I met Garry more than thirty years ago, when I was a systems engineer at IBM. I was giving a course in System/360 RPG for programmers new to the IBM System/360 computer. Garry was an eighteenyearold programmer who was taking the class because his company was switching from the older and smaller 1440 computer. To give my students a little rest and recreation, I had them take what I call the Twelve Balls Test, a notoriously difficult logic test. Garry was the only one in the class who came up with the solution.
(Can you, too, find the solution? Technical interviewers giving in-depth evaluations have used this test for many years to judge whether job applicants think logically. Its a killer. Ive rarely found anyone who can solve it without hours and hours of trial and error. If youd like to take the test, go to my Web site, www.harkinsaudit.com/ logictest . Youll find the test, and some hints on how to proceed, there.)
Like most of us first- and second-generation computer-language programmers, Garry learned by chance about the field for which his brain and temperament seem to have been specially calibrated. When he was in high school, programming wasnt a likely goal for anyone.
Back then, if you looked up ˜Programmers in the want ads, you found ads for the people who scheduled programming on radio stations , he says. But, he points out, I always had a dreamto get ahead. Even then, Gary knew the power of having a specific goal.
To be a successful corporate programmer, you have got to have goalsconscious and documented goals. Maybe your immediate goal is to move up to the next job title in two years, or to move from programming maintenance to new application development, or to get assigned to a high-visibility project. Maybe your immediate goal is to learn a hot new programming language, or to develop an in-house standards manual, or to continue professional education. Maybe you recognize a need for finding a valued mentor, or learning an important and widely used software package, or keenly observing how the top programmers and consultants work. Your goals, whatever they are, they should be always be at the back of your mind. And writing your goals down on paper (I do this) will add to your motivation and to your success.