So I went to the OCDotNet user group meeting last night to see Paul Sheriff. Paul is a great speaker and it was a packed room. He was doing a talk on debugging, which is something that absolutely EVERY developer needs to master.
Now I will get some grief for saying this next statement, but be that as it may, I think that if you show me a great debugger, I will show you a great developer. Joel Spolsky. from Joel On Software wrote a book called “Smart and gets things Done”, and while it hits on the core of my statement in a broader sense, he describes the developer that you WANT in your shop. It is amazing how many times you run across a developer\coder\engineer\architect (whatever they want to be called at the time) who is so smart, that they make your head spin, but when it comes down to shipping a product they just can’t get it out the door because they are ALWAYS looking for a better way to refactor their code. They burn through endless cycles on the smallest parts of the code as you watch your deadlines slip past and disappear in the horizon.
Now, one of the most time consuming tasks for (most) developers is not writing the actual code, or creating the documentation ( um yeah.. we all fully document our code right?), but figuring out what went wrong when your code does not work. I don’t care how phenomenal of a coder you are or what patents you have pending for your work, ALL of us have spent hours trying to track down a bug in our software. As a matter of fact, I think debugging is an art form for developers. It takes a very keen eye to look over someone's shoulder and pick out a bug in 50 lines of code that the poor developer has been staring at for an hour. When I was teaching at CSUF, I loved leaning over and saying: “Oh, you are missing a semi-colon”, and then watching as their shoulders drop and they let out an audible sigh (part frustration, part relief).
So make sure you take the time to build up the valuable skill. Go see one of Paul Sheriff’s or John Robbins’ talks, or read that chapter you skipped past in your C# book of choice, it will save you time in the end, I guarantee it.
Paul Working his Magic at the OCDotNet User Group
Paul will be doing a number of talks in the Southern California area on WPF. These are FREE two 1/2 day events. You don’t want to miss them.
8/24 LA – MSDN Presents : Fundamentals of WPF - http://bit.ly/147fCd
8/25 LA – MSDN Presents : WPF in the Real World - http://bit.ly/sDCxF
9/1 LA – MSDN Presents : Fundamentals of WPF - http://bit.ly/1v8HZS
9/2 LA – MSDN Presents : WPF in the Real World - http://bit.ly/ivtZl
9/23 LA – MSDN Presents : Fundamentals of WPF - http://bit.ly/JpuO7
9/24 LA – MSDN Presents : WPF in the Real World - http://bit.ly/xKGwg