Guru: Success Requires Many Teachers
December 14, 2020 Ted Holt
I am not a “super programmer”- if such a thing even exists. I am not a genius, nor am I a guru. I’m not an expert. Whatever success I have had as a computer programmer these years, I attribute to a very few causes. I would like to end this year by writing about two of them.
Number 1: I have learned, often the hard way, how to keep myself out of trouble. My code is dull and bland and boring, and I like it that way. I strive to make my code straightforward, honest, and so easy to understand that a junior developer could work on it. To this end, I have adopted what seem to me to be best practices, and I have often jettisoned a current best practice for a newer and better practice as I found one.
When I occasionally flout my own rules, I usually end up regretting it. Several years ago, I’ve forgotten how many, I came up with a safe way to process program parameters. I wrote about it almost nine years ago in this august publication. I’ve refined the technique since then, so I need to revisit the topic. But not today.
Recently I had to add some new, optional parameters to a program, one that I had not written. I should have used my tried-and-true parameter-processing methodology, but no, I was in a hurry and I scrimped on best practices. I was embarrassed when the program canceled in production.
Will I never learn?
Which brings me to . . .
Number 2: I have had many teachers. The year 2020 was no exception.
I have learned from the other authors of this august publication. For example, I knew nothing about the Administration Runtime Expert, but thanks to Dawn May, I know more about it now. I could say the same sort of thing about every author who’s written for us. What an honor it is for me to edit their work!
I have learned from the conferences I attended. Granted, they were fewer this year, and they were virtual, but I listened to some great speakers. (I don’t learn much when I’m the speaker.)
I have learned from free Web presentations. Quite a few organizations have produced free presentations this year, and I’m grateful to all of them, but I want to make special mention of iTech Solutions. I think they must have provided more free presentations than everyone else combined, or it least it seems that way. Their people are top notch, and I have learned much from them, even about topics I was already familiar with.
I have learned from co-workers and colleagues. Thanks especially those who helped me learn node.js.
I have learned from those who kindly took the time to contact me regarding something I had said or written. It’s always nice to hear that something I wrote or said helped someone. That certainly gives a lift to my day and puts a spring in my step. However, I learn more from those who add their insights or correct me when I’m wrong. Perhaps the most educational experience of this type in recent memory came from IBM, who through the agency of Rob Bestgen brought to my attention what they see as a big problem. You can read about it here.
Thanks to everyone who contributed to my education this year, which includes you who read this august publication.
No tech tip this week. Just a heart overflowing with gratitude.
Enjoy this season of holidays. May 2021 be our best year ever.