Experience Matters

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

If you don't think experience matters, you should read this question at StackExchange. And remember that this young programmer is one that is reflective. He's has the ability to think about himself in a larger context and the intelligence to see what worked and what didn't. Most people don't or can't do that.

It is hard to be critical of yourself and the work that you do. It almost always takes a little distance. You have to step away to look critically at your own work, and you must have the ability to take criticism. A lot of programmers can't do that. Think of those programmers, the ones that don't have the ability to evaluate their work, or can't take criticism. Their coding style and ability is mostly static throughout their life.

I've seen a few examples of this. One was a COBOL programmer trying to learn Visual Basic. Another was a BASIC programmer trying to move to VB.NET. Neither had a clue about object oriented programming. The coding style was straight from the 70's. I've seen ten thousand line objects, methods over two thousand lines long, database access mixed in with business logic, logic repeated multiple times in the same method and repeated across 'objects'.

Programming is an exersize in gaining knowledge (experience). You must be able to learn the domain well enough to write code that correctly solves the problem, but in order to wrote 'good' code you must be able to continue to learn about your craft.

That's why experience matters.