Questions on self-guided improvement. Because no one cares as much about you as you do.

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134
votes
21answers
12k views

How would you know if you've written readable and easily maintainable code?

How would one know if the code he has created is easily maintainable and readable? Of course in your point of view (the one who actually wrote the code) your code is readable and maintainable, but we ...
11
votes
5answers
4k views

What to plan before starting development on a project?

Say I've received the specs for a project from a client, and now its time to start developing it. Normally, I just start with the first module (usually user registration) and then go from one module ...
136
votes
26answers
13k views

Is constantly looking for code examples a sign of a bad developer?

I am a CS student with several years of experience in C and C++, and for the last few years I've been constantly working with Java/Objective C doing app development and now I have switched to web ...
9
votes
6answers
1k views

Should I focus on being deep or broad

I have been a professional developer for just over half a year and have been amazed at how big the world really is out of college. I have continued to learn in my free time but I am wondering where ...
50
votes
12answers
11k views

Is there a canonical book on mathematics for programmers? [closed]

I'm a self-taught programmer. I am honestly not good in math. What advice you can give to improve my Mathematical skills so that I will not be so insecure around my fellow programmers? What are the ...
20
votes
11answers
4k views

Is it a really required skill to program without API documentation?

I barely passed my Java programming exam today. I had to answer some general questions about threading which I did well and to write a little threaded program which was worse. I had to connect my ...
27
votes
7answers
9k views

What do you do to improve your logical programming skills? [duplicate]

Do you think that only the programming pratice will help you to improve your logical programming skill or do you train your brain with puzzle games, trying imagine how universe works, playing ...
27
votes
4answers
1k views

What personal milestones can you use to measure growth in your programming abilities?

How can you determine objectively, over time, that you are getting any better at producing code? For example, I may sit here and feel that "I know <language> now, and I use <technique> ...
40
votes
20answers
4k views

How do you stay motivated for hobby projects? [closed]

I started seriously programming as a hobbiest, student and then intern about 4 years ago and I've always done small projects on the side as a learning exercise. Schools over now though, and I spend ...
7
votes
4answers
590 views

What books or resources would you recommend to learn practical OO design and development concepts? [closed]

I'm a self taught programmer; I understand the foundations of programming and what classes are, but my code tends to be messy with class methods interacting with a half a dozen other classes, and my ...
44
votes
7answers
4k views

What should junior developer expect from their senior team lead

Disclaimer: Opinions expressed are solely my own and do not express the views or opinions of my employer. I work for a small company, in which few people are developers, others are QA/Test and 1 is ...
29
votes
17answers
5k views

Am I copy/paste programmer? [duplicate]

When ever I am stuck with a particular problem, I search for a solution in Google. And then I try to understand the code and tweak it according to my requirement. For example recently I had asked a ...
26
votes
5answers
3k views

Is there such a thing as Programmer's block? [closed]

Is it possible for a programmer to suffer the equivalent of writer's block? What strategies are there to overcome it?
17
votes
11answers
6k 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 ...
22
votes
8answers
7k views

How to improve programming skills as a Junior without Senior [duplicate]

At the moment I'm 23 and working as a junior programmer at a software service provider. While I'm really happy with my job and my colleagues, I sometimes would love to have someone who could tell me ...
16
votes
6answers
1k views

Importance of learning to google efficiently for a programmer?

This is not a debate on usage of Google being good or bad for programmers. Kindly refrain from doing so in your answers. Most people (a vast majority of who use the Internet) use Google these days. ...
22
votes
11answers
12k views

How necessary is it to learn JavaScript before jQuery? [closed]

In my opinion, when I looked at JavaScript, it looked like not my cup of tea. When I came across jQuery, I loved it. I sat and watched Nettuts+ 15 days of jQuery screencasts, 1 year later and now I'm ...
12
votes
11answers
2k views

How do you prepare yourself before you start coding? [closed]

Before you start coding something, how do you prepare yourself? Do you make diagrams, pseudocode, mockups or any of that kind of stuff or you just start coding and see what comes along the way. ...
2
votes
1answer
1k views

Where should I start learning math with regards to programming [duplicate]

I've created several systems already, a web based menu system, a payroll system and I am currently developing a patient administration system, I know java,C,C++ C#, javascript PHP and other ...
18
votes
9answers
538 views

Balance between “right tool for the job” and familiarity

So when choosing what language to use for a project, in an ideal world the language is chosen because it's the right tool for the job. However, I often prefer to use a language that I am fluent in ...
81
votes
17answers
10k views

Does Scrum turn active developers into passive developers?

I'm a web developer working in a team of three developers and one designer. It's now about five months that we've implemented the agile scrum software development methodology. But I have a weird ...
27
votes
12answers
2k views

Techniques for getting off the ground in any language

When I start learning a new language, I have a couple of simple implementations that I like to complete to familiarise myself with the language. Currently, I write: Fibonacci and/or factorial to get ...
47
votes
7answers
4k views

What is the most productive way to handle development-related failures? [closed]

We've all been there: Your project failed or got cancelled. The code you spent days working on got rejected by your team. The design pattern you introduced to the team created chaos. Everyone ...
26
votes
12answers
8k views

Do I need to understand algorithms and data structures to be called a programmer? [closed]

It has been six years since I have been coding. Coding into all kinds of things like ActionScript, JavaScript, Java, PHP, Ajax, XML HTML, ASP, etc. I have used arrays, maps, linked lists, sets, etc ...
44
votes
9answers
3k views

Could spending time on Programmers.SE or Stack Overflow be substitute of good programming books for a non-beginner? [closed]

Could spending time (and actively participating) on Programmers.SE and Stack Overflow help me improve my programming skills any close to what spending time on reading a book like Code Complete 2 ...
8
votes
6answers
1k views

Time management and self improvement [closed]

I hope I can open a discussion on this topic as this is not a specific problem. It's a topic I hope to get some ideas on how people in similar situation as mine manage their time. OK, I'm a single ...
40
votes
16answers
2k views

How do I deal with analysis paralysis?

Very frequently, I am stuck when choosing the best design decision. Even for small details, such as function definitions, control flow, and variable names, I spend unusually long periods perusing the ...
16
votes
5answers
1k views

What does a typical programming journal entry consist of?

I read that a lot of people seem to favor the journal, or diary, form to keep notes on their work related activities. I've had a more structured approach myself, which involves outlines and ...
26
votes
6answers
1k views

How do you maximise the knowledge that you gain from a programming book?

Not because I care how long it takes someone to read a book, but more because I'm interested in how people get the knowledge from a book (or I guess other sources) into their brains in the best, most ...
22
votes
13answers
2k views

What do you do when you have nothing to do? [closed]

Let's say that you are idling. There is no ongoing project and you are left nothing to do sometimes. Or there are probably some project is running but you can't proceed. So, you have nothing to do and ...
13
votes
8answers
2k views

Great Lunch and Learn Topics

We recently revived the lunch in learns for the programming department in the company I work for. We were all asked if we had any ideas for a session, and if we would be interested in doing a ...
6
votes
13answers
3k views

Google is good or bad for programmer? [closed]

Recently I was being interviewed by a company and faced one question. The interviewer asked me a question and at that time I didn't know the answer but if I had been asked about just 4 months ago, I ...
9
votes
6answers
2k views

Starting as a developer what are the possible career steps? [closed]

I would like to know what kind of jobs/roles one could expect on their career path if they start as a developer. I also want to know how many years you'll be expected to stay in the same role until ...
26
votes
6answers
2k views

What does Dijkstra mean when he recommends an exceptionally good mastery of one's native tongue? [closed]

Dijkstra writes here: Besides a mathematical inclination, an exceptionally good mastery of one's native tongue is the most vital asset of a competent programmer. I do not understand the ...
14
votes
8answers
2k views

Programmers forgetting syntax

Do good programmers need to have syntax at the tip of their tongue when writing code? What do you make of them if they google for simple stuff online? Are they good or bad(maybe they know where to ...
12
votes
6answers
528 views

What can / should be done with regular expressions?

I've recently learnt regular expressions and I love writing / using them. I'm looking for ideas and more opportunities to use them, however I don't want to overuse them as an all purpose tool, as ...
4
votes
4answers
3k views

How I do become a better programmer as a junior developer [closed]

I am a junior developer in South Africa. I just graduated from college last year. My current employers hired me as a developer but they do not give me anything to develop and I've been working here ...
11
votes
1answer
581 views

How much time should I dedicate to refactoring my code?

I don't know if it's just with me, but when I start refactoring some code I waste a lot time doing that and it never ends. Every time I read the code again, I find something that can be improved, ...
23
votes
8answers
1k views

Is it necessary to understand what's happening at the hardware level to be a good programmer?

I'm a self-taught programmer, just in case this question is answered in CS 101. I've learned and used lots of languages, mostly for my own personal use, but occasionally for professional stuff. It ...
8
votes
11answers
1k views

How does one become proficient in a language and its idioms?

I'm a recent graduate and there are a few (three generally) languages I switch between based on the requirement. What I've found is I always have to look up syntax whenever I code. I know I'm not ...
7
votes
10answers
3k views

What skills are essential for professional programming that are not commonly taught in schools?

I am a first year computer science major. I went to a job fair, handed out resumes, much to my surprise I got an interview and eventually an internship as a developer. I explained to the interviewer ...
5
votes
2answers
656 views

Improving analysis skills

I am a software engineer with a couple of years of experience. However I feel my problem solving skills need to be improved. To put in crude terms given facts A and fact B I have difficulty in ...
1
vote
8answers
1k views

A job in big company like IBM/Microsoft vs. own small 1-2 people software company? [closed]

I hope all programmers have gone through the stage at I am. I'm an iPhone and mobile apps developer and currently working in a company which is 1 of the best in my city. Now I am at a stage where ...
123
votes
22answers
22k views

Stuck due to “knowing too much” [closed]

Note more discussion at http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4037794 I have a relatively simple development task, but every time I try to attack it, I end up spiraling in deep thoughts - how could it ...
25
votes
6answers
10k views

How to Deliberately Practice Software Engineering? [duplicate]

I just finished reading this recent article. It's a very interesting read, and it makes some great points. The point that specifically jumped out at me was this: The difference was in how they ...
37
votes
20answers
4k 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 ...
72
votes
12answers
4k views

Do you spend your working hours on learning?

Do you spend your working hours learning new stuff, reading tech blogs, books on programming etc.? What's your opinion on it? Can an employer have benefits allowing developers to spend about 1-1.5 hrs ...
32
votes
8answers
1k views

What are the best ways to professionally increase your online presence? [closed]

I've been hunting around the job market for a little bit now and I've been shocked by some of the things I'm seeing. Software developers who make themselves more "known" online are getting far more ...
37
votes
14answers
2k views

Do most companies not know how to write software?

If you're an active reader here, try to think about how many times you've heard (and even agreed) when someone here has told someone else to start looking for a new job. Personally, I've seen it a lot ...
74
votes
17answers
5k views

How important is self-teaching in the programming field? [closed]

I'm 16. I started programming about a year ago when I was about to start high-school. I'm going for a career in programming, and I'm doing my best to learn as much as I can. When I first started, I ...