical Engineering with a concentration in computational biology and am starting to think about what I want to do after graduate school. I feel like I've ...
11
votes
11answers
863 views

Is experience very important when hiring/being hired in your country?

In the Indian IT industry, I have found that regardless of the candidate's skill level, filtering is done based on number of years of experience. I have found that people with 5 years of work ...
11
votes
3answers
2k views

Ur/Web new purely functional language for web programming?

I came across the Ur/Web project during my search for web frameworks for Haskell-like languages. It looks like a very interesting project done by one person. Basically, it is a domain-specific purely ...
11
votes
7answers
666 views

Should every programmer keep a “Lessons Learned” journal?

Every time I've finished a project, there is always something that I've learned (otherwise I don't find it very motivating). But I can't remember everything, and much later I may stumble across the ...