JAX London 2014: A retrospective
Career ladder

Ten career tips every egocentric programmer should hear

JAX Editorial Team
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Getting ahead in the programming world is easy. All you need to do is remember these three words: me, me, me.

There is one problem that stands in the way of those that want to make a career out of being a developer: In times of Agile, DevOps and distributed Version Control Systems, the burden on the individual is lightened as the focus shifts towards group work.

Most of the time the team, the division and the personnel that solve the problems before it is brought to the team leader who realistically has very little to do with the final project.

That’s why the most important message you can take away from our career tips is “Don’t forget your own ego”. Sit up, pay close attention and stick to these essential ten commandments for the egocentric programmer as this advice will take you places.

1. You are the best

Always work on the premise that you are the best programmer in the business. If you do this, you’ll be beaming with confidence and over time your gaggle of admirers will grow into a fanclub. Luckily, IT is so complex that you can always push your problems onto someone else.

2. You are your code

If a colleague spots a mistake in your Code, accept that you’ve made an error – it’s probably just a slip of the pen, or keyboard in this case. Whatever you do though, do not confront your co-worker after work and ask if they have a personal problem with you.

3. Cool programming tricks are top secret

The more cool programming tricks you know the more respected you’ll be in the developers collective. Always refer back to your magic but make sure to never use up all of your tricks. Above all: never ask others for the tricks in an attempt to learn, don’t degrade yourself.

4. Rambo mentality

The developers that single-handedly programme new software components overnight are the heros. Don’t bother with Code Review Systems or Pair Programming. Those are for babies and they’ll ruin your reputation.

5. Knowledge is power

Make sure the people that know less than you are aware of your superiority. Remind them. Preferably in the presence of a supervisor.

6. Speedy success pays off

Slow and steady wins the race, right? Wrong. The developers that complete the new software components the quickest are the winners. Never waste time with things like modularity, flexibility and serviceability – if the software doesn’t cut it anymore because the requirements are different, that’s not your fault.

7. Authority doesn’t come from programming

Authority comes from your position in the company not from your programming abilities. When you eventually go from developer to team leader or manager, you’ll have to worry about other things instead of keeping up to speed in programming.

8. Never accept defeat

Defeat is never an option. When an idea is overruled in a team meeting, set a wonderful, over-the-top sabotage plan into motion. With any luck problems will arise and you can triumphantly proclaim “I told you so!”

9. Remain the developer in the coffee room

Never get lost or wander into other departments. Your developer colleagues would instantly label you as a traitor. Anyway, other departments are hopelessly inferior to the Developer Elite.

10. Use bugs as opportunity

Mistakes in Code are always a welcome opportunity to criticise the mistakes of the author. With a little bit of practice sentences like “Typical Tim, mixing up his variable names again!” can be put to good, strategic use.

So most importantly don’t get confused by the good souls slaving away for the good of the team with Agile or DevOps. If someone comes near you with Gerald M. Weinberg’s 10 Commandments for Egoless Programming, remind them that this was written in 1971 and is completely outdated.

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JAX Editorial Team

JAX Editorial Team

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