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97 Things Every Programmer Should Know by Kevlin Henney

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Chapter 67. The Professional Programmer

Robert C. Martin (Uncle Bob)

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WHAT IS A PROFESSIONAL PROGRAMMER?

The single most important trait of a professional programmer is personal responsibility. Professional programmers take responsibility for their career, their estimates, their schedule commitments, their mistakes, and their workmanship. A professional programmer does not pass that responsibility off on others.

  • If you are a professional, then you are responsible for your own career. You are responsible for reading and learning. You are responsible for staying up to date with the industry and the technology. Too many programmers feel that it is their employer’s job to train them. Sorry, this is just dead wrong. Do you think doctors behave that way? Do you think lawyers behave that way? No, they train themselves on their own time, and their own nickel. They spend much of their off-hours reading journals and decisions. They keep themselves up to date. And so must we. The relationship between you and your employer is spelled out nicely in your employment contract. In short: your employer promises to pay you, and you promise to do a good job.

  • Professionals take responsibility for the code they write. They do not release code unless they know it works. Think about that for a minute. How can you possibly consider yourself a professional if you are willing to release code that you are not sure ...

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