As you inspect your potential work area, inquire about the computer youll be programming. How powerful is it? How limited or unlimited is your access to it? You dont care where the computer is, but you need unfetteredthat means virtually unlimitedaccess to maximize your programming productivity. Unfettered access means that the computer is considered a corporate resource and you can do hundreds of program compiles day, if you need to. It also means that you get immediate processing of your compilesyou dont languish in a job queue, waiting for processing of your job. Waiting in a queue means you are not productive, and that should not happen to programmers. If the company cannot afford a very fast computer, it probably cannot afford you.
Back in the old daysin the sixtiescomputers were so expensive that when a customer rented one, IBM threw programming help in free. Today, programmers are expensive and computers are cheap. Therefore, its extremely important that the costly laborers programmers, technicians, analysts, and consultants have immediate and virtually unlimited access to the computer. Unless a programmer can do hundreds of test/compiles a day, he will find it impossible to accomplish the amount of work management expects him to accomplish.
So, on your walk through the office, ask whether youll have free or restricted access to the computer. If you must wait around while someone else is using the machine, even because of production, you probably cannot succeed in that company. Its worth repeating: Before you take the job, make sure youll have unfettered access to a fast computer. Without that, your productivity will be compromised. You may be a smart programmer, but youll perform like a poor one. This can be dangerous to your financial health.