Anthony C. Hay

17 October 2010

Advice to a young programmer

Over the years I've learnt a lot from the ACCU General mailing list. The other day someone posted about an interview Bjarne Stroustrup gave to Wired.com.

In response to the question "Any advice for young programmers?" Bjarne said this

I guess giving advice is easy compared to taking it. Know your fundamentals (algorithms, data structures, machine architecture, systems) and know several programming languages to the point where you can use them idiomatically.

Know some non-computer field of study well — math, biology, history, optics, whatever. Learn to communicate effectively in speech and in writing. Spend an unreasonable amount of time on some difficult topic to really master it. Try to do something that might make a difference in the world.

I don't think I could honestly tick any of those boxes for myself. But they are worthy aspirations and I'm not dead yet... though neither am I a young programmer, sadly.

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