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Can I consider myself a programmer?


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While I'm programming I'll generally have to have to look at one of my old projects where I have done something like what I have forgot or google something like "in java how to create new text file in specific folder"; even though, I've probably done something like that 40 times. I know there are different levels of talents among people, but I feel like before I consider myself a decent programmer I should be able to do a certain amount of things before I have to look it up on google or whatever. I don't know what do you guys think? Currently a little disappointed with myself its been a while (years) and I still can't draw graphics or set up a server without following some tutorial.
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Don't worry, a lot of programmers have a list of commands/how tos next to them. Just because you have to look something up doesn't mean you're not a good programmer, just means you have to look it up. I had to look up how to use Select Case because I hadn't used it in a month.

Remembering doesn't make you a good programmer, it means you have a good memory; and forgetting doesn't mean you're not a good programmer, just means you don't have that great memory.
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Don't worry before we had powerful IDE's like eclipse, visual studio, etc with stuff like intelisense, programmers had to have a handbook for API's and built in functions. No one can memorize them all and all of their overrides and such.

I personally spend a lot of my time googling for resources while programming (typically cause googling is easier than using the built in search engines on MSDN and pinvoke). The problem I typically run into though is that I mix up my languages. As a student in a Software Development program I am constantly forced to use multiple languages at the same time throughout a semester.

E.g. last semester I had a ASP.NET course (so… C# + MVC), then a Java programming course... then a C++ Network programming course. I spent a lot of the semester switching between a few online resources to help me with syntaxes and language specific rules.

PS I HATE JAVA.
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In my experience, what makes a good programmer is passion. If you need to look things up every now and then, fine, but as long as you actually care about code quality, and about architecting good solutions to bad problems, then you're a good programmer.

That being said, if you don't have passion for it, find a different career path, and save your potential future coworkers a headache.
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In the real world being a developer is as much about being a professional speed learner (Docs, google, past stuff you have coded) as it is about putting code to disc. You cannot keep the contents of every method in every piece of API from every library in the world in your head at once, so why bother trying.

Core API and design patterns are what you need to retain, the rest is easily copied / speed re-learned from either your own previous code or (you guessed it) the internet. When you are using 500 different 3rd party libraries and the software you are writing is extremely complex, trying to retain all of it is an exercise in futility anyway.

What matters is your ability to get the information you need and use it effectively to solve the problem, nobody gives a shit that the fix came from stack overflow or was copy and pasted from some other part of the system :) Today you are a master of the Java.IO package, tomorrow you might need to be a master of the org.hibernate package where the File API is going to do you no good whatsoever. You know you have a nice bit of code to handle that particular case, so forget about it and move on to the next thing - next time you have to write files to the system, guess the first place you are going to go and look ;)

The longer you work and the more problems you solve the more of that core API sticks in your head and it becomes less of a problem. Can you remember the specific annotation configuration for one way many-to-one entity relationships in hibernate? Me either, and I was only working with them yesterday! But every time I need to do something like that I just go back to my old code and relearn it in about 5 minutes.

Your old code is your friend. Google is your friend.

As a developer you are a problem solver, not a superhero. If the effective way to solve your problem is to google it, why the hell wouldn't you :)

Full disclosure: I've been working as a Java Developer for the last 8 and a half years, so I'd say my perspective is accurate. Hope that helps,

Liam
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I should say as full disclosure from my perspective, I work as a Senior Engineer for one of the largest retailers in the world.

I've worked with a lot of different engineers from all backgrounds and skill levels, and the very best ones that I've either mentored or have been mentored from have been the ones that care and have passion for their work. Everything falls by the wayside if you simply don't care.

Could I also code an entire 2D game from scratch? Yeah, probably, but could I build an entire website (server+ client) from the ground up without consulting google and MDN? Absolutely not.
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I did my formal education in IT over a decade ago, and I still consider myself a programmer, even though languages have evolved and changed completely. I almost always have to refer to support pages, MSDN, or reference material. A lot of being a developer is understanding methodology and linear logical development - the syntax always changes!
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@'c0ke':

> As a developer you are a problem solver, not a superhero. If the effective way to solve your problem is to google it, why the hell wouldn't you :)
>
> Full disclosure: I've been working as a Java Developer for the last 8 and a half years, so I'd say my perspective is accurate. Hope that helps,
>
> Liam

Oh cool Liam. Neat to know you use the language professional. 

@everyone else, I've really been enjoying programming and I have a lot of you here to thank for that. The 2D eclipse program has helped me a lot, even though I didn't learn how to code my own game like I really intended initially. This community inspired me me to learn coding. Thank you everyone.
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