Response to "Are You A Copy & Paste Programmer?"

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48 Replies - 12803 Views - Last Post: 13 December 2011 - 08:48 AM

#1 royce  Icon User is offline

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Response to "Are You A Copy & Paste Programmer?"

Post icon  Posted 13 July 2011 - 08:09 AM

I'm a cut & paste programmer. I consider myself a smart guy who needs an occasional bit of code to make my own projects better. If you offer it for free, then I will graciously accept it. I tried to get others to program for me but what I found was a grossly over-priced marketplace that demanded an average of $50-$150 per hour of worktime. Sorry, but I'm not paying $500 for 5-6 hours of work unless you are removing one of my organs or keeping me out of jail. At least, not while you're willing to give it to me for free!

Want job security in the marketplace? Don't publish code online to be given away for free. It is done with the concept that YOU will be KNOWN. It is YOUR generation that decided that it's more important to be famous than to be smart.

Patent Office first, Internet 2nd! That 15 minutes of fame when everyone is posting how wonderful you are ends up costing you 15 weeks of income.

As for available job positions, everyone has every right to step forward and 'go for it'. If I can convince you to hire me, then good for me. It is not my job to protect the 'right to work' of the other applicants. If companies are hiring unqualified people, then you need to look at the demands of the 'Qualified' that are making them so unattractive to hire. Every company wants the best that 'they can afford'. If you cost too much, you are not worth buying.

Mr. Kenworthy, you cannot offer a free gift and then dictate to the recipient how it will be used.

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Replies To: Response to "Are You A Copy & Paste Programmer?"

#2 modi123_1  Icon User is online

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Re: Response to "Are You A Copy & Paste Programmer?"

Posted 13 July 2011 - 08:13 AM

Was there question or topic in there?
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#3 macosxnerd101  Icon User is online

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Re: Response to "Are You A Copy & Paste Programmer?"

Posted 13 July 2011 - 08:26 AM

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This is pretty funny.

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If companies are hiring unqualified people, then you need to look at the demands of the 'Qualified' that are making them so unattractive to hire.

I think you've got the wrong idea about the hiring process. A lot of it is due to companies not understanding their needs (read- non-technical people trying to determine how qualified technical people are) and colleges graduating a lot of unqualified students. Companies see degree == qualified, when this is not the case at all. This thread seems particularly relevant.

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I'm a cut & paste programmer. I consider myself a smart guy who needs an occasional bit of code to make my own projects better.

This is contradictory. Do you use a snippet here and there to help you along, or do you put together a lot of copied snippets? Do you actually understand how things work? If you were thrown into a job doing mid-to-senior level work in your language(s) of choice, would you be prepared?

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Want job security in the marketplace? Don't publish code online to be given away for free. It is done with the concept that YOU will be KNOWN. It is YOUR generation that decided that it's more important to be famous than to be smart.

A lot of code out there isn't a direct solution. If you look through the forums, I highly doubt you will be able to simply copy/paste for your solution. It's called understanding how things work and researching, not blindly copy/pasting for an assignment or job. For whatever trade you specialize in, would you really want to get stuck working with someone who doesn't know anything on a complex project?

Not to be rude, but it sounds like you are a student without much experience in the workplace. Even in the classroom, do you enjoy getting stuck on advanced/large/complex projects with a group that can't pull their own weight and you end up doing everything? What about fixing someone else's mistake b/c the client/company/whoever was too stupid to hire the person (read- you) to do it right the first time using fewer resources and having a better product? There is a lot more to it that you are not considering.
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#4 skyhawk133  Icon User is offline

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Re: Response to "Are You A Copy & Paste Programmer?"

Posted 13 July 2011 - 08:26 AM

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This is in response to my editorial in the newsletter:
http://t.co/yxZJKLA

I will respond, then feature this topic and let others reply.

I said in my article, if you occasionally take pieces of code you find to use in your programs, that's fine by me. I wouldn't provide a code snippet repository and a forum dedicated to helping programmers if I didn't think it was ok to use the occasional piece of reusable code.

What I, and many others, have a problem with are those who refuse to put forth ANY effort. They want the entire program handed to them on a silver platter, and if there are errors in it when they try to cram it in to their existing program they get all huffy and puffy because they weren't provided with an entire working program.

Programming is about writing code, solving problems, debugging, and understanding the theory and math behind what you're doing (sometimes that means adapting existing code/algorithms to your needs which is fine). It's not about spending hours upon hours trying to find someone that already did the work for you so you don't have to learn how to do it. Or taking something someone else has done, then getting pissed off when it doesn't work the way you want and spending another 4-5 hours trying to find someone to fix it for you because you didn't understand it.

There is a MAJOR problem in the programming industry right now and it's only getting worse. A VERY large portion of programmers entering the work force have absolutely no troubleshooting/debugging skills. When they encounter an error, they give up and try to find someone elses code to copy from, and they keep doing it until they find one that works instead of just reading a little documentation and learning how to solve the problem.

There's nothing wrong with using pre-existing libraries, classes, frameworks, etc. They were built with that purpose in mind. But you damn well better know how to actually implement and code for those things.

Nobody said re-inventing the wheel is a bad thing, and I don't think anyone should re-invent the wheel. But you should understand how the wheel works, and how to fix the wheel if it stops working if you're going to call yourself a mechanic. (see what I did there... analogy time!)

If you've got a guilty conscious about this topic, chances are you're probably guilty. Just because you copy and paste from time to time doesn't make you a Copy and Paste Programmer. But if that's all you're doing and you can't debug someone elses code or write your own code from scratch, you're not a programmer, you're a professional copy and paster.
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#5 modi123_1  Icon User is online

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Re: Response to "Are You A Copy & Paste Programmer?"

Posted 13 July 2011 - 08:36 AM

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A few questions on your topic (that I now realize what the gist was for).

Do you program for a living? Is being a programmer something you want to do, or at least do well and competently? While "copy and pasting" might be a short term fix it doesn't help you learn the craft. I have seen the fruits from many people who won't take the time to work through a language or programming structures. I've *WORKED* with those people. I could tell what sections they copied from the internet because those were clear(ish) and there was a spaghetti mess trying to stitch it to the code above it. Horrible. Project crippling.

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a grossly over-priced marketplace that demanded an average of $50-$150 per hour of worktime


Odd, then you sir must meet my good friends from the South Asia and Eastern European Region! All I have seen is a perpetual underbid to the tune of $10/hour from those crazy cats!

On the off chance you indeed *HAVE* been formally introduced my guess is you were looking for "quality" work. If one wants quality work it does cost. It reminds me of that story about Picasso. He was at a bar drinking and a guy comes up and slurs that he would pay Picasso for a drawing on a cocktail napkin. Pablo pulls out a pen and deftly strikes the napkin. Picasso hands the napkin to the guy and says "one million dollars please!". The guy balks and says "A million dollars? That took thirty seconds!". Picasso replies "Indeed, but it only took me fifty years to learn to draw that in thirty seconds!".

Regarding the jobs rant. What about full blown deception. Misrepresenting your skills and experience? Personal ethics are a great thing when applied.
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#6 Brewer  Icon User is offline

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Re: Response to "Are You A Copy & Paste Programmer?"

Posted 13 July 2011 - 08:38 AM

View Postskyhawk133, on 13 July 2011 - 12:56 PM, said:

Nobody said re-inventing the wheel is a bad thing, and I don't think anyone should re-invent the wheel.


Why not? The wheel is believe to have been invented by the Sumerians and it was made up of planks that had been lashed together. Can you imagine putting wooden wheels on your car?

The fact is that every once in a while someone with a better idea comes along and they make things better by "reinventing the wheel". Reinvention is how technology advances. Without the people who find it worthwhile to reinvent the wheel, we would be driving on wood.
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#7 macosxnerd101  Icon User is online

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Re: Response to "Are You A Copy & Paste Programmer?"

Posted 13 July 2011 - 08:44 AM

Reinventing the wheel is great for learning. When you study Calculus though, do you rediscover it the same way Newton and Leibnitz did? Do you have to re-invent Graph Theory to use a Graph? Absolutely not. You study and understand them. When you get into upper level math and CS courses, you deal a lot with proofs as well. Reinvention is not how technology advances. Innovation upon and understanding of existing technologies and sciences is how advancement occurs.
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#8 BenignDesign  Icon User is offline

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Re: Response to "Are You A Copy & Paste Programmer?"

Posted 13 July 2011 - 08:50 AM

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This is why I love coding jobs where the interviewer is also a coder (ie, our illustrious skyhawk133)... where you are required to write code from your own head on demand. Or - in the case of my own hiring - I was handed three pages of someone else's printed code and asked to interpret what it was, what it was doing and how the three pieces interacted with each other.

The hiring of coders should not be based on whether or not someone can schmooze some HR fool into signing a piece of paper (no offense to my HR Director mother intended... love you, mommy!). It should be based on whether or not you can PROVE you know what you're doing.

Copy-pasting your way into a career - in my opinion - is an unethical business practice and I hope with every ounce of my heart and soul that you are discovered and canned for it.
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#9 raziel_  Icon User is offline

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Re: Response to "Are You A Copy & Paste Programmer?"

Posted 13 July 2011 - 08:54 AM

I use code snippets when i can. They help me understand the theory easier. I copy-paste the snippet debug it to see what part is doing what and doing this i learn it. Then after i understand it i modify it to work for my needs or even write a new method that i use the things i learn from the snippet. Next time i need to do something similar since learned from that snippet i know what to use and how to do it. I mean i always learn easier from examples then from theory it self.
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#10 Brewer  Icon User is offline

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Re: Response to "Are You A Copy & Paste Programmer?"

Posted 13 July 2011 - 08:54 AM

View Postmacosxnerd101, on 13 July 2011 - 01:14 PM, said:

Innovation upon and understanding of existing technologies and sciences is how advancement occurs.


That is also how one reinvents something ..
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#11 macosxnerd101  Icon User is online

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Re: Response to "Are You A Copy & Paste Programmer?"

Posted 13 July 2011 - 08:57 AM

That's playing semantics at this point. The intent of skyhawk133's post was that reinventing something from scratch isn't always beneficial to the project. In the context of the workplace, finding existing solutions is often times great for saving tons of development time. There is a saying that goes something like this: The amateur programmer asks how it can be done, while the experienced programmer asks where has this been done before.
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#12 Brewer  Icon User is offline

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Re: Response to "Are You A Copy & Paste Programmer?"

Posted 13 July 2011 - 09:02 AM

View Postmacosxnerd101, on 13 July 2011 - 01:27 PM, said:

That's playing semantics at this point. The intent of skyhawk133's post was that reinventing something from scratch isn't always beneficial to the project. In the context of the workplace, finding existing solutions is often times great for saving tons of development time. There is a saying that goes something like this: The amateur programmer asks how it can be done, while the experienced programmer asks where has this been done before.


I didn't mean to imply that developers should always reinvent the wheel. I meant to make the point that if you have an idea for how to make things better, then you should act on that idea (when you aren't on the clock).
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#13 skyhawk133  Icon User is offline

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Re: Response to "Are You A Copy & Paste Programmer?"

Posted 13 July 2011 - 09:03 AM

View PostBrewer, on 13 July 2011 - 09:38 AM, said:

View Postskyhawk133, on 13 July 2011 - 12:56 PM, said:

Nobody said re-inventing the wheel is a bad thing, and I don't think anyone should re-invent the wheel.


Why not? The wheel is believe to have been invented by the Sumerians and it was made up of planks that had been lashed together. Can you imagine putting wooden wheels on your car?

The fact is that every once in a while someone with a better idea comes along and they make things better by "reinventing the wheel". Reinvention is how technology advances. Without the people who find it worthwhile to reinvent the wheel, we would be driving on wood.


That's fair and accurate. I should have said "nobody should have to reinvent the wheel", but re-invention, or at least improvement of the wheel is good. I don't expect folks to completely re-code something from scratch that already exists. As long as they understand how it works, how to maintain it, how to modify and improve it, etc.
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#14 macosxnerd101  Icon User is online

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Re: Response to "Are You A Copy & Paste Programmer?"

Posted 13 July 2011 - 09:06 AM

View PostBrewer, on 13 July 2011 - 12:02 PM, said:

I didn't mean to imply that developers should always reinvent the wheel. I meant to make the point that if you have an idea for how to make things better, then you should act on that idea (when you aren't on the clock).

That's a lot of what the industry is based around- making people's lives easier by using technology to automate and streamline systems.
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#15 malarky  Icon User is offline

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Re: Response to "Are You A Copy & Paste Programmer?"

Posted 13 July 2011 - 10:06 AM

The way I have always thought about it is, "Why reinvent the wheel?".

If there is a snippet of code that is used in many scenarios why not copy and paste? I would say a lot of my copy and pasting on a project comes from other code I have written, or other code someone in my company has written, but sometimes there is someone online who has an elegant solution for your problem.
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