The Psychology of Computer Programming

  1. Understand and accept that you will make mistakes. The point is to find them early, before they make it into production. Fortunately, except for the few of us developing rocket guidance software at JPL, mistakes are rarely fatal in our industry, so we can, and should, learn, laugh, and move on.

  1. You are not your code. Remember that the entire point of a review is to find problems, and problems will be found. Don’t take it personally when one is uncovered.

  1. No matter how much “karate” you know, someone else will always know more. Such an individual can teach you some new moves if you ask. Seek and accept input from others, especially when you think it’s not needed.

  1. Don’t rewrite code without consultation. There’s a fine line between “fixing code” and “rewriting code.” Know the difference, and pursue stylistic changes within the framework of a code review, not as a lone enforcer.

  1. Treat people who know less than you with respect, deference, and patience. Nontechnical people who deal with developers on a regular basis almost universally hold the opinion that we are prima donnas at best and crybabies at worst. Don’t reinforce this stereotype with anger and impatience.

  1. The only constant in the world is change. Be open to it and accept it with a smile. Look at each change to your requirements, platform, or tool as a new challenge, not as some serious inconvenience to be fought.

  1. The only true authority stems from knowledge, not from position. Knowledge engenders authority, and authority engenders respect—so if you want respect in an egoless environment, cultivate knowledge.

  1. Fight for what you believe, but gracefully accept defeat. Understand that sometimes your ideas will be overruled. Even if you do turn out to be right, don’t take revenge or say, “I told you so” more than a few times at most, and don’t make your dearly departed idea a martyr or rallying cry.

  1. Don’t be “the guy in the room.” Don’t be the guy coding in the dark office emerging only to buy cola. The guy in the room is out of touch, out of sight, and out of control and has no place in an open, collaborative environment.

  1. Critique code instead of people—be kind to the coder, not to the code.As much as possible, make all of your comments positive and oriented to improving the code. Relate comments to local standards, program specs, increased performance, etc.

The human principles of software are truly timeless; The Psychology of Computer Programming was written way back in 1971

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Top ten things ten years of professional software development has taught me

· Object orientation is much harder than you think
Maybe it’s just me, but coming from Computer Science class I thought that OO was easy. I mean, how hard can it be to create classes that mimic the real world? It turns out that it’s pretty hard. Ten years later, I’m still learning how to model properly. I wish I spent more time reading up on OO and design patterns. Good modeling skills are worth a lot to every development team.

· The difficult part of software development is communication
And that’s communication with persons, not socket programming. Now and then you do run into a tricky technical problem, but it’s not at all that common. Much more common is misunderstandings between you and the project manager, between you and the customer and finally between you and the other developers. Work on your soft skills.

· Learn to say no
When I started working, I was very eager to please. This meant that I had a hard time saying no to things people asked of me. I worked a lot of overtime, and still didn’t finish everything that was asked of me. The result was disappointment from their side, and almost burning out on my part. If you never say no, your yes is worth very little. Commit to what you can handle, and if people keep asking you for more, make it very explicit that this would mean not doing something else. What I did was to have a list of stuff that I needed to do on a piece of paper with me. When someone asked for something, I showed them the list and asked what I should bump to have time to help them. This allowed me to say no in a nice way.

· If everything is equally important, then nothing is important
The business likes to say that all the features are as crucial. They are not. Push back and make them commit. It’s easier if you don’t force them to pick what to do and what not to do. Instead, let them choose what you should do this week. This will let you produce the stuff that brings value first. If all else goes haywire, at least you’ve done that.

· Don’t over-think a problem
I can spend whole days designing things in front of the white board. That doesn’t mean it will be any better, it just means it will be more complicated. I don’t mean to say you shouldn’t design at all, just that the implementation will quickly show me stuff I didn’t think of anyway, so why try to make it perfect? Like Dave Farley says: “The devil is in the details, but exorcism is in implementation, not theory.”

· Dive really deep into something, but don’t get hung up
Chris and I spent a lot of time getting into the real deep parts of SQL Server. It was great fun and I learned a lot from it, but after some time I realized that knowing that much didn’t really help me solve the business’ problems. An example: I know that at the table level, SQL Server will not take an IU lock – it will only take a IX lock. This is a performance tweak, since most of the time, the IU lock will have to be escalated into a IX lock anyway. To find this, I spent countless days experimenting, I read loads of material and talked to Microsoft people at conferences. Have I ever had any use of this knowledge. Nope.

· Learn about the other parts of the software development machine
It’s really important to be a great developer. But to be a great part of the system that produces software, you need to understand what the rest of the system does. How do the QA people work? What does the project manager do? What drives the business analyst? This knowledge will help you connect with the rest of the people, and will grease interactions with them. Ask the people around you for help in learning more. What books are good? Most people will be flattered that you care, and willingly help you out. A little time on this goes a really long way.

· Your colleagues are your best teachers
A year after I started on my first job, we merged with another company. Suddenly I had a lot of much more talented and experienced people around me. I remember distinctly how this made me feel inferior and stupid. I studied hard, reading book after book but I still didn’t catch up. They had too much of an advantage on me, I figured.
Nowadays, working with great people doesn’t make me feel bad at all. I just feel I have the chance of a lifetime to learn. I ask questions and I try really hard to understand how my colleagues come to the conclusions they do. This is why I joined ThoughtWorks. See your peers as an asset, not competition.

· It all comes down to working software
No matter how cool your algorithms are, no matter how brilliant your database schema is, no matter how fabulous your whatever is, if it doesn’t scratch the clients’ itch, it’s not worth anything. Focus on delivering working software, and at the same time prepare to continue delivering software using that code base and you’re on the right path.

· Some people are assholes
Most of the time, most of the people around you are great. You learn from them, and they learn from you. Accomplishing something together is a good feeling. Unfortunately, you will probably run into the exceptions. People that because of something or other are plain old mean. Demeaning bosses. Lying colleagues. Stupid, ignorant customers. Don’t take this too hard. Try to work around them and do what you can to minimize the pain and effort they cause, but don’t blame yourself. As long as you stay honest and do your best, you’ve done your part.

Ref: http://www.taylor.se/reddit.html

An Excellent Presentation: Why Do People Succeed

How True: Men’s rules

Finally, the guys’ side of the story.

We always hear ” the rules ” From the female side.

Now here are the rules from the male side.

These are our rules!

Please note.. These are all numbered “1” ON PURPOSE!

1. Men are NOT mind readers.

1. Shopping is NOT a sport. And no, we are never going to think of it that way.

1. Crying is blackmail.

1. Ask for what you want.

Let us be clear on this one:

Subtle hints do not work!

Strong hints do not work!

Obvious hints do not work!

Just say it!


1. Yes and No are perfectly acceptable answers to almost every question.

1. Come to us with a problem only if you want help solving it. That’s what we do. Sympathy is what your girlfriends are for.

1. A headache that lasts for 17 months is a Problem. See a doctor.

1. Anything we said 6 months ago is inadmissible in an argument. In fact, all comments become null and void after 7 Days.


1. If you won’t dress like the Victoria ‘s Secret girls, don’t Expect us to act like soap opera guys.

1. If you think you’re fat, you probably are. Don’t ask us.

1. If something we said can be interpreted two ways and one of the ways makes you sad or angry, we meant the other one

1. You can either ask us to do something Or tell us how you want it done. Not both.

If you already know best how to do it, just do it yourself.


1. Whenever possible, Please say whatever you have to say during commercials.

1. Christopher Columbus did NOT need directions and neither do we.

1. ALL men see in only 16 colors, like Windows default settings.

Peach, for example, is a fruit, not A color. Pumpkin is also a fruit. We have no idea what mauve is.

1. If we ask what is wrong and you say “nothing,” We will act like nothing’s wrong.

We know you are lying, but it is just not worth the hassle.

1. If you ask a question you don’t want an answer to, Expect an answer you don’t want to hear.

1. When we have to go somewhere, absolutely anything you wear is fine. Really .

1. Don’t ask us what we’re thinking about unless you are prepared to discuss such topics as baseball, the shotgun formation, or golf.

1. You have enough clothes.

1. You have too many shoes.

1. I am in shape. Round IS a shape!

Yes, I know, I have to sleep on the couch tonight;


9 Deadly Words User By A Women

1) Fine
This is the word women use to end an argument when they are right and you need to shut up.

2) Five Minutes
If she is getting dressed, this means a half an hour. Five minutes is only five minutes if you have just been given five more minutes to watch the game before helping around the house.

3) Nothing
This is the calm before the storm. This means something, and you should be on your toes. Arguments that begin with nothing usually end in fine.

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4) Go Ahead
This is a dare, not permission. Don’t Do It!

5) Loud Sigh
This is actually a word, but is a non-verbal statement often misunderstood by men. A loud sigh means she thinks you are an idiot
and wonders why she is wasting her time standing here and arguing with you about nothing. (Refer back to # 3 for the meaning of nothing.)

6) That’s Okay
This is one of the most dangerous statements a women can make to a man. That’s okay means she wants to think long and hard before
deciding how and when you will pay for your mistake.

7) Thanks
A woman is thanking you, do not question, or faint. Just say you’re welcome. (I want to add in a clause here – This is true, unless she says ‘Thanks a lot’ – that is PURE sarcasm and she is not thanking you at all. DO NOT say ‘you’re welcome’ . that will bring on a ‘whatever’).

8 ) Whatever
Is a woman’s way of saying F– YOU!

9) Don’t worry about it, I got it
Another dangerous statement, meaning this is something that a woman has told a man to do several times, but is now doing it herself. This
will later result in a man asking ‘What’s wrong?’ For the woman’s response refer to #3. (source)