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be a programmer?

P: n/a
What do I do? Any ideas?
I went back to school after many years and finished my bachelors degree and
studied programming at a local tech school. I have no great talent to return
to (mainframe operator, telemarketer, painter...) and haven't had a chance
to shine in programming yet (newbie, recession, tech bubble, jobs going
overseas....). I got so frustrated that I launched my own recruiting
business but that didn't fly. I do like programming and think I could be
good. I have either trained in/or used: Java, HTML, Perl, PHP, ASP, C, C++,
SQL, Javascript. I need to do something as I am going to have to care for
myself (age 45) and my mother(77, works pt) since she will have to quit
working in 2-3 years. Since the recession is still pretty much on in
Houston, TX, I'm thinking of taking a crappy little job and study nights and
weekends and get a programming job in a year or two. Thanks for your advice.
Jul 22 '05 #1
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11 Replies


P: n/a
[Cross-posted to a less incorrect newsgroup]

ja*****@sbcglobal.net wrote:
I went back to school after many years and finished my bachelors degree and studied programming at a local tech school. I have no great talent to return to (mainframe operator, telemarketer, painter...) and haven't had a chance
to shine in programming yet (newbie, recession, tech bubble, jobs going
overseas....). I got so frustrated that I launched my own recruiting
business but that didn't fly. I do like programming and think I could be
good. I have either trained in/or used: Java, HTML, Perl, PHP, ASP, C, C++, SQL, Javascript. I need to do something as I am going to have to care for
myself (age 45) and my mother(77, works pt) since she will have to quit
working in 2-3 years. Since the recession is still pretty much on in
Houston, TX, I'm thinking of taking a crappy little job and study nights and weekends and get a programming job in a year or two. Thanks for your

advice.

Attend/worship/pester your local users groups for the following topics:

- design patterns
- Linux (GNU, etc.)
- Extreme Programming (Agile development, test driven development, etc.)

Your acronym list may impress HR screeners, but not colleagues. What we need
are folks who have experienced object models that don't suck, operating
systems that don't suck, and project lifecycles that don't suck. We
frequently get colleagues with no exposure to anything except crap, and
re-educating them causes friction.

--
Phlip
http://www.xpsd.org/cgi-bin/wiki?Tes...UserInterfaces
Jul 22 '05 #2

P: n/a
> Your acronym list may impress HR screeners, but not colleagues. What we need
are folks who have experienced object models that don't suck, operating
systems that don't suck, and project lifecycles that don't suck.
Even before that, do this:

Understand how to estimate, and then KEEP TO THAT ESTIMATE.

The number 1 problem w/ development is the inability to estimate and deliver
software on time, regardless of the design methodology.

Read the "Mythical Man Month"

Read the NASA SEL documentation.
Phlip wrote:
[Cross-posted to a less incorrect newsgroup]

ja*****@sbcglobal.net wrote:
I went back to school after many years and finished my bachelors degree

and
studied programming at a local tech school. I have no great talent to

return
to (mainframe operator, telemarketer, painter...) and haven't had a chance
to shine in programming yet (newbie, recession, tech bubble, jobs going
overseas....). I got so frustrated that I launched my own recruiting
business but that didn't fly. I do like programming and think I could be
good. I have either trained in/or used: Java, HTML, Perl, PHP, ASP, C,

C++,
SQL, Javascript. I need to do something as I am going to have to care for
myself (age 45) and my mother(77, works pt) since she will have to quit
working in 2-3 years. Since the recession is still pretty much on in
Houston, TX, I'm thinking of taking a crappy little job and study nights

and
weekends and get a programming job in a year or two. Thanks for your

advice.

Attend/worship/pester your local users groups for the following topics:

- design patterns
- Linux (GNU, etc.)
- Extreme Programming (Agile development, test driven development, etc.)

Your acronym list may impress HR screeners, but not colleagues. What we need
are folks who have experienced object models that don't suck, operating
systems that don't suck, and project lifecycles that don't suck. We
frequently get colleagues with no exposure to anything except crap, and
re-educating them causes friction.

--
Phlip
http://www.xpsd.org/cgi-bin/wiki?Tes...UserInterfaces


--
Bret Pehrson
mailto:br**@infowest.com
NOSPAM - Include this key in all e-mail correspondence <<38952rglkwdsl>>
Jul 22 '05 #3

P: n/a

<ja*****@sbcglobal.net> wrote in message
news:Zz******************@newssvr24.news.prodigy.c om...
What do I do? Any ideas?
I went back to school after many years and finished my bachelors degree and studied programming at a local tech school. I have no great talent to return to (mainframe operator, telemarketer, painter...) and haven't had a chance
to shine in programming yet (newbie, recession, tech bubble, jobs going
overseas....). I got so frustrated that I launched my own recruiting
business but that didn't fly. I do like programming and think I could be
good. I have either trained in/or used: Java, HTML, Perl, PHP, ASP, C, C++, SQL, Javascript. I need to do something as I am going to have to care for
myself (age 45) and my mother(77, works pt) since she will have to quit
working in 2-3 years. Since the recession is still pretty much on in
Houston, TX,
I'm thinking of taking a crappy little job and study nights and
weekends and get a programming job in a year or two. Thanks for your

advice.

IMO in that last paragraph you've already given yourself the best advice:
Do what you must to support yourself while you learn to do what you like
until you can do it instead. It's what I did, and still do when software
work slows down.

Oh, and no matter the amount, put away some money every week. :-)

-Mike
Jul 22 '05 #4

P: n/a
Bret Pehrson wrote:
Your acronym list may impress HR screeners, but not colleagues. What we need are folks who have experienced object models that don't suck, operating
systems that don't suck, and project lifecycles that don't suck.
Even before that, do this:

Understand how to estimate, and then KEEP TO THAT ESTIMATE.

The number 1 problem w/ development is the inability to estimate and

deliver software on time, regardless of the design methodology.

Read the "Mythical Man Month"

Read the NASA SEL documentation.


Estimate using "points of complexity", not "ideal days".

Then average the points over time. The number of complexity points you can
do in a week will even out. That makes estimation easy, fearless, useful,
and NO NEED TO KEEP TO ANY ESTIMATE. No all-nighters or other brainless
bullshit.

--
Phlip
http://www.xpsd.org/cgi-bin/wiki?Tes...UserInterfaces
Jul 22 '05 #5

P: n/a


Bret Pehrson wrote:
Your acronym list may impress HR screeners, but not colleagues. What we need
are folks who have experienced object models that don't suck, operating
systems that don't suck, and project lifecycles that don't suck.

Even before that, do this:

Understand how to estimate, and then KEEP TO THAT ESTIMATE.

The number 1 problem w/ development is the inability to estimate and deliver
software on time, regardless of the design methodology.

Read the "Mythical Man Month"

Read the NASA SEL documentation.


Whilst doing my degree course we were often told to do estimates, and
given various methodologies to use in the exercise. At one point a
lecturer put up a comparison of an estimate he'd done using one of the
methods and the actual result obtain.

Q: So how come you ended up 1 year late and 50% over budget.
A: Well how the hell was I to know how long the UI would take.

now I suppose if you your project is online store version X, or satelite
tacking system Y, then you'll have a good base for estimation. If
however, a part of your project is something that you don't have prior
experience of then all you have is guestimate.

Jul 22 '05 #6

P: n/a
lilburne wrote:
[SNIP]
now I suppose if you your project is online store version X, or
satelite tacking system Y, then you'll have a good base for
estimation. If however, a part of your project is something that you
don't have prior experience of then all you have is guestimate.


Or buy/get the expertise you need. I guess that from 10% from the budget he
could have got a consultant to help nad probably the project would not have
been late a year...

--
Attila aka WW
Jul 22 '05 #7

P: n/a
lilburne wrote:
A: Well how the hell was I to know how long the UI would take.


By not putting it off until the last f***ing minute.

By doing it a little at a time, with the code it represented, so its effect
on velocity would not be masked.

Imagine if the industry routinely put off writing the DB until the last
f***ing minute. Excuses like "Well how the hell was I to know how long the
DB would take?" would be routine and standard. Yuck!

--
Phlip
http://www.xpsd.org/cgi-bin/wiki?Tes...UserInterfaces
Jul 22 '05 #8

P: n/a
On Mon, 2 Feb 2004 15:57:34 +0200, "Attila Feher"
<at**********@lmf.ericsson.se> wrote:
lilburne wrote:
[SNIP]
now I suppose if you your project is online store version X, or
satelite tacking system Y, then you'll have a good base for
estimation. If however, a part of your project is something that you
don't have prior experience of then all you have is guestimate.


Or buy/get the expertise you need. I guess that from 10% from the budget he
could have got a consultant to help nad probably the project would not have
been late a year...


Indeed. Instead it would have been late a year and a half.
Richard Harter, cr*@tiac.net
http://home.tiac.net/~cri, http://www.varinoma.com
A man with money is always charming - pomposity is just
an eccentricity, forgivable in the rich.
Jul 22 '05 #9

P: n/a
Mike Wahler wrote:
Oh, and no matter the amount, put away some money every week. :-)

-Mike


Yes, I found I can reasonably put away $10-$30 per week...in beer :-)

/david

--
Andre, a simple peasant, had only one thing on his mind as he crept
along the East wall: 'Andre, creep... Andre, creep... Andre, creep.'
-- unknown
Jul 22 '05 #10

P: n/a
Good points -- thanks.

If the programmer doesn't know w/ reasonable certainty what it will take to
implement, that should be taken into account during the estimation.

The programmer has (at least, but for the point of this discussion) two points
in estimating:

- the time estimate (whatever n.u.t. you prefer to use)

- the certainty estimate (how comfortable is the programmer w/ the task and
its complexity)

All too often, the certainty estimate is never accounted for (and there are
numerous reasons why, not just limited to the programmer).

So, in your example, if the programmer estimated 6 months for the UI project,
but had no/limited prior experience, then their certainty (percent) should have
been low (say 30%), and that used as a divisor into their time estimate.

Further, with these two pieces, the project manager should be able to more
accurately determine the upper bound on the project.

It is similar to velocity, however I've only seen velocity applied to a project
as a whole, and not specific individuals, however I'm relatively new to the XP
scene.

The *MAIN* problem that I have is (and the point I was trying to originally
make) when a programmer estimates something with a supposedly high degree of
certainty, and then fails to meet that expectation.

lilburne wrote:

Bret Pehrson wrote:
Your acronym list may impress HR screeners, but not colleagues. What we need
are folks who have experienced object models that don't suck, operating
systems that don't suck, and project lifecycles that don't suck.

Even before that, do this:

Understand how to estimate, and then KEEP TO THAT ESTIMATE.

The number 1 problem w/ development is the inability to estimate and deliver
software on time, regardless of the design methodology.

Read the "Mythical Man Month"

Read the NASA SEL documentation.


Whilst doing my degree course we were often told to do estimates, and
given various methodologies to use in the exercise. At one point a
lecturer put up a comparison of an estimate he'd done using one of the
methods and the actual result obtain.

Q: So how come you ended up 1 year late and 50% over budget.
A: Well how the hell was I to know how long the UI would take.

now I suppose if you your project is online store version X, or satelite
tacking system Y, then you'll have a good base for estimation. If
however, a part of your project is something that you don't have prior
experience of then all you have is guestimate.


--
Bret Pehrson
mailto:br**@infowest.com
NOSPAM - Include this key in all e-mail correspondence <<38952rglkwdsl>>
Jul 22 '05 #11

P: n/a
Bret Pehrson <br**@infowest.com> wrote in message news:<40***************@infowest.com>...
Your acronym list may impress HR screeners, but not colleagues. What we need
are folks who have experienced object models that don't suck, operating
systems that don't suck, and project lifecycles that don't suck.


Even before that, do this:

Understand how to estimate, and then KEEP TO THAT ESTIMATE.


One tried and tested method is to conservatively guess how long you
think it will take and then double it!
Jul 22 '05 #12

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