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

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134
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 ...
132
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 ...
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 ...
114
votes
18answers
47k views

Is LISP still useful in today's world? Which version is most used?

I try to teach myself a new programming language in regular intervals of time. Recently, I've read how Lisp and its dialects are at the complete opposite end of the spectrum from languages like C/C++, ...
104
votes
16answers
8k views

How to avoid “DO YOU HAZ TEH CODEZ” situations?

I have a strange situation at work, where a colleague of mine often asks me and other co-workers for working code. I would like to help him, but this constant request of trivial snippets interrupts ...
91
votes
17answers
6k views

Being stupid to get better productivity?

I've spent a lot of time reading different books about "good design", "design patterns", etc. I'm a big fan of the SOLID approach and every time I need to write a simple piece of code, I think about ...
81
votes
17answers
9k 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 ...
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 ...
71
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 ...
52
votes
17answers
5k views

Is a senior programmers advice about always using books a good idea?

I am a junior developer and have only been in the industry for 5 years. At my current company there is a senior let's call him Infestus. Occasionally I am being given opportunity to shine and do ...
51
votes
12answers
2k views

Releasing an open source project without getting embarrassed

I've been working by myself on a fairly large open source project for quite a while and it's nearing the point where I'd like to release it. However, I'm self-taught and I don't really know anyone who ...
51
votes
6answers
16k views

Audiobooks for programmers? [closed]

I'm a programmer with a two-hour round trip commute to work each day. I'd like to fill some of that time with audiobooks about software development. Any audiobooks that would help me become a better ...
48
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 ...
47
votes
20answers
7k views

What's the best place for a high school programmer to get his work noticed? [closed]

I'm a 16 year old high school student, with a passion for computer programming. I'm in grade 11, and I've been learning it as part of the school syllabus for about 8 months. I've gone beyond what's ...
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 ...
44
votes
9answers
2k 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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
39
votes
4answers
6k views

Which algorithms/data structures should I “recognize” and know by name? [closed]

I'd like to consider myself a fairly experienced programmer. I've been programming for over 5 years now. My weak point though is terminology. I'm self-taught, so while I know how to program, I don't ...
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 ...
36
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 ...
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 ...
30
votes
7answers
1k views

At what point does “constructive” criticism of your code become unhelpful?

I recently started as a junior developer. As well as being one of the least experienced people on the team, I'm also a woman, which comes with all sorts of its own challenges working in a ...
30
votes
10answers
940 views

Ship Early, Ship Never [closed]

This started as a "Note to Self," so please excuse me if the frustration is all too evident and the writing is less than stellar... Three major subjects I've had at the forefront of my mind lately: ...
30
votes
8answers
4k views

What are the three most important questions you should ask your team about your performance as their team leader?

I'm approaching the 1 year mark as a leader of a small development team (4 members, including myself) inside of a small software company. I'd like to give my team the opportunity to evaluate how I am ...
29
votes
11answers
1k views

Should a developer be forced to memorize details?

Many times I forget things about my application. I don't memorize the table names or what a query did and I search to get what I want. My team leader told me I'm supposed to memorize the table names ...
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 ...
29
votes
11answers
4k views

Random number generation algorithm for human brains? [closed]

Are you aware of, or have you devised, any practical, simple-to-learn "in-head" algorithms that let humans generate (somewhat "true") random numbers? By "in-head" I mean.. preferably without any ...
28
votes
5answers
765 views

How do I demonstrate what I've learned outside of the workplace? [closed]

I consider myself a well-rounded developer. I read books, delve into technologies at home, go to developer meet-ups, frequent Stack Overflow, and so forth. But how do I show this to the prospective ...
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 ...
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> ...
27
votes
6answers
847 views

What do you do if you've had a series of bad employers? [closed]

So I've had a series of really bad experiences and am wondering what I'm doing wrong. I started out as a part time programmer at a major university. I developed a problem with my wrist and asked ...
27
votes
4answers
39k views

How do I completely-self-study Computer Science? [closed]

Being a completely self taught programmer, I would like it if I could better myself by self-learning the computer science course taught to a typical CS grad. Finding different resources on internet ...
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 ...
26
votes
11answers
1k views

How do you cope with the dynamic nature of high-level software development?

I consider myself a high level software developer. I enjoy reading a lot, and it's helped me over the course of my career. I think I am doing well. Right now, I spend a lot of time learning new ...
26
votes
11answers
858 views

Why is it you never get as much done as you'd planned? [closed]

I always start the day thinking "I'll easily get this done by the end of the day" and set what looks like a realistic target. So why do I never hit it? The task always ends up taking 3x longer due to ...
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?
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 ...
26
votes
8answers
2k views

Writing robust code vs. overengineering

How do you guys know that you are writing the most robust code possible without overengineering? I find myself thinking too much about every possible path that my code can take, and it feels like a ...
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 ...
25
votes
8answers
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 ...
24
votes
7answers
2k views

What do you do with coder's block? [closed]

Lately it has been a bit rough. I basically know all the things I need and all the avenues to get there for work. There's been no real issue of a problem with too high complexity, and performance is ...
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 ...
22
votes
11answers
11k 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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
21
votes
8answers
1k views

Re-gaining confidence of senior programmer [closed]

My boss found out I'm not as smart as he thought. An example from my experience: I'm a junior programmer, and I work in a team of two, my boss (senior programmer) and myself. I was tasked with ...
21
votes
11answers
2k views

Should I be concerned that I can't program very fast without Google? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Google is good or bad for programmer? I'm currently in college to be a software engineer, and one of the main principles taught to us is how to learn for ourselves, and ...
21
votes
12answers
2k views

How do you deal with the anxiety of not knowing enough? [closed]

I just finished college a couple of months ago and im taking time out to improve my knowledge. I love programming but i feel like i dont know enough to be confident if I went for an interview. Last ...