Stephen Wyatt Bush's Blog

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2022-01-15 06:00:06

I was 22, a senior in college completing a BFA in graphic design. Dad was 62, an older dad than most. When he started programming at Tennessee Tech back in the 60s, he wrote FORTRAN on punch cards. He was a wealth of knowledge.

I had just been introduced to code that semester, and it was already consuming my thoughts. It felt magical and powerful, in many ways a more fulfilling creative practice than visual design (but that’s for another post).

When I came home for the holidays, Dad shared The Ten Commandments of Egoless Programming with me. He printed them and we discussed each point. It was one of the few programming related things we were able to discuss before he unexpectedly passed; perhaps that’s why it sticks with me.

Understand and accept that you will make mistakes. The point is to find them early, before they make it into production. Fortunately, except for the few of us developing rocket guidance software at JPL, mistakes are rarely fatal in our industry. We can, and should, learn, laugh, and move on.

You are not your code. Remember that the entire point of a review is to find problems, and problems will be found. Don’t take it personally when one is uncovered.

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