[Pdf Download] (The Psychology of Computer Programming)

Meh This book is misnamed as the author admits IT SHOULD BE NAMED THE ANTHROPOLOGY OF COMPUTER PROGRAMMING should be named The Anthropology of Computer Programming studies the culture of computer programming rather than the psychology of the practice Fortunately despite being written over forty years ago it succeeds at its task for the reader today as well as for the original readerIf you can move past the references to dated languages and programming practices this book elucidates many observations about how programmers work It s like reading an anthropology of a long hidden culture from decades ago From one who works in computer programming the cultural fruit of these observations can be seen in labs the cultural fruit of these observations can be seen in labs be frank I ve "Never Felt That I Ve "felt that I ve understood my peers in the lab I ve done well with the computer with expressing myself through programs So many of my peers are socially passive in their demeanor I m outgoing even energetic The cultural analysis in this book though dated helps me see this culture clearly It helps me feel at home in my own environment and perhaps also in my own skin As such this book achieved its goal in my life and for that I am sincerely grateful Recent I have read The Psychology of Computer Programming written by Gerald M Weinberg The book was originally published in 1971 though it got republished in 2011 I read it on a kindle paperwhite and it looked great So don t worry about the age of the book in case you fear it won t look good in e book formatEven though the book was written in a time before the public internet Java Javascript smartphones and many things we take for granted today a lot of the content still rings true todayI would actually recommend that software engineers still read this book even today It has helped give me appreciation for the soft skills necessary in the professionI ve highlighted and discussed some points made in the book on my blog which can give you an idea of the type of content the book discusses This isn t a book about computer programming but about computer programmers It holds up remarkably well than 40 years after its publication date because even though the technology changes rapidly the people creating it do not Of course not everything in the book has aged well The discussion of other programming tools in the final chapter is fairly specific to an era of punch cards and shared terminals and should mostly be skipped Also there are some fairly dated views on the roles of women in the workplace and how they can t match up to men not that Weinberg endorses these views but it s clear that this is a book from a different era that said women in tech is still a problem nowOverall a very worthwhile read We need tech books that focus on the people and not the technology itselfSome of the key ideas I found especially memorable We should look at programming as a human activity not ust a mathematical scientific or technological one Most programs are built by teams so we need to look not only at how an individual interacts with a computer but also how many individuals building software interact with each other In most professions you look at the work of others to learn Not so in coding We rarely read other people s code and prefer to learn by writing things ourselves and repeating everyone else s mistakes This situation has improved slightly since Weinberg wrote the book thanks to the explosion of open source but it s still very rare for a programmer to sit down and ust read code as a learning exercise Egoless programming see the code you write not as part of yourself but as independent objects owned by the team That way you don t see flaws in the code as flaws in your character and you become much better at seeking out feedback and handling criticism Good programming language design is primarily about taking into account the limitations of the human mind We can t hold or process too much information in our heads so languages need to be designed around the principles of uniformity compactness locality and linearity Programming is a nascent field and we need a lot research to figure out how to do it effectively Sadly than 40 years later we ve done relatively little rigorous research and still don t seem to be much closer to knowing the answersSome of my favorite uotes from the bookThe material which follows is food for thought not a substitute for it Computer programming is a human activity One could hardly dispute this assertion and yet perhaps because of the emphasis placed on the machine aspects of programming many people many programmers have never considered programming in this light Programming is among other things a kind of writing One way to learn writing is to write but in all other forms of writing one also reads We read examples both good and bad to facilitate learning But how many programmers learn to write programs by reading programs A few but not many Specifications evolve together with programs and programmers Writing a program is a process of learning both for the programmer and the person who commissions the program Th. This landmark 1971 classic is reprinted with new commentary and a Preface from the author Long regarded as one of the first books to pioneer a people oriented approach to computing The Psychology of Computer Programming endures as a penetrating analysis of the intelligence skill teamwork and problem solving power of th.

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The Psychology of Computer ProgrammingNine tenths of the problem for him He cannot why "we had such trouble and soon we begin to wonder ourselves "had such trouble and soon we to wonder ourselves explanations for success given by some programmers bring to mind the story of the village idiot who won the monthly lottery When asked to explain how he picked the winning number he said Well my lucky number is seven and this was be seventh lottery this year so I multiplied seven times seven and got the winning number 63 And when someone tried to tell him that seven times seven was forty nine he merely answered with disdain Oh you re ust ealous which of course was true The two major influences we can exert on a programmer s performance are on the desire he feels for working and on what he knows that is a programmer s performance are on the desire he feels for working and on what he knows that is for the ob The first is called motivation and the second is called training or if it is sufficiently general education But little is known about why programmers program harder or whether they are already programming too hard for their own good Possibly even less is known about educating programmers even though vast sums have been spent on training schemes In a way the reason it is so hard to attribute the source of programming inefficiency to either programmer or programming language is that if we had ideal programmers programming languages would be be necessary It is a psychological which prevents us from writing out problem specifications directly in machine language Let s face up to it people don t think the same way that computers do that s why we use computers Programming is at best a communication between two alien species and programming languages with all their systems paraphernalia are an attempt to make communication simpler for one of those species Which one Not the computer certainly for nobody ever heard a complaint from a computer that it couldn t do the work I picked up this book on a whim purely based on the title I didn t look at the copyright info or the introduction first where I would have learned that Gerald Weinberg first wrote about programmer psychology in 1971To my surprise much of it aged well Weinberg took an interesting approach when releasing a 25th anniversary silver edition Instead of editing out all of his references to COBOL Fortran and PLI or replacing them with anecdotes about C and Java he left everything intact Instead he includes a conversational little Comments about Chapter X section after every sectionAn interesting result is that if you read less linearly than I do you can actually skip ahead to those comments and see whether or not the author himself thinks that the chapter is still worth reading Brilliant I was very disappointed The title seemed so promising but the book was ust full of anecdotes and half baked ideas To his credit Weinberg says early on that he only wrote the book to get people thinking about the psychology of computer programming And he really did get me thinking about it and gave some interesting insights but I was really hoping he would have thought things out than he had Weinberg was one of the earliest authors who realized that computer programming is a human activity and has a lot in common with other human activities A programmer is reluctant to see the flaws in his code so it must be checked by others A programming language should be orthogonal because it is hard for a programmer to keep in his head which features are enabled in which context A programming project could never move forward if all interactions between the programmers follow the up and down lines of an org chart and not informal horizontal lines Managers are advised If a programmer is indispensable get rid of him as uickly as possible because people are sometimes inconsiderate enough of their managers to get sick to get drafted or to die and this should not spell ruin for the project Adding inexperienced programmers to a project most likely will not speed it up Copy pasted code is error prone because mistakes introduced during the copy pasting are hard to spot better to use parametrized code in one place These seem like truisms now but remember that this was written over 40 years ago There are lots of amusing anecdotes illustrating the author s theses Some very good take aways to keep in mind WHILST your writing your code An insightful collection of essays that still resonate today even though some of its anecdotes reference punch cards Egoless programming remains its strongest practice and one that is still not the norm It s also staggering in its prescience Although sometimes under different names he predicts unit testing code analysis tools and countless other great ideas I highly recommended it TL DR don t waste your time browse this blog insteadI was lured to this book by the title and ratings and the latter still puzzle meFirst of all I cannot praise this book based on its contents because if there were any insights at the time of the first edition they are at best commonplace today How people engage in programming has changed a lot environment tools languages standard practi. In him Weinberg reunites with some of his most enduring straight from the heart observations on the human side of software engineeringDorset House Publishing is proud to make this important text available to new generations of Weinberg fans and to encourage readers of the first edition to return to its valuable lesso. E average programming manager would prefer that a project be estimated at twelve months and take twelve then that the same project be estimated at six months and take nine Fisher s Fundamental Theorem states in terms appropriate to the present context that the better adapted a system is to a particular environment the less adaptable it is to new environments Psychology is the psychology of 18 year old college freshmen Maxwell the great physicist once said To measure is to know and his words are often taken as a motto by other sciences What Maxwell probably meant was To know how to measure is to know or even better To know what to "measure is to knowthe organization chart is a "is to knowThe organization chart is a toy for a manager but little programming work would ever get done if interactions among programmers has to follow its narrow straight lines John von Neumann himself was perhaps the first programmer to recognize his inadeuacies with respect to examination of his own work Those who knew him have said that he was constantly asserting what a lousy programmer he was and that he incessantly pushed his programs on other people to read for errors and clumsiness Yet the common image of von Neumann today is of the unparalleled computing genius flawless in his every action And indeed there can be no doubt of von Neumann s genius His very ability to realize his human limitations put him head and shoulders above the average programmer today As a rough rule three programmers organized into a team can do only twice the work of a single programmer same ability because of time spent coordination problems Moreover three groups of three programmers to do only twice the work of a single group or four times the work single programmer for the same reason The basic rule for size and composition of programming teams seem to be this for the best programming at the least cost give the best possible programs you can find sufficient time so you need the smallest number of them When you have to work faster or with less experienced people costs and uncertainties will rise In any case the worst way to do programming project is to hire a horde of trainees and put them to work under pressure and without supervision although this is the most common practice todayProgrammers being people who tend to value creative event and professional competence tend to put their stock in people whom they perceive to be good at the things they do Thus it is easier to exert leadership over to influence programmers by being a soft spoken programming wizard than by being the world s fastest talking salesman If a manager wants to run a stable project he would do well to follow this simple maxim If a programmer is indispensable get rid of him as uickly as possibleIt is a well known psychological principle that in order to maximize the rate of learning the subject must be fed back information on how well or poorly he is doing What is perhaps not so well known is that people who feel that their performance is being udged but who have no adeuate information on how well they are doing will test the system by trying certain variations The hierarchical organization which so many of our projects seem to emulate comes to us not from the observation of successful machines or natural systems but from the nineteenth century successes of the Austrian Army Whenever a supervisor is responsible for work he does not understand he begins to reward workers not for work but for the appearance of work Programmers who arrive early in the morning are thought to be better programmers than ones who are seen to arrive after official starting time Programmers who work late however may not be rewarded because the manager is not likely to see that they are working late Programmers who are seen taking to there are not considered to be working because the manager has an image that programming work involves the solitary thinker scratching out secret messages to the computer The amateur then is learning about his problem and any learning about programming he does may be a nice frill or may be a nasty impediment for him The professional conversely is learned about his profession programming and the problem being programmed is only one incidental step in the process of his development A large proportion of the variance between programmers on any ob can be attributed to a different conception of what is to be done Lacking any objective measure we often udge how difficult a problem is by how hard a programmer works on it Using this sort of measure we can easily fall into believing that the worst programmers are the best because they work so hard at it Once the solution has been shown it is easy to forget the puzzlement that existed before it was solved For one thing one of the most common reasons for problem difficulty is overlooking of some factor Once we have discovered or been told this factor is significant working out the solution is trivial If we present the problem to someone else we will usually present him with that factor which immediately solves. E computer programmer Returning to topics that are strikingly relevant to today's issues in programming Gerald M Weinberg provides a characteristically fresh perspective on his original insights highlighting the similarities and differences between now and then Using a conversational style that invites the reader to Moonrise jo.