Re: Towards better embedded software (long

From: Steve at fivetrees (
Date: 05/06/04

Date: Thu, 6 May 2004 04:11:09 +0100

"Darin Johnson" <darin_@_usa_._net> wrote in message
> (Lewin A.R.W. Edwards) writes:
> The original point seemed to imply that having experience at fixing
> bugs wasn't a good thing. However, 99% of all the programming I do
> involve code someone else has written, even if only peripherally.
> Ie, maintenance (the vast majority of programming falls into this
> category), using a library, integrating software, porting software,
> etc.

I didn't mean to imply that troubleshooting was not a useful skill. Like
you, I've done a fair amount of alien legacy code maintenance (although not
99%); my views are very much coloured by this experience ;). I think it's
clear, though, that a tendency to rely on debugging as an alternative to
good design is not a desirable attribute in a job candidate.

> Thus, I wouldn't necessarily want to a hire programmer who had little
> experience in debugging due to never creating bugs. I'd first think
> they were lying or a bit too arrogant to work in a team.

I've occasionally run into something like this. Occasionally there is a gulf
between what I consider "Best Practice" and what is actually going on. Years
ago I probably would have frightened them; in my dotage I've learned
diplomacy and I figure I can help them. I love mentoring... it's how I learn
too. Is this arrogance? Not sure. I consider myself a craftsman; I'm proud
of my skills, certainly.

> But second,
> being able to deal with imperfect code is an essential skill.
> Being able to work without a specification or a formal list of
> requirements is a very useful skill also :-)