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The Pragmatic Programmer - The Preface

After sending several resumes since the middle of January, I decided to rethink my usually cover letter. Resumes are adequate for communicating what you’ve done, but not how. So, I may try to convey what’s qualitatively different about how I work as a developer. To help me, I’ve decided to re-read The Pragmatic Programmer and how it relates to the software development that I’ve done and how I try to work as a programmer.

Early in the preface Thomas and Hunt discuss what makes a programmer pragmatic. They identify five characteristics - early adoption of technology, inquisitiveness, critical thought, realism and flexibility (”Jack of All Trades” as they put it). When I think of the better developers that I’ve worked with, most have had at least four of those five traits. All of them add up to a certain degree of receptiveness - are you willing to consider a problem from a different angle or to try something new? That receptiveness opens you up to constant improvement; you always try to look deeper and think harder about the next project.

The opposite of this is to run on auto-pilot, solving the same problems the same way day after day. For many developers, that kind of repetition is actually their comfort zone. However, i don’t think I am happy working that way. I need to be doing some different or better every day.

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