34
Root
3y

I'll use this topic to segue into a related (lonely) story befitting my mood these past weeks.

This is entire story going to sound egotistical, especially this next part, but it's really not. (At least I don't think so?)

As I'm almost entirely self-taught, having another dev giving me good advice would have been nice. I've only known / worked with a few people who were better devs than I, and rarely ever received good advice from them.

One of those better devs was my first computer science teacher. Looking back, he was pretty average, but he held us to high standards and gave good advice. The two that really stuck with me were: 1) "save every time you've done something you don't want to redo," and 2) "printf is your best debugging friend; add it everywhere there's something you want to watch." Probably the best and most helpful advice I've ever received 😊

I've seen other people here posting advice like "never hardcode" or "modularity keeps your code clean" -- I had to discover these pretty simple concepts entirely on my own. School (and later college) were filled with terrible teachers and worse students, and so were almost entirely useless for learning anything new.

The only decent dev I knew had brilliant ideas (genetic algorithms, sandboxing, ...) before they were widely used, but could rarely implement them well because he was generally an idiot. (Idiot sevant, I think? Definitely the idiot part.) I couldn't stand him. Completely bypassing a ridiculously long story, I helped him on a project to build his own OS from scratch; we made very impressive progress, even to this day. Custom bootloader, hardware interfacing, memory management, (semi) sandboxed processes, gui, example programs ...; we were in highschool. I'm still surprised and impressed with what we accomplished.

But besides him, almost every other dev I met was mediocre. Even outside of school, I went so many years without having another competent dev to work with. I went through various jobs helping other dev(s) on their projects (or rewriting them), learning new languages/frameworks almost every time: php, pascal, perl, zend, js, vb, rails, node, .... I learned new concepts occasionally (which was wonderful) but overall it was just tedious and never paid well because I was too young to be taken seriously (and female, further exacerbating it). On the bright side, it didn't dwindle my love for coding, and I usually spent my evenings playing with projects of my own.

The second dev (and one one of the best I've ever met) went by Novo. His approach to a game engine reminded me of General Relativity: Everything was modular, had a rich inheritance tree, and could receive user input at any point along said tree. A user could attach their view/control to any object. (Computer control methods could be attached in this way as well.) UI would obviously change depending on how the user could interact and the number of objects; admins could view/monitor any of these. Almost every object / class of object could talk to almost everything else. It was beautiful. I learned so much from his designs. (Honestly, I don't remember the code at all, and that saddens me.) There were other things, too, but that one amazed me the most.

I havent met anyone like him ever again.

Anyway, I don't know if I can really answer this week's question. I definitely received some good advice while initially learning, but past that it's all been through discovering things on my own.

It's been lonely. ☹

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    @Root likewise for me. And the female factor certainly wasn't helping me either. At some stage I thought "ah fuck them all so" and did all learning on my own.
    It was rough and frustrating but I think the best devs (by best I mean only attitude, not knowledge) come from a background like this, where there was no silver spoon feeding.
    I really think like this you appreciate more how difficult junior's journey can be and you have capacity to become an incredible mentor.
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