Paying your dues has always been, quite appropriately, the newcomer s lot. My advice to fledglings, therefore, is to do cheerfully, with good grace, whatever work your manager assigns you.
This chapter aims to guide newly minted programmers past common quagmires and toward the sort of work most likely to lead to a high salary and respectful attention in the job market
Paying your dues has always been, quite appropriately, the newcomer s lot. My advice to fledglings, therefore, is to do cheerfully, with good grace, whatever work your manager assigns you. After you have spent a reasonable period of time ”a year, maybe two ”performing those tasks , it will be your turn to move up to the kind of work that provides the financial and psychological rewards that you re looking for. You have a lot to learn ”primarily, how to approach and complete projects ”before you are of much value to your company. Happily, you ll be paid well as you re learning.
When I got my first permanent job ”with IBM in 1962 ”I found every application I got assigned was an opportunity to enhance my knowledge of interrelated business processes. And I wasn t even writing programs; I was wiring unit-record control panels. But I was going out to dozens of companies, large and small, to implement the automation of most of the business processes that were then being automated. I got to do it far away from IBM management, which was often 60 miles from any branch office. I was a de facto project manager as well as the resident IBM representative at companies installing IBM equipment for the first time, with the title of systems engineer trainee, because I was the only IBMer there.
My admonition to do your work cheerfully extends to maintenance, the dog work that even raw programmers sometimes consider beneath their capabilities. It is your obligation to do, amiably, whatever work you are assigned.
And maintenance does have its rewards: This kind of low-visibility programming will give you, the newcomer, time to understand what a corporate programmer does and how to do it successfully. And while you re going about your routine tasks, you ll probably be able to find an hour a day to expand your knowledge and expertise in areas outside your immediate responsibilities. That means getting to know the territory ”acquiring an understanding of the business processes that your work is supporting.
And be advised: Maintenance may be dull, but it s not exactly safe ”because working maintenance is working live. The program you re maintaining or enhancing might be moving thousands of cartons around in warehouses, or spitting money out of ATM machines, all across America. Any glitch you introduce can cause those machines to spit out the wrong bills, or stop those cartons in their tracks. So you d better do this dog work well.
Here are my E-A-R-Ns for fledglings ”the basics that I consider essential to any primer for programmers.