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From being a programmer to becoming an entrepreneur - Lesson 0 (blog.sidu.in)
118 points by jasim on June 7, 2012 | hide | past | favorite | 26 comments

"Identify mature, experienced people who can give you candid feedback. It's even better if they're your colleagues. Favour a diverse group with people who have different priorities."

This is a great tip. I just realized that my more senior friends mention their "grey beard" older CS friends. I guess I need to pick up some mentors!

"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man." --George Bernard Shaw

This is a great article, Sidu. All of your points speak true to what I have learned going through the same process. I've only been doing the business thing for about 10 months, but already I notice a difference in perspective when speaking to non-entrepreneur engineers. Thanks for writing this.

pretty nice summary. i noticed most similar postings are all about js/python/ruby here, i'm an embedded linux hacker and i wish there is a place we can talk about both hardware and software for products, not just the web, maybe it's time to create one?

Your comment, apart from "pretty nice summary", is talking about something totally unrelated to the posted article. You should have made a separate "Ask HN" thread.

As far as discussing hardware goes, you can post articles yourself.

I agree, sorry.

Nice comment bro!

I too work with embedded linux and arm9's ... HSI has a few people of embedded domain hanging around, so just post what you feel is good and people are there.

what is HSI? these days I have to join various groups/lists/ircs/etc to interact with embedded world, but nothing like hacknews to spur innovation and new ideas... i have been thinking about building a vendor-neutral site for folks that want to bridge web/UI to embedded devices.

sry i meant HN . Yep a more h/w oriented site would be a good idea. problem is very few people are into all this as this is not really a easy to get in domain.

A site can be setup in a few hours , problem is building a community.

Definitely agree, though I have more a machine learning background. Simple serial port connections are so foreign to me it is bothersome.

I'm a ruby developer but I'd be very interested in learning more about embedded programming.

I have done a bunch of embedded development in the past. Embedded.com was a good resource. There's a lot to know so it is difficult to be really concise. Get to know lower level languages if you don't already (c, bit operations). Know how to disassemble code and read it. Monkey around with an arduino, then beagleboard. There are a few good books - anything by jack ganssle (sp?) is usually a good start.

I read until I stumbled upon that line: "I've been a programmer since I was six."

You're NOT a programmer at six, you are a KID.

You can play with computers, but being a programmer is a whole other story.

You can tell yourself you're a programmer when you can code through a project by yourself, write classes, do OOP, implement basic concepts, differ public from static, know your data types, and more and more.

You are not a programmer until you work as one. That's it and that's the reality.

Nowadays kids called themselves programmer, guru, ninja, entrepreneur, etc and it makes me rage and laugh in anger.

I'm sorry, your article seems fine, but you've lost all your credibility with this very single line.

> You can tell yourself you're a programmer when you can code through a project by yourself, write classes, do OOP, implement basic concepts, differ public from static, know your data types, and more and more.

Knowing all that helps, but it doesn't mean you can't produce something meaningful without knowing all that. It would be hard, but doesn't make it impossible.

> You are not a programmer until you work as one. That's it and that's the reality.

No, you are a programmer when you understand the basics of programming. And that means the very basics.

If I consider your argument, then everyone can call themselves a programmer only after being employed as one. What about kids who build software at school? I started writing code for accounting apps when I was around 11. I built what I considered my best work then when I was 14 (https://github.com/jasim/EasyAccounts/blob/master/DOCS/WHATS...). That was a working piece of software that was used by businesses.

However - the fact that someone found use for the app is only incidental. The moment you know you can tell computers to do stuff you want to, however limited in scope, is when I would call someone a programmer. LOGO, GW-BASIC, dBase, VB 6, Rails or Haskell. It doesn't matter.

[disclaimer: I work with Sidu and when he says he was a programmer at six, I know it is true]

There's a nuance there and it's called an amateur. If I use this concept I could be anything and if everyone tells they're everything than what's the use of titles?

You can be a passionate, an amateur but to be a programmer, a professional programmer there's only one way of becoming it and it's by doing a professional job.

Oh, please... quit worrying about some silly labels and adjectives. You are, as far as I'm concerned, a "programmer" if you write programs. How old you are, whether or not you get paid, what kind of credentials you have, etc. are totally irrelevant.

Now if he qualified that as "I was a professional programmer at six" then I could see some (small) cause to say "Hey, wait a minute." But to get this up in arms over somebody saying they are / were a programmer? What's the point?

It's reasonable for him to assume that any reasonable person would not expect him to be a full-blown or even half-decent programmer at 6.

When people say things like that, they mean that they dabbled, took existing programs and turned the circle into a square, copied code from their favourite computer magazine into a computer, moved a LOGO turtle around, etc. A lot of us came to be what we are by doing this. I don't understand the source of your anger and self-attributed superiority.

The author never used any of these adjectives to describe himself (except entrepreneur, which he is entitled to use since he started his own company). I agree with you that they are highly annoying terms to use and diminish our profession. That, however, does not excuse your hostile and unnecessary comment.

No, you can only call yourself a professional programmer if you've worked as one. When you successfully program a computer, even if it's just:


20 GOTO 10

-- you are a programmer.

Hmm, try replacing "programmer" with "garbage man" in your sentence.

I don't understand your comment. If you ride around in the truck and throw the garbage in, you're a garbage man.

We have tons of words for "programmer", enough to provide us with some nuance -- I think it's safe to say that the kid couldn't describe himself as a "software architect" -- we don't have as many for "garbage man".

when I was 8 or 10, I learned c with if and for loop and most basic of the language. I made a working chess text game using only ifs and loops, without even using any function etc. and well, I and family members actually played it a lot. and I think I have been programmer since.

Heh reminds me of when I made my own Douglas Adams-esque text adventure in Python using only a huge chain of ifs and prints. I remember thinking the hardest part was doing all the typing!

cool. do you still have that source? something to show your grand kids for sure :)

I'm a cyclist but I've never worked as one

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