Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 24th Sep 2012 15:07 UTC, submitted by MOS6510
General Development "I've been programming professionally for about 3 years at this point, and I've noticed some interesting patterns in other programmers I've worked with. One of the key differentiators among programmers is motivation. I'm not referring to an individual's passion to simply be successful in their career, but rather the type of work they want to pursue. The thing they want to do with computers every day, the types of problems they are interested in solving."
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RE: all true
by smilie on Mon 24th Sep 2012 18:52 UTC in reply to "all true"
smilie
Member since:
2006-07-19

I've had the luck to work 2 domains at a time at 2 very different companies. Lockheed Missiles and Space Company and IBM in the AS/400 division.

Lockheed was programmer mixed with engineer, I was able to write the programs that controlled, collected, and analyzed data from servo positioning systems. I also got to determine the requirements for that software and overcome the realities of the data integrity in a high noise environment where you wanted to apply statistical analysis to ensure you collected enough data to reduce the random noise effects. We had lots of electrical & electronics engineers with 1 or more decades of experience in this area and it could be great fun working closely with them to create solutions to their proposals.

The environment for IBM was engineer mixed with scientist. Half the people in our group had PhDs, one third were MS degrees, and the rest were BA/BS degrees. The group focused on the O/S kernel performance: algorithms, data structures, testing methodology, regression testing, simulation, and detective work. This was carried out in coordination with kernel development and compiler groups. One of the most important tools we ended up using, while I was there, was customer written applications. For some reason the customers didn't write code that used our system the same was IBM did and software upgrades that looked good in our tests would cause enormous heartburn for us. For my group it indicated the test cases we had created were not testing the correct parts of the system and we needed to rewrite the tests. You can imagine the meeting where it was explained that the test run wasn't really 5% better than the previous released version, it was 20% slower, caused the compiler group some irritation. It threw our schedule back 3 to 6 months and resulted in both compiler and O/S structure changes that, I think, improved the product. It certainly improved the testing methodology.

Both environments were intellectually stimulating, at Lockheed you were working real-world real impact national and international projects that have been known to last 30 and 40 years. At IBM the projects were much faster and yet allowed you to interact with people with in-depth knowledge of the computer and mathematical basis of what we were doing (we had one simulations expert leave to be a professor of mathematics at the University of Wisconsin and several people that I knew that had been professors.)

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