What lessons do 25 years of coding impart? Harken younglings! The wisdom drawn from the ancient past.
First things first; Thank you Blizzard for not suing us. This title is really a testament to the enduring warmth of the characters you have created. And wouldn’t it be lovely if a young programmer eventually found their way to work for you because of a this blog…?
Alright, onto the imparting… is everyone still harkening? Great.
1. You will learn much more when you start getting paid to code: So among the new programmers or people just learning to program/code, there’s this idea that you need to show up with a full and infallible knowledge right out of the gate. “That’s why you see people get caught up in all these tutorials, because they’re insecure about their level of skill, so they keep doing more tutorials, more tutorials, more tutorials… Real world coding is about learning as you go -especially in the first 3-5 years as a software developer.” Now just so you don’t think that it’s all hand-holding and singing bible hymns around a campfire, “One of the number one skills of a good developer, by the way, is that they’re able to learn quickly.” So, while you are completely allowed to make mistakes and correct them, depending on where you work, you will be expected to pick up certain skills in an ‘amount’ of time…
2. The best code is simple code: If you’ve been following the VLOG or BLOG, you know that we bring this up every 2 or 3 posts, but it is important. No one cares about your flashy hijinx because, “The best developers write simple code. Why? Because code has to be updated a lot of times, especially in a valuable concept, and if you have complex code then that’s going to be a nightmare to maintain, very expensive to maintain and more prone to to bugs. So strive to write simple code.” Think of it this way, if you came onto project and were asked to update someone else’s work, wouldn’t you want to see simple and easy to read code? Not only is it professional, but think of it as a courtesy…
3. Coding real world apps is an iterative process: No one writes perfect, untouchable code in one sitting. Be prepared to do a few passes. Things change and things need updating. “Every time you do a pass, you refine the quality of the code. So that’s why when you develop your app (alpha), you want to get the whole working app out the door as quickly as possible: fully functional …because that way even if you’ve got parts of it really written badly, having that fully functional app (even if it’s crippled), it gives you insight into what the app ultimately should be.” In the beginning (the alpha stages), you really have only a limited idea of what the project should be, or how it will come together. “When you are writing code, you wanna get from A to Z -get the whole thing functional- then you start refining it, refining it. As you learn about the use case (how the app should be used/structured), then you can start writing more solid code. [The idea being] that with each pass the quality of the software will improve.”
4. Nobody wants to write good docs[documentation], but they should: This should be a ‘no-brainer’, let’s say you’re taking a class, you’ve shown up all semester and done all the in-class assignments. Then the test rolls around and you open your note book to look at your notes and there’s either nothing there or just drawings of sweet-ass guitars on fire, descending from the heavens for you to grab while you’re riding your red dragon into battle…(you know, non-specific stuff, that I totally didn’t draw in high school physics). It’s arguable that you are going to be screwed for the test ahead, and that’s how we feel about documentation. “Good documentation is huge because it will help you remember why you made certain architectural decisions in the code, and will help you transfer the knowledge to the next set of people who might get on the project. So if you have software that’s going to be successful in anyway, you wanna have good documentation -it’s just so important in terms of the quality of the project.”
So there it is young warriors, check out the VLOG where you can get this knowledge straight from the wizard’s mouth, plus more in depth ramblings…ah…epiphanies…yeah… . If you’re interested in learning more, please check out the links down below to our courses in web development, learning Python, or even freelancing, and entrepreneurship. They also make a great gift for that someone on the fence that just needs a little nudge. Fight the good fight and keep that code clean and simple. -Enjoy!
Someone discovers the hidden treasures of PHP, and makes money with it!
We received a comment from someone (check out the VLOG), who states that since they started learning php, a whole new world has started opening up for them. They’ve…”discovered all these scripts for all kinds of things you can’t buy anywhere, [and]…if you refactor it, you can make it compatible with the most recent version of php.” So if you put in the time and work you can have a whole new app, or software solution, etc… And they go onto say that they are bringing solutions into the work place that their co-workers haven’t even thought of, and all we can say is, ‘We salute you Sir or Madam’.
Long have we sung the praises of that workhorse: php. A programming language that’s been around for an arguably long time, but shows no signs of going anywhere, due in large part to it’s flexibility and (relative) ease of use. “That’s one of the strengths of php, by the way… It’s been around for so long; so many people used it in the real world contexts: to get stuff out, to hack stuff out, but there’s tons of stuff out there. A lot of it’s not well written…but you may have 75% of the guts of what you need there, and you can just grab it, improve it; refactor (you know, it just means rework it), fix it up, make it work and then BOOM! Drop it on where you need to have it drop in and Bob’s your uncle. And that’s perfectly reasonable thing”.
Check out the VLOG for a sharper explanation and some more beautiful MTL skyline. Keep on digging through scripts and libraries and you never know what you might find… -Enjoy!
PS- WPForms is our sponsor for this VLOG and they provide plugins for WordPress that give you drag-n-drop capabilities, plus other really powerful forms, etc., and if you click the link (below), they’re offering a sizable discount.
Are you too old to learn software development at 30?
I know what you’re thinking… You’re on the young side of 30 and you’ve either started learning software development and are looking for a job, or maybe you’re back on the job market again; ready to see what new cards you get dealt, but is it too late? Will the landscape have shifted so much that you’ll feel out of place compared to theses 20 somethings who are younger, faster, and seem to run on a poor diet of espresso curtado and some 12$ packets of nuggets with kale in them? Can you compete with that? Is 30 to old for being a software developer?
The Answer, which most of you probably already know is ‘NO’, you’re going to be alright! To put this into perspective, we have talked about being much older and doing this and still making it work, so 30 will (comparatively) be a piece of cake. “30-32: you should not be worried about that, for sure. If you were in your late 40s or 50s working for startups could be an issue -although there’s lots of opportunity if you’re that age to get into freelancing, small business web development, small business development [consulting], but [30 years old], it’s not even close to being an issue.” In the previous articles we also spoke about domain knowledge ( the industry you might have previously worked in) and how that is worth way more, especially if you’re intending to use your software/web development in the very domain/industry you were a part of. “…if you have domain knowledge, that’s more important than knowing another framework or another programming language …you’re probably going to be a more valuable programmer in that regard…”
So there you have it, “generally speaking if you want to go work for a young startup, if you’re in your 40s or 50s you’re probably going to have an issue, unless you happen to be highly experienced in a particular area where that startup needs people. On the other hand there’s so much opportunity in terms of software development, that all the statistics that I’ve seen, there’s going to be this huge shortage (especially in North America) of software developers.”
The VLOG goes into more of an explanation plus some very interesting anecdotes about the state of software development, you should check it out. Speaking of ‘checking out’, our courses are linked at the bottom and they take advantage of almost 3 decades in the industry and are created to get you up and running and ready to create and tackle most problems you’ll encounter out there; also worth checking out. -Enjoy!
You just landed your first job as a programmer or a dev… Congratulations! Now how do you keep that job? We gotcha. First, read this. That’s a lot to remember, are you freaking out? No problem. All you really need to do is remember step 1 or (for those of you that didn’t read it):
Communication. “Communicate; listen, that’s a big part of it. …Being somebody they can count on, somebody that gets along, somebody that they can speak to is a huge part of the job. …Just work with people, listen, and that is like 90% of it.” -also- Don’t ask Google-able questions. “…If you find that you’re having difficulty, don’t be afraid to ask questions …short, concise questions -don’t ask super long-winded questions- keep it pithy/to the point… …[And] don’t ask too many questions -especially questions that you could research on Google (ultimately they’re hiring you to get the job done).” But stuff happens, for example, “…there could be some design issues, there could be some specifics with regards to their particular software…hopefully they’ll be able to provide that [answers] for you…” -and- The ‘Ramp-up’. It doesn’t matter if you’re a fresh-faced noob or a grizzled old veteran programmer, no one with brain in their skull expects you to get things right outta the gate. There’s a ‘ramp-up’: “When they first bring you in there’s going to be some expectation of a ‘ramp-up’ time. You’re not going to know everything …if they have an advanced piece of software, …you’re going to have to get to know the code base, and that could take time depending on the complexity of the software. It’s not your code, you’re going to have to learn it. And in your first little while go out of your way to make sure you try as quickly as possible to learn the code -don’t kill yourself; don’t get all sweaty and nervous about it- …but ask your coworker, your lead. ‘what do I need to do first so I can get up to speed and help you guys?’ “.
After that, it’s like any other job, “…be sure to double-check your work: make sure you don’t make any silly mistakes, …if you’re assigned to a task, make sure you get things done on time, …and hopefully you didn’t lie on your resume and say you were a ‘master nerd’, cuz they’re going to figure you out pretty quickly…”.
Check out the VLOG for some really good advice and <Shameless Promo> generally speaking, if you’ve taken the web stack course, you might find yourself ahead of the game as many people found out once they got the job… -Enjoy!
Is using developer tutorials cheating? Or are they the steps you need to take to move from beginner to advanced developer?
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery…and in some cases, it’s also the quickest way to a lawsuit. Beginner devs are often cautious (and quite rightly so) when looking at someone else’s work/tutorial and wonder if making something similar is ‘cheating’?
Generally speaking, “it’s not cheating. Everything that you see in this world, whether it be software development, music, martial arts -whatever, it’s all based on other people’s work.” Some would even argue that’s how things evolve and get better; by different people messing around and riffing on the same idea. BUT, let’s clarify that, “if you’re stealing it; line for line, that’s bad -it’s illegal and it’s immoral. But if you’re learning how to do something…it’s not cheating to do a tutorial and then based off of that tutorial, you build your own app.” Of course, please do your due diligence, for example, “unless they give you specific permission to copy the code, don’t copy the code. But you can basically learn from it, and then write your own thing accordingly.”
At the end of the day your code/project will be different because everybody’s needs are different, so your app, project, etc, will be not be a carbon copy unless you want it to be…in which case lawyer up! But everyone had to start out somewhere and they became experienced by using what they saw and adding their own thing to reflect the needs of their client, employer, or the very project they were creating.
The VLOG goes into greater detail and you should check it out. Go out there and create, learn and be better than you were. -Enjoy!
Heads up! This is going to be geared to our courses (specifically our web development course), but you can definitely take advantage of the information we’ll be providing…but it works best with our courses 🙂
So, when should you start freelancing after taking our developer course? “This is what I’d do: you finished my full stack course, you do all the foundations training, you do the first few projects that I suggest on the project section, and then the thing which you should do at this point is if you got my freelance course, you should read the first few chapters of the freelance course which gives you the framework to setup your freelance business. Then you have to complete your web design training as a padawan web designer or web developer-junior: what you do is you go out there and you do one or two small…SMALL projects as a freelancer for some independent company/third party.” Consider this your final exam cuz you’re going to be out there doing work AND communicating with clients! “…And if you have our freelance course, you’re going to get all the templates, the contracts, the initial proposal templates, etc…”
So there you have it. The VLOG goes into even more detail and you can even hear about how Stef got started out as a freelancer, having no idea how to build a CRUD based application and what he did. Thanks for listening to our shameless promos and if you’ve had your interest peaked by what it is we offer, check out our courses, it’s definitely worth your time. -Enjoy!