Be A Better Programmer

Aaron Swartz posted an article today on his blog titled: How I Hire Programmers. If you haven’t done so already, read it!

I believe this article is not only for employers looking for a way to hire better programmers. But, it could also be beneficial for an aspiring programmer to work on themselves to be a better candidate for the job.

Below, I’ve picked out a couple quotes and added my response.

“Someone who gets stuff done but isn’t smart is inefficient: non-smart people get stuff done by doing it the hard way and working with them is slow and frustrating.”

Anybody can Google around and find a code snippet, paste it in, and continue working. However, do you know what that snippet of code is doing? Do you know why that block of code works, and how it works? You need to.

Whenever I run into something I don’t know how to solve, I’ll Google it. I’ll find a snippet of code or a tutorial and read through it. I’ll pick it apart, look up function calls, comment the code and even completely rewrite it. Line by line I’ll figure out a better way it could have been written. I will make it mine. You should do the same.

“… do they learn? At some point in the conversation, you’ll probably be explaining something to them. Do they actually understand it or do they just nod and smile? There are people who know stuff about some small area but aren’t curious about others. And there are people who are curious but don’t learn, they ask lots of questions but don’t really listen. You want someone who does all three.”

With the technology of today, always changing and new things being introduced, you can’t afford not to learn something new. Are you intrigued by the API’s and Web Services available? If you’ve never used it before, use it now! Make a simple script, just to test it out. Do that, and you will become a better programmer.

Do any of these sound like you? Take a look at yourself and these points from the article. See how you can make yourself a better programmer.