I listened to the Stack Overflow Podcast #35 on the train into work this morning. 3 things stuck out:
- Hobbies – Joel mentions an informal survey the did around the FogCreek office last summer (or the one before) and he mentions that all the developer’s hobbies were things like ‘Python’ and ‘Ruby’ and ‘Programming’. I’m not that surprised, knowing (by reading Joel’s stuff and listening to all the other episodes) how developer-centric the company and by knowing lots of developers. It seems to me that having programming as your hobby might actually be a warning sign. This was mentioned by MySQL’s then boss in Fortune magazine which I wrote up here. His quote was Be wary of people who have nothing in their life aside from work (no spouse, pet, parents, etc) to keep them from working up to and beyond the point of burnout or insanity. Also, some of the smartest developers I’ve worked with have been deeply involved in things as diverse as kite flying, skateboarding and biking. Yes, they all hack on code in their non-work hours, but ask them what their hobby is, the first thing out of their mouth is certainly not going to be ‘more code!’.
- Page Fault in Knowledge – I just really liked this term. They were talking about learning stuff just as you need it (the page fault) rather than learn a whole framework at the onset. I’ve been doing this for years: clueless, dangerous to myself, dangerous to others, moderately clueful, bring it on.
- Annoying things that you have to learn before you can successfully use an environment – The last thing that resonated was that every framework, every language, every <thing> has these little undocumented ‘features’ that you have to run into almost as a rite of passage. And it is a major time suck. With the lack of ‘formal’ or ‘recognized’ or even ‘understood’ and lets forget about ‘authoritative’ resources for newbie testers is one of the potential sweet spots for AST. Free BBST courses for memberships is already a step in the right direction I think.