be a programmer?

Discussion in 'C++' started by Guest, Feb 2, 2004.

  1. Guest

    Guest Guest

    What do I do? Any ideas?
    I went back to school after many years and finished my bachelors degree and
    studied programming at a local tech school. I have no great talent to return
    to (mainframe operator, telemarketer, painter...) and haven't had a chance
    to shine in programming yet (newbie, recession, tech bubble, jobs going
    overseas....). I got so frustrated that I launched my own recruiting
    business but that didn't fly. I do like programming and think I could be
    good. I have either trained in/or used: Java, HTML, Perl, PHP, ASP, C, C++,
    SQL, Javascript. I need to do something as I am going to have to care for
    myself (age 45) and my mother(77, works pt) since she will have to quit
    working in 2-3 years. Since the recession is still pretty much on in
    Houston, TX, I'm thinking of taking a crappy little job and study nights and
    weekends and get a programming job in a year or two. Thanks for your advice.
     
    Guest, Feb 2, 2004
    #1
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  2. Guest

    Phlip Guest

    [Cross-posted to a less incorrect newsgroup]

    wrote:

    > I went back to school after many years and finished my bachelors degree

    and
    > studied programming at a local tech school. I have no great talent to

    return
    > to (mainframe operator, telemarketer, painter...) and haven't had a chance
    > to shine in programming yet (newbie, recession, tech bubble, jobs going
    > overseas....). I got so frustrated that I launched my own recruiting
    > business but that didn't fly. I do like programming and think I could be
    > good. I have either trained in/or used: Java, HTML, Perl, PHP, ASP, C,

    C++,
    > SQL, Javascript. I need to do something as I am going to have to care for
    > myself (age 45) and my mother(77, works pt) since she will have to quit
    > working in 2-3 years. Since the recession is still pretty much on in
    > Houston, TX, I'm thinking of taking a crappy little job and study nights

    and
    > weekends and get a programming job in a year or two. Thanks for your

    advice.

    Attend/worship/pester your local users groups for the following topics:

    - design patterns
    - Linux (GNU, etc.)
    - Extreme Programming (Agile development, test driven development, etc.)

    Your acronym list may impress HR screeners, but not colleagues. What we need
    are folks who have experienced object models that don't suck, operating
    systems that don't suck, and project lifecycles that don't suck. We
    frequently get colleagues with no exposure to anything except crap, and
    re-educating them causes friction.

    --
    Phlip
    http://www.xpsd.org/cgi-bin/wiki?TestFirstUserInterfaces
     
    Phlip, Feb 2, 2004
    #2
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  3. Guest

    Bret Pehrson Guest

    > Your acronym list may impress HR screeners, but not colleagues. What we need
    > are folks who have experienced object models that don't suck, operating
    > systems that don't suck, and project lifecycles that don't suck.


    Even before that, do this:

    Understand how to estimate, and then KEEP TO THAT ESTIMATE.

    The number 1 problem w/ development is the inability to estimate and deliver
    software on time, regardless of the design methodology.

    Read the "Mythical Man Month"

    Read the NASA SEL documentation.


    Phlip wrote:
    >
    > [Cross-posted to a less incorrect newsgroup]
    >
    > wrote:
    >
    > > I went back to school after many years and finished my bachelors degree

    > and
    > > studied programming at a local tech school. I have no great talent to

    > return
    > > to (mainframe operator, telemarketer, painter...) and haven't had a chance
    > > to shine in programming yet (newbie, recession, tech bubble, jobs going
    > > overseas....). I got so frustrated that I launched my own recruiting
    > > business but that didn't fly. I do like programming and think I could be
    > > good. I have either trained in/or used: Java, HTML, Perl, PHP, ASP, C,

    > C++,
    > > SQL, Javascript. I need to do something as I am going to have to care for
    > > myself (age 45) and my mother(77, works pt) since she will have to quit
    > > working in 2-3 years. Since the recession is still pretty much on in
    > > Houston, TX, I'm thinking of taking a crappy little job and study nights

    > and
    > > weekends and get a programming job in a year or two. Thanks for your

    > advice.
    >
    > Attend/worship/pester your local users groups for the following topics:
    >
    > - design patterns
    > - Linux (GNU, etc.)
    > - Extreme Programming (Agile development, test driven development, etc.)
    >
    > Your acronym list may impress HR screeners, but not colleagues. What we need
    > are folks who have experienced object models that don't suck, operating
    > systems that don't suck, and project lifecycles that don't suck. We
    > frequently get colleagues with no exposure to anything except crap, and
    > re-educating them causes friction.
    >
    > --
    > Phlip
    > http://www.xpsd.org/cgi-bin/wiki?TestFirstUserInterfaces


    --
    Bret Pehrson
    mailto:
    NOSPAM - Include this key in all e-mail correspondence <<38952rglkwdsl>>
     
    Bret Pehrson, Feb 2, 2004
    #3
  4. Guest

    Mike Wahler Guest

    <> wrote in message
    news:ZzkTb.14670$...
    > What do I do? Any ideas?
    > I went back to school after many years and finished my bachelors degree

    and
    > studied programming at a local tech school. I have no great talent to

    return
    > to (mainframe operator, telemarketer, painter...) and haven't had a chance
    > to shine in programming yet (newbie, recession, tech bubble, jobs going
    > overseas....). I got so frustrated that I launched my own recruiting
    > business but that didn't fly. I do like programming and think I could be
    > good. I have either trained in/or used: Java, HTML, Perl, PHP, ASP, C,

    C++,
    > SQL, Javascript. I need to do something as I am going to have to care for
    > myself (age 45) and my mother(77, works pt) since she will have to quit
    > working in 2-3 years. Since the recession is still pretty much on in
    > Houston, TX,



    > I'm thinking of taking a crappy little job and study nights and
    > weekends and get a programming job in a year or two. Thanks for your

    advice.

    IMO in that last paragraph you've already given yourself the best advice:
    Do what you must to support yourself while you learn to do what you like
    until you can do it instead. It's what I did, and still do when software
    work slows down.

    Oh, and no matter the amount, put away some money every week. :)

    -Mike
     
    Mike Wahler, Feb 2, 2004
    #4
  5. Guest

    Phlip Guest

    Bret Pehrson wrote:

    > > Your acronym list may impress HR screeners, but not colleagues. What we

    need
    > > are folks who have experienced object models that don't suck, operating
    > > systems that don't suck, and project lifecycles that don't suck.

    >
    > Even before that, do this:
    >
    > Understand how to estimate, and then KEEP TO THAT ESTIMATE.
    >
    > The number 1 problem w/ development is the inability to estimate and

    deliver
    > software on time, regardless of the design methodology.
    >
    > Read the "Mythical Man Month"
    >
    > Read the NASA SEL documentation.


    Estimate using "points of complexity", not "ideal days".

    Then average the points over time. The number of complexity points you can
    do in a week will even out. That makes estimation easy, fearless, useful,
    and NO NEED TO KEEP TO ANY ESTIMATE. No all-nighters or other brainless
    bullshit.

    --
    Phlip
    http://www.xpsd.org/cgi-bin/wiki?TestFirstUserInterfaces
     
    Phlip, Feb 2, 2004
    #5
  6. Guest

    lilburne Guest

    Bret Pehrson wrote:
    >>Your acronym list may impress HR screeners, but not colleagues. What we need
    >>are folks who have experienced object models that don't suck, operating
    >>systems that don't suck, and project lifecycles that don't suck.

    >
    >
    > Even before that, do this:
    >
    > Understand how to estimate, and then KEEP TO THAT ESTIMATE.
    >
    > The number 1 problem w/ development is the inability to estimate and deliver
    > software on time, regardless of the design methodology.
    >
    > Read the "Mythical Man Month"
    >
    > Read the NASA SEL documentation.
    >


    Whilst doing my degree course we were often told to do estimates, and
    given various methodologies to use in the exercise. At one point a
    lecturer put up a comparison of an estimate he'd done using one of the
    methods and the actual result obtain.

    Q: So how come you ended up 1 year late and 50% over budget.
    A: Well how the hell was I to know how long the UI would take.

    now I suppose if you your project is online store version X, or satelite
    tacking system Y, then you'll have a good base for estimation. If
    however, a part of your project is something that you don't have prior
    experience of then all you have is guestimate.
     
    lilburne, Feb 2, 2004
    #6
  7. Guest

    Attila Feher Guest

    lilburne wrote:
    [SNIP]
    > now I suppose if you your project is online store version X, or
    > satelite tacking system Y, then you'll have a good base for
    > estimation. If however, a part of your project is something that you
    > don't have prior experience of then all you have is guestimate.


    Or buy/get the expertise you need. I guess that from 10% from the budget he
    could have got a consultant to help nad probably the project would not have
    been late a year...

    --
    Attila aka WW
     
    Attila Feher, Feb 2, 2004
    #7
  8. Guest

    Phlip Guest

    lilburne wrote:

    > A: Well how the hell was I to know how long the UI would take.


    By not putting it off until the last f***ing minute.

    By doing it a little at a time, with the code it represented, so its effect
    on velocity would not be masked.

    Imagine if the industry routinely put off writing the DB until the last
    f***ing minute. Excuses like "Well how the hell was I to know how long the
    DB would take?" would be routine and standard. Yuck!

    --
    Phlip
    http://www.xpsd.org/cgi-bin/wiki?TestFirstUserInterfaces
     
    Phlip, Feb 2, 2004
    #8
  9. On Mon, 2 Feb 2004 15:57:34 +0200, "Attila Feher"
    <> wrote:

    >lilburne wrote:
    >[SNIP]
    >> now I suppose if you your project is online store version X, or
    >> satelite tacking system Y, then you'll have a good base for
    >> estimation. If however, a part of your project is something that you
    >> don't have prior experience of then all you have is guestimate.

    >
    >Or buy/get the expertise you need. I guess that from 10% from the budget he
    >could have got a consultant to help nad probably the project would not have
    >been late a year...


    Indeed. Instead it would have been late a year and a half.


    Richard Harter,
    http://home.tiac.net/~cri, http://www.varinoma.com
    A man with money is always charming - pomposity is just
    an eccentricity, forgivable in the rich.
     
    Richard Harter, Feb 2, 2004
    #9
  10. Guest

    David Rubin Guest

    Mike Wahler wrote:

    > Oh, and no matter the amount, put away some money every week. :)
    >
    > -Mike


    Yes, I found I can reasonably put away $10-$30 per week...in beer :)

    /david

    --
    Andre, a simple peasant, had only one thing on his mind as he crept
    along the East wall: 'Andre, creep... Andre, creep... Andre, creep.'
    -- unknown
     
    David Rubin, Feb 2, 2004
    #10
  11. Guest

    Bret Pehrson Guest

    Good points -- thanks.

    If the programmer doesn't know w/ reasonable certainty what it will take to
    implement, that should be taken into account during the estimation.

    The programmer has (at least, but for the point of this discussion) two points
    in estimating:

    - the time estimate (whatever n.u.t. you prefer to use)

    - the certainty estimate (how comfortable is the programmer w/ the task and
    its complexity)

    All too often, the certainty estimate is never accounted for (and there are
    numerous reasons why, not just limited to the programmer).

    So, in your example, if the programmer estimated 6 months for the UI project,
    but had no/limited prior experience, then their certainty (percent) should have
    been low (say 30%), and that used as a divisor into their time estimate.

    Further, with these two pieces, the project manager should be able to more
    accurately determine the upper bound on the project.

    It is similar to velocity, however I've only seen velocity applied to a project
    as a whole, and not specific individuals, however I'm relatively new to the XP
    scene.

    The *MAIN* problem that I have is (and the point I was trying to originally
    make) when a programmer estimates something with a supposedly high degree of
    certainty, and then fails to meet that expectation.

    lilburne wrote:
    >
    > Bret Pehrson wrote:
    > >>Your acronym list may impress HR screeners, but not colleagues. What we need
    > >>are folks who have experienced object models that don't suck, operating
    > >>systems that don't suck, and project lifecycles that don't suck.

    > >
    > >
    > > Even before that, do this:
    > >
    > > Understand how to estimate, and then KEEP TO THAT ESTIMATE.
    > >
    > > The number 1 problem w/ development is the inability to estimate and deliver
    > > software on time, regardless of the design methodology.
    > >
    > > Read the "Mythical Man Month"
    > >
    > > Read the NASA SEL documentation.
    > >

    >
    > Whilst doing my degree course we were often told to do estimates, and
    > given various methodologies to use in the exercise. At one point a
    > lecturer put up a comparison of an estimate he'd done using one of the
    > methods and the actual result obtain.
    >
    > Q: So how come you ended up 1 year late and 50% over budget.
    > A: Well how the hell was I to know how long the UI would take.
    >
    > now I suppose if you your project is online store version X, or satelite
    > tacking system Y, then you'll have a good base for estimation. If
    > however, a part of your project is something that you don't have prior
    > experience of then all you have is guestimate.


    --
    Bret Pehrson
    mailto:
    NOSPAM - Include this key in all e-mail correspondence <<38952rglkwdsl>>
     
    Bret Pehrson, Feb 2, 2004
    #11
  12. Bret Pehrson <> wrote in message news:<>...
    > > Your acronym list may impress HR screeners, but not colleagues. What we need
    > > are folks who have experienced object models that don't suck, operating
    > > systems that don't suck, and project lifecycles that don't suck.

    >
    > Even before that, do this:
    >
    > Understand how to estimate, and then KEEP TO THAT ESTIMATE.


    One tried and tested method is to conservatively guess how long you
    think it will take and then double it!
     
    Mystic Mouflon, Feb 3, 2004
    #12
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