Programming is an art. I [You] do a lot of business that starts off with "…and my developer just isn’t around anymore…" Dozens of statements could come before or after that but no of those statements change the meaning. Quite simply, you are [I am] about to look at someone else’s code and that person may be an expert programmer or a newbie borrowing snippets from other people’s examples. The code may be documented correct or incorrectly or not at all. Regardless, you [I] have to work with that code no matter its state or quality.
If you are a professional software developer, or aspire to be one, you will need to know a lot of of things. Various maths, stats, languages, frameworks, methodologies, tools, etc. Fads and buzzwords will come and go, all during your career. You’ll master some, ignore some, laugh at some. … You have got to be able to read other people’s code. [Source, Design by Gravity, How to Read Other People’s Code — and Why]
Worthwhile read by Christopher Schanck
Rule 417: You will work every bit as hard or harder on small, low budget jobs as you will on large jobs.
Note: This rule is unbreakable.
This morning I am simultaneously fixing the code for a client’s website and my children’s lunches. I fully expect them to come home to say that someone took a byte out of their food.
As a freelancer, I wear many hats. I am a programmer, quality assurance engineer, project manager, gopher, sexy intern, accounts receivable, accounts payable, technical support, information technologies (IT), customer service, human resources, facilities manager, accountant, marketer, and sales person. I’m sure I forgot a few. Today I am wearing my marketing and sales hats. I have committed myself to getting a proposal out the door by lunch.
Yesterday was calm, relaxing and very stress free. I slept deep with vivid dreams and slept late. My body still feels the recent abuse. My muscles in my arms ache. My mind feels recovered but I know that toward the end of this week the stress will grow because for the first time in a long time my project schedule is empty. This is one of the conundrums of working by yourself; you must be doing sales and the work at the same time. I strive to keep myself booked out two months at a time. Perhaps some greater force is telling me to take a few days off.
Productive day ahead! My simple goal today is show results to my client. One of the challenges of freelancing or working remotely is showing results. Sometimes a developer’s time is spent behind the scenes or working through an issue in test files that are isolated from your application. That is how I spent my day yesterday. So at the end of the day, there is nothing to show and if your boss is not in a possible to peek in on you or look over your shoulder than not showing anything is comparable to not working.
Today I rose at 4am, in a jolt. I sprang from bed, sat in the cool air of the morning for a little chanting, bathed and dressed, ate a banana, and got to work. What a great way to start the day!
Between 2am and 6am I can knock out a bunch of work! No phones ring. Even the dogs don’t need walking. Since I got up at 2am and have been diligent in my work, when Cathy woke with a migraine this morning, I was able to send her back to bed and move my work upstairs. Being upstairs with one eye on the children and one eye on the screen slows me down a little but conceptually I could take 4 hours off (realistically I need to keep pounding keys hard and fast) but the stress is off. I don’t think I could do this from an office.