Am I good at programming?

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33 Replies - 8662 Views - Last Post: 07 May 2014 - 09:17 AM

#16 nooblet  Icon User is offline

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Re: Am I good at programming?

Posted 07 January 2012 - 08:24 PM

Honest question... Why do you rely on the company to assign "good" projects to learn something, or to learn it well? As a programmer, and perhaps this is due to the generation gap, I find it odd that you don't have a personal passion and interest to learn and improve on this outside of work. I get that if what you know works, and you don't really have a reason to, you probably won't but the reality is how would you know something is better or not until you've tried or explored these options (different languages, frameworks, tools, etc..). In the tech world, things move extremely fast. Putting aside what everyone else has already suggested, if they are trying to get rid of you for those reasons, are you not interested in learning all the new things personally? Just trying to get a better understanding here. I get the feeling that if the company is transitioning to keep up with the changing times, and you're always having to be pushed to learn these things for the sake of work, of course you're going to be behind and become a bottleneck. Its not really a fair assessment in this case but that's the truth of it. And knowing and learning and having some understanding of it is different than being proficient at it. Not really trying to be an ass here but I genuinely want to know your thoughts on this part.
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#17 CTphpnwb  Icon User is offline

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Re: Am I good at programming?

Posted 08 January 2012 - 07:25 AM

Good point nooblet. As we get older we tend to get set in our ways, and that's not good for a developer. What I was perceiving as an age bias might be a legitimate concern about searcher920's willingness to learn new ways of approaching things. Best to eliminate that concern by getting ahead of things on your own. Even if it doesn't help keep the job it will make getting the next one easier.
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#18 Curtis Rutland  Icon User is online

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Re: Am I good at programming?

Posted 09 January 2012 - 01:09 PM

View PosttlhIn`toq, on 31 December 2011 - 01:27 PM, said:

Last I checked every modern smartphone had a voice recording application.


But laws vary from state to state and country to country about the legality of this. For instance, in our state, we're a one-party consent state, meaning as long as one party agrees to the recording (that'd be you), you can record. In other states, the rules are two-party consent. Both parties on the line have to consent to being recorded, otherwise it's unlawful to record. This is why you'll hear "this call may be monitored or recorded" when you dial a call center, so that by remaining on the line you provide tacit consent.
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#19 searcher920  Icon User is offline

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Re: Am I good at programming?

Posted 09 January 2012 - 05:56 PM

View PostCTphpnwb, on 08 January 2012 - 07:25 AM, said:

Good point nooblet. As we get older we tend to get set in our ways, and that's not good for a developer. What I was perceiving as an age bias might be a legitimate concern about searcher920's willingness to learn new ways of approaching things. Best to eliminate that concern by getting ahead of things on your own. Even if it doesn't help keep the job it will make getting the next one easier.


I guess most of us older coders have had many years of 12+ hour days. We lived every minute for programming, and then dreamed about it all night. When not writing code, we were reading about it. And then eventually, most of us probably decided to have a more normal life. Sometimes you are forced to cut back on work because of family responsibilities. Sometimes you just burn out and need to have some free time.

That could be part of what happened in my case. I know I can't go back to constant coding, and I am not convinced it would help anyway. But I have to get back some of my interest, and I have to keep up with the constantly changing ruby world. I have made a lot of progress with that recently, I think.

But even back when I was still a fanatic, my boss was making me feel left out. He is a very smart guy, but not as smart as he thinks he is. And I am not as dumb as he thinks I am.

Yes, it would be nice to leave and start over somewhere else. But I think I am too old to get another regular full time job. And if I got fired, I would have no references. I want to stay at this job until I can retire from it, and then maybe get contracting jobs.

I would like to prove that I am good at programming, and hopefully that will be possible. Even if it's true that we get kind of burned out and a little bored with it after 20 or so years, the basic love of programming is always still there. Learning the new stuff can be a pain, but the new stuff is really basically the same as the old stuff, just different.
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#20 nooblet  Icon User is offline

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Re: Am I good at programming?

Posted 09 January 2012 - 06:48 PM

I can understand the points you've made about feeling burned out or not wanting your life to revolve around code. Those are perfectly valid points. That said, I haven't been programming as long as you have (only about 15 years) but I consider that close enough. The changes today are vastly different than how I remember it when I first started. There is a lot more to take in, a lot more to learn than there was before. I imagine that must be the same for you (or maybe not). I'm not suggesting you need to do this full time outside of work, but ideally, you should maybe spend a few hours per week looking into all the things that have been in recent development.

Ruby, Python, etc... have been around for awhile now. They're just getting more popular and of course new development are constantly added to them. However, the things that are new that are the talk of the town are usually things like coffeescript, node.js, git, etc... Plus all the mobile development stuff that didn't exist 5 years ago. I'm not saying that you'll have a need any of these things but it is nice to have at least a general understanding of where the industry is headed, what new development practices people are looking into, what is being utilize, etc.. Without that, and pure reliance on what work assigns you, you may always be behind the curve. That's not a good place to be, more so today than 10 years ago, when there were less things to pick up. I think if you can allocate a few hours here and there brushing up on what is out there and also see what your company is trying to do or where its headed, you'll at least be a little more prepared.
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#21 searcher920  Icon User is offline

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Re: Am I good at programming?

Posted 09 January 2012 - 07:14 PM

View Postnooblet, on 09 January 2012 - 06:48 PM, said:

I can understand the points you've made about feeling burned out or not wanting your life to revolve around code. Those are perfectly valid points. That said, I haven't been programming as long as you have (only about 15 years) but I consider that close enough. The changes today are vastly different than how I remember it when I first started. There is a lot more to take in, a lot more to learn than there was before. I imagine that must be the same for you (or maybe not). I'm not suggesting you need to do this full time outside of work, but ideally, you should maybe spend a few hours per week looking into all the things that have been in recent development.

Ruby, Python, etc... have been around for awhile now. They're just getting more popular and of course new development are constantly added to them. However, the things that are new that are the talk of the town are usually things like coffeescript, node.js, git, etc... Plus all the mobile development stuff that didn't exist 5 years ago. I'm not saying that you'll have a need any of these things but it is nice to have at least a general understanding of where the industry is headed, what new development practices people are looking into, what is being utilize, etc.. Without that, and pure reliance on what work assigns you, you may always be behind the curve. That's not a good place to be, more so today than 10 years ago, when there were less things to pick up. I think if you can allocate a few hours here and there brushing up on what is out there and also see what your company is trying to do or where its headed, you'll at least be a little more prepared.


Yes I definitely agree. I have to spend more time reading outside of work, and I don't mind. It is true that things are changing much faster and there is ever more stuff to learn. I know about those things you mentioned, and have used some of them. Not coffeescript yet, but I see the point of it. At least I will probably have to learn backbone.js. I would really like to learn the mobile stuff. Yes all these things are new, in a sense, but they are not really new. The fundamental concepts of computer programming do not change very much. Software development keeps on getting more and more complicated, because computers can do more and we all expect them to do more. But what they actually do is always the same.

I usually have at least a general idea of where things are going. It is getting to be time for everyone to learn Javascript, if they don't know it already. I have used it, although not a lot, and I did learn AJAX years ago.

I do not yet have any idea how to do mobile development, but I want to learn it. How hard can it be? I feel like all my experience makes it easier to learn new things, even if being burned out makes it harder. It kind of evens out.
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#22 nooblet  Icon User is offline

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Re: Am I good at programming?

Posted 09 January 2012 - 09:08 PM

I personally don't think learning it is hard. But as I've said earlier, there is a difference in knowing something and being proficient at it. Learning a language is not the same knowing the nuances of what you can do within that given language, among several other things. Which is why I think you should look at it as, not just learning the language.
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#23 searcher920  Icon User is offline

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Re: Am I good at programming?

Posted 10 January 2012 - 06:52 AM

View Postnooblet, on 09 January 2012 - 09:08 PM, said:

I personally don't think learning it is hard. But as I've said earlier, there is a difference in knowing something and being proficient at it. Learning a language is not the same knowing the nuances of what you can do within that given language, among several other things. Which is why I think you should look at it as, not just learning the language.


It takes time to get experience with languages and frameworks. The rest of the group was getting experience while I was stuck on an ill-conceived project. Not really anyone's fault, but my manager ought to have recognized what happened. Yesterday my manager's boss told me he does understand what happened. But now I still have to prove I can catch up with the rest of them.
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#24 nooblet  Icon User is offline

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Re: Am I good at programming?

Posted 10 January 2012 - 07:39 AM

View Postsearcher920, on 10 January 2012 - 06:52 AM, said:

It takes time to get experience with languages and frameworks.


Agreed
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#25 searcher920  Icon User is offline

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Re: Am I good at programming?

Posted 10 February 2012 - 05:35 PM

I would still like to know if there is some kind of test for programming ability.
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#26 DivideByZero  Icon User is offline

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Re: Am I good at programming?

Posted 11 February 2012 - 10:35 AM

View Postsearcher920, on 10 February 2012 - 05:35 PM, said:

I would still like to know if there is some kind of test for programming ability.

There's way too much to programming for a single test to cover.
You don't need a test, just make stuff.
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#27 Martyr2  Icon User is offline

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Re: Am I good at programming?

Posted 11 February 2012 - 10:57 AM

Want a quick test to see if you are a good programmer? Find a challenging project (to do on your spare time), set yourself some deliverables and an aggressive deadline and then do the project. If you can do a challenging project that meets the goals in the deadline you have set (without you having to burn the midnight oil all the time) then I would consider yourself proficient.

Pick a project from my list to get started.

:)
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#28 searcher920  Icon User is offline

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Re: Am I good at programming?

Posted 11 February 2012 - 12:33 PM

View PostMartyr2, on 11 February 2012 - 10:57 AM, said:

Want a quick test to see if you are a good programmer? Find a challenging project (to do on your spare time), set yourself some deliverables and an aggressive deadline and then do the project. If you can do a challenging project that meets the goals in the deadline you have set (without you having to burn the midnight oil all the time) then I would consider yourself proficient.

Pick a project from my list to get started.

:)


Thanks. I think I could do those projects, but these days I only want to code when I'm getting paid. Not that I don't like coding, but I need to do other things in my free time. But if doing projects is the best test of my ability, then I am getting tested at work anyway. After my boss gave me a terrible review and said I have to improve or else, he started giving me projects that are clearly defined. I do hope that continues, because it makes my job so much easier, when I don't have to guess what he wants.

So far, I feel like my programming ability is fine. I am not having trouble with these projects and I really like working on them. So I'm hoping for the best. If my boss is eventually convinced that I am not a moron, that will be proof that old dogs can learn new tricks, if they are scared enough.
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#29 depricated  Icon User is offline

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Re: Am I good at programming?

Posted 07 May 2014 - 04:50 AM

So reading through all this and one thing stands out at me:

You know MVC.

So what's the problem? I assume you mean a formal MVC framework and not just the design pattern - and that you're used to working in such. I've found that understanding MVC is a good benchmark, and here's why.

It requires you to really understand OOP and design patterns. Suddenly Singletons, Factories, Proxies, etc, are all integral to what you're doing. Understanding how to program is much more important than knowing a specific language. I've met people who could recite plenty of facts, pages of java and c++ idiosyncracies, yet who still name their variables x y j i and their functions things like Value(), write functionality for a control into the page that contains it, and generally leave more code smell than mac's socks. Those people get completely lost in MVC. If you can handle MVC, you at least understand the basics of programming.

It doesn't mean you're great - honestly without seeing your code there's no one way we could really give a fair, objective assessment. But that's at least indicative of what you can do.

As for the company side of things: it sounds like you feel, at least, that your boss is gunning for you. Having been in exactly that position, I can relate. I can't promise a light at the end of the tunnel though - what I experienced was standard corporate BS. It sounds like that's what you're running into also. The application I wrote for my former employer was an incident management system. It ran beautifully, and my boss loved it and was proud of what he and I had designed. But his boss was relocated and a new Director hired from outside and put in his place. The quality and value of the work you do is irrelevant, a boss like that can and will nitpick at every minor detail, and justify it using their ignorance. For example:

One thing the application did was hook into Outlook and send email notifications. Depending on the situation and target, we used templates of various complexity. There was an SMS template, for instance, that would text "Sev 1 - Bridge 1 Password 12345" because the more complex SMS template we were using "was really irritating. When I get a notification I want to know what severity and who to get in touch with for more, I don't want to have to open the message and read everything." So I sit with him and work out exactly what he wants sent. Then a week later when that gets used, "there wasn't enough information in your notification! Your team is incompetent!" Or with an email notification "Multiple Java VMs have restarted, causing some users to receive an error message when attempting to log in. Subsequent logins should succeed. Teams are investigating." The response I got to that one? "How the hell am I supposed to know what a VM is!"

But because he was too lazy and stupid to grasp the basics of his job(reading email is hard, and I hope everyone here knows what a VM is), it was my team's fault. We eventually all got fired, with an ok severance package though. I don't really have any advice except to look around for something new. 60 is in no way too old to start over. There are plenty of companies out there that would see 20 years experience as a great asset and bring you in, and if you're well versed in something that's falling by the wayside like C++ you might be just what they're looking for to keep their legacy application alive.
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#30 modi123_1  Icon User is offline

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Re: Am I good at programming?

Posted 07 May 2014 - 06:42 AM

Let's not forget the last post was 'February 2012', and the last time the OP logged in was 'July 2012'.
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