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534

Best way to learn to program is to write programs. Two suggestions : develop a game develop a web site Algorithms, while useful, and should be understood, actually play second fiddle to software design. TDD / Design Patterns / Architecture / Refactoring / Unit Testing / The process of putting code together / etc tend to be far more important skills. ...


449

IMO this attitude comes from people that have horrible, soul sucking jobs, combined with piss-poor time management skills. If you're basically typing web forms all day, go out and get a more challenging job, or start your own. Here's the thing. A concert musician (cellist/pianist/whatever), will practice at most 6 hours per day. Most only practice a few ...


388

I felt like I was mostly gluing together libraries that other people had written While I understand why you feel like this wasn't "real programming", the truth is that integration work makes up a significant percentage of the typical workload for a corporate programmer. Your experience might be a little more valuable than you think :)


270

No the real answer: spend a few months earning a five digit Stack Overflow reputation, and you'll be getting job offers in the $100K+ range without an interview. There is no reason why a high reputation (or "score") on any site will get you a job at all. I have pointed this out before, you are more likely to get a job by maintaining open source ...


254

Let us bring some balance to this argument. For the record, I am a 9-5 programmer in the strictest sense of the word. I have coded for many many years and I will probably be coding for many more. I do have a strong passion for development and love seeing all those classes giving each other hugs and kisses. I'm all for fluffy bunny designs and FOR ...


240

First, thank you for an immensely honest question. There are a number of ways to tackle the issues at hand. Here are a few tips, which I considered very helpful for me in the past and still continue to use them to broaden my knowledge. Learn, Learn and Learn some more. This is probably the single most important tip I can give you. ...


189

Did I ever tell you about Ashton? Ashton was your classic corn-fed farm boy. His parents had been hippies who never really managed to get their acts together until his mother inherited 15 acres in a rural part of Michigan. The family moved out there, bought a couple of dairy goats, and struggled to make a living selling organic goat cheese to the yuppies at ...


174

Yes Come on, seriously: look at the first page or two of Stack Overflow users. Pick anyone at random. Look at three or four of the highly voted answers they wrote. If you've ever hired a programmer in your life, it's obvious those people are all some of the best programmers you could ever hire. Then keep going deeper and deeper. Scroll to page 5. Edit the ...


149

Hire the inexperienced programmer with a passion for the craft. A passionate programmer will learn quickly, care about his work and enjoy doing it. I've worked with both types of programmers and I would always hire the passionate type over the experienced. People who don't care about their work eventually lead to problems in quality as well as in meeting ...


132

Run away, run very, very far away. And fast. You can try to talk to your boss about the situation, but from what you've written, it sounds like there's a fundamental lack of understanding about the importance to programmers of communication with outside resources, general collaboration, and just taking your mind off your work for a minute or two. Frankly, ...


125

I did the same thing for my daughter's 1st grade class. I brought in an old computer and bunch of parts. I explained what each part does and let them touch them. This was a big hit! They'd never seen a computer's insides let alone been allowed to actually touch them! I asked them some questions to dispel myths about computers: How many think computers are ...


120

What on earth does the choice of programming language have anything to do with your career? This question is like asking, "I have two choices for a place to work. Should I work at the one where the boss has a norwegian accent, or the one where the boss has a spanish accent?" There are much more important career considerations. Startup or established ...


111

Whilst no one posting here is in a position to tell you which to hire, I'd like to offer a little counterpoint to the proceedings... One of our most recent new starters is the absolute image of professional experience. In at 9, out at 5, one hour for lunch. No lates, no weekends. Which probibly sounds terrible to most of the people who have responded so ...


108

Get things done. The people that have the power to promote you will only be impressed when they see results. Simply learning many libraries won't be enough to gain you any sort of promotion. It probably will, however, gain you respect from those immediately working with you. Also, don't think of it as 'selling' yourself. It's a case of showing that you're ...


107

The biggest thing I can think of is both an advantage and a disadvantage: everything you put online under your real name will follow you. This is good when you are posting good, constructive things. It's bad when you post a picture of you from that night or when you say something offensive or just plain stupid. I find that using my real name helps keep me ...


106

Start on one of those in-demand languages,using a project as K. Nicholas says. Don't measure yourself by StackOverflow. That will discourage you unnecessarily.


100

Getting a PhD does two things to you and it uses up 4 or more years. You will need to decide whether those two things are worth the time. First, it gives you some initials after your name. For the rest of time, people who see those initials will think "wow, you must be really smart!" (and often, they will say it out loud.) On a resume it will generally help ...


97

Remember the scene in Aladdin where Aladdin wants to impress Jasmine, and the genie tells him he'd do better to just focus on being himself? Same principle here. If the boss is that much better than you and you know it, he probably knows it too. He isn't expecting any great feats of programming rock-stardom out of you. Since this is your first job, he ...


95

The main purpose of certifications is to make money for the certifying body. Having said that, I think certifications are more important the earlier on in your career you are. As a hiring manager, I never use certifications or the lack thereof to filter potential employees, but I do think some companies may look for these as proof that you know what you are ...


94

We have several programmers where I work in their 50s who have programmed for over 20 years. If it is what you want to do, don't let anyone tell you it is only appropriate for the young.


93

You should write a letter. The amount of notice should be in your contract - assuming you have one. Even if you didn't sign the contract you should abide by its terms. By working and getting paid you and the company are working to that contract even if it's not "official". If nothing else you'll be seen to be doing "the right thing" and it will be harder ...


93

Every company and every hiring manager is different. Some will value hands-on experience more than a degree, but many will not look past the lack of a degree, especially in large companies where hiring is done by a HR department. Basically lack of a degree: will be seen neutral to slightly positive in most small startups will matter little when you get a ...


89

When I have to work with other "experienced" people that fall into the same category as you, my biggest concern is that they would feel they have enough seniority that whatever they did for the last 15 years has always worked for them and they are happy with that. I've had some nice, clean organized code that has been completely trampled over by these ...


83

The only way to become really good at something is to try, fail spectacularly, try again, fail again a little less than before, and over time develop the experience to recognize what causes your failures so that you can manage potential failure situations later on. This is as true of learning to play a musical instrument, drive a car, or earn some serious ...


81

Thinking about these things is definitely good, but don't let it stop your progress. One approach that works really well (especially with iterative development) is to implement a simple solution and then refactor as necessary later. This keeps the code as simple as possible, and avoids over-engineering. Most of the performance or architecture changes you ...


81

You are going to run into programmers like this your entire career. There is nothing wrong with experimentation and learning on your own. Sure books are great. Many times the examples work in a clean environment, but if you are developer for another company there is no such thing as a clean (without interference from others) environment. It's always nice ...


76

I had no prior experience when I interviewed This sounds like it is your first job in the corporate world. I like having IRC open to talk in a few different rooms during the day and keep in touch with friends/family over IM Don't do this. There are a lot of companies who work in regulated industries where IM is totally banned. There is a time ...



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