Coding Clips

Software Development

I coauthored several articles about software development with Tim MacDonald for the TopCoder website, “The world’s largest competitive software development community.”

TopCoder @ Work: Incorporating new technologies

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Incorporate new development technologies in a balanced way without falling prey to “gee whiz!” syndrome.

The situation: The boss has just returned from a technology conference, no doubt full of torturous new ideas. What twisted brand of innovation will he force upon your project today?

TopCoder @ Work: TopCoder @ Work: The Hacker vs. The Architect

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Balance the renegade and the planner in you as hacker or architect.

A good architect is like the sheriff in town, keeping everything in line and maintaining a good sense of order. Yet amidst all the talk of things like release schedules, factory patterns and deployment packages, an important team member of yesterday is now all but forgotten: the hacker.

How long will this take, anyway?

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Ever-changing requirements and exclusively technical solutions to problems can thwart deliveries.

It’s the boss. “Congratulations. You just logged hour 300 on the 200 hour project,” he says. “When are you going to finish this thing?”

TopCoder @ Work: Introduction to upselling

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Really listen to clients to find opportunities to “upsell,” or “add on” valuable services to projects.

As with all sales, upselling is still a game of chance. You won’t always win: budget, timeframe, or corporate inertia may simply prevent the client from giving serious consideration to your proposals, no matter how well they are presented.

TopCoder @ Work: Introduction to upselling, Part 2

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Deliver something “presentable” to a client to demonstrate a competent upsell.

At a surface level, nearly every client’s first concern is what they can see in front of them immediately. This makes our second sell, the scalable enterprise database, more difficult.

TopCoder @ Work: Not another Vista article

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Consider compatibility, critical systems, and hardware when migrating to Vista.

Microsoft’s new operating system already hogs my inbox, clogs my feed reader, and boggles my mind. I have migraines about migration. How do I prepare for the coming of this new operating system?

TopCoder @ Work: Professional ethics (Part One)

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Navigate between what’s “fair” and what’s “company policy” in the arena of wasting time at work, doing outside contracts, and finding another job.

In front of you, your own monitor betrays you by displaying your personal e-mail account and a window full of source code — custom-tailored for your night-job freelance client.

TopCoder @ Work: Professional ethics (Part Two)

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The business of software development often pits career survival against “doing the right thing.” Make sure you’re prepared by networking and building a healthy savings account…

Most of us live in a structure that depends on regular income for housing, food, and health benefits. Unless we’ve managed to acquire independent wealth, we might not be able to weather the storm of a losing a job — especially if it happens in a public or controversial way. Complete honesty, if ill-received, can devastate you and your family.