Monthly Archives: March 2013

Who is a Good Programmer?

A smart accountant once told me that the answer to “How much money did you make?” is always, “Who wants to know?” If it’s an investor, the answer is “A lot.” If it’s a customer, the answer is “A little.” If it’s the IRS, the answer is “None.”

Same thing here. The answer to “Who is a good programmer?” is always, “Who wants to know?”

To a project manager, the programmer who hits every deadline (regardless of quality) is a good programmer.

To a customer, the programmer who solves their problem quickest is a good programmer.

To a business owner, the programmer who makes them the most money is a good programmer.

To a PHB, the programmer who makes them look the best is a good programmer.

To a journalist, the programmer who tells the best stories is a good programmer.

To a junior programmer, the best mentor is the good programmer.

To another programmer, the programmer they are most likely to want to go into battle with is a good programmer.

To a blogger, the programmer who best fits the profile of the point he is trying to make is a good programmer.

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How do I achieve laser focus and concentration?

The single most important thing I do to “achieve laser focus and concentration” is to work in such a way that I don’t need “laser focus and concentration” to get my work done.

This has to be done the night before.

I always quit all online work at least 2 hours before bedtime and print whatever I’m working on.

Then I go into any other room with program listings, blank paper, and pens (especially red!) and plan out all of tomorrow’s work.

All analysis, design, and refactoring must be done at this time. I do not allow myself to sleep until the next day’s work is laid out. I also do not allow myself to get back onto the computer. The idea is to have a clear “vision” of what I am going to accomplish the next day. The clearer the better.

This does 2 things. First, I think about it all night (maybe even dream about it). Second, I can’t wait to get started the next day.

I always wake up and start programming immediately. Once I get going, it’s easy to keep going. Any difficulties are probably because I didn’t plan well enough the night before.

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