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

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416
votes
21answers
21k views

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

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 ...
184
votes
19answers
177k views

When should you call yourself a senior developer? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Whats the difference between Entry Level/Jr/Sr developers? I'm curious what senior developer means because apparently the definition doesn't mean what I thought it would. I ...
137
votes
9answers
124k 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 ...
115
votes
30answers
63k views

How old is “too old”? [closed]

I've been told that to be taken seriously as a job applicant, I should drop years of relevant experience off my résumé, remove the year I got my degree, or both. Or not even bother applying, because ...
101
votes
61answers
16k views

What's the most absurd myth about programming issues?

To put it another way... What is the most commonly held and frustrating misunderstanding about programming, you have encountered? Which widespread and longstanding myths/misconceptions do you find ...
87
votes
14answers
4k views

Hiring a programmer much more qualified & experienced than yourself? [closed]

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 ...
72
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 ...
63
votes
38answers
3k views

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

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, ...
59
votes
19answers
8k views

What differentiates the exceptional programmers from the really good ones? [closed]

You know who they are. They are the rock stars of programming: They code 10X faster. Their code just works. They not only know their primary language inside and out, but they also know how it ...
56
votes
4answers
35k views

What skills should I cultivate to become a development/technical lead? [closed]

I am currently a professional programmer. I want to expand my skillset, but I also want to make the career jump to being a dev lead as part of a team. I know there's got to be a lot to learn (and this ...
53
votes
27answers
3k views

What is the most egregious waste of money you have seen, and what did you do about it? [closed]

Often we as programmers see large organisations wasting huge sums of money on bloated and inefficient solutions to problems. This pains me greatly because I like organisations to benefit from best of ...
52
votes
90answers
24k views

What should every programmer know about programming?

Please, stay on technical issues, avoid behavior, cultural, career or political issues.
43
votes
7answers
221k views

What is the difference between these senior software engineer titles? [closed]

I'm currently a senior research software engineer at a large company and am being offered a "senior staff engineer" position somewhere else. I am not sure if the new position's title conveys 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! ...
33
votes
37answers
4k 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 ...
31
votes
20answers
5k 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, ...
31
votes
16answers
3k views

Will staying in this position affect my career negatively? [closed]

I work at a small software company where the owners are also the managers. My concern is that any and all progression in technology is met with utter disdain by management. Some of the comments are as ...
31
votes
16answers
4k 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 -- Edsger ...
31
votes
13answers
5k views

What was your most difficult bug hunt and how did you find it and kill it?

This is a "Share the Knowledge" question. I am interested in learning from your successes and/or failures. Information that might be helpful... Background: Context: Language, Application, ...
30
votes
18answers
3k views

When can you call yourself good at language X?

This goes back to a conversation I've had with my girlfriend. I tried to tell her that I simply don't feel adequate enough in my programming language (C++) to call myself good. She then asked me, "...
30
votes
11answers
1k views

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

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, ...
30
votes
7answers
5k 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'? ...
27
votes
6answers
4k views

Is reading+modifying existing code better than making your own? [duplicate]

I'm an inexperienced programmer. I have been assigned to develop a Firefox plugin with no prior experience. So I followed the tutorial at MDN. I learned so many things, it's exciting and overwhelming ...
27
votes
3answers
83k views

What's the difference between junior, middle, and senior developers? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Whats the difference between Entry Level/Jr/Sr developers? There seems to be three common java programmer qualification levels: Junior Middle Senior What makes a ...
26
votes
19answers
3k views
26
votes
17answers
3k 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
5k views

Is it worth to learn Experimental Languages? [closed]

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 ...
22
votes
14answers
1k views

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

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 ...
22
votes
7answers
530 views
21
votes
7answers
2k views

Resume dilemma for professional job [closed]

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
1answer
3k 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
19answers
12k 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 ...
19
votes
11answers
7k 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 ...
19
votes
1answer
2k views

Haskell web frameworks survey [closed]

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
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 ...
16
votes
2answers
409 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 ...
14
votes
4answers
4k views

How do I know how much to ask for in salary? [closed]

I'm heading into my first job (i.e. they're bringing me on for a full position) in Software Development and am quite nervous about how the whole salary negotiation thing goes. Glassdoor.com says that ...
14
votes
9answers
931 views

Work experience instead of education? [closed]

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 ...
14
votes
5answers
37k views

How do you report “startup experience” on your resume? [closed]

Say you've spent a significant amount of time (5 years) serially starting up companies, with enough success to keep going for 5 years, but not enough to retire rich. And now, with a mortgage and a ...
14
votes
6answers
2k views

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

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
596 views

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

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
520 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” [closed]

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 ...
13
votes
7answers
1k views

Does C# experience translate well to C++? [closed]

My programming classes in school were C++, but I ended up working a job doing C# for the last few years. If there was a position that required say 1 or 2 years experience in C++, would my experience ...
12
votes
6answers
3k 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 ...
11
votes
4answers
553 views

Do FOSS version control systems work for enterprises? [closed]

Let's say a large corporation is planning to replace it's existing version control system. Let's say it is only considering systems from major vendors that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars ...
11
votes
7answers
963 views

Should every programmer keep a “Lessons Learned” journal? [closed]

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 ...
10
votes
5answers
6k views

Creating a New Scripting Language For the Learning Experience? [closed]

Is creating a scripting language for my own personal learning experience worth it? The reason I ask is that there are so many programming languages available already, I know mine will never have any ...
10
votes
2answers
740 views

What top companies look for in an Interview? [closed]

Basically I am looking for what is it that you goof up and you are out from the remaining process ? Are elimination rounds a fair way to judge a person ? Anyone can have a bad hour :-( Should you ...