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

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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?

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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…


Highly productive development teams don’t value counterproductive patterns

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One of the requirements for a highly productive development team is having the ability to identify and actively avoid the use of anti-patterns. A team which fails to do this could end up trapped in cycles of grinding on internal problems they’ve created, rather than focusing on the problem domain for their business.

Knowledge of building long-term, sustainable architecture comes with experience — but not the kind that can be quantified in years; one can be programming for decades, accepting the long term side-effects from anti-patterns as just a part of the job. …


Platform Support

If you’re building a new smartphone or tablet app, the question you’ve likely pondered upon was which platforms (and form factors) are you going to support.

Whether you are building one platform for both phone and tablet, or two platforms just for phone, or even whether the phone and tablet versions should be different, this choice should be made carefully in case your mind changes later. …

Jeffrey Bakker

Professional geek. Wannabe cyclist.

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