The key piece of advice I gave my mentee was this: Search your companys production source program library for the portfolio of the best programmer at your companythe programmer you want to model yourself after. (Use FInd to search by his or her name. You can also, of course, use FInd to search for any program, file, or field name .)
Whether you are on your first job or youre an experienced programmer who has jumped to a new job, your mission is to learn who the best programmer in your company is, find a programming style that works for you, and copy that style. What was successful for the best programmer in the companyand understandable to youwill enlighten you.
Select some of the masters programs and see how he or she handled a task similar to the one youre tackling. If you use this technique, you will quickly become a very good, fast programmer.
For this training session, I chose a master my colleague might want to emulate . . .well, me. We used the Find function to search all of the source programs containing the word HARKINS in the companys production source program library. That brought up all the programs that I had written or maintained that were in production. We chose a dozen or so programs that were similar to the project that he had been assigned to do.
Now he could review each program description to see what business process the program addressed. Then he could see every line of code that I had written or changed, and, since I put extensive comments into my source code for the benefit of the programmers who came after me, my mentee could see my comments too. He could see the specifications of the program, the major programming steps (or pseudo code) of each function, the modifications that were requested , and a detailed description of each processing step. So all he had to do was find those programs and look at them online.
Looking at my source code, or any other programmers source code, is like getting the answers to a test. My mentee could study my code and my technique, and know that it actually worked. He could then adapt those techniques and use that style in his own programs. And he could have very high confidence that the program he was writing would work. If he had a question, he could come back to me and I would understand what he was trying to do, because he was using the style I used. (If he were using a different style or struggling with his own style, it would take a lot more time to help himtime I might not be able to spare.)
My mentee reviewed my work, read my comments, and became familiar with my programming style. This gave him the confidence to get started, and he soon began accumulating a portfolio of his own successful techniques for use in later programs.