Advice to Newly Graduated Programmers


Image from Datamation magazine, 1965.  Courtesty of The Computer Boys

At myStaffingPro, we are fortunate to work with IT students during their college years.  As we send them off into the “real wold,” and hopefully into a full-time IT job, there’s some things I want them to know.

Put yourself in the user’s shoes
Listen to what the software user is saying with his heart, not just with his mouth.  Many users can’t verbalize exactly what they want.  Good developers will dig deeper to find the felt need and create software that meets that need.

Think like a hacker
Expect to spend more time on security than you want.  It’s a reality of the world that people will try to take advantage of you, your software, and your customers.

Delve deeper
Don’t stop at the first solution – keep digging for the best solution, while staying within time and budget constraints, of course.  Usually the best solution isn’t the something you’ll learn in a classroom.

P & I
Leverage the work of those before you by utilizing free online resources, attending conferences, and sharing code with other developers.  Study successful applications.  Share freely of your resources as well.

Mock up everything
Even if it’s just a drawing on a napkin, a mock-up will give you better focus.

Test it to death
Don’t hand anything in as complete until you’ve tested it at least 10 times more than you thought you needed.  Again, test it yourself, BEFORE handing it off to QA or your supervisor.

Communicate, communicate, communicate
By nature, most programmers focus so much on their skill that their communication skills don’t get used much.  Force yourself to communicate with your co-workers about what you’re doing.  Then listen, listen, listen.

Ask questions…
…but only after you’ve made an honest attempt to find the answers yourself.

Get to work on time and be nice to others
This applies to any career choice – hopefully the why is obvious.

You’ve chosen an exciting career that will allow you to create art in the form of software.  Keep your focus on the end goal of what you’re creating, and you’ll keep your inspiration.  Carpe diem!

“In most people’s vocabularies, design means veneer. It’s interior decorating. It’s the fabric of the curtains of the sofa. But to me, nothing could be further from the meaning of design. Design is the fundamental soul of a human-made creation that ends up expressing itself in successive outer layers of the product or service.” – Steve Jobs in Fortune


One response to “Advice to Newly Graduated Programmers

  1. RE: Delve Deeper, What I consistently tell my IS members is to ask the question “Why?” three times. That will usually get you closer to the real issue at hand, and the subsequent solution they really need.

    Too often, many IT pros are listening just to hear when a person stops talking so they can start.

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