DEV Community

loading...

Discussion on: What is the worst advice for the newbie?

Collapse
notsag profile image
Maxime Gaston

Regarding the first point I understand why some would give such advice.

To have a better understanding of some of the mechanics and concepts, I'd advise a newbie to use text editor instead of an IDE.
For example : to a guy learning C, using a program that does all the compilation process will not help him assimilate how it works. Using only a text editor he will have to write a makefile and do it himself. Better struggle with this in the learning stage instead of having issues when you have deadlines to deliver your code.
Also, I think that it might help a newbie to search functions or variables "the hard way" in a project he has never worked on instead of having a shortcut highlighing all the occurrences in the whole project. It forces him to search the logic used by the other developers.

But of course it makes no sense not having line numbers, syntax highlighting, syntax checking... These are the features that helps keeping the learning curve going up.

Collapse
spqrbob profile image
Bob McCann

Nah, you really have to let people see some successes early before you try to enforce the "You gotta do it the old fashioned way so you really learn the basics. I think we still have a box of punch cards around here somewhere..." How about letting someone learn the basics of programming in that language before you start expecting makefiles and the like. Jesus tapdancing Christ! You aren't going to make a better programmer, you are going to make a possibly great programmer up and quit.

We need to move beyond the mentality that doing it the hard way builds character, and the "It was painful for me so it should be painful for them too!" type of thinking. Trust me, even with the modern IDE, a new programmer will have plenty of challenges ahead of them that will provide the opportunity for hard learning experiences. I would hope that if you ever interview someone, your questions aren't about the finer points of using gcc to build a C project (unless the job specifically works in C for some reason)...

Collapse
notsag profile image
Maxime Gaston

I'm not saying I did it the hard way so you have to do the same. I chose to use a text editor after a few weeks instead of an IDE, it was not an advice I received. And I never perceived it as painful. I liked understanding what really happenend and not clicking on a button and wait for it.

And of course you've got to have early success, and using a text editor isn't preventing that.
If we keep talking about C programming, you won't need a Makefile for a while since you will use a single file for a few lessons. And at first you will just have a simple gcc yourfile.c.
But quickly afterwards, you will have multiple files importing one another and will have to build intermediate states. Then more and you will need to use a Makefile.
That is learning too, and why managing to do it isn't a success too?

Of course you will have to go using an IDE afterwards when working on large projects, it will make your life so much easier. But I don't see how using a text editor (once again with some useful features) is a bad advice.

And no I'm not a maniac during interviews! I'm not doing C since I graduated, it was just an example that suited.

Thread Thread
spqrbob profile image
Bob McCann

All of what you said in your reply is along the lines of what I had hoped for, but I have run into too many in our field who legitimately believe that one must go through a rite of passage, and earn knowledge through painful acquisition.

The question about the interview came to be because I am still a little raw from an internal interview I did quite recently where the interviewer was more interested in showcasing his expert knowledge and denigrating my own skill set than he was about determining whether I would be the candidate that was the best fit for the position. Since this chucklehead was the guy I would have to be working closely with if I got the job, I went and spoke with my manager after the interview and personally passed on the position. I don't know if I ultimately passed or failed his interview, but he certainly failed mine.

All in all, I really didn't mean to focus on C, because the main area where this is hitting our industry is in web development. The bootcamps are of quite checkered quality, and it is hard to know if someone is a well-rounded developer capable of working in multiple frameworks as well as in plain vanilla JS when needed, or if your newest hire is only as skilled as the framework they were taught in, and resembles a fish out of water when the project requirements are switched suddenly. Someday, our field might become more formalized in our evaluation of an engineer's skill set, just like the mechanical, electrical, or civic engineers are. Students will sit for a PE certification upon graduation from whatever program they study. Someday.

Thread Thread
notsag profile image
Maxime Gaston

Once again, I do not see it as neither a rite of passage, nor a painful way to learn.

I'm just saying that I don't see it as a bad advice because I would recommend people to do so!
That is what I chose to do back then and it worked for me. And for a curious person, it can be quite fun actually to understand what the IDE is doing when you click the build and run button.

But it is only a friendly advice. I won't judge a person who choose not to follow it 😉!