And how to apply them

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

There are numerous concepts that a programmer learns in their career, but very few and far between will create a pivotal moment, where everything you look at afterwards is seen in a different light. I’ve found one of those moments years ago, and it’s too good not to share. Perhaps, that is because I have witnessed suffering without it, and I’ve also experienced how freeing it can be. And to go without these principles can sometimes feel like “going back into the cage”.

The suffering I’m referring to is the soul-crushing peril of preventable technical debt, maintenance nightmares, and hopelessly…


And how I’m coming back stronger

Person with their hands over their face — stressed out
Person with their hands over their face — stressed out
Photo by Christian Erfurt on Unsplash

I’ve recently read about how some people may view their burnout as a “badge of honour,” where it seemed the author would disagree. As for my own burnout, I am in with the latter school of thought; I was definitely ashamed of myself for my burnout in 2020.

I hope to give perspective to other developers potentially going through the same thing — and possibly help avoid it. In writing about burnout, I also hope that it can help me reach some kind of catharsis.

While I’m in much better shape now with a new employer and a fresh start…


Smarts will get only so far, but you need more to get further

Image of laptop with a stickers
Image of laptop with a stickers
Photo by Alex Kulikov on Unsplash

A few years back, I received high praise from our CTO: he went out of his way to call me a “top-notch” developer after he left the company. And this wasn’t some young hipster, high-five-everybody executive; this guy was, to many, tough as nails. Since then, I’ve received the same sentiment from different colleagues. What they probably didn’t know, was that they were likely all much smarter than I was.

I don’t think I was amongst the smartest; my IQ would place me respectably well-off but far from being a genius. As for book smarts, my college grades were good…


Using code coverage tools will help reveal where it’s needed

Screenshot courtesy of the Author

The original wording of my views on Code Coverage may have been misleading in past articles. Let’s take the opportunity to discuss the key values of using these tools, so you can find and validate what is important to you.

Complete doesn’t have to mean 100%

In the past, we’ve discussed real-time code coverage tools, like NCrunch or VS Enterprise’s live unit testing, which hold developers accountable for every single line of code they write. Most developers’ visceral reaction is not going to jive with this exact wording, but my original intention wasn’t to use code coverage to the point of diminishing returns.

Please note, that…


Are you working harder than you have to?

Photo courtesy of the Author

When you’re out there on your bike, you may be wasting energy and not getting the most out of your effort. If you’re not competitive at all, this article is still for you; this isn’t just about being able to go faster or further, but also being able to do a bit more with less.

This is especially relevant if you are a heavier rider, have a heavier bike, and/or live in a place where hills are unavoidable. …


And this type of finesse can’t simply be stumbled upon

Screenshot courtesy of the Author

About 10 years ago, one of my colleagues once said that Javascript was going to overtake the software development industry. Servers, apps, 3D games, it’ll all be written in Javascript. I scoffed at the idea back then, blinded by the pride I was taught early in my career that Web Developers aren’t the same as Computer Programmers. Turns out, he was not wrong, but I sure was. …


Open doors by becoming the key-maker

Screenshot courtesy of the Author

Open up a door for the underdogs

Software development in the 2000s was a different time than it is now, but some of the same challenges are still relevant. Open-source wasn’t as well embraced by the “professional” software development industry, and gaining the experience required to get yourself employed was tough without connections. This was especially true if you weren’t living in a major city with a lot of opportunities.

Some of us are connected to jobs right away with internships or paid work through our schools, but others aren’t as fortunate. …


What you should know to keep your bike safe

Photo by Author

If you’re in a metropolitan city, you might be surprised by how many bicycles go missing each year. This also applies to Canadian cities; though we may have the reputation for being nice and polite, we have our problems that would suggest otherwise.

Have you ever watched hidden camera videos of attempted thefts on unattended bait bikes? A thief can look like anybody — gender, ethnicity, age, how poorly or how well dressed they are — it doesn’t matter. There are dozens of compilations of these videos online, but not in your city, right?

You can find many heartbreak stories…


Retain your codebase quality through proactive participation

Screenshot by Author

Whether you call it a pull request, merge request or code review, there are effective practices that everyone could and should do, to not only make it go more smoothly but also help preserve the quality of your codebase.

Adopting habits for writing clean code is important, but without also defining contribution guidelines, your codebase can fall into disrepair.

1 - Definition of Done, for developers

You’d be surprised that knowledge alone of good practices isn’t enough to take action on it

If your team cannot agree on what this is, and you leave best practices to chance, your codebase will age much quicker. Merging is the…


Developers with 10 times the productivity

Screenshot by Author

Lately, I’ve seen a lot of answers to online questions about the fabled 10x developer. Some people want to be them, others want to stay far away from them. Does the myth, the legend, live up to its name, or is it just a relative perception?

Before we get into the key takeaways, I’d like to give it context with some storytelling.

Working with the 10x

Nearly a decade ago, the Director of Software Development at my employer at the time, hired a Software Engineer III, who we’ll call Gary. We also hired an SE II called Mitch around the same time but we’ll…

Jeffrey Bakker

Professional geek. Wannabe cyclist.

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