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I suggest you start at least thinking about the basic skills needed by working developers. My experience with new graduates at our company is that, despite having studied "computer science" for a number of years, there are often gaping holes in their basic, practical software development technique, such as:

  • Always use a revision control system.
  • Use a single-step automated build.
  • Avoid duplication (DRY).
  • Descriptive, explanatory, consistent and regular names.
  • Useful commenting and documentation.
  • Design the module's interface first.
  • Sound domain abstractions.
  • Wise program decomposition.
  • Encapsulation.
  • Highly cohesive, loosely coupled modules.
  • Minimize the exposure of implementation details.
  • Minimize the scope of variables, pragmas, etc.
  • Write components that are testable in isolation.
  • Write the test cases before you write the code.
  • Add new test cases before you start debugging.
  • Establish a rational error handling policy and follow it strictly.
  • "Always code as if the guy who ends up maintaining your code will be a violent psychopath who knows where you live" (Damian Conway)
Many of these tips were taken from On Coding Standards and Code Reviews.

Many years ago, I was lucky enough to meet Bjarne Stroustrup. I remember him telling me that "you can't learn to ride a bicycle by a correspondence course". That is, becoming a good programmer takes practice, lots of practice. So you will need to find a little project to develop, to practice many of the techniques above. See also code kata.


In reply to Re: Where Do I Go Next? by eyepopslikeamosquito
in thread Where Do I Go Next? by perl.j

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