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Egoless programming

Phigment turned me on to a new site – CodingHorror.com. I especially like this post on Egoless Programming:

1. Understand and accept that you will make mistakes.
2. You are not your code.
3. No matter how much “karate” you know, someone else will always know more.
4. Don’t rewrite code without consultation.
5. Treat people who know less than you with respect, deference, and patience.
6. The only constant in the world is change.
7. The only true authority stems from knowledge, not from position.
8. Fight for what you believe, but gracefully accept defeat.
9. Don’t be “the guy in the room.”
10. Critique code instead of people—be kind to the coder, not to the code.

(full descriptions in the original post)

I fight myself on some of these from time to time. I did say in my interview with Praxair that I didn’t want to be a #9, except I referred to it as being a “Code Monkey”. The hiring manager told me a couple years later that he was kind of offended by that statement because he was looking for a Code Monkey at the time. Luckily for me, he overlooked that and went for the complete package. 😉

Programmers and web developers need to keep tips like these in mind. It’s difficult to detach ourselves from the product we create, especially when we’re proud of the work we’ve done. But there’s always a new technique, someone else to learn from, and a point where you have to acknowledge that all code gets retired someday and it doesn’t reflect the person that wrote it. Only that it’s time has passed.

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