Being a software developer in today’s technological savvy world has many awesome benefits. Because developers can work in virtually any environment that they choose, they have a wide diversity of opportunities available to them.
Based on the environment that the person chooses, they may work in a large corporation building software that anyone can use or they may decide to work from home on smaller projects that will only be seen by select target audiences. Regardless to the type of environment that the developer works in, it is important to note that significant problems can occur. In fact, some of the stories that developers share with others can help to prevent the same or similar issues from happening again. With this said, here’s 3 programming horror stories that every developer should know or they already be familiar with.`
#1 – Costly Software Development Errors
There are many different types of horror programming stories that developers and their clients can tell. Even though some of these horror stories may be the result of careless mistakes or something that could not be foreseen, some of the most difficult and hard to explain are those that result in losing large sums of money.
For instance, one of the most notable is a software developer making a quick change without testing the modifications before they were placed in a live banking environment. Because the changes were not discovered until later on during that day, the bank lost approximately $153,000 within a short time frame.
#2 – No Back Up Recovery Plan and New System Implementation
Though there are many different types of monumental mistakes that can be made in any software development project, one of the worst that people do not expect is the lack of an effective disaster recovery plan.
Unfortunately, since some companies place a lot of undue stress on their developers in getting large amounts of code work done in a short period of time, there are some mistakes that’s considered to be inevitable. One of the most disastrous, however, involved the launch of a completely new system for a medical facility without the proper back up plan. Which meant, the records for the hospital in that facility had to be recovered via manual entry. Further, to recover the records for this medical facility, the hospital administration officials had to pay out a higher cost in soliciting additional help from a third party vendor to re-enter information for approximately 5,000 records manually.
#3 – Across the Country Security Exposure
Because human hands are writing the code, mistakes will be made. Unfortunately, all mistakes are not equal. One of the most costly and embarrassing involved a huge security exposure that leaked out all kinds of personal information.
More importantly, data that contains consumer names, addresses, social security numbers and credit card numbers. All of which resulted in significant legal problems for the company. Specifically, for those who have damage done to their credit. This was the scenario for a programmer who did not test their system security code changes before implementing it live in a restaurant environment.
Computer software applications and systems are ideal for solving a wide diversity of personal and business problems. However, some of these changes do not occur without a cost attached to them.
Unfortunately, some of the more notable involve developer horror stories that resulted in a bank losing over $100, 000 dollars erroneously before being discovered, no effective back up plan in place for a large medical facility and security exposure that resulted in personal data being illegally secured and costly legal fees.
After completing the necessary educational requirements, finding a job to make the most of your newly acquired skills is the next big step. It can prove difficult for recent graduates to find entry-level positions – especially where assessing proven experience is an essential part of the process for most hiring decision makers.
Obtaining a position as a professional programmer in a competitive job market when you are new demands a solid strategy that may include building your portfolio, making connections, and aggressively seeking out and applying to openings. With thick skin and a great deal of persistence, you will succeed in landing your very first coder job.
Position Yourself as a Prime Candidate
There is a large number of people who want to get programming jobs; not only those who have recently finished school but also experienced programmers looking for a career change. If you have not done so already, it may prove essential for you to develop a solid and impressive track record and portfolio. For this reason, as you continue your search for that perfect position, you might want to start offering your services on a freelance – or even volunteer- basis. While you might not like the thought of accepting an unpaid position, these are the easiest to get and can be a great way to gain the experience employers prefer.
Consider offering your services to a non-profit organization; this will not only demonstrate your skill as a programmer but shed positive light on who you are as a person. If volunteering does not sound like the best approach for you, consider starting your own project and seeing that through to success so that you can use the results to compel potential employer to hire you.
Of course, finding a job is not always just about having something great to put on your resume; often, it is more about who you know. Networking skills – with people and not just computers – can prove vital for aspiring programmers to have. Consider attending industry events wherein you will get the opportunity to meet the people who can get you hired. One great thing about this approach is that you will be communicating with them in a low-pressure environment in which they are not summing you up based on your track record, and you are not speaking with them from an interviewee perspective; you will be freer to let more of your personality shine through, impressing and befriending them on an entirely different level.
Become the Caliber of Programmer You Want to Be
There is no reason to get stuck in a low-paying programmer job just because you are fresh out of school; you can go after the position you want with the company you want – it just takes following the right approach.
There are many ways to find coder job listings, such as online job boards, forums, and company websites, but it is the hardest part that you want to focus on mastering; getting hired for a great position.
- Limit your toolkit. There are many people who want to use the latest and greatest tools, believing they will be better coders because of it. The truth is that you either have an innate ability to do it or you don’t.
- Limit your ambitions. This means that at the beginning you want to keep things as simple as possible. Trying to do too much too soon will only frustrate you and extend your learning curve.
- Pay attention to the details. One of the most important factors in learning how to program is by paying close attention to the details. A missed semicolon can produce very strange results.
- Think modularity. This means that most program code is written as a set of interconnected modules. It is a piece of a larger puzzle, so make sure that you understand how your piece fits into the big picture.
- Learn patience. Patience is a key requirement to be a coder, as there is testing and 100 details to every program that need to be considered. Trying to rush through and believing everything can be resolved in a single sitting is folly.
- Learn from working examples. Copying code is not always an intellectual property issue. Some web sites and books freely distribute code for learning purposes. Use it wisely and read the comments by the coder.
- Be result oriented. This means that you should always be looking to see the result of your code bit by bit. If the first small but works and the second one does as well, then you are on your way. It avoids unnecessary complexity.
- Learn collaboratively. Two people who are new to coding can help one another through the process while also challenging one another. Partnering up with an experienced coder is even better.
- Trust your manuals. This refers to coding manuals, because the syntax and format cannot be broken. If something you wrote is not working, it is far more likely to be an error on your part.
- Learn to flowchart. To new coders, flowcharts seem unnecessary and even are a nuisance. But flowcharts give you the bigger picture and help you understand the connection between all those modules you wrote.
- Research and experiment to find the best tools possible. There are a wealth of tools available, and every coder will have their own reference and opinion as to which is best. You will only find out by trying them out for yourself.
- Develop your own naming conventions. If you are learning and working alone, develop variable names that make sense to you and are easy to understand later down the road. You will likely have to adopt other coder naming conventions if you are working at a company, so use your freedom now.
- Use positive logic whenever possible. Evaluating statements to meet a true condition will make your code easier to read because in most cases a true statement is simpler to evaluate.
- If you are not already, start a regimen to be healthy. The reason is that when you get into the more complex aspects of coding, you will need your health to stay in front of the computer with your brain in high gear trying to solve complex problems. Poor health will likely generate poor reults.
- Get organized. This may actually sum up the previous 14 tips. Coders need to be organized in their thinking, preparation, and approach to solving problems.