I just finished reading the Pragmatic Programmer, which is a great read for any programmer. There are many great lessons that the book will teach you, I want to share a few of my favourite points that their website gives out for free here.
It is important to fix the problem, not the blame, which can be achieved in a few ways. A workmate I would always want to work with is one that presents problems in the least whiny way possible. I mean this in the nicest way! I can guarantee that no-one wants to help someone that says “Your software is broken, can you fix it, it just crashed”. Remember that we are all in a team that all just want to fix the problem, so if you are asking for someone’s help keep in mind they are (probably) not a wizard so you will have to be as informative as possible in describing your problem. Which leads on to the next point that is to fix those broken windows. This means manage the code base often as possible, (depending on your work situation) try and notice any bits of code where you have said something along the lines of “There is a better way to do that”. Team leads will remember when you say “It wasn’t part of the task but I found a much better way to do XYZ”, it will go a long way. Either that or suggest the next task you do could be to clean this certain part of the code where you had an idea to make it better. This could also reduce build times, make tests cover more code and help you to find bugs quicker. The last point I want to make is all about testing, if you don’t test your software, your users will. Currently my position in the company I work at is developing the user end tools for our software. When I was first put into the role I would get problems from our QA team telling me about bugs all over the place. That’s when I realised that if you don’t write good code and good tests then your users will test for you, and you don’t want customers finding bugs for you! The squeaky wheel gets easily replaced, even if you do the bare minimum to “just get paid and go home” I can assure you that you wont go anywhere in your career. So from programmer to programmer I can tell you now that if you write bad code with bugs easily exposed or not easily usable then no-one will use it! There are plenty more great points that the Pragmatic Programmer brings up, these were just a few of the ones that really stuck out for me.
Please go to your favourite book store/website and pick up a copy!