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« Software Engineer, Programmer
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How to be a Super Programmer?

An excellent article written in 1976 -- perfectly valid now -- offers very good wisdom for becoming excellent programmers.

Ed Yourdon: “While the phrase superprogrammer is apparently being replaced by the phrase chief programmer, it is still recognized that there are programmers in the industry -- and always will be -- who at least an order of magnitude better than the average programmer. The question is: how does one become a superprogrammer?”

“What does a superprogrammer do that a normal programmer doesn’t do? The superficial answer, of course, is that he writes code very quickly, gets it to work very quickly, and usually has very clever, efficient code. These days, it is becoming more and more important that, in addition, the superprogrammer writes code that can be understood and maintained by mere mortals. ”

Ed offers the following suggestions:

  1. Pick a programming problem that you know you can solve and whose entire dimension you can grasp mentally.
  2. Isolate yourself from the distractions normally found in an office.
  3. Make sure you are calm and rested and then work straight through until you have finished the project.
  4. Don’t flowchart -- that’s a waste of time and you should be able to carry the flowchart in your head if you are a superprogrammer.
  5. pread your papers -- especially your coding sheets -- out on a large table so you can see everything you have done as you write the code.
  6. Use very conservative programming techniques.
  1. Hmm... doesn't seem to fit today's scenarios that much. I don't even find the words "IDE" or "wizard" or "template" in Yourdon's advise. A lot of programming today is clicking around, and filling in templates. Atleast, for most programmers.

    Posted by: Bombuddy on January 3, 2003 12:20 AM