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sophia.agnes@gmail.com 02-17-2008 07:49 AM

Coding skills
 
Dear all,

I have heard many arguments from s/w engineers(doing appln
programming) having 2-4 years of experience that

1) There is not much deal in coding, anyone can do it, as lots of
source code are available in the net

2) coding only amounts to 30% of the project

3) it is all about designing the project done by project lead /
project manager

4) some even say that computer programming doesn't have much
scientific basis although mathematically it may have some basis

Is there any truth in above statements ?

OR

why coding skills are not given much importance ?

Richard Heathfield 02-17-2008 08:18 AM

Re: Coding skills
 
sophia.agnes@gmail.com said:

> Dear all,
>
> I have heard many arguments from s/w engineers(doing appln
> programming) having 2-4 years of experience that
>
> 1) There is not much deal in coding, anyone can do it, as lots of
> source code are available in the net


This is true. And of course anyone can paint a picture. All you need is a
subject, a brush, some paint, a canvas, an easel, and a place to stand.

So - if programming doesn't work out for you, just dash off a few quick
6'x8's and sell them to the Louvre for a million each.


> 2) coding only amounts to 30% of the project


Latest figures show that it's actually 29.04%. Adjust your spreadsheet
accordingly.

> why coding skills are not given much importance ?


Most managers don't attribute a great deal of importance to coding skills
for two reasons:

1) they don't really know what good coding is all about;
2) they don't really get a chance to find out. (Many, if not most,
programmers aren't actually all that good at programming.)

--
Richard Heathfield <http://www.cpax.org.uk>
Email: -http://www. +rjh@
Google users: <http://www.cpax.org.uk/prg/writings/googly.php>
"Usenet is a strange place" - dmr 29 July 1999

Malcolm McLean 02-17-2008 10:32 AM

Re: Coding skills
 

<sophia.agnes@gmail.com> wrote in message news:
> I have heard many arguments from s/w engineers(doing appln
> programming) having 2-4 years of experience that
>
> 1) There is not much deal in coding, anyone can do it, as lots of
> source code are available in the net
>
> 2) coding only amounts to 30% of the project
>
> 3) it is all about designing the project done by project lead /
> project manager
>
> 4) some even say that computer programming doesn't have much
> scientific basis although mathematically it may have some basis
>
> Is there any truth in above statements ?
>
> OR
>
> why coding skills are not given much importance ?
>

If you've got a full and accurate specification for the typical business
application which does nothing more challenging than access and
already-written database engine, put some windows up on screen, and do a few
trivial calculations, then converting the spec to code is indeed a
brain-dead job.

In practise it is easier to write the specification in code and cut out the
programmer entirely. When you come to reduce a specification to code, you'll
usually find that it doesn't work. So actually you need some very skilled
people on the programming team.

However managers who are not programmers themselves will constantly look for
ways to reduce the status and salaries of programmers, just as for any other
group of people they employ. This is human nature. Programmers are
especially vulnerable because there is no professional body.

--
Free games and programming goodies.
http://www.personal.leeds.ac.uk/~bgy1mm


Richard Heathfield 02-17-2008 11:29 AM

Re: Coding skills
 
Malcolm McLean said:

<snip>

> If you've got a full and accurate specification


Ha! :-)

> for the typical business
> application which does nothing more challenging than access and
> already-written database engine, put some windows up on screen, and do a
> few trivial calculations, then converting the spec to code is indeed a
> brain-dead job.


Converting it correctly and robustly is rather less easy.

> In practise it is easier to write the specification in code and cut out
> the programmer entirely.


At which point, the manager /is/ the programmer. At this point, he should
either fire himself (because programmers are not required), or hire a
programmer (because he has just discovered that they *are* required, and
he ought to have other things to do with his time).

> When you come to reduce a specification to code,
> you'll usually find that it doesn't work. So actually you need some very
> skilled people on the programming team.


But you just fired them all, because you thought you could do it yourself.
So now you have to re-hire them.

Hiring the right people is costly enough at the best of times. (Of course,
hiring the wrong people is dead easy and dirt cheap, so most managers will
settle for this.)

>
> However managers who are not programmers themselves will constantly look
> for ways to reduce the status and salaries of programmers, just as for
> any other group of people they employ. This is human nature. Programmers
> are especially vulnerable because there is no professional body.


Actually, I think the vulnerability of (good) programmers comes from
several areas:

1) because software is easy to edit, it is easy to take credit for
something you didn't do;
2) consequently, it is easy to lose credit for something you did do[*];
3) there is little visual difference at runtime between a mediocre program
and a well-crafted program, and few shops track bugs accurately;
4) good programmers do have an appalling habit of being truthful (which,
among other things, makes it harder to get interviewed in the first
place);
5) managers tend to confuse "exposure to a tool" with "skilled user of a
tool"; they also confuse "has used many tools" with "is a red-hot
programmer". So anyone with 10 years of .Net is obviously a really good
..Net programmer (no matter how many bugs he has coded but never spotted),
and never mind that it only went live about five years ago.

[*] This (credit-stealing) has happened to me once or twice, and on one
occasion nearly cost me a contract. Had it actually done so, I would
almost certainly have ended up suing a major software consultancy company
- and winning several hundred thousand pounds off them.

(For the record, I have never sued anyone, and I didn't *want* to sue these
folks either - and in the end, I didn't have to, so all's well that ends
well.)

--
Richard Heathfield <http://www.cpax.org.uk>
Email: -http://www. +rjh@
Google users: <http://www.cpax.org.uk/prg/writings/googly.php>
"Usenet is a strange place" - dmr 29 July 1999

Serve Laurijssen 02-17-2008 01:01 PM

Re: Coding skills
 

"Richard Heathfield" <rjh@see.sig.invalid> schreef in bericht
news:FMmdnWITJeQJhCXanZ2dneKdnZydnZ2d@bt.com...

> Actually, I think the vulnerability of (good) programmers comes from
> several areas:
>
> 4) good programmers do have an appalling habit of being truthful (which,
> among other things, makes it harder to get interviewed in the first
> place);


What do you mean by this?



Serve Laurijssen 02-17-2008 01:04 PM

Re: Coding skills
 

"Richard Heathfield" <rjh@see.sig.invalid> schreef in bericht
news:FMmdnWITJeQJhCXanZ2dneKdnZydnZ2d@bt.com...
> 5) managers tend to confuse "exposure to a tool" with "skilled user of a
> tool"; they also confuse "has used many tools" with "is a red-hot
> programmer". So anyone with 10 years of .Net is obviously a really good
> .Net programmer (no matter how many bugs he has coded but never spotted),
> and never mind that it only went live about five years ago.


I dont know if you can spot a good or bad programmer by the number of bugs
they create or dont create.
I mean, somebody who creates lots of code introduces more bugs than somebody
who doesnt


Morris Dovey 02-17-2008 01:35 PM

Re: Coding skills
 
Serve Laurijssen wrote:

> I mean, somebody who creates lots of code introduces more bugs than somebody
> who doesnt


For some somebodies, but not for others. :-D

--
Morris Dovey
DeSoto Solar
DeSoto, Iowa USA
http://www.iedu.com/DeSoto

Richard Heathfield 02-17-2008 01:54 PM

Re: Coding skills
 
Serve Laurijssen said:

>
> "Richard Heathfield" <rjh@see.sig.invalid> schreef in bericht
> news:FMmdnWITJeQJhCXanZ2dneKdnZydnZ2d@bt.com...
>
>> Actually, I think the vulnerability of (good) programmers comes from
>> several areas:
>>
>> 4) good programmers do have an appalling habit of being truthful (which,
>> among other things, makes it harder to get interviewed in the first
>> place);

>
> What do you mean by this?


They don't tell lies on their CVs. If anything, they tend to understate
their skill level, because they don't want to create unrealistic
expectations. And they tend not even to mention technologies with which
they have a nodding acquaintance - despite the likelihood that they are
more able to use those technologies effectively than the people already
being employed by the interviewer's organisation.

I've seen this a few times in Real Life. Searching such people out at
interview can be difficult, but is invariably rewarding if done
successfully.

--
Richard Heathfield <http://www.cpax.org.uk>
Email: -http://www. +rjh@
Google users: <http://www.cpax.org.uk/prg/writings/googly.php>
"Usenet is a strange place" - dmr 29 July 1999

Richard Heathfield 02-17-2008 01:54 PM

Re: Coding skills
 
Serve Laurijssen said:

>
> "Richard Heathfield" <rjh@see.sig.invalid> schreef in bericht
> news:FMmdnWITJeQJhCXanZ2dneKdnZydnZ2d@bt.com...
>> 5) managers tend to confuse "exposure to a tool" with "skilled user of a
>> tool"; they also confuse "has used many tools" with "is a red-hot
>> programmer". So anyone with 10 years of .Net is obviously a really good
>> .Net programmer (no matter how many bugs he has coded but never
>> spotted), and never mind that it only went live about five years ago.

>
> I dont know if you can spot a good or bad programmer by the number of
> bugs they create or dont create.


Yes, I was truncating a large idea into but a few words, and I know that I
oversimplified.

--
Richard Heathfield <http://www.cpax.org.uk>
Email: -http://www. +rjh@
Google users: <http://www.cpax.org.uk/prg/writings/googly.php>
"Usenet is a strange place" - dmr 29 July 1999

Serve Laurijssen 02-17-2008 03:52 PM

Re: Coding skills
 

"Richard Heathfield" <rjh@see.sig.invalid> schreef in bericht
news:SfSdnVSQ0ZUDpiXanZ2dnUVZ8q7inZ2d@bt.com...
> They don't tell lies on their CVs. If anything, they tend to understate
> their skill level, because they don't want to create unrealistic
> expectations. And they tend not even to mention technologies with which
> they have a nodding acquaintance - despite the likelihood that they are
> more able to use those technologies effectively than the people already
> being employed by the interviewer's organisation.
>
> I've seen this a few times in Real Life. Searching such people out at
> interview can be difficult, but is invariably rewarding if done
> successfully.


Sounds familiar yes. I remember telling in an interview how I created
applications in ASP, which meant using VBScript to call C++ COM components
which were wrapper classes around a C library. The ASP scripts retrieved XML
from those components and were transformed into HTML with embedded
javascript with XSL. I had to maintain the C++ and C code too when bugs were
found. But at the time I told him this I noticed he didnt believe I could
keep apart all those techniques (its really not so hard to do as fellow
programmers will know although it does require lots of study time) so I
immediately decided to put something in later that I wasnt that good. Stupid
now I think about it! I wasnt hired, their loss :)



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