Tuesday, November 17, 2009

stronger in Perl than java even though i spent more years in java (theory^how-to

Q: what elements make me Feel strong in c# or c++ or perl...?
A21: passing a large number of non-trivial interviews
A36: discussion with veterans. Can follow. Can contribute.
A78: help veterans solve problems
A96: independently solve non-trivial problems (colleagues couldn't help you solve)
A01: hands-on skill with the tough and core parts of the language, like threading, generics, Reflection ...
A10: tools, tools and tools

Q: what elements make me Look strong in c# or c++ or perl...?
A63: track record - a wide range of non-trivial mainstream projects, often with substantial (or impressive) volume and performance
A81: certification or the type of knowledge therein
A56: insight into strange errors that other veterans don't dig into

For c#, I have A36, A01, A96
For java, I can improve A78, A10
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In any programming language there’s a body of abstract theory (including design principles, language features...) on one hand, and practical how-to on the other hand. I’m a theory guy meaning I understand theory faster. Practical on-the-ground problem solving skill is ….mediocre.

Now, Why am I stronger in Perl than java even though I spent more years writing java? Here’s my new answer -- I understand java fundamentals better than Perl fundamentals; but I know more Perl how-to than java how-to. Most practical Perl problems I can resolve faster than others. (Well, not many people spent that many years using Perl.) I have worked with many Perl developers and many of them tell me I know a lot of little tricks.

Here’s one example of a killer java skill -- Multithreading is the most complex part of java (followed by generics and reflection, IMO). Complex in the JVM ie “theory”. In practice, app developers stick to code idioms and proven constructs. These “best practices” shield programmers from the underlying complexities. If you know some of these “best practices”, then you don’t need a deep understanding of the JVM internals. What I just said is all within my comfort zone. However, when threads meet swing, messaging, distributed cache, app servers…, we are challenged. Not much theory. Just a lot of code on the ground. You need resourceful, quick problem solvers. Good understanding of java fundamentals can help to some extent.

Another example – eclipse IDE. Never tested in interviews. No theory. But can really make a programmer so much faster or slower.

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About Me

New York (Time Square), NY, United States
http://www.linkedin.com/in/tanbin