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After X Years

By Steve Jones,

Dave Winer has been programming a long time. He's not done, not ready to be done, and he has more creative work to be done in his career. After 37 years programming, it's refreshing to see someone still excited about building software and looking forward to doing it for years to come.

Dave also sees himself as an a movie director, but one that people don't believe it. He makes an analogy to other directors, who are older, who have had success and failure, but are still encouraged to make more movies. If we have developers and programmers that have had success and failure, why wouldn't we encourage them to keep making more software? It's a great question, and one that I with more people would think about. Managers should consider it, but we should consider it ourselves. Why do we think that older programmers aren't as valuable as younger ones?

I like the analogies that Dave makes later in the post. He stops to admire his work, he thinks about it more, and he's not in a rush anymore. Too often I think younger programmers, and immature managers, want to rush into producing actual work. They want to get code written and something executing on the screen rather than stopping to spend a little time architecting and planning. 

I heard a great quote recently from Abraham Lincoln that I think applies. He said "If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I'd spend six hours sharpening the ax." We should stop and consider problems when we encounter them, and think about all the tools and techniques we've learned in the past, bringing our experience to bear before embarking on a solution. The wise developers I know tend to do this, knowing they have time to write the code and will make fewer mistakes if they think a little before they start typing.

Steve Jones


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