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Deciding TO be a 'Jack-of-all-Trades' Fairly early in my career, I was an expert with a particular database and programming language. Unfortunately, that particular database lost the 'database wars', and I discovered that my career options were ... limited. After that I consciously decided that I would never let myself become boxed in like that again. So ...


I always thought of my self as a pretty hot-shot programmer. Then a new guy, call him Aaron, was hired into our team. Aaron was obviously much better than me in most areas. He was younger than me, too. He made me realize I hadn't really improved much in the past years. I was an ad-hoc hacker, and a mediocre one at that. This alerted me to consciously ...


That because you're a programmer, you know how to fix [person]'s virus ridden machine.


A common HR thing that drives me nuts when I'm job hunting: the implicit assumption that all coding skills are language-specific, that there is no software engineering expertise that transcends command sets. That ten years experience in Java and another five in Perl mean you'd be completely useless on a project that uses, say, C#. "Yes, there's a learning ...


If you're not typing, you're not working. I believe zombie blank stares and coffee walks are essential to programmers organising things in their heads.


Two things: Read code written by different people. Write documentation for code written by other people. Writing code is extremely easy; every other person I know can do that. But reading someone else's code and figuring out what it does was a whole new world to me.


My response would be to say "I'm a little busy right now, can you email me and I'll deal with it later". Chances are some of his questions are legitimate, by forcing him to email you it doesn't interrupt your flow and he is unlikely to bother detailing the problem in an email if its trivial. You then also have a record to show to management if his questions ...


Took a part-time job tutoring CS students at my university. It really forces you to understand something at a completely different level when you have to explain it to someone else.


that you can speed up a late project, simply by throwing more people at it.


good code that only can do A is worse than bad code that can do A, B, C, D. This smells to me like speculative generality. Without knowing (or at least being reasonably sure) that your clients are gonna need features B, C and D, you are just unnecessarily overcomplicating your design. More complex code is harder to understand and maintain in the long ...


When they fail to learn from their mistakes and from peer reviews. We are all green at some point; however, if you're not getting better or attempting to get better then you're a bad programmer.


I've had similar problems as you do. The two main strategies that have helped me are Only one project at any time: I've suffered from following more projects than I can count on my fingers, each "clamouring" for attention. Now I've radically cut down on projects either by finishing them "once and for all" or by simply dropping them altogether. Earlier ...


That writing software is easy. How else do you explain all these projects that run over time and over budget and people (politicians, the media etc.) are still surprised, and customers complain when you tell them that their "small website" (or whatever) will actually take 6 months to develop and cost several thousand dollars (pounds, Euros, [insert currency ...


A programmer who doesn't know what he doesn't know and isn't interested at all to find out.


I am of the mindset that it is essential for a good development environment to allow for an hour or two at most for exploration and learning, barring when it's "crunch time" on an application of course. An environment which doesn't do this is a red flag in my book because it tells me they don't value improvement. EDIT Worst of all is the place that ...


The complexity of the app is directly proportional to the complexity of the UI. By this reasoning, you should be able to build Google or Twitter over a weekend.


Looking back at old things I wrote and realizing just how bad they were.


No, it is not a substitute, but a perfect complement. I feel a combination of the two holds a lot of power. Why is it that a good lecture teaches you more than just reading a book? Interaction and the ability to ask questions. By just reading a book, some questions might pop up to which you can't find any answers. Look for those questions here, or ask them ...


It's critical. I don't think I've ever known a good programmer who wasn't self-taught at some level. As a hiring manager at a large company, I can say that a candidate who describes personal projects and a desire to learn will trump one with an impressive degree every time. (Though it's best to have both.) Here's the thing about college: Computer ...


Any teenage kid who hacks with computers is equivalent (or superior) in skill to a veteran working programmer. My 14 year old nephew is good with computers and I'm paying him $10/hr to mow my lawn. Why should I pay you six figures to write the next FaceBook?


The bug is in your code, not the compiler or the runtime libraries. If you see a bug that cannot possibly happen, check that you have correctly built and deployed your program. (Especially if you are using a complicated IDE or build framework that tries to hide the messy details from you ... or if your build involves lots of manual steps.) Concurrent / ...


Read books, not just websites for self-improvement, not just for the latest project about improving your trade, not just about the latest technology read code, not just you are working on. Just develop the appetite for reading.


The Discipline of Finishing. Like many software engineers, I have a tendency to accumulate projects until I am contributing so little to each one that none of them makes meaningful progress. Couple that with a classic ENTP personality type, and you get a busy, interested and ultimately unproductive programmer. Over the years, I have learned and practiced ...


Programming. Seriously, there are books, there are coding katas, there are sites like this, but I believe that the best way to improve as a developer is to work on real project, with real fickle customers with real, ever-changing requirements with real engineering problems. There's no substitute for experience.

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