i am a weak developer, i dont know that much of what im doing, unexpected things come up, i dont like time estimates (estimating time is harder than complexity estimates), some school of thoughts dont like estimates https://youtube.com/watch/...

my manager posed a thought exercise to me, imagine im a contractor (im not, clearly not skilled enough to be) , contractors can estimate how much time precisely a task will take to do their work, get jobs, etc

is it possible to learn this power? how does one git so gud, walk in learn how existing code base works, change, edit , build on top of it, ideally doing quality work

  • 10
    Heh, you think contractors exactly know how to estimate? They don't
  • 3
    I reckon everyone is at first, you mess with things you have no clue about and learn from your successes and failures.

    I'm confident you'll soon stop thinking that you're somehow a "weak" developer. In fact I doubt it in general.
  • 1
    Good example with the contractor.

    Now as a contractor, what do you do when your resources like wood are not available to the usual price?

    You starve.

    What do you do when the client is a fucking dimwit who thinks everything needs to be cheap, even though he wants more extras than a car dealer can offer?

    You starve.

    What do you do when your tax and accounting guy ""forgets""" to file at the correct day?

    Right. You starve. Cause the tax agency will sent you an tax bill to die for...

    Same for IT.

    If your hardware sucks and you have to take breaks to wait for stuff to finish or your workflows are tiresome slow, you die of burnout - cause the stress of multitasking gets to you.

    If your manager is a dimwit that sells more features than possible, you die of burn out.

    If your manager fucks up escalating and everyone should be crunching cause of that, you die of burnout.
  • 1
    @retoor How do they do the dance of negotiations that require the information of how much time and effort they gotta spend to complete their work, to get paid to put food in the table, is the core of what I'm curious about.
  • 1
    Whether reliable time estimates are possible or not depends on the task, experience and type of approach.

    I never became able to give useful time estimates. Part of the reason is that i do my craft iteratively, are easily distracted and don't perform equally good each day, week, month, year, decade or century...

    If you are a human like me, you might never become able to give useful estimates no matter how hard you try. But you might become able to predict how long someone else would likely take to do the job - which may or may not make you better in a managing or planning role later on.
  • 0
    A contract or spends *a lot* of time beforehand in alalyting the task deeply and write every single sub step and estimate some time for it. Than he doubles everything and adds the time he needed for adds that . So he comes to an estimated price. When he gets the job, he will get paid for those estimation effords as well. If bood, it was all for good, thats the risky life of a freelancer. (if the contract or is a company or so and the job is huge, there might eben be a a pre-contract that days that the contract or has to be paid for the estimations anyway).
    And than, during the process of Client changes his mind, contractor is always like: nay, you have to pay for new estimations first.
    So if your boss wanna compare you as an emplyees, with a contractor, make sure he does put the downsides in the billd as well: far bigger costs for detailed requirement analysis and estimations and loss of flexibility and agility. Thats the price.
  • 1
    Exactly what @retoor says. And if I may add, every estimate you might have in your head. Multiply that by pi. That would be a more accurate estimate.
  • 1
    Many contractors get paid by the hour.
  • 0
    As senior dev, I got better at it - because I now let our Indian subcontractors do the estimation. :)
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