How to be a programmer

My first website I wrote in third grade. Our “art Association” had its representation in the Internet, where we could lay out the verses, with live performance and manifestos of postmodernism who died. In our Association were poets, Directors, cameramen and actors, as a programmer was for some reason I am one. So there was no choice: I sat down and started writing the website.

At the time I didn’t know PHP could not imagine “what happens between how to press the button of enter, and how Google will show you a search form”. Did not know the patterns of programming, the difference between the SOLID and GRASP an abstract class and an interface. I was a terrible programmer and I understand this, but had nowhere to go, I sat down and started writing code.

Website I have also received terrible. Fortunately, the source code is not preserved after the next “upgrade” with AJAX chat on the server through the virus and were infected, in addition to our, a dozen neighboring sites. After an incident with a virus-free server drove us, and the code is (its only existing copy) wiped at zero. Sometimes I wish the same happened with all my other old projects.

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The code was written in Smarty, and done all the possible mistakes a beginner. However, one of my colleagues in the “Association” managed to pass it as a laboratory, even as a term paper. Another friend asked for my code as the basis for his start-up, say, its current version is slightly inferior in functionality. After two liters of beer I got to show that he had at the time. He opened the only file of the project. Top row standing there class Articles and two braces, more so in the file there was nothing. “Wow,” I said to him, “you have one more class than me!”

First commercial project

After writing my first website so I do not know programming and also do not know how to write code. But fortunately, this one didn’t. And my roommate, when he was lucky a place to grab the project for 100 bucks, went with him directly to me.

“Project” included changes to the online store. Owner bought someone flash roulette, which should give you a discount before ordering. Our task was including that roulette has always given the lowest possible option: a discount of one per cent. As you know, the generosity, the customer did not differ, but, fortunately, the roommate I got stubborn and my half salary have worked honestly — the money we got. A hundred bucks — it was two of my scholarships. Half of them just one. I still remember the unearthly sound that has informed that on account of the money came from. Then I heard it again and again.

At the same time, my friend, let’s call him Roma, approached the matter seriously. He didn’t like me to write bed load, but instead decided to learn. For a fortune he bought three books about C#. Every day after lectures he sat over the Talmud, read carefully, emphasized important points with a pencil from time to time glanced up from the book and quietly whispered — so better remembered.

Efforts were not in vain. Six months later, Roma found her first job. However, his salary I at that time was able to earn three a good evening, with the only difference that I really paid. When I found out about the delay of salaries in six months, I asked in surprise: “What the hell are you still there?”. Roma replied, head bowed: “And who will take? The programmer-I suck”.

— What, — I asked, — do not pull the tasks that they give you?

And I pull and he said, the Roma, this is no problem. But I was not able to learn even a third of my books. Who do I need this

From the face palm my forehead almost cracked. I long and tedious trying to explain to him, but in vain: all my questions he answered “you don’t understand” and continued in the same spirit. The last thing I heard was his plans to become porn actors. I hope at least to this profession he will find a different approach.

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The path of freelancing

After the project store, I sat down at the labor exchange. Then it was still possible to write an unlimited number of reviews for free. I’ve been doing that. The problem I mostly have not read. Snatched from the description of the keywords and left a comment: “I’m an experienced programmer, expert in XXX, I have the experience of implementing YYY, ready to fulfill your order for ten bucks.” Sounded weird and funny, but raged around zero, we survived as best he could, and the projects I did from time to time fall.

I leveled layout of the catalog tractors, loaded the prices in the jewelry store, and wrote parsers for weather sites and routing scheme. I once even ordered to fix a virus. Not knowing what a referred client “virtual” I put a worm right on my car, which was then long and tiresomely it picked out. The client, by the way, more on the relationship did not work out.

Most of my classmates at the time also worked. Someone — the same way I, as a freelancer, someone of the day, where their first test of the keyboard was sold as the work of “senior”. Someone hung out all day on TopCoder, earning the money to pay the contests and sometimes even wrote in their article. We had one thing in common — we were bad programmers. But did everything to become good.

Another friend of mine around the same time went to work in the cable company, to change people’s routers and nail to the wall with a special attachment. The job of a programmer he is still attracted, so in the evening he from time to time opened the textbook on HTML+CSS and read the sloppy, filled with cancel anytime text. Each time he sighed and closed it, after 500 pages, not a thing, in one fell swoop will learn. Did he write something himself? I don’t know — no, it was “too early”.

He asked me how I could be so cool programmer (a measure of coolness was earned money), and what books I read to get where I am now. I came up with some excuses, quoted Einstein with his “best practice theory”, but the main mystery I had not then given.

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The impostor syndrome

My secret was that no coolest programmer I really was. Because of the system, in which I fearlessly climbed in search of bugs, I knew virtually nothing. Walked blindly into the accumulation modules, and copied pieces of code from one place to another and changed them at random until they began to work. We jokingly called it genetic programming: evolution works.

This mystery has haunted me a dozen years. I was suffering from impostor syndrome, expecting that everyone would understand that I’m actually do not understand those matters, which confidently say at job interviews, don’t know enough about the technology to use in and not by heart will be able to tell you about the 7 levels of the network. Often I dreamed, how strict the teacher calls on me and makes writing the desired date format. But I can’t because I Google the hell out of it every time!

And then I calmed down. Not because I suddenly became a super-expert and “studied” programming. But I realized that everything is the same idiot as I am. Not because I don’t want to study and slept in the classroom. Just to keep track of all the changes in technology and “learn” something before you take the job, just absolutely impossible. At first I thought something was wrong with it. But then I realized: the problem is much deeper.

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