I was talking with a Cambridge University student recently, in particular about their University Card. It’s a very useful card, that in one way can be described very simply. As far as I understand, the card lets students, academics and staff across the university access rooms and services, by proving their identity electronically. That’s something … Continue reading The big and small idea
I guess if I had to define my role at work it would be: programmer. However, I have learned a lot from people who wouldn't call themselves programmers, such as testers (Michael Bolton, Jerry Weinberg, the Ministry of Testing community etc.), user experience experts (Paul Boag, Jared Spool, Don Norman etc.), and data people of … Continue reading Analogies and objectives for testing
This article was inspired by a video from the British Museum, where a conservator discusses a 500-year-old khipu. A khipu is a document, used for keeping records or accounts, made of knotted strings. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-mvjiMjZf-4 I recommend you watch the video – I found it really interesting and well-presented. I hadn’t come across khipus before, and … Continue reading How permanent is your data?
The idea that programmers and testers are different kinds of people with different kinds of skills is sometimes helpful, but not always. It can help to match people to jobs or show where people have different strengths. But it can also lead to tribalism – you’re different from me so you’re worse than me. In … Continue reading The skills that developers and testers share
I’ve been in my new job for a few months, so I thought it was a good time to reflect a little. Two worlds The thing that’s struck me most is that my job spans two worlds, and has a foot in each. One world is the construction industry and the other is IT. This … Continue reading IT for green construction – two worlds and one
I listen to the podcast Data Driven. One of the questions that they ask all their guests is: What do you think is the coolest thing in technology? This article is my answer to that. The short version is: standards, and the benefits they bring to users. The longer version is below. Standards might seem … Continue reading The coolest thing in technology?
A little while ago, I was asked “What makes software good?”, which was followed up by “How do you end up with good software?”. I thought that they were excellent questions, and I will give my answers below. I don't claim to have the answer, just an answer. I’ll try to limit esprit d’escalier / … Continue reading Good software and how to get it
There was a tweet about how tech companies measure people by the impact they make. I replied in the common terse Twitter way, and I want to expand on that here. I think that there are few different ways in which someone can add value in a software development team, and they're not all equally … Continue reading Different ways people add value in a software development team
Seeing how unimportant the chess board and pieces seemed to Beth Harmon in the TV series The Queen’s Gambit, and a recent Software Engineering Radio podcast on The Programmer’s Brain made me think about how programmers work. How much of it is using tools out in the real world, and how much goes on inside … Continue reading Brains, tools, chess and programming
This is a follow-up article to my recent article on Senior Software Engineers. The reason why I’m doing a follow-up so soon is because some interesting and useful points came up in a Twitter conversation about it, and I want to capture and build on those. The points concern different ways of looking at power … Continue reading Senior software engineers, power and freedom