Mark Atwood (fallenpegasus) wrote,
Mark Atwood
fallenpegasus

Some good advice, for young programming students

A few days ago I was interviewed by a Georgia Tech student about my job and career, and what advice I may have for students of computer science and programming.


  • Take on as little student loan debt as possible. And if someone will not pay you to get a post-grad degree, don't waste the debt and the time. Keep out of debt. You never want to feel stuck somewhere so to make rent and pay bills.

  • Learn to write. You learn to write by writing. Take writing classes, read about good writing, and practice writing. It doesn't matter what kind of job you get or life path you take, you need to know how to write.

  • Get involved in some open source projects, and make real contributions to them. The Google Summer of Code is a good thing to get involved in. A portfolio of demonstrated contributions to open source projects is more impressive than a GPA on a new resume.

  • Get involved. Find your local makerspaces, hackerspaces, and barcamps. Volunteer and participate. Go to Ignite. Speak at Ignite.

  • Always be fluent in at least two programming languages, and practice learning new ones. Languages and frameworks come and go, learning new ones is forever.

  • When getting a job, beware of the non-compete and copyright assignment clauses in the employment contract. Push back on them. If they are non-negotiable, too onerous, are enforceable, beware and be careful of taking that job. Keep your list of "personal and outside projects" ready to attach as an appendix.



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