Category Archives: Learning

Programmer Knowledge

What is the half-life of programmer knowledge? It is quite common with claims that the half-life is something like 5 years. In other words, half of what you know about programming will be obsolete in 5 years. A similar sentiment is: “Programming sucks, because what you knew a few years ago is useless now”.

At first, this seems plausible. After all, there is a steady stream of new programming languages and technologies coming out. However, I think it is wrong. Programming knowledge is much more long-lived than some people realize. Continue reading

Switching from Java to Python – First Impressions

Three months ago I changed jobs, and in the process switched from Java to Python. Here are the differences that have stood out for me since making the switch. Continue reading

Coursera course review: Algorithms: Design and Analysis, Part 2

I recently finished the Coursera course Algorithms: Design and Analysis, Part 2 by Professor Tim Roughgarden of Stanford. I’ve already reviewed part 1, and here are my thoughts on the second part.

The main theme of part 1 was the divide and conquer paradigm. In the second part the main themes were greedy algorithms, dynamic programming and NP-Complete problems. The lectures were excellent, with clear and easy to follow algorithm development and proofs. At six weeks, it was one week longer than part 1, and I found it quite a bit harder than part 1. Here’s more on each part. Continue reading

Working as a Software Developer

I recently gave a presentation on what it is like to work as a software developer to first-year engineering students at KTH taking an introductory programming course. I wanted to give my view on the main differences between professional software development and programming for a university course.

First I talked about challenges with large-scale software development. Then I listed several development practices used to cope with these challenges. I went on to present ways to become a better programmer, and ended with some fun facts from work.

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4 Reasons Why Bugs Are Good For You

Every once in a while I read something along the lines of: “most developers just want to write new features, they don’t want to work with maintenance and bug-fixing”. If that’s true, then most developers are missing out on the fun and benefits of finding and fixing bugs. Continue reading

Coursera course review: Design and Analysis of Algorithms I

I recently finnished the Coursera course Design and Analysis of Algorithms I, given by Professor Tim Roughgarden of Stanford. This was my second on-line course from Coursera (last fall I took Introduction to Databases, which I wrote about here), and I thought it would be interesting to compare  the two.

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Introduction to Databases – On-line Learning Done Well

Last weekend I finished the free on-line course Introduction to Databases taught by Professor Jennifer Widom of Standford University. The course was given entirely over the web, with pre-recorded video lectures, and assignments and exams that were automatically graded when submitted. I didn’t quite know what to expect when I signed up for it, but I have to say that it was a great experience. It took quite a bit of work, but I did learn a lot.

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