People often ask me how to be a good programmer. It’s not an easy or simple answer to that question.
I do know very clearly how to suck at programming.

So I tend to approach the subject with the so called via negativa.
By subtraction.

Don’t be a sucker.

Its not always clear what is the best way of doing something, but easy to identify what’s horrible.

Think of it as a risk management strategy, capping your losses.

It has been shown in many studies we feel double the intensity for negative stimuli than for positive.
This effectively means you are going to feel (at least) twice as horrible for each mistake than you feel good for hitting the bullseye.

If you lose 100 euros it hurts a lot more than winning 100 euros.

It’s also something that with the years I started thinking to myself,
most of the things I would learn in a job was how not to do something.

It’s important. It’s critical.

When you see something going terrible and you facepalm at it, you need to learn not to repeat it.

So after all, I’m still not sure I qualify to people’s concept of a great programmer,
but I certainly learned how not to suck at programming.

Without further ado, let’s start the series to teach you how to be a horrible programmer.

Introducing the series

#How to suck at programming

Episode #1 - Get Religious

Now of course, I couldn’t start with any other lesson than this one.

This is my favourite, and also, the most practiced way of how to suck.
And I’ve done my share of wrongings here.

What do I mean by Get Religious ?

It has nothing to do with religion per se.

This occurs when a method, technology or way of doing something is considered the best almost in a holy way, and one defends it like their lives depend on it.

When people use superlatives and words like never, always, impossible.
In fact people use those words I feel a little tingling in my stomach.

And this epiphany came of course from my stupid attitude towards Operational Systems.

It went something like this:

I used to hate Windows.
Then I started using Linux and loved it. Then I hated on Linux and would praise Windows. Then I thought Macs were total shit and overprice. Then I had to work on Macs and I loved it.

Here is the thing.

In software (and in life really) solutions are often opinions, and things typically have both good and bad aspects to them at the same time.

That’s why having a strong opinion about subjects is a good thing, but getting religious about them is not.

It is a certainly healthy to think mac is the best choice for your use case, or to think that Ubuntu server is the best choice for your server.

But it is certainly a sucker who thinks something is always the best choice for all use cases.

So getting religious about software is guaranteed way of sucking.

Of course, also, this is the case for programming languages and frameworks.
And text editors and IDEs.

And Linux distros.

And a lot of other things.


So remember, want to suck at programming ?

Get religious about software.


I hope you enjoyed and keep tuned for next episodes,

Until next time,
Take care and happy brewing,