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  • Is learning how to use C (or C++) a requirement in order to be a good (excellent) programmer?

    - by blueberryfields
    When I first started to learn how to program, real programmers could write assembly in their sleep. Any serious schooling in computer science would include a hefty bit of training and practice in programming using assembly. That has since changed, to the point where I see Computer Science degrees with assembly, if included at all, is relegated to one assignment, and one chapter, for a total of two weeks' work out of 4 years' schooling. C/C++ programming seems to have followed a similar path. I'm no longer surprised to interview university graduates who have not spent more than two weeks programming in C++, and have only read of C in a book somewhere. While the most serious CS degrees still seem to include significant time learning and using one or both of the languages, the trend is clearly towards less enforced C/C++ in school. It's clearly possible to make a career producing good work without ever reading or writing a single line of C or C++ code. Given all of that, is learning the two languages worth the effort? Are they at all required to excel? (beyond the obvious, non-language specific advice, such as "a good selection of languages is probably important for a comprehensive education", and "it's probably a good idea to keep trying out and learning new languages throughout a programmers' career, just to stretch the gray cells")

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  • How can a solo programmer become a good team player?

    - by Nick
    I've been programming (obsessively) since I was 12. I am fairly knowledgeable across the spectrum of languages out there, from assembly, to C++, to Javascript, to Haskell, Lisp, and Qi. But all of my projects have been by myself. I got my degree in chemical engineering, not CS or computer engineering, but for the first time this fall I'll be working on a large programming project with other people, and I have no clue how to prepare. I've been using Windows all of my life, but this project is going to be very unix-y, so I purchased a Mac recently in the hopes of familiarizing myself with the environment. I was fortunate to participate in a hackathon with some friends this past year -- both CS majors -- and excitingly enough, we won. But I realized as I worked with them that their workflow was very different from mine. They used Git for version control. I had never used it at the time, but I've since learned all that I can about it. They also used a lot of frameworks and libraries. I had to learn what Rails was pretty much overnight for the hackathon (on the other hand, they didn't know what lexical scoping or closures were). All of our code worked well, but they didn't understand mine, and I didn't understand theirs. I hear references to things that real programmers do on a daily basis -- unit testing, code reviews, but I only have the vaguest sense of what these are. I normally don't have many bugs in my little projects, so I have never needed a bug tracking system or tests for them. And the last thing is that it takes me a long time to understand other people's code. Variable naming conventions (that vary with each new language) are difficult (__mzkwpSomRidicAbbrev), and I find the loose coupling difficult. That's not to say I don't loosely couple things -- I think I'm quite good at it for my own work, but when I download something like the Linux kernel or the Chromium source code to look at it, I spend hours trying to figure out how all of these oddly named directories and files connect. It's a programming sin to reinvent the wheel, but I often find it's just quicker to write up the functionality myself than to spend hours dissecting some library. Obviously, people who do this for a living don't have these problems, and I'll need to get to that point myself. Question: What are some steps that I can take to begin "integrating" with everyone else? Thanks!

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  • What are the basic skills a beginner JavaScript programmer should have?

    - by Sanford
    In NYC, we are working on creating a collaborative community programming environment and trying to segment out software engineers into differing buckets. At present, we are trying to define: Beginners Intermediates Advanced Experts (and/or Masters) Similar to an apprenticeship, you would need to demonstrate specific skills to achieve different levels. Right now, we have identified beginner programming skills as: Object - method, attributes, inheritance Variable - math, string, array, boolean - all are objects Basic arithmetic functions - precedence of functions String manipulation Looping - flow control Conditionals - boolean algebra This is a first attempt, and it is a challenge since we know the natural tension between programming and software engineering. How would you create such a skills-based ranking for JavaScript in this manner? For example, what would be the beginner JavaScript skills that you would need to have to advance to the intermediate training? And so on.

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  • Is these company terms good for a programmer or should I move?

    - by o_O
    Here are some of the terms and conditions set forward by my employer. Does these make sense for a job like programming? No freelancing in any way even in your free time outside company work hours (may be okay. May be they wanted their employees to be fully concentrating on their full time job. Also they don't want their employees to do similar work for a competing client. Completely rational in that sense). - So sort of agreed. Any thing you develop like ideas, design, code etc while I'm employed there, makes them the owner of that. Seriously? Don't you think that its bad (for me)? If I'm to develop something in my free time (by cutting down sleep and hard working), outside the company time and resource, is that claim rational? I heard that Steve Wozniak had such a contract while he was working at HP. But that sort of hardware design and also those companies pay well, when compared to the peanuts I get. No other kind of works allowed. Means no open source stuffs. Fully dedicated to being a puppet for the employer, though the working environment is sort of okay. According to my assessment this place would score a 10/12 in Joel's test. So are these terms okay especially considering the fact that I'm underpaid with peanuts?

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  • Which web site gives the most accurate indication of a programmer's capabilities?

    - by Jerry Coffin
    If you were hiring programmers, and could choose between one of (say) the top 100 coders on topcoder.com, or one of the top 100 on stackoverflow.com, which would you choose? At least to me, it would appear that topcoder.com gives a more objective evaluation of pure ability to solve problems and write code. At the same time, despite obvious technical capabilities, this person may lack any hint of social skills -- he may be purely a "lone coder", with little or no ability to help/work with others, may lack mentoring ability to help transfer his technical skills to others, etc. On the other hand, stackoverflow.com would at least appear to give a much better indication of peers' opinion of the coder in question, and the degree to which his presence and useful and helpful to others on the "team". At the same time, the scoring system is such that somebody who just throws up a lot of mediocre (or even poor answers) will almost inevitably accumulate a positive total of "reputation" points -- a single up-vote (perhaps just out of courtesy) will counteract the effects of no fewer than 5 down-votes, and others are discouraged (to some degree) from down-voting because they have to sacrifice their own reputation points to do so. At the same time, somebody who makes little or no technical contribution seems unlikely to accumulate a reputation that lands them (even close to) the top of the heap, so to speak. So, which provides a more useful indication of the degree to which this particular coder is likely to be useful to your organization? If you could choose between them, which set of coders would you rather have working on your team?

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  • What benefits does a game design degree have for a hobby game programmer?

    - by sm4
    I am interested in studying game design, not because I want a job in the games industry, but because I am interested in the subject itself. I read the following questions, but they mostly deal with the effects on your career in game industry. Should I consider a graduate degree in game development? Game Development Degree vs Computer Science Degree First I thought a game development degree could be beneficial. But from the websites of colleges that offer such degrees, I feel like its more about basic programming with examples from games. This college offers game design degrees, for example. My question is, can I benefit from such a degree when I already have a degree in Computer Science, I already know programming, I'm already developing a game and finally, I have this site to help me when I get stuck?

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  • Experienced programmer, beginner at web design, tools for effective maintainable web design? [closed]

    - by Clinton
    I do quite a bit of programming in my work, which I'm comfortable with, but recently I've being trying to do some web-design for non-work related reasons. I've got a Drupal site up and running, and added some content. But they all look fairly basic. Header with some content. It doesn't look particularly polished. Anyway, as an example, what I wanted to do was make some "bubbles", each with some text in them. From a programmers point of view, say: bubble(question_text, answer_text) might expand to a box with some border, with "Question: " + question_text then "Answer: " + answer_text. Of course I'd have lots of these bubbles, but I'd like to change their look and feel in one place, so simple HTML would be a maintainable nightmare. I also want to lay them out on the screen in some fashion. I was thinking a mixture of javascript and CSS, or possibly use PHP which Drupal uses. On the other hand, I fear I might be taking a 1990s approach to this, and that there's actually tools available now that make this process a lot easier. I'm just wondering what the best approach to this sort of task is? Should I be using offline web design software and copying the code to Drupal, and if so, any recommendations? I'm sorry if my question is a bit vague, because I'm not really sure what question I should be asking. I'd appreciate if you answer and comment, and I'll try my best to be more specific as I understand more.

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  • Is it wise for a programmer to move into management?

    - by Desolate Planet
    Many times, a developer has suggested that I become a team leader because I'm motivated, but during my career in the IT industry, I've seen so many people who are great at programming, move into management and they are miserable. I've also seen many managers return to programming stating "I'm a technical person, I like technical problems". If this is such a common thing, why do developers feel compelled to leave the technical domain and move into management? Sure you'll have more money and more control, but if you don't enjoy your work and take your problems out on your tream. Secondly, I've been asked in developer interviews, "Would you consider leading a team?" and I'm always tempted to cite the Peter Principle based on what I've seen. I am interested in furthering myself, but not in the way the company may want i.e "Vice President of department blah". To be honest, I've seen this more often in the corporate world than in small development houses and it's always put me off ever going back to a corporate environment. I just feel that this is becoming more and more the norm and it's impacting team morale and degrading the quality of the work. Question: Based on what I've said, Is it a smart move for a technical person to move into management?

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  • Detailed C++ book for a programmer already familiar with C and object-oriented programming?

    - by Anto
    I know (to some extent) a few languages, including C, Java and Python. I'm also (somewhat) familiar with Scala and Scheme, plus I can read (but not write) x86 Assembly. Say I want to learn C++, what is a good book which doesn't try to teach me what a class is, teach me inheritance, polymorphism or loosely coupled classes again, nor does try to teach me other basics, just the C++ language (as well as how to write idiomatic C++ code, not e.g. Java with C++ syntax) and its standard library? Note: "Detailed" as used in the title means that it doesn't try to cover C++ in 100 pages, I want to know the details of the language. Of course, mastery comes from practice, but I don't want to learn just a little bit of C++ from the book, but learn it quite thoroughly.

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  • Is it normal for programmer to work on multiple projects simultaneously.

    - by gasan
    On a current job I have 2 projects to work on. First is very huge system and the second one is smaller but it also big (first project is being developed for 12 years, second for 4 years). At first I was working only on first project and was trying to get used to it. Then I was moved to second project and tried there, so my knowledge about first project became shady. Now I have to work on both projects at the same time. It's very hard for me because despite they both use java, they use different frameworks and the amount of code and business-logic to understand is very big so I really can't hold both that projects in my head. Is it normal and I should get used to it, although my expertise became very squashy, what won't happen if I would work only on a single project? Or should I raise a concern or maybe change employer?

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  • How important is it for a programmer to know how to implement a QuickSort/MergeSort algorithm from memory?

    - by John Smith
    I was reviewing my notes and stumbled across the implementation of different sorting algorithms. As I attempted to make sense of the implementation of QuickSort and MergeSort, it occurred to me that although I do programming for a living and consider myself decent at what I do, I have neither the photographic memory nor the sheer brainpower to implement those algorithms without relying on my notes. All I remembered is that some of those algorithms are stable and some are not. Some take O(nlog(n)) or O(n^2) time to complete. Some use more memory than others... I'd feel like I don't deserve this kind of job if it weren't because my position doesn't require that I use any sorting algorithm other than those found in standard APIs. I mean, how many of you have a programming position where it actually is essential that you can remember or come up with this kind of stuff on your own?

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  • From Oracle PL/SQL Developer to Java programmer - Is it a good decision? [on hold]

    - by user3554231
    I will explain my question in simple words. I have little over 1 year experience in Oracle. My dream is to be "called" as a 'Developer', be it database developer if not software developer. But right now I don't develop anything neither I am in good touch with PL/SQL and other Oracle Utilites like SQL*LOADER, shell scripting and stuff like that as I am only a System Analyst where I analyze and configure database using SQL queries. To be honest, I know very basic PL/SQL and good knowledge in SQL but that won't ever give me a chance to be a developer as I am lagging way behind the "real" developers knowledge. Now I feel I should learn JAVA as well so that I can cope up with the competition. But I am too scared to learn new things as it will take much more time which will indirectly increase my useless work experince(just analyzing) which values nothing in todays market. Moreover that, I am too lazy to work hard i.e. to study and not to work during office hours. To sum it up I am lazy and confused and scared but I want to learn things as well but don't know if I am intelligent enough to learn whole of PL/SQL or to master any other language. Is there any other way from which I can feel confident? Actually I even feel sometimes that after 2-3 years if I still don't achieve my goal, I won't ever be able to reach my destination. I just want to live my dream of being a developer. Give me some tips and hopes but not false hopes.

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  • Do you know any studies on relation of productivity of a programmer and the workstation used?

    - by Tomasz Blachowicz
    I was wondering if there are any studies (formal or not-so-formal) that show correlation between a developer productivity and the workstation used to develop software. It is often heard as argument that the high spec workstations increase the productivity (or the low spec machines impact productivity to the greater extent). To me it sound reasonable, however I'd like to verify the statement with some studies if such exists. Can you help me with that?

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  • What are the basic skills a BEGINNING JavaScript programmer should have?

    - by Sanford
    In NYC, we are working on creating a collaborative community programming environment and trying to segment out software engineers into differing buckets. At present, we are trying to define: Beginners Intermediates Advanced Experts (and/or Masters) Similar to an apprenticeship, you would need to demonstrate specific skills to achieve different levels. Right now, we have identified Beginner programming skills as: Object - method, attributes, inheritance Variable - math, string, array, boolean - all are objects Basic arithmetic functions - precedence of functions String manipulation Looping - flow control Conditionals - boolean algebra This is a first attempt, and it is a challenge since we know the natural tension between programming and software engineering. How would you create such a skills-based ranking for JavaScript in this manner? For example, what would be the Beginner Javascript skills that you would need to have to advance to the Intermediate Training? And so on.

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  • Do you know any studies on relation of productivity of a programmer and the workstation used?

    - by Tomasz Blachowicz
    I was wondering if there are any studies (formal or not-so-formal) that show correlation between a developer productivity and the workstation used to develop software. It is often heard as argument that the high spec workstations increase the productivity (or the low spec machines impact productivity to the greater extent). To me it sound reasonable, however I'd like to verify the statement with some studies if such exists. Can you help me with that?

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  • How can a programmer refine their skills in non-visual ways?

    - by Martin Josefsson
    I feel like when I am not writing, I am reading. When I come home from my programming job I write and read software and about software. The problem is though, both reading and writing requires my eyes to be focused. That doesn't work when I'm biking, cooking shopping for groceries. Sometime I use text-to-speech programs to listen to blogs, but I feel like there could be more. What ways can a software developer learn more without requiring eye focus? How to blind coders learn the craft?

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  • Can you be a programmer and Business manager at the same time?

    - by the_knight5000
    Hello all, I think I'm struggled in some situation! We are a new start-up with 5 employees (2 Programmers). I'm the Technical Manager and that was so fine! Now I can see the fingers point to me to take the control of everything, as I've the big vision of what our organization do and play the role of CEO or General Manager! I want to, but I've no idea if it would be risky to our organization to make such a decision? How would managerial interrupts affect the technical productivity? Any tips or previous experience about such situation would help :) Thanks in advance!

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  • What almost unknown programming language of 21st century a programmer should be introduced to?

    - by bigown
    Which languages almost nobody talks about but has some interesting features or concepts? It must satisfy the following 2 criteria: It must have been created in 2000 or later. Ex.: REBOL, Squeak, Oberon, etc. are out. It can't have some fame among programmers. Ex.: Groovy, C#, Scala, Go, Clojure, D, etc are out. The language doesn't need be good or totally implemented. License or platform doesn't matter. The language needs to be new and interesting. I posted a good example of language I wanna know. If you wish TIOBE can be used as reference to measure "fame", but don't cling on it.

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  • What should a programmer's yearly routine be to maximize their technical skills?

    - by sguptaet
    2 years ago I made a big career change into programming. I learned various technologies on my own without any prior experience. I really love it and feel lucky with all the resources around us to help us learn. Books, courses, open-source, etc. There are so many avenues. I'm wondering what a good routine would be to follow to maximize my software development skills. I don't believe just building software is the way, because that leaves no time for learning new concepts or technologies. I'm looking for an answer like this: Take a new concept sabbatical/workshop 2 weeks per year. Read 1 theoretical and 1 practical programming book per year. Learn 1 additional language every 2 years. Take a 1 week vacation every 6 months. Etc. I realize that the above might sound naive and unrealistic as there are so many factors. But I'd like to know the "recipe" that you think is best that will serve as a guide for people.

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  • What are the most necessary non-language specific things a programmer needs to know?

    - by Josh
    I've been thinking about this a lot lately. Right now I work at a little web company, am almost done with school, and have written an iPhone app, but I'm not sure what else I need to focus my learning energies on. I've decided I want to do software programming, so I've been actively reading everything I can get my hands on that deals with Objective-C / C++ (Cocoa, OpenGL, etc). But those are not the things I'm talking about. I know I need to "master" a language or two. What I'm talking about are the other "things". Things such as learning and using source control, design patterns, etc. What thing (or things, just one per response), would you say I should concurrently be focusing on? You can consider in your answer that I'm wanting to do the aforementioned career path, but you don't have to. I just want a nice list of things to research, and actually use in my career. Also, can someone help me with tagging this? I'm not sure what exactly would be a good tag for such a question.

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  • When does a programmer know when a new job is not right?

    - by Mysterion
    I believe that the interview process is a selling of both parties - what can the employee offer the employer and vice versa. Assuming an individual has been careful in selecting their new employer (via thorough questioning in the interview process), however when they arrive at the job they find the employer has not been honest about certain aspects of the job. Examples of this dishonesty could include: The employee making it clear that technical excellence is an important factor, which is promised by the employer, but is not fully delivered or a good technical structure does not exist. The employee states they want to work on well architected and short (lets say less than 1 yr) long projects, yet when they start they find they are placed on a poorly architected older project. The employee being told of a pair programming environment to get him up to speed on the project, but being left to his own devices/questioning on arrival. The employee is promised a culture that encourages innovation and technical excellence but finds that this is not the case (eg. using technology for knowledge retention is laughed at). I know that a lot of famous developers feel that you make the place you work at. Is it realistic for a new employee with limited experience in the industry (say less than 5 years) to be able to join the company and change attitudes or even challenge the employer on the perceived dishonesty? Should they stay in this job or cut their losses?

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  • When is the right time to join open source project for programmer?

    - by Mahesh
    Most of the newcomers in programming start with basic projects to start with programming. Most of the C++ progammers spend some time with puzzles and contests but this is not always helpful. Sometimes you've to spend some time on real projects. Starting your own open source project could be a problem in self-learning for newbie cause of lack of mentors and peers who can't look at your code and give suggestions. Open source projects can solve this problem, some projects could be best suited for new programmers. Besides everybody is newbie at some point. So i'll try and make this question a bit from beginners perspective. I tried few questions on stack overflow before asking this like How do i join & Bare minimum you need and how to get involved with open source and what level of programming etc. But this is not helping me when it comes to self-evaluating with skills. How to find that out ? How can i check what it takes to join open source project and am i really that comfortable with huge source code etc. My question is when to consider yourself comfortable joining open source programming ? I mean how will you test yourself that you're ready to take burden of big/small projects of open source ? how will you test yourself to see if you could work with version control/other programmers/tight schedule etc ?

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  • Employer purchased a Macbook for me, as a programmer what do I need to do to get my environment setup?

    - by Chris
    I come from growing up on dos/windows and the more I got into programming and development the more I invested time/effort into linux distributions. I had a choice between an IBM and a Macbook. I went with the Macbook to get some experience but I am not really sure where to start? I find myself wanting to install virtualbox and boot up linux. Any advice for a new Mac user who wants to get back up to speed with programming efficiently?

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  • As a programmer, what's the most valuable non-English (human) language to learn?

    - by Andrew M
    I was thinking that with my developer skills, learning new languages like French, German etc. might be easier for me now. I could setup the verbs as objects in Python and use dir(verb) to find its methods, tenses and stuff ;-) But seriously, if you're a professional developer, in my case in the UK, what's the best foreign language to learn from an employment perspective? I'm thinking, like Hindi - if all our programming jobs are getting outsourced to India, might as well position yourself to be the on-site, go-between guy. Mandarin - if the Chinese become the pre-eminent economy, the new USA, in ten or twenty years, then speaking their language would open up a huge market to you. Russian - maybe another major up-and-comer, but already closer to Western standards. More IT-sector growth here than anywhere else in the coming years? Japanese - drivers of global technology, being able to speak their language could give you a big competitive advantage over other Westerners But I'm just guessing/musing with all these points. If you have an opinion, or even better, some evidence, I'd like to hear it. If the programming things falls through then at least it'll make for more interesting holidays.

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  • How should an undergraduate programmer organize his time learning the maximum possible?

    - by nischayn22
    I started programming lately(pre-final year of a CS degree) and now feel like there's a sea of uncovered treasure for me out there. So, I decided to cover as much as is possible before I look out for a job after graduation. So, I started to read books (The C++ Programming Language, Introduction to Algorithms, Cracking the Coding Interview, Programming Pearls,etc ) participate in StackExchange sites, solving problems (InterviewStreet and ProjectEuler), coding for open source, chatting to fellow programmers/mentors and try to learn more and more. Good,then what's the problem?? The problem is I am trying to do many things, but I am doubtful that I am still utilizing my time properly. I am reading many books and sometimes I just leave a book halfway (jumping from one book to another), sometimes I spend way too much time on chatting and also in getting lost somewhere in the huge internet world, and lastly the wasteful burden of attending classes (I don't think my teachers know good enough or I prefer learning on my own) May be some of you had similar situation. How did you organize your time? Or what do you think is the best way to organize it for an undergraduate? Also what mistakes am I making that you can warn me of

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