10 Things You Should Have Learned with
Your Computer Science Degree…
But Probably Didn’t
BY ANDY LESTER
Every programmer should know how to create repositories, edit and
commit code, and branch and merge effectively as part of...
Working as a programmer also involved writing release notes for your
projects. You also write commit messages for version ...
Regexes are a language all their own, and every modern programmer
needs to be adept in their use. If part of your code ass...
Every modern programming language offers access to a standard library
of common functionality. Code that has already been ...
The era of storing data in flat files is over. Everything goes into and out of
a database, and SQL is the language that’s ...
It’s astonishing that schools can turn out CS graduates who know only
Notepad or pico. It’s the job of programming tools t...
Every programmer should be able to debug with an interactive debugger
or by sprinkling print statements liberally througho...
If things didn’t go wrong, we wouldn’t have to check file opens for success,
assert that customer IDs are valid integers, ...
Few programming jobs let you work entirely on your own. Your code must
interact with code written by others, or often be i...
School assignments are new, greenfield projects. But the first thing that
happens to new hires is they get assigned to fix...
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10 Things You Probably Should Have Learned With Your Computer Science Degree... But Didn't

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10 things that you may have not been taught when you got that computer science degree, written by Andy Lester

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10 Things You Probably Should Have Learned With Your Computer Science Degree... But Didn't

  1. 1. 10 Things You Should Have Learned with Your Computer Science Degree… But Probably Didn’t BY ANDY LESTER
  2. 2. Every programmer should know how to create repositories, edit and commit code, and branch and merge effectively as part of a project workflow using Git or Subversion. 1. VersionControl Systems
  3. 3. Working as a programmer also involved writing release notes for your projects. You also write commit messages for version control and tickets for bugs in the system. All of these and many more require clear, effective English communication – a skill that computer science programs seldom emphasize. 2. How To Write
  4. 4. Regexes are a language all their own, and every modern programmer needs to be adept in their use. If part of your code assignment is to validate that a part number is five letters, a dash and a digit, you should be immediately able to express that as /^[A-Z]{5}-d$/. 3. Regular Expressions
  5. 5. Every modern programming language offers access to a standard library of common functionality. Code that has already been written, tested, and debugged is going to be better quality and faster to implement than new code that has to be created. 4. Using Libraries
  6. 6. The era of storing data in flat files is over. Everything goes into and out of a database, and SQL is the language that’s used to retrieve it. SQL is also a declarative language, not a procedural language, and so requires learning a new way of thinking about problem solving. But every programmer should understand the basics of database normalization and be able to do SELECTs (including basic INNER and OUTER JOINs), INSERTs, UPDATEs and DELETEs. 5. SQL
  7. 7. It’s astonishing that schools can turn out CS graduates who know only Notepad or pico. It’s the job of programming tools to help manipulate the source code and all other data in the computer to make the programmer’s life easier. The Unix command line, shell scripting, find, grep, and sed should be part of every programmer’s knowledge set. 6. Tool Usage:IDEs,Editors,CLI Tools
  8. 8. Every programmer should be able to debug with an interactive debugger or by sprinkling print statements liberally throughout the code. The ability to track down a problem through stepwise refinement is too important to be left for programmers to learn by the seat of their pants. 7. Debugging
  9. 9. If things didn’t go wrong, we wouldn’t have to check file opens for success, assert that customer IDs are valid integers, or to test our code to make sure that it works properly. Programmers need to grasp that compiler warnings are helpful tools that make life easier, not nuisances to be avoided. Every programmer should know why each PHP program should start with error_reporting(E_ALL), or each Perl program with use strict; use warnings;. 8. DefensiveProgramming
  10. 10. Few programming jobs let you work entirely on your own. Your code must interact with code written by others, or often be intermingled with code from others. A programmer who can’t collaborate on projects with others has negative productivity, and quickly becomes a liability to the organization. 9. Teamwork
  11. 11. School assignments are new, greenfield projects. But the first thing that happens to new hires is they get assigned to fix ticket #8347 in the bug tracking system. Then they have to add a small new complementary feature to an existing system with an established codebase. Designing new code comes months later, if they’re lucky. 10. WorkingOn ExistingCode
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