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  • Are there any non-self-taught famous programmers? [closed]

    - by Jon Purdy
    It seems to me that being a self-taught programmer has significant advantages over picking it up only in higher education. Not only does a self-taught developer have a headstart on their 10 000-odd hours of mastery, but their hobby demonstrates genuine interest. This will likely lead to a process of continuous self-improvement over their career, not to mention increased likelihood of producing personal projects that are worthy of fame. A programmer who spends four years in study (not nearly all of which is going to be directly concerned with programming) has far less leisure to explore and learn independently than does a developer who starts college with even a few years of dedicated hobbyist study. I wonder whether there are any famed developers who had no exposure to programming before deciding to study it in university. I simply doubt that an 18-year-old has the capacity to become a brilliant programmer with no prior experience, but that seems like an awfully elitist and unpleasant view, so I'd like to be proven wrong.

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  • How can I convince cowboy programmers to use source control?

    - by P.Brian.Mackey
    UPDATE I work on a small team of devs, 4 guys. They have all used source control. Most of them can't stand source control and instead choose not to use it. I strongly believe source control is a necessary part of professional development. Several issues make it very difficult to convince them to use source control: The team is not used to using TFS. I've had 2 training sessions, but was only allotted 1 hour which is insufficient. Team members directly modify code on the server. This keeps code out of sync. Requiring comparison just to be sure you are working with the latest code. And complex merge problems arise Time estimates offered by developers exclude time required to fix any of these problems. So, if I say nono it will take 10x longer...I have to constantly explain these issues and risk myself because now management may perceive me as "slow". The physical files on the server differ in unknown ways over ~100 files. Merging requires knowledge of the project at hand and, therefore, developer cooperation which I am not able to obtain. Other projects are falling out of sync. Developers continue to have a distrust of source control and therefore compound the issue by not using source control. Developers argue that using source control is wasteful because merging is error prone and difficult. This is a difficult point to argue, because when source control is being so badly mis-used and source control continually bypassed, it is error prone indeed. Therefore, the evidence "speaks for itself" in their view. Developers argue that directly modifying server code, bypassing TFS saves time. This is also difficult to argue. Because the merge required to synchronize the code to start with is time consuming. Multiply this by the 10+ projects we manage. Permanent files are often stored in the same directory as the web project. So publishing (full publish) erases these files that are not in source control. This also drives distrust for source control. Because "publishing breaks the project". Fixing this (moving stored files out of the solution subfolders) takes a great deal of time and debugging as these locations are not set in web.config and often exist across multiple code points. So, the culture persists itself. Bad practice begets more bad practice. Bad solutions drive new hacks to "fix" much deeper, much more time consuming problems. Servers, hard drive space are extremely difficult to come by. Yet, user expectations are rising. What can be done in this situation?

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  • What is the best way to evaluate new programmers?

    - by Rafael
    What is the best way to evaluate the best candidates to get a new job (talking merely in terms of programming skills)? In my company we have had a lot of bad experiences with people who have good grades but do not have real programming skills. Their skills are merely like code monkeys, without the ability to analyze the problems and find solutions. More things that I have to note: The education system in my country sucks--really sucks. The people that are good in this kind of job are good because they have talent for it or really try to learn on their own. The university / graduate /post-grad degree doesn't mean necessarily that you know exactly how to do the things. Certifications also mean nothing here because the people in charge of the certification course also don't have skills (or are in low paying jobs). We need really to get the good candidates that are flexible and don't have mechanical thinking (because this type of people by experience have a low performance). We are in a government institution and the people that are candidates don't necessarily come from outside, but we have the possibility to accept or not any candidates until we find the correct one. I hope I'm not sounding too aggressive in my question; and BTW I'm a programmer myself. edit: I figured out that asked something really complex here. I will un-toggle "the correct answer" only to let the discussion going fluent, without any bias.

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  • Is paying programmers to "test" for bugs normal? [on hold]

    - by user106277
    I recently hired a programming team to do a port of my iPad app to the iPhone and Android platforms. I also wanted them to implement a bunch of tips on how to play the app, similar like you would find in Candy Crush or Cut the Rope. They want to charge 12 hours @ $35/hr for the "Testing all of the Tips", telling me that normally it would take them more than 25 hours but that they will 'bear the difference'. I have never heard of this, but maybe it's a new practice? I am used to devs doing their own quality control, and then having a testing/acceptance period... Am I missing something? Thanks for any help and advice you can give!

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  • How do graphics programmers deal with rendering vertices that don't change the image?

    - by canisrufus
    So, the title is a little awkward. I'll give some background, and then ask my question. Background: I work as a web GIS application developer, but in my spare time I've been playing with map rendering and improving data interchange formats. I work only in 2D space. One interesting issue I've encountered is that when you're rendering a polygon at a small scale (zoomed way out), many of the vertices are redundant. An extreme case would be that you have a polygon with 500,000 vertices that only takes up a single pixel. If you're sending this data to the browser, it would make sense to omit ~499,999 of those vertices. One way we achieve that is by rendering an image on a server and and sending it as a PNG: voila, it's a point. Sometimes, though, we want data sent to the browser where it can be rendered with SVG (or canvas, or webgl) so that it can be interactive. The problem: It turns out that, using modern geographic data sets, it's very easy to overload SVG's rendering abilities. In an effort to cope with those limitations, I'm trying to figure out how to visually losslessly reduce a data set for a given scale and map extent (and, if necessary, for a known map pixel width and height). I got a great reduction in data size just using the Douglas-Peucker algorithm, and I believe I was able to get it to keep the polygons true to within one pixel. Unfortunately, Douglas-Peucker doesn't preserve topology, so it changed how borders between polygons got rendered. I couldn't readily find other algorithms to try out and adapt to the purpose, but I don't have much CS/algorithm background and might not recognize them if I saw them.

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  • How to convincing Programmers that 'being in the zone' [coding] isn't always beneficial for the project?

    - by hawkeye
    In this book review: http://books.slashdot.org/story/11/06/13/1251216/Book-Review-The-Clean-Coder?utm_source=slashdot&utm_medium=twitter Chapter 4 talks about the coding process itself. One of the hardest statements the book makes here is to stay out of "the zone" when coding. Bob asserts that you lose parts of the big picture when you go down to that level. While I may struggle with that assertion, I do agree with his next statement that debugging time is expensive, so you should avoid having to do debugger-driven development whenever possible. He finishes the chapter with examples of pacing yourself (walking away, taking a shower) and how to deal with being late on your projects (remembering that hope is not a plan, and being clear about the impact of overtime) along with a reminder that it is good to both give and receive help, whether it be small questions or mentoring others. they talk about how 'being in the zone' - can actually be detrimental to the project. How do you convince your team members that this is the case?

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  • Does the use of debuggers have an effect on the efficiency of programmers? [closed]

    - by alain.janinm
    Possible Duplicate: Are debugging skills important to become a good programmer? I'm a young Java developer and I make a systematic use of the Netbeans debugger. In fact, I often develop my applications when I debug step by step in order to see immediately if my code works. I feel spending a lot of time programming this way because the use of debugger increase execution time and I often wait for my app to jump from a breakpoint to an other (so much that I've the time to ask this question). I never learned to use a debugger at school, but at work I've been told immediately to use this functionality. I started teaching myself to use it two years ago, and I've never been told any key tips about it. I'd like to know if there are some rules to follow in order to use the debugger efficiently. I'm also wondering if using the debugger is eventually a good practice? Or is it a loss of time and I've to stop now this bad habit?

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  • What should I do next in my life as a programmers? [closed]

    - by user1769787
    I am doing work in asp.net (mvc) in my starting days of programming 2 years ago.I have done work on some web-apps. I am not comfortable with c# but have working skill in jQuery and front-end development. from a year I do UI kind of work. Now someone can suggest me what should I do for next. Should I learn asp.net mvc or I should go for PHP then I can do some wordpress development. The problem is I never found small people use asp.net rather then PHP.( I am not currently employed). Someone can help me what should I do. I have front-end skill (not in programming) so what Is best for me to do.

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  • How do game programmers design their classes to reuse in AI, network and play and pass mode?

    - by Amogh Talpallikar
    For a two player game where, your opponent could be on the network, CPU itself or near you where you would play turn by turn on the same machine. How do people design classes for re-use ? I am in a similar situation and have no experience in making such complex games. But here is what I have thought, If I am a player object , I should only be interacting with the GameManager or GameEngine Singleton , from which I will get various notifications about the game status. I dont care where and who my opponent is, this GameManager depending upon the game mode, will interact with gameNetworkManager , or AI tell me what the opponent played. I am not sure about the scenario where we play and pass [turn by turn on same machine]. Hoping for a brief but clear explanation or at least a link to a similar resource.:)

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  • Why are many programmers moving their code to github?

    - by Chibueze Opata
    For the past 6 months or more, I've been seeing many codes hosted at sourceforge.net as well as other hosting sites "Move to GitHub". A mere Google Search with the phrase "Moved to Github" returns several results containing the text moved to github. This is very confusing for me, and I'm wondering, why exactly are people moving? Does it mean that GitHub is better or is there some special advantage I'm not seeing?

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  • Why do programmers write applications and then make them free?

    - by Ken
    As an entrepreneur/programmer who makes a good living from writing and selling software, I'm dumbfounded as to why developers write applications and then put them up on the Internet for free. You've found yourself in one of the most lucrative fields in the world. A business with 99% profit margin, where you have no physical product but can name your price; a business where you can ship a buggy product and the customer will still buy it. Occasionally some of our software will get a free competitor, and I think, this guy is crazy. He could be making a good living off of this but instead chose to make it free. Do you not like giant piles of money? Are you not confident that people would pay for it? Are you afraid of having to support it? It's bad for the business of programming because now customers expect to be able to find a free solution to every problem. (I see tweets like "is there any good FREE software for XYZ? or do I need to pay $20 for that".) It's also bad for customers because the free solutions eventually break (because of a new OS or what have you) and since it's free, the developer has no reason to fix it. Customers end up with free but stale software that no longer works and never gets updated. Customer cries. Developer still working day job cries in their cubical. What gives? PS: I'm not looking to start an open-source/software should be free kind of debate. I'm talking about when developers make a closed source application and make it free.

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  • How long of a trial period do you use with programmers - how quickly can you tell if they are talented and a good fit?

    - by blueberryfields
    It seems most jobs that I've been exposed to come with a 3 month trial period, during which the employer decides whether the employee is doing good enough work, and is a good fit. 3 months seem like overkill to me, for most cases we've known much sooner whether someone wasn't a good fit. How long does it take you, on average, to evaluate whether a newly hired programmer is both talented and a good fit for your team?

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  • I can't program because old coding style. This is normal to programmers?

    - by Renato Dinhani Conceição
    I'm in my first real job as programmer, but I can't solve any problems because of the coding style used. The code here: don't have comments don't have functions (50, 100, 200, 300 or more lines executed in sequence) uses a lot of if statements with a lot of paths has variables that make no sense (eg.: cf_cfop, CF_Natop, lnom, r_procod) uses a language I am unfamiliar with (Visual FoxPro 8 from 2002) I feel like I have gone back to 1970. Is it normal for a programmer familiar with OOP, clean-code, design patterns, etc. to have trouble with coding in this old-fashion way?

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  • How do you react to non-programmers with ideas of 'The Next Big Thing' ?

    - by jiceo
    Recently and quite often, people with no programming background come and say they have this great idea that can be the next big thing and that the idea(s) is worth a fortune by itself. Then as they know I'm a programmer, they ask me if I'm willing to "code it up" for them or find someone willing to do it for next to nothing. Judging from the enthusiasm, it's like they're drunk on their idea and that that by itself is the most important thing, but they just need a programmer. My response to them, depending on my mood and their general attitude towards what we do, is something along the lines of: "Having the core of an idea is one thing. Developing it to the point that it becomes a platform that changes the world in which it lives is another, and you're going to be willing to pay proportionately to how big you think your idea is worth." Have you been approached by these business type entrepreneurs (with no technical/developer's knowledge) with such a proposal and how do you react to them?

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  • Is it normal for a company to have programmers on such a rigid schedule?

    - by q303
    So I've been working at this job for a couple of months. I'm a little frustrated because I do my best work from 2 to 7. In previous jobs, I've come in at 9:30-10:00 and leave at 7. Some companies have been okay with this, others have not. But my current company insists on my being there at 8:30. Any deviation from this is a big deal. Is this typical? I have colleagues who are more 9:30 to 6:30, 10:00-7:00 guys...but maybe that is just startup culture? I don't see why, given that I don't meet clients, etc. what the advantage to having things be so rigid could be. I also don't see why if there is 15 to 20 minute variation sometimes in coming in, why people don't just assume that I will adjust when I leave... Are these unreasonable expectations as a developer or am I missing something?

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  • Should programmers prefer making wide libraries or thin libraries?

    - by Telastyn
    For classes and functions, it is clear cut: each should do only one thing. For libraries though, this is less clear. If you have a library with collections, it might have multiple collections. It might have useful functions like sorting, which aren't strictly collection based but users would expect. Each of these results in a 'wider' library. On the other side is having a library for the specific collection type and/or with little built-in functionality. If you want a queue, it gives you a queue. If you want to sort that list, then the library lets you do that yourself. What is the best practice here (if any)? I can see arguments for each side.

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  • How do you make comp.sci students and future programmers aware of the various software licenses and the nuances of it ?

    - by Samyak Bhuta
    To be specific How would you include it as part of curriculum ? Would it be too boring to just introduce them as a pure law subject ? Are there any course structure available or can we derive one ? What are the books that could be used ? I would like to see that - after going through the course - candidate is well aware of "what software licenses are and what they are good for". Various implications of not knowing it in it's proper sense. What licenses they should use for their own code. What to consider when they are trying to use certain libraries or tools in their project and gauge risks/rewards associated with it. The idea is to let them make informed choices when they are professionals/practitioners in field of programming and not make them substitute for a lawyer or even a paralegal who is going to fight the case or draft things.

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  • Why do programmers write closed source applications and then make them free? [closed]

    - by Ken
    As an entrepreneur/programmer who makes a good living from writing and selling software, I'm dumbfounded as to why developers write applications and then put them up on the Internet for free. You've found yourself in one of the most lucrative fields in the world. A business with 99% profit margin, where you have no physical product but can name your price; a business where you can ship a buggy product and the customer will still buy it. Occasionally some of our software will get a free competitor, and I think, this guy is crazy. He could be making a good living off of this but instead chose to make it free. Do you not like giant piles of money? Are you not confident that people would pay for it? Are you afraid of having to support it? It's bad for the business of programming because now customers expect to be able to find a free solution to every problem. (I see tweets like "is there any good FREE software for XYZ? or do I need to pay $20 for that".) It's also bad for customers because the free solutions eventually break (because of a new OS or what have you) and since it's free, the developer has no reason to fix it. Customers end up with free but stale software that no longer works and never gets updated. Customer cries. Developer still working day job cries in their cubicle. What gives? PS: I'm not looking to start an open-source/software should be free kind of debate. I'm talking about when developers make a closed source application and make it free.

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  • Easy way of engaging non-programmers (i.e. designers) into using version control?

    - by Kevin
    What are some key ways of getting your team involved in using version control during development, web development or otherwise? I refuse to work without it, which means anyone involved in the project must also use it. It's just good practice. GUIs like Tower have helped, but the concept of it is either met with anger ('not my job!' kinda attitude), timidness, or just straight up not using it (using FTP instead, circumventing version control for say, dev or deployment). Edit: I should have clarified a little that I don't just mean images/PSDs.

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  • Why are more programmers not freelance these days? [closed]

    - by Pierre 303
    Leaving the whole pie to only a few of them, amplifying the huge differences between the two status. Pay is a (huge) one, not having to do overtime is another. I leave the question open to hopefully get many great answers on all the different subjects that affects that feeling and decision not to go. EDIT: While this question is really global, I'll be interested in any studies, facts, articles, opinions regarding local markets such as US, India and even Australia in which I'm in love with. EDIT2: Bounty of 500 points for anyone that will come with recent studies on the subject. If multiple answers, will pick the one with the most upvotes.

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  • How can I create a solid business case for upgrading our programmers to 256 GB SSD and 16 GB of RAM?

    - by Alex. S.
    We have an environment based on Microsoft stack (VS2010, SQL Server, etc), and I firmly believe that we could improve productivity a little bit, having more RAM and a faster secondary SSD. What data do you advice to gather so I can solidify my request in such a way the advantages can be unbiasedly demonstrated? Currently we have only 6GB of RAM and slower HD drives, and at home I have a 128 GB SSD in my desktop and 16 GB of RAM (I also think is the max amount of memory supported by our workstations, if we could go bigger then better), so I can feel the difference and it's real. I also want to add that we are in an industry with plenty of money, so the issue actually is how to get a budget approval from management and spend it wisely to increase productivity.

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  • Is programming as a career in the US being hurt by competition from programmers in India?

    - by compman
    I don't want to be offensive; people in India matter just as much as people in the US and also need work. However, I'm one of the people in the US. Are there fewer programming jobs in the US because of competition from India? Are the programming jobs in the US less lucrative because of competition from India? Is programming a good career choice in the US (in terms of being able to actually make a fair amount of money)?

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  • How to handle estimates for programmers joining the team?

    - by Jordan
    Iteration has already started, new programmer joins the team, task X has already been estimated to be 30 hours by a different developer. What is the best practice in this situation? new developer runs with the given estimate (the idea being that any discrepancy will be corrected for when velocity is calculated?) new developer re-estimates task? (if so, what if it's significantly higher and no longer fits in the iteration?) throw our hands up and go back to waterfall? something else entirely?

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  • Is the "App" side of Windows 8 practical for programmers?

    - by jt0dd
    I like the tablet-friendliness of Windows 8 Apps, and some of the programming apps seem pretty neat, but there are many aspects that make me think I would have difficulty using this format for an efficient programming environment: Unlike the desktop + multiple windows setup, I can't simply drag my files around from source, to FTP or SFTP file managers, between folders, web applications, and into other apps, etc. I can't switch between apps as fast. This could have different implications with different monitor setups, but it seems like a shaky setup for an agile workflow. The split screen functionality is cool, but it doesn't seem to allow for as much maneuverability as the classic desktop setup. This could just require me getting used to the top-left corner shortcut, but it does bother me that I have to move my mouse all the way up there to see my different windows. These aspects could become relevant in the event that Windows were to move further towards their "app" structure and less towards the Windows 7 style. I'm wondering if anyone has been able to utilize the "App" side of Windows 8 for an efficient programming workflow.

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  • Has the emerging generation of programmers got the wrong idea about design patterns? [closed]

    - by MattDavey
    Over the years I've noticed a shift in attitude towards design patterns, particularly amongst the emerging generation of developers. There seems to be a notion these days that design patterns are silver bullets that instantly cure any problem, a proliferating idea that advancing as a software engineer simply means learning and applying more and more patterns. When confronted with a problem, developers no longer strive to truly understand the issue and design a solution - instead they simply pick a design pattern which seems to be a close fit, and try to brute-force it. You can see evidence of this by the many, many questions on Stack Overflow that begin with the phrase "what pattern should I use to...". I fall into a slightly more mature category of developers (5-10 years experience) and I have a very different viewpoint on patterns - simply as a communication tool to enhance clarity. I find this perspective of design patterns being lego bricks (collected like pokemon cards) a little disconcerting. Will developers lose this attitude as they gain more experience in software engineering? Or could these notions perhaps steer the direction of our craft in years to come? Did the older generation of developers have any similar concerns about us? (perhaps about OO design or similar...). if so, how did we turn out?

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