Software Engineering in Practice

I ran across a review of a developer’s first year at a company. The company is endjin and the poster describes their first year as a “software engineer apprentice,” which is an interesting way to look at one’s early career. While it’s not for everyone, I suspect that many developers in this business could actually use a bit of apprentice time to solidify their foundation of knowledge.

The post talks more about the way in which the work is done than the actual tools involved. A few are mentioned, but this is really a look back at the philosophical way in which the company solves problems. More importantly, it’s the view of an apprentice learning a trade.

I wonder if this apprenticeship mentality might make a good approach for DBAs. It seems so many people working with databases lack fundamental SQL skills and even thoughtful approaches to solving problems. There are people that grow to be experts by diligently working through complex problems on their own, but it seems most people don’t get solid grounding in relational principles, or even learn good engineering practices, like measuring systems before and after changes are made.

Many companies rush to get work done. They want code written quickly, which I completely understand. However if your staff isn’t well grounded in building solid code, then I’m not sure that poorly written applications are getting work done quickly. I suspect they’re just getting something done, which then has to be fixed, enhanced, and refactored before it allows work to move faster (if at all).

All of that takes place in the time that it might take someone with more skill to do it well the first time.

Steve Jones

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