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Oct
30
comment What are the boundaries between the responsibilities of a web designer and a web developer?
Now, a year later, I can say with the full benefit of hindsight that while I may have been overstepping my bounds, it was fully necessary and appropriate. The designer in question's only knowledge of usability was based off of print design, which does not translate well to the web. I have since taken steps to learn more about design, accessibility, and ux. He still goes by what makes intuitive sense to him. As it stands now, he makes suggestions for layout and navigation, and I overrule them when appropriate, but he has final say over colors, images, etc..
Aug
8
comment How can I give a good presentation to important, non-technical stakeholders?
+1 for "emphasize the positive". It is surprising how often people wind up spending a large chunk of their time talking about problems in what essentially amounts to a sales pitch.
Jul
8
comment Anti Identity Column
+1 for the race condition. This occurs far more frequently than might be expected, particularly in a web environment, and can be a nightmare to correct once it becomes an issue.
Jul
6
comment Should experienced programmers know database queries?
+1. While some specific jobs don't require RDBMS skills, or even any database skills, there are many, many jobs out there that do require those skills. Saying "I don't need them in my current job, so saying they should be part of a developer's skillset" seems awfully short-sighted.
Jun
23
comment How to improve relationships between consultants and staff programmers
@Catchops Thanks for the kind words. It's hard to compete with such awesome use of a classic pop-culture catch phrase coupled with succinct and outstanding advice. I'd +2 Steven's answer if I could :) I'm glad you got helpful answers to your question, and I wish you the best of luck. Its a shame more consultants don't place value on the goals you are trying to accomplish. It is good to know there are honest consultants out there, and hopefully just by asking these questions, you have helped to remove some of the negative associations many IT staff and programmers have.
Jun
20
comment How to improve relationships between consultants and staff programmers
@maple_shaft There are also consultants who just assume that everyone in-house is incompetent, and try to do everything from scratch. I don't think it is accurate to claim every decent consulting company pays enough attention to reassuring the in-house teams (I don't think its safe to assume every consultant is either excellent or horrible, with no middle ground, either). The OP was asking for what could be done to improve things. If the only options are "either you're already good, in which case you're perfect, or you suck and can't become good", then there's not much point in answering.
Jun
1
comment What's your suggestion if the company didn't recognize my contribution towards a big project?
@Nemeth - "We can say that it is a possibility that he is overestimating his work, but not probable." I might dispute your comment about whether or not it is probable that an entry level programmer did 80% of the work on a major project over a 5 month period, but I don't really need to, as I never claimed it was probable. Thus my use of the phrase "you might be overestimating your contribution".
May
31
comment What's your suggestion if the company didn't recognize my contribution towards a big project?
@Tuzo As I said earlier, I have my misgivings about that research :) From what I've read so far, the book does acknowledge that some types of praise can be helpful, but others harmful. I'm of the mind that a pat on the head, no matter how well phrased, isn't as good as a raise or a bonus, but it still beats a poke in the eye with a sharp stick :D
May
31
comment What's your suggestion if the company didn't recognize my contribution towards a big project?
@Tuzo The study I linked just happened to be the first on the topic that I could find. The book I cited (which I am currently reading) has a host of arguments against praise, even if it is relevant to the task. Some of the points that might be relevant: praise of performance leads to anxiety to maintain equally high performance standards for future projects; praise may be interpreted as condescending; praise may be distracting, and may divert focus from the task at hand to the praise. IMO the first example is very relevant (think "oh, no, now they'll want me to work weekends EVERY project!").
May
31
comment What's your suggestion if the company didn't recognize my contribution towards a big project?
@Steven - Thanks :) If you're interested in reading more about this, check out amazon.com/Punished-Rewards-Trouble-Incentive-Praise/dp/…. The author cites many other references for this idea; some good, some questionable. I really dislike the book, since the author uses some very questionable logic and manipulation of data, which is why I said I don't necessarily agree, but many people seem to buy into it.
May
31
comment What's your suggestion if the company didn't recognize my contribution towards a big project?
@Jon - Oh, I know it happens. Been there :) However, as you said, it isn't frequent, and it can be very easy to overestimate the contribution of code if you are new and not exposed to the work that goes on behind the scenes to scope and define the project (if, in fact, that work is actually being done!).
May
31
comment What's your suggestion if the company didn't recognize my contribution towards a big project?
@Steven A. Lowe - I was strictly speaking of praise in regards to concrete benefits. As for your puppy example, studies have shown that while people respond better after getting a pat on the head, actual performance may decrease with praise: mendeley.com/research/… " In conclusion, praise appears to increase effort, but it may impair skilled performance. " I don't necessarily agree that this means supervisors shouldn't praise effort, but it could possibly explain the lack.
May
31
comment What's your suggestion if the company didn't recognize my contribution towards a big project?
@Jeff O - Absolutely. However, "Great work!" and a pat on the head doesn't buy you much. Of course, busting your *** and feeling like no one notices sucks. In some corporate cultures, though, the "Great work, thanks for all the extra time" sometimes is slow to trickle down to the entry level positions, especially if the immediate supervisor isn't particularly good. Chances are that someone will notice sooner or later, though, depending on how much patience the employee has to stick it out.
May
23
comment Can non-technical staff gather requirements on behalf of the development team?
A proxy between the developer and the business can work, but only if the proxy is trained and knowledgeable enough to know what to ask. Relying on someone who simply knows the customer's needs is a recipe for failure if they don't know how to translate those needs into technical specifications that reach the level of detail required for development.
May
19
comment Advice and resources on collaborative environments
"your question(s!) are extremely broad, with very little background", "Could you be more specific on why you can't follow an open source project to learn what is already widely-practiced?" and "it would have been great if your rather vague question had links to the things you already know making it possible to explain these concepts in more detail without providing useless background that you already were well aware of" are all examples of people providing you advice on how to improve the question. Yet you did not provide more context, narrow the focus, or do anything other than complain.
May
19
comment Advice and resources on collaborative environments
Sorry, but I don't see any evidence of you "getting pelted for asking a question". Your question(s!) are extremely broad, with very little background. Getting down voted is not the same as getting pelted. It is an indication that your question is not well formed by community standards, making it difficult to provide you with a useful answer.
May
18
comment Do you dress formally or casually for a programming interview?
@David I agree, and understand that sometimes overdressing can make a negative impression, however, this specific answer claims that people may assume you are "a moron overdressing to hide your incompetence," which is quite a bit different than being "taken less seriously." Regardless, I still believe it is far safer to overdress than underdress, and even those who view overdressing negatively will still understand that it is a non-standard expectation, and are therefore more likely to make allowances.
May
18
comment Do you dress formally or casually for a programming interview?
I'd say it is more accurate to say "it is only nonstandard in most regions and industries". Silicon Valley does have a reputation as being its own distinct culture.
May
18
comment Do you dress formally or casually for a programming interview?
@nohat Sorry, but I don't believe "my answer is right" is a valid argument. In some environments you absolutely can run into the situation of "if you have to ask..." creating an initial negative impression. For example, if you were called by a HR rep from an East Coast bank for a programming position, and you said "great, what should I wear?" chances are very good that the person you spoke with will immediately get a negative impression of you.
May
18
comment Do you dress formally or casually for a programming interview?
Upon further consideration, you are describing a situation where, essentially, the people hiring are playing a game of "we have non-standard expectations during the hiring process, and anyone does not anticipate those non-standard expectations is to be derided, even though we offer no warning or clues." They apparently consider it critical to the position that either the applicant either asks what to wear, or just doesn't care about appearing "professional". Either way, I think it is a very rare applicant who would be happy working for such people.