Craftsmanship Digest #1

In addition to our monthly meetings, I thought it would be useful to have a separate series of posts with links to craftsmanship/software-related content.

The frequency of these posts is still up in the air — maybe weekly or biweekly as of this first posting.

If you like (or don’t like) what you see, let me know in the comments. If you have a resource you think would be a good candidate for one of these digest posts, again feel free to share via comments.

How to Be a Great Software Developer (~10-min read)

Peter provides a longer-form post that gives practical tips on how to distinguish yourself as a developer. For example, naming things well, knowing your technology inside and out, detecting code smells, learning to read code, understanding the costs of features, knowing about technical debt, discovering when you do your best work, sharing knowledge with others, appreciating how much testing is the right amount, and working with a team.

 Software and Craftsmanship (~4-minute read)

There are certainly arguments to be had about whether software is or is not a craft. Moishe’s statements lean toward the former, and hold an agreeable sentiment: “Incredible software…is the result of thousands of mundane tasks done with pride in addition to the few huge magical leaps and bold strokes of genius.”

The Passion Gospel (~8-minute read)

It seems as if the term “passionate” comes up fairly often in job postings (or even posts related to craftsmanship). Advi has some interesting opinions about the topic, and the article may lead you to reframe how you think of your own degree of passion.

DevOps Kata – Single Line of Code (~3-minute read)

The goal is to deploy a single line of code, maybe even as simple as changing a title on a page. What this exposes is all of the individual steps involved in going from work to be done all the way to “shipped.” In the realm of lean software development, you can look for ways to streamline the process, remove waste, and discover the bottlenecks for getting things done.

Don’t Feel Guilty about not Contributing to Open Source (~4-minute read)

There’s an almost unspoken rule that if you’re a software developer, you’re not doing your duty unless you do something with open source. Julia’s article helps ease some of the tension for those who feel guilty about not doing anything with open source at the moment, and gives some incentives to start. In short, there’s no need to beat yourself up about it.

 Don’t Call Yourself a Programmer (~13-minute read)

Here are some of the section headings to give you a feel for the article:

  • 90% of programming jobs are in creating line-of-business software
  • Don’t call yourself a “programmer”
  • You are not defined by your chosen software stack
  • You radically overestimate the average skill of the competition because of the crowd you hang around with
  • Academia is not like the real world
  • Are startups great for your career as a fresh graduate?
  • Your most important professional skill is communication
  • All business decisions are ultimately made by one or a handful of multi-cellular organisms closely related to chimpanzees, not by rules or by algorithms


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