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Joel Spolsky: "The three things I would tell people to learn are economics, writing and C programming."
Image: Stack Exchange

For new programmers, knowing which languages and skills to learn can be overwhelming.

Just to secure a job interview, developers often have to show they are familiar with the long list of languages and associated technical skills demanded by employers.

While it can be tempting for new developers to dive straight into learning every skill recruiters ask for, those who want to maximise their chances of a successful career would be better served by first getting to grips with three fundamentals, according to Joel Spolsky.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_28218790_s.jpgMany agile software development experts agree that a software development team is a complex adaptive system, because it is made up of multiple interacting parts within a boundary, with the capacity to change and learn from experience. [Highsmith 1999:8] [Schwaber 2002:90] [Larman 2004:34] [Anderson 2004:11] [Augustine 2005:24]. And who am I to claim otherwise?

The magazine Emergence: Complexity & Organization once conducted an extensive study of management books referencing complexity, with experts from various sciences, including the hard ones like physics and mathematics. It turned out that the reviewers agreed on the usefulness of complexity theory when applied to organizations and management:

One finds widespread agreement [among reviewers] on the existence of a significant potential for the study of complex systems to inform and illuminate the science and management of organizations. [Maguire, McKelvey, 1999]

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Posted by on in Software Developer

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Building software is hard: successfully bringing a new software product from conception to market is harder. Building a successful software company that develops and markets multiple software products is harder still.

The days of ‘build it and they will come’ are over. Simply creating a great piece of software and waiting for the customers to knock on your door no longer works – if it ever did.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_programmer.gifWhen I published "The Zen Programmer" book in 2013 [6], a manager from a big company sent me an email. In this book I describe how I applied Zen to my daily work and how I am able to keep balance despite how hard I work.

The manager told me that almost everything I wrote was just plain wrong. For example, I believe that there is nothing like a career one can have; he responded that my career would be successful if I just would do what my manager commanded. "Jump if your boss tells you to jump", he wrote.

This certainly is not how I want to live. A career is an illusion, a theoretical term, but Life is not. "Making a career" is sometimes just the wrong thing to run after, and that can cause serious harm to you.

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Reduce testing time & get feedback faster through automation. Read the Benefits of Parallel Testing, brought to you in partnership with Sauce Labs.

With the vast array of technology, language and platform choices available today, it can be very difficult to figure out where to best invest time in training your skills as a software developer.

I’m often asked advice on how to be a better programmer.

Most often the question someone asks is based on whether or not they should invest their time in a particular programming language or technology versus another.

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