Robert Read, Principal Engineer at a big recruitment company, has written a riveting essay on How to be a programmer, 47 pages of condensed experience and common sense.
The article does not mention Perl, but it explains in detail what technical and personal qualities you should have to be a good programmer.
The first topic mentioned is "Learn to debug."
This entering in the middle is both surprising and revealing, because debugging is, in fact, the art of reading code. And you can't expect to become a good writer if you can't read.
The rest of the article focuses on practical issues, from "how to optimize loops" to "how to deal with organizational chaos."
The article also explains how to build personal and team skills, covering almost anything that is related to a programmer's life.
I find particularly useful the advice on how to build your character as a professional, especially when faced with managerial decision that affect the quality of your work. In such cases, you should fight or be ready to quit. Never accept compromise passively.
I personally think that the only thing missing from the article is some focus on data analysis, which has been a matter of debate in the Monastery before, but on the whole the article makes a great meditation stimulus.
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