Thought: When software developers go to the mountain.

I think that old software developers have more in common with novice software developers. The reason is that an old an experienced software developer knows that the best solution is probably the most simple and uncomplicated one. A novice software developer knows only how to implement the simple and uncomplicated one.

It seems to me that some where between novice and old experienced we go on a quest to the top of the mountain where we explore all the most complicated solutions. Some people spend more time on that journey than others, but eventually I think that everyone comes down wiser.

For the record, I’m still climbing.

4 thoughts on “Thought: When software developers go to the mountain.

  1. Miles

    Wise words as ever Mitch. I saw Omar’s presentation on Reporting Services 2008 last Tuesday and he didn’t know where the product sits on the Gartner magic quadrant!? Don’t you guys have a subscription😉

  2. Peter Hancock

    There’s another parallel. A novice programmer is often fresh out of university, and still in the habit of expecting his/her code to be marked. Therefore, they don’t lose sight of things like the single responsibility principle and having a method do one and only one thing.

    Of course, as the novice programmer matures, and finds that they’re working with other “climbers”, they realise that actually what they were taught at university was garbage – and real programmers believe that SRP and one and only one thing for a method is an obstruction to delivering product.

    Finally, they start to mature, and realise that simple is best – and SRP is relevant. So we continue to climb – but this time, hopefully, you’re “climbing” down the other side.

    Why DO we throw away the basic lessons we learnt in school?

  3. Mitch Denny Post author

    Hi Peter,

    I think that you need to go through pain before you appreciate those lessons. Ironically I wonder whether those teaching the lessons really appreciate what they are teaching unless they spent significant amounts of time out of the academic setting.

  4. Peter Hancock

    The difference between academic learning, and vocational learning. In essence, “don’t touch fire because it burns”, the other is “Ouch, that hurt, don’t do that again”. It’s not until you realise that it REALLY hurts that the lesson sinks in. (unfortunately)

    I know that many of my lecturers were purely academic. It didn’t make the lessons less relevant, but it did put a different spin on the way they were taught.

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