A pragmatic programmer

By | 2007-03-22

The Pragmatic ProgrammerI’ve finished the reading of a brilliant book: “The Pragmatic Programmer“. It’s a collection of really wise tips to help you becoming a better professional. I already follow some of their recommendations, but most of them were new for me. All were really useful, and I could’ve figured out some of them. And this is probably the reason that this book has made me feel a fairly bad programmer. I’m feeling a bit depressed!, regarding to my professional path, not being proud of some of my works, getting angry with myself, and with my university teachers.

Let’s start with the latter (angriness with university teachers), with an example. When I was studying in the University, we had a subject about compilers. In the practice exercises we had to build, using lex/yacc/bison (Unix utilities to create analyzers), a compiler to convert from a programming language (invented by the teacher) to a stupid assembler language for a stack-based machine. The problem was that those examples, with that such stupid language, created on me the idea of “lex/yacc/bison are useless utilities”. Why they didn’t show me some real examples of interesting use? Now, I read some suggestions in “The Pragmatic Programmer”, in which the authors recommend the use of these utilities, and I feel tricked by my teachers. I’m a bit angry with them, although they did a good job… but maybe they were a bit soft with us, or maybe they didn’t induce us to be real programmers. Anyway, that was university times, and now I’m discovering that some of the most (previously considered) stupid subjects are now the most interesting ones.

On the other hand, sometimes I’m not proud of my work, because I think I could’ve done better. I’m just finishing a project, and feeling I should re-start it from the beginning with a new focus. Maybe I’m a perfectionist, or maybe I learn a lot while developing a project, and when I finish it I feel that it is outdated. But, regarding to this book, I would like to apply some of those tips to my past projects, and they have probably finished in a better way.

I have a lot of doubts about my professional path. I’m not sure if it’s better to work alone, or in a small company (just my current status, with 3 department mates, without heavy standards or follow-lines), or a big company (with strong standards). Also I’m thinking of joining an open source project… but my time is not unlimited, and I usually arrive at home quite tired. Anyway I’m trying to shape up my professional skills, reading more technical books, learning a lot of methods, peeking some new languages, and trying to be up to date on the new technologies. Is this enough? Never is enough regarding to knowledge! This is the road.

2 thoughts on “A pragmatic programmer

  1. Al Bertu

    It happens very often that when you finish a work you immediately find the first mistakes, or lots of things you would like to change.

    And when it is a big project, you often see interesting things that should be included, and topics that would provide a nice continuation… But anyways, you have to stop somewhere. And if it’s a project you’re enjoying, most of the times you feel sad because you’ve finished it.

  2. Rubén

    I have also read this book, it’s quite good. Now I have CVS installed, and work only in emacs (in a Windows machine xD)

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